17 August, 2011
How Do Sugars Affect a Person's Urine pH?
Urine pH is a measurement of your urine’s relative acidity. Your doctor may need to check your urine acidity if you need to take certain medications or have known risks for the formation of kidney stones. Normally, sugars in your body don’t directly affect your urine pH. However, in certain circumstances, your sugar glucose can show up during the same procedure used to check urine pH levels.
Doctors check urine pH with a procedure called a dipstick test, which places fresh urine in contact with a plastic stick coated in strips of specially formulated chemicals. These chemicals trigger detectable changes that vary according to the qualities of your urine. Human urine can fall anywhere from 4.5 to 8 on the pH scale, which extends from a highly acidic reading of zero to a highly alkaline reading of 14. However, in most cases, the pH of human urine is a moderately acidic 5.5 to 6.5.
There are several dietary factors that can influence your urine pH. For instance, high intake of vegetables, dairy products or citrus fruits can make your urine less acidic and raise your pH levels. On the other hand, high intake of cranberries or various forms of meat can make your urine more acidic and lower your pH levels. In advance of a urine pH test, your doctor may ask you to eat a diet that balances acidic and alkaline foods. This will minimize medically unimportant changes in your pH level and allow your doctor to detect changes that could have potential health implications.
Sugar in Urine
When you consume sugar or other carbohydrate foods, your body breaks them down and passes a simple sugar called glucose into your bloodstream. Normally, a hormone from your pancreas gland called insulin lets your body manage this glucose and deliver it to your cells, where it acts as a fuel source. However, if you have the glucose control disorder called diabetes, glucose can accumulate abnormally in your bloodstream and pass through your kidneys into your urine. In addition to diabetes, conditions or circumstances that can lead to glucose in your urine include pregnancy, liver disease, hormone disorders and the use of certain medications.
Doctors don’t use pH readings to detect glucose in your urine. Rather, the sticks used to test pH levels also contain chemicals that can detect the presence of glucose. Additional readings taken from these sticks include the particle concentration in your urine, the levels of protein in your urine, the presence or absence of diabetes-related chemicals called ketones, and the presence or absence of a red blood cell byproduct called bilirubin. Consult your doctor for more information on urine pH testing and the effects of sugars inside your body.
- delmonte1977/iStock/Getty Images