Author: Dr. Gary Huber, DO
The body's acidity can have a marked affect on how you feel, the density of your bones, and your risk for cancer. Your complex biochemistry will go to extreme lengths to buffer the pH of the blood and keep it within a very narrow healthy range around 7.4.
What is pH?
PH is a measure of acidity versus alkalinity noted on a 1 to 14 scale. Optimum pH for body tissue is around 7.0 to 7.2. Anything lower than this is “acidic”. An example of this is the stomach, which makes acid to digest food and holds a pH of 2. The opposite end of the spectrum is “alkali” and this is represented by any pH above 7.4 all the way up to a maximum of 14
The body's acidity can have a marked affect on how you feel, the density of your bones, and your risk for cancer. Your complex biochemistry will go to extreme lengths to buffer the pH of the blood and keep it within a very narrow healthy range around 7.4. It does so by buffering acidic pH with magnesium and calcium salts that it extracts from the bone. So if you allow your body tissues pH to remain in the low acid range over time then the risk of osteopenia and osteoporosis increases.
We can have a dramatic effect on this pH by eating alkali foods such as vegetables and taking in adequate water. Animal foods such as meat and dairy will be more acidic. This does not mean that you should not eat any animal foods but rather a need to balance your vegetable intake with your animal foods. Other foods that are extremely acidic include soda pop, coffee, and alcohol. If your pH is always in the acidic range then monitor your intake of these elements closely.
Measuring your pH is easy to do by using simple pH tape. Saliva will tend to be slightly less acidic than urine. Morning pH will usually be slightly more acidic than later times in the day. Track your pH measures and make note of the "average". If you are consistently showing pH measures below 6.8 then make dietary changes to eat more alkali foods such as vegetables. Our goal is to keep pH around 7.0 to 7.2. If this is a significant struggle then try using bicarbonate. One half teaspoon of bicarbonate (Arm & Hammer baking soda) in 3 to 4 ounces of water, taken in between meals twice per day should easily elevate your pH over time. Be sure to use this away from food so that you don't neutralize digestive enzymes. Once pH measures reach a consistent level around 7.0 then decrease your use of bicarbonate.