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 Vol. 3  No. 1  January, 1999
MERIDIAN INSTITUTE NEWS
 


Included in this issue:



Acid/Alkaline Balance

    Edgar Cayce consistently emphasized the importance of maintaining a proper acid/alkaline balance in the body.  Commonly referred to as "pH" (potential for hydrogen), the acid/alkaline continuum ranges from 0 - 14 with 7 as neutral.  The lower end of the scale (below 7) is acid and above 7 is alkaline. Generally speaking, the Cayce readings maintain that a balanced pH with a slight alkaline tendency would be beneficial for most individuals.

    Alkalinity can be increased by consuming less meat and sweets and more vegetables and fruits.  Although eating fruit to increase alkalinity may seem to be a contradiction because some fruits (especially citrus) are acidic outside the body, digestion uses up their acidic components, leaving an alkaline residue (ash).  Thus the net effect is alkaline-producing within the system.  For most individuals, Cayce noted that  "a normal diet is about twenty percent acid to eighty percent alkaline-producing."

    According to Cayce, numerous factors can increase acidity including negative emotional states, inadequate mastication of food, and poor eliminations.  Perhaps the most common factor cited by Cayce is diet.  Eating acid-producing foods or combining foods improperly (even akaline-producing foods) is said to lead to hyperacidity, even to "superacidity" in some instances.

    Cayce sometimes observed that infectious agents (such as virus and bacteria) do not thrive in an alkaline environment: "cold CANNOT - DOES NOT - exist in alkalines." Thus, consuming alkaline-producing foods (such as orange juice and lemon juice) was recommended to prevent colds.

    The antimicrobial influence of alkalinity  is supported by research on goldenseal, a well-known antibacterial herb.  Berberine sulfate, the most active antibacterial alkaloid in goldenseal, is more effective in an alkaline than an acid environment.  At a pH of 8.0 (alkaline), its antimicrobial activity in vitro is about 2 to 4 times greater than at 7.0 (neutral).  At an acid pH of 6.0, the antimicrobial activity is only 1/4 as strong as at a neutral pH.1

    Acid/alkaline balance is extremely important to normal physiology.  For example, the blood will maintain a slightly alkaline range of 7.35 to 7.45.  Extended pH imbalances of any kind are not well tolerated by the body.  The management of the pH factor is so important that the body has developed strict accounting procedures to monitor acid-alkaline balances in every cell and system.  The fundamental regulatory systems of the body (including breathing, circulation, elimination, etc.) affect pH balance.

    Acid/alkaline balance is a complex and controversial subject.  Views on this subject range from an almost total disbelief that pH is a significant factor in disease to the opposite extreme as exemplified by the  book "Alkalize or Die."2  Even the experts who acknowledge that a neutral or slightly alkaline pH is good, disagree on what this means with regard to body fluids. For example, some researchers consider a slightly acid urine pH to be normal (healthy) because it might indicate that the body is eliminating acids which are a natural product of metabolism.  Other experts maintain that the urine should be close to neutral or slightly alkaline.  Gabriel Cousens M.D. takes a relatively moderate position, stating that a pH range of 6.3 to 7.2 is "healthy."3

    Edgar Cayce insisted that acid/alkaline balance could be easily checked.  Numerous readings encourage the measurement of pH balance in saliva and urine as an objective means of monitoring this crucial aspect of physiology.

    A recent research conference provided an excellent opportunity to apply Cayce's suggestions and measure the results.  The conference participants included seven people suffering from arthritis, three persons with high blood presure, a man with diabetes, and five support persons.  We asked these individuals to provide urine samples during eight days of the conference.  We collected a total of 472 samples which were measured for pH.  We used simple digital testers to measure the pH of the urine.  We decided not to test saliva, as the instruments require a significant amount of material, making urine much more practical for a large group of individuals.

    As the conference proceeded, there was a trend for the group as a whole to produce higher levels of alkaline urine with regard to total number of samples that reached neutral (7.0) or above (alkalinity).  Also, the percentage of individuals whose urine reached 7.0 or above increased during the conference.

    Eleven people in the group provided pH data for the full eight days of measurements. For each person, we compared the average pH for the first four days to the average pH for the second four days. All of the participants showed a more alkaline pH, some more than others. The overall average for the first four days was a pH of 6.13; the overall average for the second four days was a pH of 6.54. A t-test demonstrated that this was statistically significant at better than the .01 level, a very significant result. Thus we can conclude that following the Cayce diet does produce a more alkaline system (higher pH is more alkaline, lower pH is more acid).

    Meals offered during the conference provided an abundance of alkaline-producing foods (fruits and vegetables).  However, participants could still choose to eat acid-producing foods such as grains and meats.  Also, the choice as to quantity of acid vs. alkaline-producing foods was left to each person. Thus, these individual choices could influence the degree to which the diet was balanced in pH.  Eating 80% alkaline-producing foods is a challenge, even under the best of circumstances.

    From a data standpoint, November 17 was particularly noteworthy.  On the previous day a lecture was given in which the importance of eating mostly alkaline foods was emphasized.  Participants were asked to test one of the ideas from the Cayce readings.  Cayce suggested that consuming citrus would have a strong alkalizing effect on the body.  Most of the participants agreed to try only citrus for breakfast on November 17.  Dramatically, the urine of all of the participants reached 7.0 or above on that day. So it would seem that Cayce is correct in attributing a strong alkalizing effect to citrus.

    We have yet to determine what are the long term health effects of keeping an acid/alkaline balance with a tendency toward alkalinity.  High systemic acidity was consistently noted by Cayce in conditions such as arthritis.  Presumably, maintaining pH balance (which for most people means increasing alkalinity) will have a therapeutic effect. Some of the conference participants have offered to monitor their urine pH during the next six months while they work with the Cayce approach to their condition.  This could provide some useful data on the role of pH in the healing process.  We want to express our gratitude to these generous individuals who were so cooperative.  When we gathered for our final group picture, homage was given to acid/alkaline balance.  We were all holding white Styrofoam cups!

REFERENCES

1.  Pizzorno, J.  (1996).  Total Wellness.  Rocklin, CA: Prima Publishing.
2.  Barooty, T.  Alkalize or Die, Waynesville, NC: Eclectic Press.
3.  Cousins, G.  (1992).  Conscious Eating.  Santa Rosa, CA: Vision Books International.



The Mysterious Leydig Gland

    Research can take many forms.  One of the challenges of researching the Cayce health information is understanding Cayce's perspective on how the body works.  The Cayce readings contain a wealth of information on anatomy and physiology, most of which is well documented in the medical literature (especially in the early osteopathic texts).   However, the readings sometimes make obscure references to anatomy or physiology that are confusing.

    For example, Cayce often spoke of the Leydig (lyden) gland, describing it as a small gland lying above the reproductive organs.  In one instance, he said the Leydig gland (which is normally about the size of a small pea) had become engorged to the size of a wren's egg.  The person was suffering from schizophrenia.  From Cayce's perspective, pathology of the Leydig gland was sometimes associated with psychiatric and neurological conditions such as schizophrenia,  manic-depressive disorder, and epilepsy.  Cayce also linked the Leydig gland to psychological and spiritual development and functioning.  In one reading, the Leydig gland was said to be the "seat of the soul."
 Franz Von Leydig was a famous and well-respected biologist who discovered the cells of Leydig in 1850 and the Leydig gland in 1892.  The cells of Leydig are interstitial cells located primarily in the reproductive glands and are best known for the production of testosterone.  According to Leydig, the Leydig gland is located in the mesonephros tissue in vertebrates.  Its function is unknown - Leydig thought its role was to stimulate movement of spermatozoa.

Franz Von Leydig (1821-1908)

    Leydig's discoveries lay dormant for decades, as it was almost 100 years before medical science rediscovered the cells of Leydig.  Now there are hundreds of articles on Medline documenting the functions of these cells.  Yet, the Leydig gland has not received much attention.  It is almost impossible to find any information on this mysterious entity.
    Recently, while surfing the Internet, Meridian Research Director Doug Richards made some progress in documenting the existence of the Leydig gland.  Dr. Richards found references to the gland, not in humans, but in sharks! The gland is part of the shark reproductive system. The Leydig gland produces secretions that appear to be similar to those of the prostate gland in humans - they are the fluid that carries the spermatozoa. This is completely consistent both with what we know of Leydig's discovery, and with Cayce's description, but we have not as yet found any description of the Leydig gland in vertebrates higher than fish.

    You may be able to help us track down the Leydig gland.  If you have expertise in vertebrate anatomy or physiology, try some research on the reproductive system. You might help in rediscovery of the gland said by Cayce to be one of the most important in the human body.

    If any reader of this newsletter is in Germany or reads German, Leydig was at the University of Bonn at the time he made his discovery, and his original paper might be in the archives. We would very much like to see a copy.
  

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