What is body pH?
The pH stands for “potential of Hydrogen”, which is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a solution. It is a log scale unit for hydrogen ions (H+) which refers the acidity and alkalinity of the substances. There are 14 pH ranges on pH scale in which any substance having pH 0 to 7 (higher concentration of H+) are acidic and 7-14 are alkaline (basic) (lower concentration of H+) in nature. Water comprises 70% of our body system and it contains equal concentrations of H+ and OH-. It is hence neutral having pH 7 on the pH scale. Our body’s pH is best when it lies between 7.35 and 7.45, which is slightly alkaline.
In our body system, pH tone is maintained in different internal body environments. Slight changes in pH value have a great impact on internal environment and thus affect the health. Body fluids like blood, saliva & urine have major role in-respect to their pH.
Our body needs
balanced pH to allow it to maintain a good health. pH controls the speed of the body’s biochemical reactions. It has very vital effects since all metabolic processes in our body system depend upon the balanced pH. The slight imbalance to the pH system cause serious illness and diseased conditions. Our body system can’t simple defend if the pH is unbalanced. An unbalanced pH system can lead to a variety of negative health effects. When the optimal pH range of the blood, urine or saliva (body fluids) fall out of due to adverse metabolic or respiratory conditions, the human body goes through a variety of adjustments to try to correct the acid or alkaline imbalance.
If the body is too alkaline, a condition called alkalosis results; whereas an over acidic condition results in acidosis. Alkalosis is a condition in which the pH of the body’s fluid becomes excessively alkaline. Similarly,
acidosis is a condition in which the pH of the body’s fluid becomes excessively acidic which occurs when the body’s intake and production of acid residue exceeds its ability to adequately eliminate it. Normally pH imbalance is checked in urine or blood. The medical studies have shown that pH imbalances can be correlated to almost all health conditions like heart diseases, arthritis, cancer, etc. Thus, it is an important aspect of a balanced, healthy and youthful body. There are two types of pH conditions in our body; alkaline body pH and acidic body pH.
Urine has optimal pH range of 5.8 to 6.8. The pH of the urine indicates that the body is working to maintain proper pH of the blood. The kidneys maintain normal acid-base balance primarily through the re-absorption of sodium and the tubular secretion of hydrogen and ammonium ions. Secretion of acid or alkaline urine by the kidneys is one of the most important mechanisms the body uses to maintain a constant body pH. The highly acidic urine pH occurs in the diseases conditions like acidosis, diabetic ketoacidosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (eg. Emphysema), diarrhea, starvation, dehydration, and respiratory diseases in which carbon dioxide retention occurs and acidosis develops. Similarly, highly alkaline urine occurs in urinary tract infections, pyloric obstruction, renal tubular acidosis, chronic renal failure, urinary tract infection, vomiting, gastric suction and
respiratory diseases that involve hyperventilation. A diet rich in citrus fruits, legumes and vegetables raises the pH and urine become more alkaline. A diet high in meat and cranberry juice will keep the urine more acidic. Most bacterial urinary tract infections cause the urine to become more alkaline.
Optimal pH of saliva in human body is 6.4 to 6.8. If it lies within the range all day, body is supposed to functioning with healthy range. If the saliva pH is too low (below 6.4), the body may be producing too many acids or may be overwhelmed by acids because it has lost the ability to adequately remove them through the urine. If the saliva pH is too high (over 6.8), the body may suffer greatly, e.g. excess gas, constipation and production of yeast, mold and fungus. It is a fair indicator of the health of the extracellular fluids.
The optimal blood pH is 7.35 to 7.45. The normal pH of arterial blood is approximately 7.4, which is a weak alkaline solution. Blood that has a pH below 7.35 is acidic, while above 7.45 is alkaline. The respiratory system and urinary system normally control the acid-base balance of blood as a homeostasis.
Studies have shown that an alkaline body pH is more favorable to the health and maintain good health condition than an acidic body pH. It is the best state for optimal health. An acidic body system increases the risk of infections from bacteria, parasites, and viruses. These infectors tend to flourish in an acidic environment. One might thus, be at risk of infections like colds, flu, diseases like cancer arthritis, heart diseases, osteoporosis, etc. Alkaline body doesn’t create the environment for bacteria and viruses to prosper and flourish and hence it is not easy to enter the alkaline body environment. All of the cells of human body are slightly alkaline. The body system must therefore maintain the alkalinity to remain healthy. Otherwise the body can be suffered with severe damage due to acidity and can cause various diseases. Good nutrition and natural alkaline foods & alkaline
supplements can help improve the overall health system of the body. A variety of alkaline nutritional supplements and pH balance products are now available in the market. Most of the foods we take are alkaline in nature; however, processed foods are mostly acidic. It is important to balance each meal with 75% alkaline to 25% acidic to maintain health. pH 6.4 is assumed to be a perfect body pH. The body pH above 6.4 is alkaline and below is acidic. It is important that your daily dietary intake of food naturally balances the body pH. There are various sources of foods (either acidic or alkaline) which help keeping pH in balanced condition. Varieties of pH balance products and nutritional supplements are available nowadays that are definitely useful for maintaining our body pH.
- Lisa Anne Marshall (2005). Balancing the body’s pH. Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVI/number 6/p. 74, 76, 78.
- Tunsky G. What is the cell is going on? The battle is over pH.