Blood pH & Athletic Performance

As you have probably read already, the Hauser Diet consists of five different animal diet types differing the amounts of carbohydrates, protein, and fats, depending on the results of your Diet Typing tests. The testing consists of glucose tolerance testing, blood pH, and sometimes allergy profiles and insulin levels. Figuring out whether you should eat like a Lion (high protein and fat) or a Monkey (lower fat and higher carbs) is key to enhancing your athletic performance.

One of the key variables related to the Hauser Diet is blood pH— particularly for the athlete. You may recall talking about pH in chemistry class in high school, but not too many people think about it on a regular basis. The pH of the blood is the level of acidity or alkalinity in the venous blood. We have done a lot of research at Caring Medical on how pH can affect a person’s overall well-being, as well as their athletic performance. Our physicians utilize venous blood pH as a means of testing basic metabolic physiology in our patients. Interestingly enough, we have found that subtle changes in blood pH can have profound effects on your overall health, feeling of wellness, level of fatigue, pain, weight, and yes, even athletic performance!

Why is Blood pH So Important?

Energy is required for a human being to function optimally. The production and management of sustainable biological energy resources is of vital concern for everyone. In most basic terms, energy comes from the breakdown of the oxygen we breathe and the food we eat.

Energy production takes place inside each cell of our bodies. All cells must produce energy to survive. The energy factories in our bodies are called mitochondria. Each one is like its own power plant. Their primary function is to convert energy found in nutrients (fat, protein, carbs) and store it in the form of ATP, the energy-yielding molecule used by enzymes to perform a wide range of cellular functions. We humans cannot survive even for a second without a constant supply of ATP. Enzymes increase the efficiency of energy production.

How does this relate to pH, you may be thinking? Well, each enzyme has an optimal temperature and pH range for its optimal activity. The human body’s enzymes function optimally at a temperature between 98.2-98.6 F and a venous blood pH of 7.420-7.440. When the body temperature or blood pH moves out of this range, enzyme activity declines. When the enzyme activity is inhibited, so is energy production, both inside the cells and in the body as a whole.

Without optimal energy, the body will become fatigued. For many who do not eat according to their appropriate Diet Types, fatigue is often the first symptom of ill health the person experiences. If eating habits do not change, chronic fatigue results. Eventually mental fatigue develops. With this fatigue comes a slowed metabolism which is the body’s response to decreased energy. Because the person cannot do as much as he/she used to do, feelings of being stressed or overwhelmed often result. Many people will then start overeating due to stress. Excess weight appears. Athletes’ sports performances plummet. Because the body has reduced energy, it subsequently develops an impaired immune and healing response, consequently, illnesses can start to develop like upper respiratory and sinus infections.

Often muscle, ligament, and tendon injuries do not heal and the person develops various body aches. Because the body does not have enough energy, detoxification processes are hampered. The person may develop whole body aches and feel fluish consistent with what some doctors call “fibromyalgia.” The bowels may become leaky and then various allergies appear.

Do you see how this vicious cycle continues? It does not take a genius to see that the body requires optimum energy to function. Optimum energy can only occur if the enzyme systems of the body are functioning at peak capacity if the body’s temperature and pH levels are within the normal range. This is why pH is so vital.

Many factors can change pH and affect how you should eat. When the blood pH is acidic (low), you should be eating a Lion or Otter Diet because protein and fat contained in these diets raise the blood pH, moving the blood pH into the normal range.

When your blood pH is alkaline (high), you should be eating more vegetarian, like the Monkey or Giraffe Diets because the carbohydrates contained in these diets lower the blood pH, making it more normal.

A normal pH means you should be eating more of a balanced diet, such as a Bear Diet, which is a balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fat.

Foods that acidify the blood: coffee, fruit and fruit juices, grains, pastas, rice, sugar-containing foods, alcohol, ascorbic acid supplements.

Foods that alkalinize the blood: meat, fats/oils, nuts, seeds, dairy

Vegetables are somewhat neutral and can be eaten ad lib for all diets.

Marion’s story

As a runner, you really hate it when something stops you from doing what you love to do – run! My running was getting better and better. I completed three marathons and a host of other races, including duathlons. But the start of “running season” (March/April) was starting to become something that I dreaded, instead of anticipated. I was repeatedly getting “heat headaches” when running during the summer months, but really in any temperatures over 60 degrees. I had no problem running during the winter and actually loved it!

What does pH have to do with the Weather?

With our research on pH and observing our patients (and ourselves) over the last 15 years, we came to realize the weather-pH connection. Hot weather heats up your body, making it more alkaline. Running or any exercise also heats up your body, which makes it again, makes it more alkaline. Cold weather has the opposite effect—it decreases pH, therefore, making it more acidic.

Back to my story—well, as an alkaline tendency person (high blood pH), it only makes sense that I would feel better running in the cold weather because the cold weather lowered my alkaline blood pH; whereas the heat raised it even higher than it already was, making me feel overheated, exhausted, and drained.

We tested our theory on five of our Ironman friends (is this what friends do to each other?) We put each of them in a hyperthermia chamber and monitored their blood pH levels every 15 minutes, along with their symptoms. Sure enough, along came the nausea, exhaustion, and overheated feeling at the same time that their blood pH levels raised. Not only were their blood pH levels elevated, but their body temperatures heated up to over 102 degrees F.

So what? Well, the other aspect of Diet Typing is glucose tolerance testing. If you are a fast oxidizer of food, you metabolize foods such as simple carbs (sugar, white bread, pasta, rice, juices) very quickly. You will feel tired a few hours after eating if you consume these foods. If you are balanced or a slow oxidizer of food, you can eat carbs with good energy resulting.

If you are a fast oxidizer with acidic blood, you have to be careful about carb-loading before an event or for training. Carbs do not give you good energy—just short-term energy. You may actually bonk out earlier if you carb load the night before an event and during breakfast on event morning. People like you need to consume more protein, in addition to your carbs.

So as you can see, knowing your Diet Type, pH, and oxidation rate can have profound effects on your athletic performance.

10 ways knowing your Diet Type and pH Tendencies Can Help an Athlete

  1. Provides the optimal fuel for long races and workouts.
  2. Helps enhance athlete performance during different weather conditions.
  3. Improves endurance, preventing the “bonk.”
  4. Helps normalize weight.
  5. Maximizes energy during an event (and at home.)
  6. Helps accelerate post-race/training healing.
  7. Helps improve workout/race efficiency, thus improving race times.
  8. Helps minimize commonly experienced workout and race problems such as nausea, cramping, and exhaustion.
  9. Allows the athlete to individualize their food consumption according to the conditions.
  10. Helps you realize your athletic and personal goals!

If you are interested in finding out your Diet Type so that you can maximize your performance, schedule an appointment today with Dr. Hauser, 3-time Ironman finisher (soon to have a 4th!) and accomplished athlete. He’ll help you determine what fuels are best for your individual body during your events, as well as pre- and post- race meals. As an athlete himself, he knows what it takes! Come on in today! What are you waiting for? Because remember, if you eat great, you’ll feel great! Here is some more food for thought about the pH-athletic performance connection from Dr. Hauser:

Putting the 10 Reasons Athletes Should Get Blood pH Testing into personal practice

by Ross A. Hauser, M.D., Ironman Triathlete

1. Proper Blood pH Will Enhance Athletic Performance During Priority “A” Races
Whether an athlete is doing a marathon for the first time or trying to peak for an Ironman Triathlon, there are always races that an athlete is training for. The most important ones are called priority or “A” races. Having the right blood pH at the beginning of a race can be the difference between a “PR” (personal record) race and “PD” (personal disaster) one!

If the race weather is going to be hot, then an athlete’s blood pH needs to be a little on the acidic side at the start of the race. This translates to a blood pH level between 7.380 and 7.419 on our Caring Medical pH meter. As temperature increases the blood pH, the athlete wants to achieve a lower blood pH at the beginning of the race, so during the race energy production is enhanced as the blood pH rises. The longer the race, the hotter the weather, the more important blood pH is in determining ultimate outcome. For cold weather the opposite is true. The athlete should start out the race slightly alkaline (higher blood pH) because cold weather alkalinizes the blood. Of course, in both cases, you must take into consideration your general pH tendencies.

2. Proper Blood pH Will Enhance Training
Imagine if every time you trained you swam, biked, or ran faster and longer than you currently do? Obviously, your sports performance would be enhanced. If your blood pH remains out of the normal range, you will not achieve optimum energy production. Remember that the enzymes that control energy production are sensitive to temperature and blood pH. If the temperature of the blood or the pH of the blood fall too high or too low, your energy plummets. If energy plummets, so does sports performance, even in training. By having a proper blood pH level during training, an athlete is able to swim, bike, run farther and faster. Strength is also enhanced. Something that all athletes want to achieve!

3. Proper Blood pH Will Enhance Recovery
If an athlete can recover quickly even after very difficult workouts, training is maximized. How many workouts do you miss or cut short because you don’t feel like working out? Are your muscles sore for a long time after workouts? Do you wake up stiff? Do you need to take time off every so often because you feel burnt out? All of these are signs of poor recovery. Notice I said poor recovery not overtraining. I feel most of these symptoms can be totally eliminated by optimizing blood pH and nutritional/diet supplementation without any decrease in sports training. Thus, the issue is not an overtraining problem, but an under recovery problem!

One of the main reasons athletes don’t perform as well as they should is because they don’t maximize recovery. Athletes tend to emphasize training, but not recovery. When an athlete has an optimum blood pH level, recovery is enhanced. If an athlete feels refreshed and energized at the beginning of the majority of their workouts, training will be enhanced. If training is enhanced, you get be sure that great races or competitions are soon to follow!!!

4. Athletes Need Maximum Energy to Live the Rest of their Lives
You thought this whole article was going to be about maximizing sports performance didn’t you? Well, what happens when you are wiped out from workouts and work and then are not able to be totally there for your family? Correct, stress! Your spouse gets mad because you just sit on the couch and watch T.V.! The additional stress just makes you more and more tired and obviously this will decrease your training intensity, distance, or time. All of which will cause sports performance to plummet! Do you want to know a better way? I thought you would.

The easiest way I know of to give you more energy to maximize all areas of your life, is to keep your blood pH optimized. The only way to do that is to know your level. It is a simple blood test. Normal or optimum blood pH using the pH meter at Caring Medical is 7.420 to 7.440. pH levels outside of these levels will cause energy to plummet. Yes, you need energy for athletics, but also for the rest of your life!

5. So Do You Really Know What To Eat?
If we athletes were really honest, we would say we really don’t know what to eat! You try to eat healthy, but if you have acid blood you should not be eating all those carbs that you think will help you. Conversely, if your blood pH is alkaline (blood pH over 7.440) you should not be eating all that protein that you think is helping your muscles. Your muscles are hurting because your blood pH is too high!

By routinely checking your blood pH levels, Caring Medical can teach you how you need to eat to optimize sports performance, training, and recovery. If you follow these guidelines, it has been our experience with ourselves and our clients that your sports performances will be enhanced.

6. So You Really Know How To Eat and Drink During Training and Events
#5 above relates to how to eat outside of athletics. But do you really know how to eat and drink during training and events? You see if you are a Lion or Otter Diet Type (have acid blood pH), you need much more protein than the typical athlete. That means more protein and fat in the morning and more protein/fat during the athletic event. Yes, there are athletes that need to make a concerted effort to get more protein and fat in their diets and during training and events.

Take me, for example. I am an Otter Diet Type. During the Ironman I will get most of my calories for the day from protein and fat, not from carbohydrates! How have the results been? I have dropped my Ironman triathlon time from 14 hours to 12 hours, though I have another Ironman race in one month! Yikes! Why am I writing this article? I should be training! Don’t fret, I ran 18 miles in 2 hours 35 minutes up and down hills that were filled with ice today! I thought that speed wasn’t too bad considering the conditions and the temperature outside was 28 degrees. But then again, I know about blood pH and how to manipulate it for workouts and performance. But I digress…I hope this is making sense to you…

7. So Your Future Sports Performance Will Not Be Affected By the Weather
Everyone has an optimum temperature outside where they typically perform their best. Most of us would love to perform our best— irregardless of the weather conditions, right? If you knew your baseline fasting blood pH at a certain time of year, it would be possible to know how to eat at various times to optimize sports performance for all weather conditions. Then you would know what to do—in every situation!

Optimizing sports performance for a specific weather condition is now under your control. If you hate the heat, blood pH can help you love the heat! Hate cold weather? No worries, knowing your blood pH can give you that “bring it on 25 degree” mental edge! Don’t let your hard work go to waste by a bad weather day for your “A” race. Blood pH holds the key!

8. To Get Rid of Sports Performance Limiters
You know what they are! You get nauseated in hot weather. Perhaps your muscles cramp at mile 18. You just can’t finish races well. What if you could have the edge over your competition and your energy got better as the event went on? Would that help you? What if your muscles didn’t cramp anymore? What if your heat intolerance wasn’t a factor? What would happen to your training or your “A” race sports performances? You would be in “PR city” wouldn’t you? I am telling you, blood pH is the key!

9. So the Rest of Your Health is Optimized
Got a scratchy throat, but have a lot of workouts planned this weekend? That is how I was a few days ago. So what did I do? Because of my knowledge of blood pH and access to getting it tested, I tested my blood pH while I was feeling that scratchy throat come on. My blood pH had gone from acid to alkaline. To optimize my immunity, I needed to acidify my blood, which I did. I did a few natural medicine treatments and altered my supplements and in two days I was ready to cycle like a mad man. You know how I ran today. Let’s see 18 miles in 2 hours 35 minutes, lower than 9 minute miles. Remember, 28 degrees and running on ice and hills, not bad. It is now about 2 hours after my run and I am writing this. How can I do it? Let’s recap. Sickish feeling on Thursday, biked 2 ½ hours Saturday, and ran 18 miles today in freezing cold conditions and then have enough energy to write this article. How is it possible? It is blood pH, baby. It is the secret.

You may have hypertension, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic fatigue, stomach aches, terrible energy, muscle aching, poor concentration, or a host of other health conditions bringing you down. For many of these, the one key to feeling better is knowing your baseline blood pH. If it is out of the normal range, getting it back into the optimal range has got to help you feel better. In our experience, it sure has. Imagine if you had 25% more energy for your body to repair itself? You just might feel good, right? Maybe your immune system would be enhanced? Healing should be enhanced right? Well, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and get your blood pH tested!

10. So the Athlete Has Fun!
Most of us forget sometimes that the reason we do athletics is to have fun. Having a balanced blood pH will give the athlete tons of fun. How will it do this? Well, sports training will be enhanced. You will swim, bike, run, compete, and perform with more energy, vitality, and intensity – won’t that be fun? You won’t get injured and that will keep the fun going! You will PR at your “A” race. That will be a blast! You will recover great, so you can workout the next day. That will be good for your friends you workout with. So let’s not forget their fun! Your stomach won’t become queasy while exercising, so that will be fun. Those stupid side stitches or muscle cramps will stop. That will be great! After workouts you will be awake for your family and then you can have some fun with your kids and your spouse! That will be tons of fun! You may get a promotion at work because you’ll be able to concentrate better and give 110%. Your boss will be so impressed. That will be great! But mostly, you’ll just be able to continue to exercise. You need it! It is your outlet! Your time! Your psychotherapy! It is what you do with your free time! It is how you and your friends have fun together! Ultimately, it makes you the type of person you desire to be and that kind of person is a lot of fun to be around!