How the alkaline diet may actually benefit you

March 31, 2017 by Julia Bernstein, Baylor College of Medicine

While most celebrity or fad diets have not been scientifically proven to be effective, the alkaline diet can still positively impact your body, especially if you have kidney problems, according to a Baylor College of Medicine expert.

"The alkaline is used to reduce the amount of acid in the body by consuming foods and drinks that are low in acid and high in alkaline," said Sreedhar Mandayam, associate professor in the nephrology section of the Department of Medicine at Baylor. "We usually recommend this diet for those who suffer from or who have ."

Mandayam explained that at the cellular level, if your acid level changes or increases too quickly, proteins that are essential for the functioning of the cells may not work properly. Certain proteins impacted can include those that help form receptors and those that are responsible for nerve firing and muscle contracting.

When people have a slow, steady buildup of acid over a long period of time, they tend to lose bone mass, resulting in osteoporosis, and they lose muscle strength and function and their ability to walk and lift things reduces. There also is a significant reduction in cognitive ability.

"The body tries very hard to keep your acid levels in a very narrow range. It's when there isn't enough to make that happen that these problems can occur," Mandayam said.

For those who have had or are at risk for kidney stones, Mandayam said the alkaline diet helps in two ways: (1) It helps make the urine less acidic so there is reduced formation of crystals in the urine of calcium oxalate and (2) it reduces the crystal formation in urine of .

For those who have , he said the alkaline diet is helpful in slowing down the worsening of the disease, especially if the diet is started by stage three. As the ability of the kidneys to work is reduced, the that the body produces cannot be eliminated and circulates in the blood, which can cause problems. One way to combat this is to reduce the in the blood by increasing the alkaline levels in your diet.

However, Mandayam warned that anyone who is thinking about going on this diet should first talk with their doctor.

"They should talk to a and let them know that they are putting themselves on this diet so that the doctor can monitor to see if there are any adverse consequences," he said. "Each one of us is unique and how each one of us reacts to a particular change is fairly different."

He added that besides increasing the amount of alkaline levels in your diet, he strongly recommends drinking lots of fluid.

"Try to keep yourself hydrated and don't ignore when you are thirsty. Most people probably need to drink about 32 ounces a day," he said.

Explore further: Why are kidney stones so painful?

Related Stories

Why are kidney stones so painful?

March 21, 2017
Dear Mayo Clinic: How do doctors decide on the best treatment for kidney stones? When I had a calcium stone, my doctor gave me medication and told me to drink plenty of water until it passed. When my mother had one, she went ...

Acid levels in the diet could have profound effects on kidney health

November 9, 2013
Three new studies suggest that controlling dietary acid intake could help improve kidney health. Results of these studies will be presented at ASN Kidney Week 2013 November 5-10 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, ...

A high acid diet may have negative effects on kidney health

February 12, 2015
For patients with chronic kidney disease, diets with a high acid content may increase their risk of developing kidney failure. The finding, which comes from a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American ...

Limiting salt consumption lowers blood pressure in patients with kidney disease

February 16, 2017
In a study of patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD), simple advice from dieticians on limiting salt consumption led to reduced blood pressure. The findings, which appear in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of ...

Greater risk for kidney stones in summer

August 7, 2015
Kidney stones affect approximately 3.8 million people in the U.S. each year and they are especially more common in the summer. The stones are described as small, hard deposits of mineral and acid salts that form when urine ...

Diet high in red meat may make kidney disease worse

February 23, 2015
An estimated 26 million people in the United States have chronic kidney disease, which can lead to complete kidney failure. Once the kidneys fail, patients either need to undergo dialysis treatments three times a week or ...

Recommended for you

Sitting for long hours found to reduce blood flow to the brain

August 20, 2018
A team of researchers with Liverpool John Moores University in the U.K. has found evidence of reduced blood flow to the brain in people who sit for long periods of time. In their paper published in the Journal of Applied ...

Balanced advice needed to address 'screen time' for children, study shows

August 20, 2018
Parents, health professionals and educators need clear and balanced information to help manage young children's use of mobile touch-screen devices in Australia, new research by Curtin University has found.

Students more likely to eat school breakfast when given extra time, new study finds

August 18, 2018
Primary school students are more likely to eat a nutritional breakfast when given 10 extra minutes to do so, according to a new study by researchers at Virginia Tech and Georgia Southern University.

Like shark attack and the lottery, unconscious bias influences cancer screening

August 17, 2018
What do shark attack, the lottery and ovarian cancer screening having in common? It turns out our judgments about these things are all influenced by unconscious bias.

Phantom odors: One American in 15 smells odors that aren't there, study finds

August 16, 2018
Imagine the foul smell of an ash tray or burning hair. Now imagine if these kinds of smells were present in your life, but without a source. A new study finds that 1 in 15 Americans (or 6.5 percent) over the age of 40 experiences ...

US drug overdose deaths surge amid fentanyl scourge

August 16, 2018
US drug overdose deaths surged to nearly 72,000 last year, as addicts increasingly turn to extremely powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl as the supply of prescription painkillers has tightened.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.