Proper pH Balance – What it Is and What the Research Says

How to Balance Your pH and Find Out If You’re Too Acidic

Have you recently heard people talking about being over-acidic, measuring their pH and eating alkalizing foods? Emphasizing the importance of body’s pH might seem like a new fashion.

In this article I will examine what science says about the art of pH balancing and what could be the possible benefits of the alkaline diet.

What is PH?

In terms of chemical understanding, pH is a measurement of hydrogen ion (H+) concentration in a solution. Solutions with low hydrogen concentrations have high pH values, and solutions with high hydrogen concentrations have low pH values.

The pH scale runs from 1 to 14, with 7 representing the pH of pure water – neutral. Above 7 is alkaline, below is acidic.

In optimal circumstances, human blood is always slightly alkaline with a pH of between 7.36 and 7.44.

The pH of the digestive system however, is a bit less uniform: the mouth, pharynx and esophagus are all slightly acidic with a pH of 6.8; the pH of the healthy stomach is 1.3 – extremely acidic; the pH of the small intestine resembles that of healthy bodily fluids; and in the colon it ranges between 5.5 and 7.

Why does pH Matter?

In 1931, Dr. Otto Warburg won the Nobel Prize in physiology. He was the first to describe the correlation between the acidic environment and cancer cell growth.

There are claims that acidic body might be more susceptible to different diseases, including arthritis, and cardiovascular diseases.

For example, according to an editorial article from the IMCJ, “a growing body of research has documented not only that acidosis is a real phenomenon, but that it is now known to contribute to a wide range of diseases, such as metabolic syndrome, cancer, osteoporosis, kidney stones, and increased susceptibility to environmental toxins—and new research is adding to the list.”

What the Research Says

The Journal of Environmental Health suggests that “it would be prudent to consider an alkaline diet to reduce morbidity and mortality of chronic disease that are plaguing our aging population”.

Another medical study showed that “oral NaHCO(3) (or baking soda) selectively increased the pH of tumors and reduced the formation of spontaneous metastases in mouse models of metastatic breast cancer.”

In general, the alkaline diet may assist cells and connective tissue in retaining water as it works to enhance systemic, brain, and bone health.

However one study suggests that food doesn’t have s significant impact on blood pH levels. In addition, the assumption that alkaline diet boosts health hasn’t been proven by another study.

What Causes pH Imbalances?

According to the supporters of the alkaline diet, the main culprits of over-acidity are improper diet (fast food, high consumption of sugars, animal products and processed foods), stress, and lifestyle choices, for example sedentary life style.

Naturopath Ann Boroch is one of many who recommend switching to a more alkaline diet (see video at the end of my article). She points out that the five things we should all avoid (or reduce as much as possible) in order to keep our bodies within the optimal pH range (between 7.0 and 7.4) are:

  • Excessive consumption of red meat
  • Caffeine
  • Sugar
  • Alcohol
  • Stress

Ann Boroch claims that all of these turn your body acidic and make it inflamed. So you need to become more alkaline again. You can do this by eating foods that will bring you back to balance. The changes don’t need to be as complex as some might think. Boroch emphasizes that little can go a long way.

Warning Signs Your Body is too Acidic

According to webMD, signs and symptoms that may be seen in acidosis include:

  • Headaches
  • Confusion
  • Feeling tired
  • Lack of appetite
  • Sleepiness
  • Fast breathing

How to Test your PH Level

It might be a good idea to test your pH and find out where you stand. You can do this at home. All you need is litmus paper, which can be bought at a pharmacy or a health food store, and a bit of discipline.

You need to dip the litmus paper in your first morning urine. Collect a sample in a clean container and measure the pH level. Or, you can use saliva, one hour before a meal or two hours after eating. Make sure you obtain a clean sample, so before spitting on the litmus paper, collect saliva in your mouth and swallow it.

You might find it useful to keep a diary over a period of time, so you can compare the values and get a medium value. The pH of your saliva should stay between 7 and 7.4 all day.

Tips for Alkalizing your Body

Some methods for alkalizing your body are straightforward and focus on dietary and lifestyle changes, while others will require specialist support and guidance, such as the use of alkaline minerals.

Some people use alkaline water to alkalize their bodies. Ann Boroch doesn’t believe you should be drinking alkaline water all day long. After all, we need acid to break down the food.

Basic dietary changes

As for a diet that will help turn your body alkaline, it’s recommended to embrace a vegetarian, or even a vegan diet and to eliminate refined sugars, alcohol and caffeine from your diet.

Eat more vegetables such as cucumbers. Your diet should consist of 60% vegetables. That doesn’t necessarily mean eating raw vegetables. Your food can be cooked. In fact, some people’s digestive tracts can’t handle just raw food. Dark leafy greens are particularly praised for their health benefits.

Fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds are a preferred choice due to their health benefits.

A food’s natural pH level does not necessarily indicate the effect it will have on the body. For example, lemons and limes are known to have an alkaline effect on the body, despite their initial (citric) acidity, so squeeze some lemon in your water and drink before a meal.

Get a dose of raw apple cider vinegar first thing in the morning. Mix a tablespoon with some water. Or, mix freshly squeezed lemon juice with some warm water, and drink that every morning.

Don’t eat junk food and processed foods.

Reduce your stress

The next thing you should look at is your stress. Don’t forget to assess your stress levels. Sound sleep, exercise and regular relaxation can do wonders for the body and mind.

If you need to manage your stress levels, some simple breathing exercise can do the trick. You can also look at some other relaxation techniques, such as yoga, meditation, emotional freedom technique (EFT), to name a few.

You can reduce your stress by using these 7 simple and effective meditation techniques or you can use my natural remedies for stress and anxiety. You can also try this 20 minute yoga class for beginners.

Going alkaline seems a very wise choice that will promote your health and help you stay in balance. Detox is another way to eliminate toxins out of your body and you can discover the most effective natural methods to detox your body in my e-book: The Detox Guide.

Healthy and Natural World