What You Need to Know about Acid Alkaline Balance w/ Dr. Russell Jaffe

Inna Topiler Health Mysteries Solved Podcast

The Importance of Magnesium in Overall Wellbeing

The Case: 

  • Elody is not feeling well. She has aches and pains as well as digestive issues.
  • She also has dull hair and skin. 
  • She read about the benefits of an alkaline diet and started taking baking soda and drinking alkalized water but it made her feel worse. 

The Investigation

There are many studies that support having a more alkaline diet and encourage people to support this diet with sodium bicarbonate. On the surface, it might seem like a good idea. I suspected Elody was on the right track trying to adjust her pH levels but I also knew the mystery ran a bit deeper than that. 

To fully understand the intricacies of finding the perfect internal pH balance, I’m excited to welcome one of the most respected experts on the topic. 

Dr. Russell Jaffe has been searching for answers in health care (not sick-care) for the past 30 years. In his global search for insights, he’s developed a deep understanding of the importance of measuring and correcting the body’s pH levels. 

The Role of pH in Health

The body’s pH levels are reflected in the venous and arterial blood, and in the cells themselves. The range of pH is broad (0-12) but the healthy human range is just on the alkaline side of neutral. A chance in pH by as little as 1/100 of a pH unit can have a profound effect on human health. So, even tiny changes in pH can result in significant shifts in how well we feel. Staying inside the healthy pH range is getting harder and harder in our modern culture. 

Does Taking Baking Soda Help Your pH Levels (by Increasing Alkaline Levels)?

Dr. Jaffe says the science makes sense but in practice, this is a silly approach. Taking bicarbonate, sodium bicarbonate, or potassium bicarbonate will disrupt the natural (and necessary) acidity of the stomach. This can lead to serious digestive issues. 

The Healthy Way to Alkalize the Body 

Dr. Jaffe explains that the only way to biologically alkalize the body is to:

  1. Take in minerals, particularly magnesium and  potassium in ways that  the body can absorb and retain
  2. Reduce the metabolic acid production by reducing toxin exposure, reducing stress (and distress) levels, and improving your nutritional competence. 

Symptoms of Low pH Levels

There are a variety of symptoms that could indicate a low pH (below 6.5) including feeling stressed out, hopeless, or helpless. Fatigue, dehydration, and poor digestion can also be symptoms. Even a desire to drink alcohol can be an indication of a low body pH. 

Symptoms of High pH Levels

Being over-alkaline has negative health effects too. Being in this state for an extended time is called catabolic illness. In this state, the body starts to use amino acids for energy which means the body starters to break down lean muscle to use as fuel. This produces extra ammonia which ends up in the urine. This stress-related disorder is reversible if you are proactive in restoring the neural hormonal immune defence and repair, and digestive competencies that have been eroded. 

Testing Your pH Levels

It can be difficult to tell if you’re pH is out of balance (too acidic or too alkaline) without testing. Testing does not require a lab. Dr. Jaffe suggests doing a daily pH level test first thing in the morning and keeping a log to track your balance. The test is a urine test that can be done at home. Dr. Jaffe recommends testing your first urination of the day by peeing on a pH paper strip or dipping the strip in a clean cup of urine. 

The strip will change color. If you have an excess of metabolic acids, your pH will be below 6.5 and the strip will turn a sandy-red. If you are in optimal range (6.5-7.5) the strip will turn green. If you are above 7.5 consistently, you may have catabolic illness which should be addressed. 

Dr. Jaffe recommends using the 5.5-8 range strips because that’s the biological pH paper. 

Restoring the pH Balance

The best way to reset the body’s pH levels is through diet. Here is a chart that identifies foods that can help shift the balance. While alkaline water may seem like an easy and healthy way to increase alkalinity, Dr. Jaffe says that food is a better choice. Select foods that you can digest, assimilate, and eliminate without immune burden. And, support your diet with magnesium. 

The Role of Magnesium in Balancing Cellular Acidity and Alkalinity

Magnesium is a mineral that amplifies hormonal signals. It is required by the body to balance out calcium, maintain healthy alkaline levels, and keep the mitochondria battery charged up (which is necessary for cells to process optimally). Almost all Americans have a relative excess of calcium and an absolute deficiency of magnesium.  

How Much Magnesium Should You Take?

There are a variety of different supplements on the market that all say ‘magnesium’. Some have so little bioavailable magnesium that they are not worth taking. Dr. Jaffe recommends taking a good quality magnesium (225 milligrams) along with a teaspoon (1300 milligrams) of choline citrate 2 – 5 times per day. He doesn’t recommend doubling the dosage and taking it fewer times a day as you will hit your maximum threshold. 

Mystery Solved

The first thing I did for Elody was to stop the baking soda and alkaline water. We also shifted her diet to be more alkaline by lowering the heavy meats and starches and added in more green veggies (avoiding spinach). And, we made sure to keep her diet clean and move away from processed foods.  

A hair analysis revealed that her magnesium was low and the morning urine testing showed that he pH was too acidic.

After 4 weeks, she started to feel better so we added 450 mg of magnesium buffered chelate per day in divided doses and she took that with choline citrate like Dr. Jaffe spoke about. 

It took another 4 weeks for her to see a difference in her urine strips but then they finally shifted from a more yellowish to a greenish color which is where we want to be. At that point, she really started to notice a difference. Her energy was better, her stomach stopped hurting and her skin had a new found glow.

Next Steps 

We still needed to support her gut because while her stomach aches were better, she still had gas, bloating, and irregular bowel movements. We did a stool test and saw some bacterial overgrowth and also low stomach acid. We supported her gut biome with GI MicrobX and Micro-Gone along with Tricycline to kill off the bugs and used Betaine HCL to help balance her stomach acid. 

Happy Ending

After the stomach cleanse and support, her digestion improved even more. She no longer felt gassy and bloated and her bowel movements were much more regular. She and I were both thrilled.

Eliminating Health Mysteries

For Elody we were able to find that missing piece of the health puzzle and help her regain her health. Could this be the missing clue for you or someone in your life? 


Resources mentioned

Thanks to my guest Dr. Russell Jaffe. You can connect with him through his website, on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and YouTube. You can also access the predictive biomarker test he recommends at his lab Elisa Act or Better Lab Tests Now. 

Suggested Products

Perque Choline Citrate

Perque Magnesium

GI MicrobX 



Betaine HCL

Thanks for Listening

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Hi, I'm Inna!

I am obsessed with getting to the real root of health mysteries. Whether you are suffering from a major health issue like an autoimmune disease or have nagging and frustrating symptoms like fatigue, stomach discomfort, pain, insomnia, brain fog, PMS, skin issues, etc… they have a big impact on how you live your life. You don’t have to suffer. Together we can change that!