Do You Know if Your Body Is pH Balanced? What to Do if It Isn’t
8 minute read
A pH scale measures how acidic or basic a substance is. The pH stands for the potential of hydrogen. Items are classified as an acid or a base by looking at their concentration of hydrogen ions. Things that have more hydrogen ion activity tend to be acidic, things that have less tend to be basic. Water is neutral, so anything more acidic than water has more hydrogen ions, and elements with fewer hydrogen ions are basic.
A pH scale has a range of 0 to 14, and water sits at 7, which places neutral right in the middle of the two ends. As a further reference, battery acid is a 0, lemon juice is a 2, baking soda is a 9, and liquid drain cleaner is a 14 on the pH scale.
The human body also has a hydrogen ion level in the blood, which places it on the pH scale. While 7 is neutral, the human body should ideally sit in the range of 7.3 to 7.45, which is slightly alkaline or basic.
To get an accurate blood pH test, your doctor will perform a blood gas test or an arterial blood gas test. This measures the amount of oxygen and carbon dioxide in your blood.
There are home saliva and urine pH kits that measure the level of acid in your urine, not your blood. The American Association for Clinical Chemistry states that the average value for urine pH is 6.0, but it can range from 4.5 to 8.0. In this situation, having urine below 5.0 is acidic, and higher than 8.0 is basic.
How Your Body Naturally Maintains pH Levels
First of all, your body must keep the blood pH in that sweet spot to function correctly and be healthy. Even slight changes up or down from the normal range can have serious repercussions.
For reference, if your body’s blood pH drops to 6.8 or rises to 7.8 then death will ensue. Your body works hard to regulate the pH levels so you can survive and thrive.
Some of the ways you naturally regulate blood pH without even trying are through breathing, urine, and sweating. But if there’s a serious problem the kidneys can hold onto bicarbonate to battle excessive acid.
It’s also important to understand that the key is actually having the right balance of acid to base in the body. If you don’t have enough base but you also don’t have enough acid, you’re still balanced. The converse is true if you have too much base and too much acid, you can still be in balance.
How Does Your Body’s pH Change?
Health problems are usually the cause of any blood pH changes in the body. Some of these health concerns include:
♦ Heart disease
♦ Kidney disease
♦ Lung disease
♦ Excessive bleeding
♦ Drug use or overdose
If changes in your body’s blood pH levels are noticed, your doctor will try to find the cause of this change and devise an appropriate treatment plan. If you’re home testing your urine and notice some changes, you may want to keep monitoring or address the issue with your healthcare provider.
What to Do if Your Body Tests pH Positive
If you have too much acid in your body, then your pH level will test at a number lower than 7. This can be confusing because having a higher level of acid means a lower number. If you find that your body’s blood pH is a lower number than 7.3 then your blood is acidic.
Some health conditions cause natural acids to build up in the body, and these can lower your pH. These natural acids include:
♦ Lactic acid
♦ Keto acids
♦ Sulphuric acid
♦ Phosphoric acid
♦ Hydrochloric acid
♦ Carbonic acid
If you have a health condition such as diabetes, asthma or other lung diseases, kidney disease or kidney failure, you are more likely to suffer serious acidosis problems including respiratory acidosis, diabetic acidosis, and metabolic acidosis. If you have the symptoms of any of these conditions, it’s vital that you seek emergency medical attention.
If you’re not in immediate distress and do not have any of the serious conditions listed above, then you might want to try to change your diet.
| Related: How Your Probiotic Therapy Helps Alkalize Your Body |
Benefits of The Alkaline Diet
While many healthcare providers say an alkaline diet is pointless, there are also many naturopaths who suggest it’s vital. Where the two paths converge is in an article published in the Journal of Environmental and Public Health entitled, “The Alkaline Diet: Is There Evidence That an Alkaline pH Diet Benefits Health?”
The benefits seen with an alkaline diet are numerous and can reduce morbidity and mortality of chronic diseases. Some of these benefits include:
♦ Improved potassium/sodium ratio for bone health, reduced muscle wasting, and mitigation of other chronic diseases.
♦ Increased growth hormone, which improves cardiovascular health, memory, and cognition.
♦ Increased magnesium, which is needed to activate vitamin D.
♦ There may also be some benefits for chemotherapeutic agents.
If you’re interested in an alkaline diet, the concepts are something you’re already familiar with. An alkaline diet focuses on eating more vegetables and fruits, drinking lots of water and cutting back on sugar, alcohol, meat, and processed foods. It’s that simple and probably a diet you’ve been told to follow your entire life.
The Bottom Line
If you’re concerned about your body’s pH level, it’s best to have a discussion with your healthcare provider. Some very serious and even fatal conditions are connected with pH problems. It’s best to rule those concerns out and find the best course of action for you.
While having pH levels that are out of balance is very serious, there is some great news, too. Your body is already hard at work trying to maintain optimal pH levels. It does this day in and day out to protect you and keep you healthy.
The other good news is that you can fairly easily adopt an alkaline diet that can help boost your health and even out your pH levels. An alkaline diet focuses on fruits, vegetables, and drinking lots of water while avoiding sugars, alcohol, and processed foods, and limiting meat consumption. In addition, switching to an alkaline diet can help you lose weight.