There's a lot of talk these days about following an "alkaline" diet as a way of restoring health and prolonging life. In principle a lot of the core ideas behind this approach make good physiological sense.
It is a basic fact of physiology that the efficiency of any biochemical pathway is limited by the chemical substrate that is most essential and least available. This is known as Von Liebig's Law of Limiting Substances, and as clinicians we would do well to keep it in mind.
Anthropologists and medical historians agree: Healthier people consume about equal amounts of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats. This is true for all cultures, ethnic groups and geographies that have been studied. In industrial societies like ours, Omega 3s, which soothe and repair, tend to be low in peoples' diets while Omega 6s, which activate and inflame, are high.
Though it is most often thought of as the body's defense department, the immune system also serves many important repair functions, identifying and neutralizing foreign substances and repairing the body's tissues from daily wear and tear.
In 1968, Dr. Kilmer McCully, a Harvard researcher, reported that a genetic defect that caused sharp elevations in homocysteine led to early, aggressive atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease. This was the first of many studies that pointed to homocysteine as an independent risk factor for heart disease.
To make good clinical use of the last half-century's scientific study of inflammation, we need to re-think inflammation and understand it more correctly as a repair deficit--something blocking the innate ability of the body to heal.
Hemoglobin A1c (HgbA1c) is one of the most useful and important biomarkers available to us as clinicians. It accurately predicts the risk of diabetes long before the disease advances, and it can be used to assess the impact of any form of therapy aimed at regulating blood sugar and insulin sensitivity.
Measurement of first morning urine pH gives a good indication of the body's mineral reserve and its acid/alkaline state. It's inexpensive, easy to teach to patients, and gives important clinical information.