From his book “An Analytical System of Clinical Nutrition” Third Edition
The body’s chemistry can go out of balance in ten ways, forming five pairs. These imbalances are very common, and most people who are chronically unwell have at least one of them. Correcting them usually results in major improvements in health. For a more complete understanding of the subject of correcting metabolic imbalances, read the book An Analytical System of Clinical Nutrition, third edition by Dr. Guy Schenker.
Rather than the casual “This is good for most people so it must be good for you” approach, the author presents a concept that enables the physician to develop a nutritional program tailored to the needs of the individual. Rather than develop a nutritional therapy for a specific disease as most nutritionists do – he suggests a patient specific approach. In other words, a nutritional program specific to the requirements of the individual. If this is done, the body is enhanced to fight whatever pathology may invade it with its own natural defenses.
Schenker feels that there are four fundamental balances that must be maintained for the body to remain in optimum physical condition: 1) water/electrolyte 2) anaerobic/dysaerobic 3) acid/alkaline and 4) sympathetic/parasympathetic. The cause for the imbalances, he feels, is most often stress. He further postulates that there are six types of stress: 1) psychic 2) chemical 3) nutritional 4) physical 5) thermal and 6) electro-magnetic.
You can ask for the name of a doctor near you who can do the tests by calling 800-736-4320. Doctors can order the book at the same number.
An overview of the imbalances
These people have excess electrolyte salts – more than the kidneys are able to get rid of. The blood is beginning to “sludge,” the kidneys are stressed, and the blood pressure is higher than normal. Heart disease is on the way (if not already there). The person urgently needs to drink more pure water – one ounce for every two pounds of body weight per day (if the kidneys are still able to handle it). Support for the kidneys is required.
With electrolyte insufficiency, the person does not have adequate salts (chlorides, phosphates, etc.) in their body. They have low blood pressure, so that there is not enough blood movement to take nutrients to cells or to carry waste materials away. They have very low energy, and other health problems. They need kidney and adrenal support along with certain electrolytes (mineral supplements).
This imbalance, also called the “anabolic imbalance,” is a bit more complicated. There are two main parts to it. First, there is an inability to use adequate oxygen in producing energy. Instead of combining glucose with oxygen to produce energy, glucose is fermented by the cells and lactic acid is produced. This is not an efficient way to make energy, and fatigue results. The other factor is that there is too much of the sterol fats (such as cholesterol) and not enough fatty acids in the cell membranes, with the result that cell walls are not permeable enough. This common imbalance is the chemistry of many cancers, osteoarthritis, and many other health problems. Other common symptoms include high blood pressure, constipation, irregular heart rate, sleepiness during the day, pain, elevated cholesterol, and allergies. Eliminate saturated fats, sugar and caffeine. Supplement with vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and glandular support that correct the chemistry.
The dysaerobic (or “catabolic”) imbalance is the opposite of the anaerobic imbalance. Oxygen metabolism goes too far, producing free radicals but little energy. Cell membranes contain too much fatty acids and are too permeable. Apart from fatigue, common symptoms include migraines and other pain, colitis, diarrhea, hypoglycemia, insomnia, allergies, rheumatoid arthritis, many cancers, elevated cholesterol, and many other health problems. Supplement with anti-oxidants, essential fatty acids. Eliminate poylunsaturated vegetable oils and fried foods.
People with a glucogenic imbalance have also been called “fast oxidizers.” They tend to use up carbohydrates (starches and sugars) too fast, and they have difficulty using fat for energy, so they often have a hypoglycemia slump after lunch, or may sometimes even wake up at 2:00 am because of hypoglycemia. Common symptoms include fatigue, high or low blood sugar, depression or anxiety, high cholesterol levels, weight problems (either over weight or under weight), and many other health problems. These people need to keep their protein intake up, avoid excess carbohydrates, excess B vitamins, stay away from sugars, alcohol, and caffeine, and take a supplement combination that speeds up fat metabolism.
Unlike the glucogenic “fast oxidizers,” the ketogenic or “slow oxidizers” have difficulty using carbohydrates for fuel. What little energy they can make is mostly from fat. Symptoms commonly include fatigue, high or low blood sugar, depression or anxiety, over weight or under weight, and other health problems. Those with a ketogenic imbalance need to avoid excess carbohydrates, organ meats, and peanuts. Their supplement speeds up carbohydrate metabolism.
The autonomic nerves, sympathetic and parasympathetic, help regulate body functions over which we do not have conscious control, such as heart rate and digestion. In general, sympathetic nerves speed up the activity of the organs needed for a “fight-or-flight” response. If you are driving along, and someone pulls out in front of you, you slam on the brakes, your skin goes pale, your heart pounds, your pupils and bronchial tubes dilate, your palms may get sweaty, your digestion slows down, and so on. This is the sympathetic half of the autonomic nervous system in action. In sympathetic stress, a person is “stuck” in this sympathetic reaction. There may be high or low blood sugar, low energy, digestive problems, nervous tension, insomnia, poor circulation, high blood pressure, food allergies, and other health problems. To correct sympathetic stress, eat lots of vegetables, avoid concentrated sugars, caffeine-like chemicals (coffee, tea, chocolate, and colas) and pop that contains phosphoric acid, and take a supplement combination that reduces sympathetic response while increasing parasympathetic response (magnesium supplementation).
Parasympathetic stress is the opposite to sympathetic stress. Parasympathetic nerves slow things down after the crisis has passed, and stimulate the digestive tract to work again. The blood returns to the skin, heart rate slows, respiratory rate slows, pupils and bronchial tubes constrict, and so on. In a parasympathetic stress, the parasympathetic nerves are over-reactive, and the person is “stuck” in this mode. Common symptoms include high or low blood sugar, digestive problems, arthritis, poor circulation, nervous tension, depression, asthma, and allergies. In fact, all asthma patients that benefit from the use of inhalers are stuck in parasympathetic stress – asthma medications speed up sympathetic activity and slow down parasympathetic activity. To correct the imbalance, avoid sugars, fruit juices, large quantities of fruit, and meals that are mostly starch or sugars. A supplement combination is also used which corrects the chemistry (salt and potassium).
There are three kinds of acid imbalance where there is too much acid and not enough alkali built up in the body. It is interesting that in one kind of acid imbalance, both the urine and saliva are alkaline! This often results in poor digestion and assimilation, joint and muscle pain, rapid heart beat, allergies, fatigue, and poor function of various glands and organs. Treatment includes a diet low in fat, fruit, and soft drinks, with an increase in pure water intake. Various supplements are used depending on the type of imbalance.
There are also three alkaline imbalances, where there is too much alkali and not enough acid in the body. In one of the alkaline imbalances, the urine can be either acid or alkaline. Common symptoms include poor digestion and assimilation, joint and muscle pain, allergies fatigue, and poor function of various glands and organs. Treatment includes a diet low in sugars, starches, and fruit, with an increase in pure water intake. Antacids make this imbalance worse. Various supplements are used depending on the type of imbalance.
Testing for metabolic imbalances
Preparation for the test
The person being tested abstains from eating or chewing gum for thirty minutes before the test. Coffee, tea, chocolate, carbonated beverages, vitamins, minerals, herbs, and non-prescription medications (such as pain killers) are avoided for at least 24 hours before the test. Even one cup of coffee the day of the test will result in altered chemistry. The person will appear more anaerobic, sympathetic, and possibly more glucogenic than they really are. When possible, testing is done just before prescription medications are taken rather than just after. The goal is to find out, as much as practical, what the person’s chemistry is like when it is left alone. The person is not, however, asked to stop taking their prescription medications.
An intake form, metabolic screening questionnaire (a symptom survey), and a dysbiosis questionnaire (questions related to the damage that may have been done to the person’s normal intestinal flora) may be filled out. A sheet of instructions for measuring the person’s morning underarm temperature (an indication of metabolic rate) may be given to them.
Collecting the information
A fresh urine sample is collected in a new disposable cup. The surface tension is measured using a urotensiometer and recorded. Then an Ames Multistix 10 SG or N-Multistix SG strip is dipped into the sample. The urine pH and specific gravity are recorded along with any other findings.
The oxidation index is calculated using the surface tension and specific gravity.
A strip of pH paper is moistened with saliva and the result is recorded.
The saliva pH and specific gravity are used to calculate the hydration index. This is used to give an idea of hydration status.
The person being tested lies on their back for the next few tests.
This test is called “dermographic lines.” Using a blunt instrument (the 5mm round ball on the top of a four-color Bic pen is just right – if any burrs are polished off first!) an “X” is drawn on the skin each side of the navel using firm pressure, and the time is noted. The lines may turn either red or white. If the lines fade and disappear in less than one minute, a zero is recorded. If, after one minute, the lines are white, “white” is recorded. If the lines are red, “red” is recorded.
The gag reflex is tested by sliding a finger (covered with a new latex glove) along the top and edge of the tongue half way toward the back of the throat to where the oral area narrows. A slight tendency to gag is a zero response. Either discomfort or lack of discomfort with no gag is a negative response. A gag is a positive response.
The person being tested is instructed to look up at the ceiling. The pupil size is recorded on a scale from -4 (very small) to +4 (very large).
The respiratory rate is counted and recorded.
The pulse is counted for 15 seconds, and the result is multiplied by 4 and recorded.
The reclining blood pressure is taken and recorded.
The person being tested is asked to stand. After waiting for 5 seconds the pulse is counted for 15 seconds and again for 15 seconds. Both numbers are multiplied by 4 and recorded.
The standing blood pressure and another pulse are taken and recorded. (There are now two blood pressures and four sets pulses recorded.)
The person being tested is asked to sit down. They are then asked to “Take a deep breath, and hold it as long as you can.” The result, in seconds, is recorded.
Evaluating the results
The imbalances are presented in decreasing order of importance – the most important are covered here first. There are some general suggestions regardless of what imbalance may be found. For general dietary guidelines see the zone.
Avoid junk food – things made in factories. Chemically altered (hydrogenated) oils, or oils that have been heated to high temperatures, white flour products (like pasta), white rice, refined sugar, caffeine, and so on.
Water. If you have good spring or well water available, that is ideal. Tap water, in most places, is a major problem. Chlorine can easily be removed with a cheap carbon type filter. Fluoride is a bit more difficult. Reverse osmosis, de-ionization, and distillation are the main choices. Those processes take out most everything, so trace minerals such as Concentrace can be added back.
Oxygenic B is a basic multi-vitamin mineral that contains many nutrients in a balance that does not create imbalances or make them worse. (High dose B-complex supplements, for example, make certain imbalances worse, or can even create imbalances.) The adult dose is 1 tablet 3 times a day after meals.
It is important to retest the person after a week or so to make sure they are not being given too little, or even worse, too much of a supplement. It is also important that they understand that they should immediately stop the program if it seems to make them feel worse. Vitamins and minerals have powerful effects on a person’s chemistry, and it is not uncommon for these supplements to push a person from one imbalance into the opposite imbalance fairly quickly.
Signs of electrolyte stress will include at least two of the following: 1. At least one of the standing pulses at least 12 points higher than the resting pulse. (This is called “clinostatic pulse increase.”) 2. Standing diastolic blood pressure of 88 or more. 3. Systolic blood pressure of 131 or more. If the person is being medicated for high blood pressure you can assume that they have slectrolyte stress even if test results to not confirm it (medication is supressing the symptoms).
Supplements to consider for adults would be an Oxygenic B (basic multi-vitamin and mineral designed to supply nutrients without altering basic body chemistry) after each meal. Formula ES before each meal. Pure water – 1/2 ounce per day per pound of body weight (maximum of 10 cups) if the kidneys can tolerate that much. If there is any question, the person is in poor health, or receiving medical care, they should ask their physician how much they can tolerate. In any case, if increased water intake does not result in increased urine output, water intake should be immediately reduced and a physician consulted. For more information on this subject, see the book Your Body’s Many Cries for Water by F. Batmanghelidj, M.D. The first 2-3 cups of water should be on an empty stomach before breakfast. Aluminum is a major cause of electrolyte stress and must be avoided. It is often found in table salt, antiperspirants, pop cans, cookware, many antacids, and so on. If the person wants to lose weight, they can consider the zone diet.
Signs of electrolyte insufficiency will include at least three of the following: 1. At least one of the standing pulses at least 12 points higher than the reclining pulse. 2. Standing diastolic blood pressure of 72 or less. 3. Reclining blood pressure of 112 or less. 4. Reclining pulse of 70 or less.
Supplements to consider for adults are Oxygenic B (3 per day after meals) and Formula EI (3 per day after meals). The person may have to increase their salt intake (using Real Salt or similar unrefined product with no aluminum added). Salt, by the way, is not the “bad guy” that you may have heard that it is. The sodium level on blood tests gives an accurate picture of body levels. If the sodium is below the middle of the normal range, sodium is actually depleted from the body – a common but dangerous situation. There are a dozen other supplements that can be used depending on the oxidation index and other test results. If the person wants to lose weight, they can consider the zone diet.
Anaerobic (anabolic) imbalance
The signs of an anaerobic imbalance are: Urine urface tension of 69 or more, oxidation index of -7 or lower, adjusted urine pH of 6.3 or more, adjusted saliva pH of 6.6 or less, and red dermographics. If there is an anaerobic imbalance, there will be either a high surface tension or low oxidation index and at least two other items.
Supplements to consider for adults include 3 Oxygenic B per day after meals, 1-3 Oxygenic A tablets per day after meals, Oxygenic A Plus in water before meals twice a day. Extra A Plus can be taken for pain. Taurine, methionine and tyrosine can also be added depending on symptoms. The person should avoid sugars, coffee, tea, chocolate, cola beverages and saturated fat from fatty beef and dairy fat. If the person wants to lose weight, they can consider the zone diet.
Dysaerobic (catabolic) imbalance
Signs of a dysaerobic imbalnce are: Urine surface tension of 67 or less, oxidation index of 8 or more, adjusted urine pH of 6.1 or less, adjusted saliva pH of 6.8 or more, and white dermographics. If there is a dysaerobic imbalance, there will be either a low surface tension or a high oxidation index and at at least two other items.
Supplements to consider for adults include 3 Oxygenic B per day after meals, 1-3 Oxygenic D per day after meals, Oxygenic D Plus in water before meals twice a day. Extra D Plus can be taken for pain. Glutamine, histidine, or glucosamine sulfate can be added depending on symptoms. The person should avoid polyunsaturated vegetable oils, hydrogenated oils, margarine (of course), deep fried and even pan fried foods, and canned meat and fish (oils heated to high temperatures). If the person wants to lose wieght, they can consider the zone diet.
Glucogenic and ketogenic imbalances
Determining whether or not there is a glucogenic (fast oxidizer) or ketogenic (slow oxidizer) imbalance has in the past been a chalenge for doctors. One method previously developed required that the pH of a venous blood sample be accurately measured to 2 places beyond the decimal without the sample coming into contact with air. This test is beyond the capability of most clinics, or even most hospitals. Many doctors gave up even trying to test for these imbalances. The method developed by Dr. Guy Schenker is to compare the adjusted saliva pH (A-SpH) with the respiratory rate (RR), breath hold (BH, and fourth pulse (P4). This method works very well. See An Analytical System of Clinical Nutrition for details.
Supplements to consider for glucogenic and ketogenic imbalances
Supplements to consider for a glucogenic imbalance include one Oxygenic B 3 times a day after meals, and one Oxygenic G 2 or 3 times a day after meals. Other supplements can be added depending on symptoms and other test results. The glucogenic person needs to keep their protein intake up, keep the sugar intake down, and not eat meals that are mostly starch or sugar. Caffeine, fruit juices and even large amounts of fruit should be avoided. Onions, peppers, tomatoes and sweet potatoes also make the imbalance worse. Proteins along with non-starchy vegetables should make up much of the diet. For this person to eat a big plate of pasta could be compared to fueling a wood stove with gasoline. Not a wise choice! For more information on diet, see the zone.
Supplements to consider for a ketogenic imbalance are 1 Oxygenic B 3 times a day after meals, and 1 Oxygenic K 2 or 3 times (depending on the severity of the imbalance and the size of the person) a day after meals. Other supplements can be added depending on symptoms and other test results. The ketogenic person should avoid foods which make their imbalance worse – sugars, fruit juices, meals which are mostly starch or sugars, organ meats, shrimp, lobster, clams and peanuts. If the person wants to lose weight, they can consider the zone diet.
Sympathetic test results include large pupil size, standing systolic blood pressure of 5 or more than reclining, standing diastolic blood pressure 6 or more than reclining, fourth pulse 12 or more than the reclining pulse, white dermographics, fourth pulse of 80+, first pulse 73+, when the standing systolic blood pressure is divided by 10 and subtracted from the respiratory rate, the answer is 3-, and reduced gag reflex. If a person tests both glucogenic and sympathetic, you should not try to correct both.
Supplements to consider include 1 Oxygenic B 3 times a day after meals and 1 Complex S 2 or 3 times a day after meals. Other supplements can be added depending on symptoms and other test results. It is important to eat lots of vegetables at 2 meals a day, and avoid sugars, caffiene (coffee, tea, chocolate, cola beverages, etc.) and soft drinks that contain phosphoric acid (such as colas). If they have asthma, they actually have parasympathetic stress – the sympathetic stress is almost certainly caused by their medications and must not be treated. If the person wants to lose weight, they can consider the zone diet.
Parasympathetic test results include small pupil size, standing systolic blood pressure increase of 3-, standing diastolic blood pressure increase of 4-, fourth pulse increase of 8- compared to the reclining pulse, red dermographics, fourth pulse of 75-, first pulse 63-, when the standing systolic blood pressure is divided by 10 and subtracted from the respiratory rate, the answer is 5+, and increased gag reflex. If a person appears to be both ketogenic and parasympathetic, you should not try to correct both.
Supplements to consider include 1 Oxygenic B 3 times a day after meals and 1 Complex P 2 or 3 times a day after meals. Other supplements can be added depending on symptoms and other test results. The person also needs to keep their protein intake adequate – see the zone diet for more details. They need to avoid sugars, fruit juices, large amounts of fresh fruit, and meals that are mostly starches or sugars. If they have asthma, they almost certainly have parasympathetic stress even though they may test sympathetic due to their medications. In this case, use Complex P regardless of test results. They may also appear to have respiratory acidosis. This must never be treated as this would make their plight worse.
Acid imbalances are often a result of imbalances discussed above. In acid imbalances, the respiratory rate is generally 19 or more. The one exception is with resperatory acidosis with high blood pressure where the respiratory rate may be reduced. The breath hold tends to be 40 or less. When the breath hold is divided by 5 and the result is subtracted from the respiratory rate, the result is usually 10 or more.
With metabolic acidosis, the adjusted urine pH is usually 5.9-, adjusted saliva pH is usually 6.8+. The first pulse is usually 75+, and the pulse increase from pulse 1 to pulse 4 is usually 10 or more.
With potassium excess acidosis, the adjusted urine pH is usually 6.3+, adjusted saliva pH is usually 6.8+. The pulse increase from pulse 1 to pulse 4 is usually 10 or more. It is interesting that we can have an acidosis with an alkaline urine – the kidneys are dumping excess potassium and thus save hydrogen (acid). So we have an acid condition with alkaline (high pH) urine!
With respiratory acidosis, the adjusted urine pH is usually 5.9-, adjusted saliva pH is usually 6.6-. The first pulse is usually 75+, and the pulse increase from pulse 1 to pulse 4 is usually 10 or more.
Alkaline imbalances are often a result of imbalances discussed above. In alkaline imbalances, the respiratory rate is generally 13 or less. The one exception is with respiratory alkalosis where the respiratory rate may be increased. The breath hold tends to be 65 or more. When the breath hold is divided by 5 and the result is subtracted from the respiratory rate, the result is usually 5 or less.
With metabolic alkalosis, the adjusted urine pH is usually 6.3+, and the adjusted saliva pH is usually 6.6-. The first pulse is usually 67-.
With potassium depletion alkalosis, the adjusted saliva pH is usually 6.8+. The first pulse is usually 67-. The urine can be acid (low pH) in this alkalosis, by the way, because there is a potassium shortage, and the kidneys save potassium and dump hydrogen ions (acid) instead. So we have an alkalosis with an acid urine!
Treating acid and alkaline imbalances.
Treating these imbalances is a bit complex. See An Analytical System of Clinical Nutrition for details.