CISRA’s Synergy Health Newsletter

Issue 10. Acidity, Alkalinity and Bacterial Die-Off Reactions (2007)

by J. C. Waterhouse, Ph.D.

Some patients have reported increased acidity in response to immunopathology reactions that accompany bacterial die-off (Jarisch-Herxheimer Reactions or “Herx”) using antibacterial protocols like the Marshall Protocol (see A Short Introduction to the Marshall Protocol). Several patients have reported that when their symptoms reached their worst, their urinary pH was more acidic (e.g., less than 5.8) when they measured it with pH tape purchased from a health food store. They reported that small amounts of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate — ¼ to ½ teaspoon) both normalized their urine pH to the 6.0 to 7.0 range and partially relieved some of the symptoms associated with bacterial die-off.

Other options to reduce excessive acidity (or alkalinize) include magnesium or calcium supplements. Some use magnesium citrate, a well-absorbed type of magnesium. Another antacid is Tums (calcium carbonate).

Another form of magnesium is Milk of Magnesia, a very alkaline form of magnesium (magnesium hydroxide). It also acts as a laxative, since it is not well-absorbed. Some preliminary experiments indicate it promotes intestinal bacteria that block the vitamin D receptor in some people. This means it will help slow bacterial die-off reactions in some people, but others may need to avoid it, (see Chlorogenic Acid article, Part F).

Additional experiments have shown that other, alkaline sources of minerals, like calcium or magnesium carbonate and citrate and baking soda affect the bacterial population of the intestines in a similar way. Chelated calcium and magnesium and magnesium oxide did not have the same effect on bacterial killing. So, in some people the reduction of symptoms due to consuming alkalinizing substances may be due to the effect on VDR activation rather than through the effect on the acidity of the body.

Those on the Marshall Protocol should avoid alkalinizing substances that contain much potassium (e.g., certain “green” drinks or Alka Selzer Gold), since the Benicar used in the Marshall Protocol can increase potassium retention, which can occasionally lead to elevated levels. Calcium and magnesium should not be taken within 2 hours of taking certain antibiotics, like minocycline. (Note: Adjustment of acidity is not part of the Marshall Protocol)

One should not use baking soda without a doctor’s permission if one is on a sodium-restricted diet for a condition such as high blood pressure. One should also avoid alkalinizing too much, since some people seem to become more prone to urinary tract infections or overgrowth of Candida in the colon if they alkalinize too much by taking too much antacid.

One should still be cautious about keeping the rate of bacterial die-off at a moderate level by other means, such as antibiotic dosage adjustment. However, for at least some people, reduction of excess acidity may be a helpful tool to use now and then to reduce bacterial die-off symptoms. Some of the symptoms reported to be reduced in some people include shortness of breath, lightheadedness, abnormal cardiac sensations, weakness, pain and emotional symptoms like anger or irritability (the above information provides preliminary observations only).

Alkalinizing substances have also sometimes been used to help relieve symptoms of allergy/sensitivity reactions.

Written by synergyhn

October 28, 2008 at 2:49 pm

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