Urine/Saliva pH Testing:
Another Gimmick to Sell You Something

Stephen Barrett, M.D.

Some "nutritionists" and other fringe practitioners use a nonsensical urine/saliva test as the basis for evaluating a person's health and prescribing dietary supplements to fix it. The most visible modern proponent of this test was Gary Martin, who, during the 1980s, operated the American College of Nutripathy, a nonaccredited correspondence school that granted "degrees" in nutrition. One of the school's brochures described nutripathy as "the condensation of most all natural healing and counseling techniques available today . . . . the basics 'boiled' from literally hundreds of different therapies and techniques."

Martin claimed that nutripathic tests could detect "imbalances which, if left to mature, must ultimately manifest as some form of disease process." and "discover the root cause of the disease while it is still in the prediagnosable stage."

The most notable of these tests was the urine/saliva test developed about more than 50 years ago by Carey Reams (1910-1985), a self-proclaimed biophysicist who was prosecuted during the 1970s for practicing medicine without a license. Reams, who also claimed to be guided by God, devised "a mathematical formula for perfect health, based on the biophysical frequencies of living matter." The formula, which Martin called "your Nutripathic Portrait," looks like this:

1.5 6.4 / 6.4 7 1 3 / 3

According to Martin's book, Nutripathy: The Final Solution to Your Health Dilemma, the first three numbers represent sugars excreted in the urine and the acidity (pH) of the urine and saliva, and indicate how much "energy input" you have. The other numbers, said to represent your "mineral salts index, urine debris index and nitrate nitrogens over the ammoniacal nitrogens index," indicate how much energy your metabolism is using. "A low energy input and high energy drain," says the book, "means degeneration, rot, decay and death." To fix these alleged problems, Martin and his followers offered a large variety of supplement products.

This urine/saliva test and its associated trappings are utter nonsense.

Acid-base status is commonly measured at hospital admission for many diseases, but it is extremely unusual to find acidosis or alkalosis of the blood or extracellular fluid in the early stages of any major disease except kidney disease. Moreover, no food is acidic or alkaline enough in a mixed diet to produce long-lasting changes in the body's acid-base balance.

For many years, Martin did business as Health Watchers System. His "graduates" include:

Others have included Patricia Carrasco-O'Brien and William F. Lee, an episcopal priest who had both accredited and nonaccredited credentials.

Nutritional Resources, of Warsaw, Indiana, sells a $280 "Basic Reams Test Kit" that it claims "is capable of determining up to 2,600 different health conditions by analyzing chemical, digestive and nutritional imbalances within the body."

This article was revised on January 24, 2008.