Acid-Base Balance and the Common Cold
by David Aberegg
[NOTE: The following article is a study of limited, selected
cases of acidity associated with the common cold. It discusses
the testing of one method of restoring body alkaline-base balance by
consuming large amounts of citrus juice and by the checking of absence
or restoration of acid-base balance with blue litmus paper applied to
Some foods, such as fruits and vegetables, leave a
residue upon burning - inside or outside the body, in which the basic
elements, potassium, sodium, calcium and magnesium, are dominant.
Cereals, meats and fish foods leave an ash composed of the acid-forming
elements, in which chlorine, phosphorus, iodine and sulfur are preponderant.
Such foods, spoken of as either base-forming or acid-forming, influence
the acid-alkaline balance of the body and reflect this in a test of either
the saliva or urine of the body or both.
Sulfur, while naturally present largely as sulfur-containing
amino acids in proteins, is oxidized on use by the body to form sulfuric
acid. Thus high-protein foods are generally acid-forming.
Citrus fruits, on the other hand, contain citric acid
and acid potassium citrate. Their citrate radicals are completely
oxidized in the body to carbonic acid (lost as C02), leaving behind potassium,
which is one of the bases of the body. Hence, a great many "acid"
fruits and juices are base-forming in their body use.
Grape juice is much less effective as compared with
orange juice in reducing urinary acidity because the tartaric acid it
contains is not completely oxidized by the body, but eliminated as such
to a certain extent in the urine. Some other fruits (prunes and
cranberries are examples), containing incompletely utilized organic acids
that are directly excreted in the urine act to increase the urine's acidity.
At times the urine then could test acid, while the saliva would be neutral
or slightly alkaline. (This will be referred to later under Tests.)
With these exceptions, it is possible to calculate
directly the acid- or base-forming values of foods by obtaining the difference
in equivalents of normal acid or normal base from content of sulfur, chlorine,
iodine or phosphorus and sodium, calcium, potassium or magnesium, respectively.
A certain balance between acid-forming and base-forming
foods maybe desirable from a purely technical, medical point of view,
as too much acid-forming could be a drain upon the fixed base or so-called
alkaline reserve of the body. Fortunately the body has a marked
ability to protect itself from excess acid formation. From the Edgar
Cayce readings' point of view, a diet should be slightly alkaline-reacting
or consist of about 80% alkaline-forming foods and 20% acid-forming in
Then as to activities in the diet:
It is well that there be kept about a twenty percent acid-producing to an eighty percent alkaline-producing diet.
Have the cereals such as whole wheat, or a combination
of wheat and barley ... three or four times each week.
...have citrus fruit juices ... put a little lemon juice in [orange juice]...
Do not eat any large quantities of syrups or candies... Beware of fried foods - these are harmful.
Milk and milk products are very well to be a greater portion of the diet.
Have at least one portion of a meal each day consist
of a combination of raw vegetables; specially such as celery, lettuce,
spinach, radish, onions or leeks, cabbage or..... tomatoes, peppers...
No red meats. Preferably fish, fowl or lamb - but never any of these fried.
Do this and as we find we may keep the better conditions.( Edgar Cayce reading #949-19)
In another reading an alkaline diet was outlined.
Keep the diet rather tending toward an alkaline
Mornings - citrus fruit juices, or stewed fruits,
or a cereal. Do not mix citrus fruit juices with any cereal, or
take at the same meal. When stewed fruits are taken, possibly they
may be used with the cereal - or fresh fruit may be used on cereal.
Ovaltine or Sanka coffee would be much preferable to the strong coffee,
for this body.
Noons - or luncheons - preferably raw green vegetables
combined into a salad; such as tomatoes, lettuce, celery, peppers, radishes,
onions, spinach, and those things of such natures. An oil or a salad
dressing may be taken with same; also either whole wheat crackers or any
of such natures that are preferable to the white bread. Preferably
no white bread at any time.
Evenings - (if the main meal or dinner is taken
then) vegetables, principally those that are grown above the ground; though,
to be sure, carrots and parsnips and the like may be included. Preferably
raw white cabbage and cooked red cabbage, that carry more of the vitamins
necessary. These should be cooked in their own fluids, rather than
as ordinarily boiled or with meats. Preferably these should be seasoned
with salt and pepper and butter, rather than meats-and will be found to
be much more agreeable to the body. All the green vegetables and
those of the pod nature are very good. If meats are used, let these
consist of such as lamb, fowl or fish. At least one meal each week
(in the meats) should consist of liver or tripe, because of the blood
purifying that these make for the body.
Do these, consistently, persistently, and we will
correct the disturbing factors and save many a period of anxiety, and
make for normal forces with this body, [Edgar Cayce reading 826]. (826-1)
Causes of Imbalance
From a study of the readings, there emerges a pattern of factors that directly affects acid-alkaline balance:
- Diet. (This we shall discuss later.)
- Emotional effects. Anger, emotional exhaustion, resentments,
etc., alter body chemistry through glandular secretions. (We will
make some allusion to these effects.)
- Circulation or organ-system effects. These are caused by incoordination
of the cerebrospinal and sympathetic nervous systems, of elimination-assimilation
or the body's general metabolism.
(These we will not discuss here, but refer you to the Circulating
Files, "Acidity-Alkalinity" and "Colds: Coryza" and their commentaries
by William A. McGarey, M.D.)
Results of Imbalance
Without becoming too involved in a technical, chemical and physiological discussion, we will take a look at two results of imbalance:
- The Cayce readings suggest time after time that acidity can result
in a congestion and a cold if conditions are otherwise favorable.
- Physiologically, balance or imbalance is reflected in acidity detectable
by litmus (blue) testing of the saliva and the urine.
Q-4. How long should the body keep the citrus fruit diet?
A-4. Until at least there shows that there is - through the test
in the urine and in the blood - a nearer alkaline reaction; or it may
be tested through the mouth, with the litmus and the salivary reactions.
... it would be well that the body check on itself
occasionally as to the alkalinity, or acidity of the system.
Check with litmus paper, both the saliva and the
urine, for acids.
When there is the tendency towards the acids, then
alkalize with lemons, especially, or lemon and orange. . .
Do it, say, once a week or the like. Don't
take an excess of the alkalines unless there is indicated an acid reaction.
After studying the Edgar Cayce readings and suggestions
about diet in The Normal Diet for several years, I suppose I was
like most people: I read more than I practiced. Then I began teaching
science in the Norfolk city schools.
One morning I went to work feeling quite well at 7:00
a.m.; I was in a carpool, so I wasn't driving. Just after walking
into the classroom, about 30 minutes before the students were to report
for homeroom, I suddenly became aware that I was "taking the flu," so
to speak. A dripping nose, feverishness, and suddenly aching joints
- classic symptoms - yet what was I to do?
Then I remembered what I had read. I had litmus
paper and checking the saliva, I found it was acid! Somewhere deep
from within my memory came: Take 11/2 to 2 quarts of orange juice, squeeze
the juice of two lemons into it; drink it within ½ hour, then rest
- go to bed if possible.
What could I lose? Across the street from the
school was a supermarket, where I purchased a 46-ounce can of 100% orange
juice, 2 lemons and a can opener. I went back to the classroom,
drank the orange-lemon juice combination - surprisingly it tasted much
better than orange juice alone -and just finished a few minutes before
the students arrived. By 11:00 a.m., three hours later, I felt "fit
as a fiddle."
I then undertook a four months study of my diet,
taking the pH of my saliva with litmus, night and morning, and adjusting
my menus to bring my system back into balance. For example (refer
to Table 1), if one morning you found that your saliva turned the blue
litmus paper to red or pink, then a good breakfast would be "mummy food"
4 oz. dark Assyrian figs 4 x (+33) = +132
4 oz. yellow corn meal 4 x (-4.9) = -19.6
1 glass (8 oz.) of milk = + 2.3
Net balance base value +114.7
Or eat some fruit, or drink the 46 ounces of orange
juice with the juice of 2 lemons, especially if you feel the subjective
symptoms of a cold. Forty-six ounces of orange juice is, combined
with the lemon juice, just about a quart and a half or six cups.
6 cups orange juice (at +5.6 per 1/2 cup) +67.2
1/2 cup lemon juice (at +5.0 per 1/2 cup) + 2.5
Total base value +69.7
I found that if I followed the suggestions contained
in The Normal Diet based on the readings I did not have to make
too much adjustment, unless I was undergoing stress, lacked rest or lost
my temper. For reasons referred to in the Introduction, I did not
check the urine, as it was acid at times when the saliva would be neutral
(retain blue color) or slightly alkaline, so I just checked the "spittle"
Since my interest was mainly in avoiding colds or
dispensing with one as rapidly as I could if I caught one, I usually would
take the orange-lemon juice treatment, drink a great deal of water, and
not eat anything else until the next meal. I found that on an empty
stomach, the saliva would show alkaline or neutral in 11/2 hours - as
in the morning. After a full meal, it would take six hours for the
body to show neutral saliva.
The saliva test is performed this way: Use blue litmus
paper (supplied by any scientific company, such as Sargent-Welch, S-K
or Fischer, lab supply stores of universities or many pharmacies.) Take 1 paper strip.
Wet it with the tongue. If it remains blue, the body is OK. If it turns
pink where wet, the body is acid.
In my experience Hydrion paper (universal pH indicator)
has never proved very helpful for this purpose. As a chemist, I
would say it is too insensitive of too broad a range. Our range
is slightly acid, neutral and slightly base - all of which can be detected
by the change, or lack of change, in blue litmus to pink. We only
wish to measure a pH range from perhaps less than 7.0 to about 7.4 or
7.5, neutral being 7.0. Normal saliva is given as having a pH of from
6.0 (acid) to 7.9 alkaline). (Practical Physiological Chemistry,
Hawk, et al., p. 308) Blue litmus will turn pink or red if the pH
is 6.9 or less, remain blue when it is neutral (7.0) or higher.
Q-2. What can I do to build resistance against head colds?
Keep the normal acidity and alkalinity, by occasionally
taking the test with litmus paper-both from the urine and from the spittle.
Use the blue litmus, see? (1100-20)
For the past ten years I have used the "juice" treatment
anytime I felt a cold coming on or found evidence of body acidity.
During this time, I have not lost one day of work due to "sick leave,"
despite the fact that at times up to 40% of my class enrollment was absent
due to flu.
In recommending it to a number of different people-coworkers,
cashiers or waiters in restaurants, clerks - those who have tried it,
in about 20 different instances, have gotten the same results: Go to bed
with a cold; wake up without it.
A word of caution, however: If a little bit is good,
won't more be better? No, not in my opinion.; I have only used
the treatment as described above. I do not think one should go on
a prolonged juice diet without careful medical supervision. Over-alkalinity
is worse than acidity and, with this suggestion, we are only aiming for
"neutral" pH or slight alkalinity.If it doesn't work, then something
else could be wrong.
Q-4. How can I overcome susceptibility to infections such as
colds, influenza, etc.?
A-4. As we have just indicated, by keeping the body alkaline.
Only in acids do colds attack the body. (3248-1)
Q-15. What causes colds? Can you give me a formula or
method of preventing them, or curing them?
A-15. Keep the body alkaline! Cold germs do not live in
an alkaline system! They do breed in any acid or excess of acids
of any character left in the system. (1947-4)
I have tested the suggestion that if the body is alkaline,
a cold cannot take hold. This suggestion has been shared with a
number of other people, at random, and - when acted upon similar results
were obtained. It is possible to monitor the condition of body alkaline-acid
balance by using blue litmus paper to check saliva pH. If under
the influence of a cold, the body is made alkaline or neutral by taking
enough citrus juices in a short period of time to neutralize body acidity,
relief of cold symptoms can come about in from three to twelve hours,
with rest and plenty of water.
- Circulating Files: "Acidity-Alkalinity" and "Colds: Coryza." Virginia
Beach, Va.: A.R.E. Press (available on loan to members only).
- Gammon, Margaret. The Normal Diet. Virginia Beach, Va.: A.R.E. Press, 1957.
- Hawk, Oser, Summerson, and Blakiston. Practical Physiological Chemistry.
Philadelphia, Pa., 1951.
- Read and Ilstrup. A Diet/Recipe Guide. Virginia Beach, Va.: A.R.E. Press, 1967.
- Turner and St. Clair, compilers. Individual Reference File. "The Black Book." Extracts from the Edgar Cayce readings. Virginia
Beach, Va.: A.R.E. Press, 1976.
[About the Author: David Aberegg, was an A.R.E. member, he received
his B.Sc. degree in chemistry from Case Western Reserve and did graduate
work at Ohio State Medical School in biochemistry and physiological chemistry.
Before coming to Virginia Beach, he worked as a research chemist and a
consultant for several years to Owens-Illinois Glass Company.]