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The pH of a substance is a chemical reading of how acidic or basic/alkaline it is. Your body tightly regulates pH levels to maintain overall good health. Different organs, cell types and compartments within cells maintain various pH levels depending on their physiological roles. Exercise, diet and medications may alter your body's pH.
In chemical terms, acids are molecules that contain an extra proton that can be donated, while bases can accept an additional proton. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14; pure water has a neutral pH of 7. Acids range from 0 to 7, and bases range from 7 to 14 on the scale. The website Alkalize for Health reports that human blood maintains a steady pH of 7.4, making it slightly alkaline 3.
- In chemical terms, acids are molecules that contain an extra proton that can be donated, while bases can accept an additional proton.
- The website Alkalize for Health reports that human blood maintains a steady pH of 7.4, making it slightly alkaline 3.
PH & Weight Loss
Faulty regulation of your body's pH may result in serious health consequences. Enzymes require a specific pH level to work efficiently. Increases or decreases in pH denature enzymes, halting important metabolic processes. Proponents of an alkaline diet say a low body pH can increase the risk of osteoporosis, cancer, heart disease and arthritis, according to the Wolfe Clinic. High acidity may also cause fatigue, muscle cramping and low energy.
- Faulty regulation of your body's pH may result in serious health consequences.
- Increases or decreases in pH denature enzymes, halting important metabolic processes.
Exercise, diet and certain medications modify pH levels in the body. During physical exercise, burning glucose for energy releases carbon dioxide and protons into the blood. This causes blood pH to decrease and become more acidic. Eating large quantities of acidic or alkaline foods can change your blood pH as well. Meats, cheeses, legumes, most grains, blueberries, cranberries and plums tend to be acidic. Most fruits, vegetables and juices have an alkalizing effect in the body. The University of California San Diego reports that alcohol, tobacco and most other drugs increase the acidity of the body 1.
- Exercise, diet and certain medications modify pH levels in the body.
- Eating large quantities of acidic or alkaline foods can change your blood pH as well.
How to Change Your Body pH Level
Although exercise, diet and medications alter pH levels, your body compensates through a complicated buffering system. Acid-base buffers accept and donate extra protons, keeping pH levels within a tightly regulated range. Washington University at St. Louis reports that the body counters exercise-induced decreases in pH by recruiting the lungs and kidneys to remove chemicals from the blood 4. This restores equilibrium and prevents pH levels from changing drastically, which could neutralize important enzymes.
- Although exercise, diet and medications alter pH levels, your body compensates through a complicated buffering system.
- This restores equilibrium and prevents pH levels from changing drastically, which could neutralize important enzymes.
Some dieters believe eating acidic foods causes negative health consequences. However, no scientific evidence suggests that alkaline foods or water decreases rates of chronic disease, reports MayoClinic.com 2. Alkaline water may confer some protection against osteoporosis, but experts do not recommend adopting an alkalizing diet to prevent cancer or other diseases. Talk to your doctor before beginning an alkalizing diet to prevent or treat a serious illness. Medical treatments may better alleviate your symptoms.
- Some dieters believe eating acidic foods causes negative health consequences.
- Alkaline water may confer some protection against osteoporosis, but experts do not recommend adopting an alkalizing diet to prevent cancer or other diseases.
PH & Weight Loss
How to Change Your Body pH Level
Advantages & Disadvantages of the Alkaline Diet
What Foods Decrease the pH of Urine?
Reasons for High Creatinine and Uric Acid
What Causes High Alkalinity in Water?
How to Raise Body pH Level Quickly
Acid Forming Foods Vs. Alkaline Forming Foods
Decrease in pH of Blood Caused by Exercise
Natural Ways to Raise Oxygen Level in Blood
- University of California San Diego: Acid and Alkaline Foods
- MayoClinic.com: Alkaline Water -- Better Than Plain Water?
- Alkalize for Health: Saliva pH Test
- Washington University St. Louis: Blood, Sweat and Buffers -- pH Regulation during Exercise
- The Telegraph, "Cleanse your body with the alkaline diet." Dec. 29, 2014
- Han H, Segal AM, Seifter JL, Dwyer JT. Nutritional Management of Kidney Stones (Nephrolithiasis). Clin Nutr Res. 2015;4(3):137-52. DOI: 10.7762/cnr.2015.4.3.137
- Schwalfenberg GK. The alkaline diet: is there evidence that an alkaline pH diet benefits health?. J Environ Public Health. 2012;2012:727630. DOI:10.1155/2012/727630
- Remer, T et al. Potential Renal Acid Load of Foods and its Influence on Urine pH, Journal of the American Dietetic Association, Volume 95, Issue 7, 791 - 797 DOI:10.1016/S0002-8223(95)00219-7
- Dawson-Hughes B, Harris SS, Ceglia L. Alkaline diets favor lean tissue mass in older adults. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008;87(3):662-5. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/87.3.662
- Fagherazzi G, Vilier A, Bonnet F, et al. Dietary acid load and risk of type 2 diabetes: the E3N-EPIC cohort study. Diabetologia. 2014;57(2):313-20. doi:10.1007/s00125-013-3100-0
- Xu H, Åkesson A, Orsini N, Håkansson N, Wolk A, Carrero JJ. Modest U-Shaped Association between Dietary Acid Load and Risk of All-Cause and Cardiovascular Mortality in Adults. J Nutr. 2016;146(8):1580-5. doi:10.3945/jn.116.231019
- Han E, Kim G, Hong N, et al. Association between dietary acid load and the risk of cardiovascular disease: nationwide surveys (KNHANES 2008-2011). Cardiovasc Diabetol. 2016;15(1):122. doi:10.1186/s12933-016-0436-z
- Jia T, Byberg L, Lindholm B, et al. Dietary acid load, kidney function, osteoporosis, and risk of fractures in elderly men and women. Osteoporos Int. 2015;26(2):563-70. doi:10.1007/s00198-014-2888-x
- Rebholz CM, Coresh J, Grams ME, et al. Dietary Acid Load and Incident Chronic Kidney Disease: Results from the ARIC Study. Am J Nephrol. 2015;42(6):427-35. doi:10.1159/000443746
Aurora Harklute has been writing since 2009. She works with people with depression and other mental illnesses and specializes in physical and mental health issues in aging. Harklute holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology and physiology from Marquette University and a Master of Arts in cognitive psychology from the University of Chicago.