Steve Fowkes on pH Tracking for Inflammation, Sleep, and Mental Performance
August 7, 2012
Today’s breakout session preview for the upcoming QS conference comes from Steve Fowkes, a QS regular. Here is Steve describing his session “pH tracking for learning about inflammation, sleep, and mental performance:”
I like to see QS people distill down self quantification to fundamental aspects of wellbeing. Cognitive performance and sleep, for example, go to the core of self, the mind-brain aspect of wellness. But beneath that is the cellular dynamic, the metabolism of the body’s and brain’s many cells, which oscillate on a 24-hour basis to create specialization of energy metabolism during the day and peak healing/sleeping at night. This creates a tidal pH in tissue and in urine that can be tracked to verify that this basic biological rhythm is functioning and robust. And if not, these data can be used to evaluate interventions intended to repair and restore this rhythm.
Inflammation is one way this rhythm is broken. Purposefully. Inflammation from infection is potentially catastrophic, so the body defers healing/sleeping processes (i.e., the “alkaline” circadian phase) in favor of energy production and immunity (i.e., “acidic” processes). This is highly adaptive when the infection goes on for two days or a week, but maladaptive when the time course is months, years and decades. The loss of alkaline metabolism, and the deferred repair/healing of body infrastructure, is devastating to the body, the brain and the mind when it accumulates over extended periods of time. In our modern age, as we depart further and further from our “natural” roots, inflammation is becoming the endemic normality.
Inflammation from non-infectious processes causes these same effects. But it is probably much more common. Allergic foods (triggering IgA, IgM and IgG-mediated reactions) cause deferred healing of the intestine and colon, which leads to leaky-gut and irritable-bowel syndromes, and can develop into celiac and Crohn’s diseases. Early symptoms include fatigue (which can become chronic fatigue syndrome), increased sensitivity to pain (which can become fibromyalgia), sleep disturbances (shallow sleep, difficulty in falling asleep or staying asleep, apnea, and not feeling rested in the morning), brain fog (particularly mid-day, 12-hours opposite your deepest sleep), increase of compulsive behaviors, increased obsessive ideation, increased emotional volatility and borderline depression. Weight-gain, too.
Sequential urine pH testing is a pain-in-the-ass way to assess such aspects of wellbeing. When used as a biofeedback device, it can change your health for the better. So if you are sufficiently motivated to employ a lifestyle-invasive health technique (testing your urine pH every time you pee for 2-5 days at a time), come join the discussion.