Holistic medicine

Base treatment - sensible or senseless?

Deacidify the body

A Base treatment should serve to compensate for an overacidification in the body, both in the case of a disturbed balance and to prevent an overacidification in the first place. A "basic diet" should serve as well as a "base bath". The organism is supposed to "purify" and "deacidify".

Base treatment - the most important facts

  • A base treatment is designed to balance the balance between acids and bases in the body.
  • Advocates of base cures believe that many people suffer from deposited acids in the body, which can be treated with base baths, basic foods and basic food supplements.
  • However, there is no evidence that the body could be overacidified by acidic food alone. On the other hand, an increased metabolic performance with a high acid level leads to other problems in the long run.
  • Real diseases that lead to acidification and then, for example, to kidney calcification, arise from disorders in organs such as the kidney and cannot be treated with basic food or basic cures.
  • Acids do not accumulate in the body, but are excreted through exhalation, urine and feces and neutralized by the buffers in the blood.
  • Base cures are generally not very helpful because the suspected mechanism of action does not exist. However, there is nothing to be said against eating base-forming foods such as fruits and vegetables, since they are generally healthy. At best, "base-forming nutritional supplements" are superfluous.

Acids and bases in food

Some foods form acids in the body, other bases. This has nothing to do with sour taste, but with the substances in which the food in the body is broken down. If the body draws more acidic substances from the food, it is an acid generator; If basic products are formed during digestion, the food is a base former.

In this way, citrus fruits, although they contain fruit acids, ultimately have a basic effect thanks to the minerals they supply. The metabolism breaks down the fruit acids. Animal proteins such as those found in meat, sausage or hard cheese, on the other hand, form acid. When the body breaks them down, sulfuric acid is produced.

The rule of thumb is: fruits and vegetables are mostly base formers, and acid generally forms:

  • Flesh,
  • Fish,
  • Sausage,
  • Eggs,
  • cheese
  • White flour products
  • and all foods with phosphate.

A lot of meat and little vegetables lead to a lot of acid in the body.

Does a base treatment make sense?

Some followers of naturopathy emphasize that an excess of acid can be counteracted by alkaline baths and basic nutrition. With this base treatment, the body is "purified" and "deacidified". Base fasting supports every cell in the body to restore the broken balance between acids and bases.

But does our body work in such a way that degradation substances, so-called slags and excess acid, collect and can be "derived" by a base treatment? Now, alternative practitioners who carry out base cures generally know that the body is not a coal stove, in the pipe of which slag forms, so that the base cure replaces the chimney sweep. They emphasize that the term "slag" is a chemical degradation product and that the term "slag" should not be taken literally.

During digestion, the chyme is saturated with up to seven liters of acidic digestive juices from various organs. At the end of the digestive process, the intestine withdraws the fluid again and the breakdown products leave the body as feces and urine. Sweating and exhaling are also processes in which the organism drains off unused substances. There is no medical reason to disrupt these biological processes. In a healthy body neither "slags" nor metabolic products that the organism does not use accumulate. The body excretes the breakdown products via the kidneys and intestines. There is no basis for a base treatment to prevent acidification.

Acid acidity due to acidic diet?

Our body breaks down a large part of the unused substances through urine and bowel movements. With acids, the biochemical processes are far more complicated. These are end products of digestion that the body has already absorbed from the intestine. And acids are by no means only harmful, because different regions of the organism need different concentrations of acid to function.

There is an acidic environment in the vagina that prevents pathogens. If the pH falls to basic, infections are easy. Hydrochloric acid is necessary in the stomach to break down proteins. Furthermore, the basic bile is neutralized, as is the juice of the pancreas.

The blood is particularly sensitive to acidification. It has a constant pH around 7.4 and even slight deviations lead to so-called azidiosis. Such blood acidity can have drastic consequences. Communication in the brain and spinal cord is disturbed, which can lead to disorientation and coma in severe cases. Incidentally, health also suffers when the blood becomes a little too basic.

Such blood acidification does not arise from acid-forming food, at least not primarily. Rather, the cause is impaired functions of the kidneys or respiratory organs. These usually remove the excess acid. In short: healthy people don't acidify.

Does acid build up?

If there are too many acids in the blood for a short time, the lungs compensate for this by deeply breathing in and out. Carbon dioxide forms carbon dioxide together with water - exhaled carbon dioxide means less carbon dioxide and that means less acid.

The kidneys pump positive, acidic hydrogen ions into the urine. This contains a thousand times higher concentration of acid than the blood. The highly concentrated acid leaves our body when urinating. So it does not deposit anywhere, does not "get stuck" in any cell in the body and no base treatment is required to "deacidify" it.

Doesn't matter how much acid we make?

In the long run, a diet consisting primarily of acid-forming foods can lead to problems. These are not due to excessive acidity in the body, but arise because the metabolism has to do “heavy work” if it breaks down such a high level of acid. The organism does not now acidify, but the value of the stress hormone cortisol increases.

What should a base treatment work against and what is it about?

Supporters of base cures suspect that numerous diseases result from overacidification as a result of an “acidic” diet. It is said to weaken the bones and cause chronic diseases such as osteoporosis, back or joint pain. However, there is no scientific evidence for weakened bones through an “acidic” diet, nor is there any evidence that chronic diseases are triggered by it.

A study is available on the possible influence of acidification on osteoporosis in old age, since the basic diet thesis presumes that calcium must be dissolved in the body in order to neutralize the excess acids, which leads to bone weakness in the long term. The study cited here disproves this thesis.

The result of another study was: An acid-forming diet that is rich in phosphate, protein and cereals, for example, does not have a negative effect on the bones. There is no evidence that an "acidic" diet leads to a decrease in bone density. Although the urine contained more calcium with increasing acidity, this most likely came from the diet, not from the bones, and it did not exceed the amount consumed with the diet.

For many reasons, eating fruits and vegetables is healthy and part of a balanced diet, but “base promoters” in the form of dietary supplements are at best superfluous.

What is it about the "Causes of Acidification"?

Basic nutritionists believe that

  • Lack of sleep,
  • Smoke
  • and little movement

additionally lead to acidification. Then the body receives too little oxygen and lactic acid is formed. Smoking is undoubtedly very harmful, increases the risk of cancer and triggers cell mutations, and it also damages the vessels, but it does not cause acid to form. This usually also applies to a lack of exercise. When there is a lack of sleep, the body always ensures that it is saturated with 98 percent oxygen.

Juice imbalance?

It is unclear where the idea comes from that "acidity" is responsible for many diseases. A "suspect" is the premodern doctrine of the various body fluids, which was widespread from antiquity to the modern age. Accordingly, most diseases arose because the body juices were not balanced. This teaching has long been refuted.

Where is the problem?

The organism can absorb too much acid very well, a little bit through the urine, but especially through the bicarbonate buffer. A non-sick person has about 20 times as many free base molecules in the body as acid molecules, so that he hardly acidifies. The problem in Western societies is that people eat too much and that too much and too unhealthy food puts a strain on their metabolism. In the long run, this leads to obesity, cardiovascular problems and metabolic disorders - but not to “acid build-up”.

Do basic foods lead to a more "basic" body?

No, a basic diet does not lead to a balanced acid-base balance and an actual acidification, which is caused, for example, by malfunctioning kidneys and leads to kidney calcification, cannot be treated with a base treatment.

Are "basic food supplements" always safe?

In 2015, the Öko-Test magazine came to a devastating result when it examined 32 basic dietary supplements. Five received an unsatisfactory grade, all others unsatisfactory. The reason: No benefit for consumers, overdosed ingredients and insufficient declaration.
So there are hardly any product-specific studies and statements are misleading. For example, one of the producers said "Zinc contributes to normal acid-base metabolism". According to the Öko-Test, however, there is no deterioration in the acid-base metabolism in the general population of the EU due to the intake of too little zinc. This refers to the information provided by the European Food Authority EFSA.
Permissible maximum quantities were often exceeded in the products, such as for

  • Potassium,
  • Calcium,
  • magnesium
  • and zinc.

Additives such as are also completely unnecessary

  • Silica,
  • Zeolite
  • and coral powder.

It was found that there was a lot of nickel in 13 products. Öko-Test therefore advises: Do not spend money on base powder and eat a balanced diet instead. (Dr. Utz Anhalt)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Dr. phil. Utz Anhalt, Barbara Schindewolf-Lensch


  • Fenton, Tanis R. et al .: "Causal assessment of dietary acid load and bone disease: a systematic review & meta-analysis applying Hill's epidemiologic criteria for causality", in: Nutrition Journal, 2011, BMC
  • Fenton, Tanis R. et al .: "Meta-analysis of the effect of the acid-ash hypothesis of osteoporosis on calcium balance", in: Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, Volume 24 Issue 11, November 2009, Wiley Online Library
  • Straubinger, Hermann: Acidification: The best tips for a harmonious acid-base balance in your body, Mankau Verlag, 2014
  • Ensfellner, Bernadette; Neumayer, Petra: Health in balance: How to balance your acid-base balance, Lebensbaum, 2016
  • Tichy, Eveline; Tichy, Klaus: The great practice book of Schüßler therapy: Treating successfully with mineral salts, MVS Medizinverlage Stuttgart, 2006
  • van Limburg Stirum, John: Modern Acid-Base Medicine: Physiology - Diagnostics - Therapy, Hippocrates, 2008

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