Your Body’s Ph

This month we are discussing what ph balance is in our bodies. Let’s begin at the beginning by explaining what Ph is as it relates to our bodies. In our bodies we are filled with solutions which are either acids or bases. Acids are…. acidic, bases are more alkaline (the opposite of acidic). To ensure proper functioning of all body systems our fluids must contain almost balanced quantities of acids and bases. For aspiring science nerds: The more hydrogen ions (H+) dissolved in a solution the more acidic the solution, conversely the more hydroxide ions (OH-) the more basic (alkaline) the solution. In other words we need an acid/ alkaline ph balance to ensure that our bodies can keep us in homeostasis. This happens by the regulation of the sensitive chemical reactions which are constantly occurring in the body which require acidity or alkalinity in the fluids which they occur.

The reason we hear so much about ph balance and “alkalizing our systems” is that most of us are constantly bombarding our systems with too many acid causing situations and need to be proactive toward building a more alkaline environment. But back to the chemistry of ph: So now we know what the spectrum of ph is and next we need to know how it’s measured. When we see or read anything about ph there is usually a # next to it. Ph is measured on a scale of 0-14. For some this next part might seem counter intuitive but a lower number closer to the “0” end of the scale is more acid. A number closer to 14 is more alkaline. 7 on the scale is neutral (neither acid nor alkaline). So to give you an example of what this looks like in our day to day world take a look at some of these examples of substances and their corresponding ph values:

Gastric Juice 1.2-3.0

Grape fruit juice, vinegar, wine 3.0

Vaginal Fluid 3.5-4.5

Urine 4.6-8.0

Saliva 6.35-6.85

Distilled (pure) water 7.0

Blood 7.35-7.45

Semen 7.20-7.60

Bile (liver secretion that aids fat digestion) 7.6-8.6

Milk of Magnesia 10.5

Lye 14

Another thing to consider when looking at the ph scale is that a change of one whole number is a 10 fold change in acidity or alkalizing. So a substance with a ph of 5 is 10 times more acidic than something with a ph of 6.

So what does all this mean to me and why do I care about my body’s ph? Our bodies are working very hard to maintain a ph balance in our blood between 7.35 and 7.45 so that it is slightly more alkaline than water. That is a narrow margin!! The miracle of our bodies is that they can accomplish this day in day out 24/7, and unless we have a life threatening illness our systems will keep us in balance. So as the wise and venerable Douglas Adams says “Don’t Panic!”. However we should be kind to our bodies and give them all the help they need to function properly instead of working against them and following short lived happiness by loading up on acid forming foods. And acid forming diet would require our bodies to process and expel all the extra acid (mostly through our sweat and urine) to bring us back into balance. This is very taxing on our systems and there have been studies showing that cancer cells thrive in and acid environment and cannot survive in a more alkaline environment… Hmmm.

A more acidic system is also a breeding ground for yeast infections, rashes, dandruff, mouth ulcers, herpes outbreaks, lethargy and general malaise (feeling crappy). You can test your ph level by purchasing some ph test strips from your local health food store (new seasons and whole foods has them) and test 3x’s a day morning noon and evening:

saliva –(which will test in a smaller range than urine) salivary pH mirrors the blood (if not around meals) and is also a fairly good indicator of health. It helps to tell us what the body retains.

Or test your urine- The pH of the urine indicates how the body is working to maintain the proper pH of the blood. The pH of urine indicates the efforts of the body via the kidneys, adrenals, lungs and gonads to regulate body pH balance through the buffer salts and hormones.

Urine can provide a fairly accurate picture of body chemistry, because the kidneys filter out the byproducts of pH regulation and provide ph values based on what the body is eliminating. Urine pH can vary from around 4.5 to 9.0 for its extremes, but the ideal range is 6.5 to 7.0+. Urinary pH tends to be lower in the morning and higher in the evening.

So our ph will vary depending on time of day or when you ate. It’s constantly changing. Generally you’ll be more acid first thing in the morning then you’ll become more alkaline as you drink water and eat fruits and veggies ect.

Doing this testing for about a week you’ll see a trend emerge and see how much you need to shift your lifestyle. We can bring our bodies back to a more alkaline environment first and foremost by the foods we eat.

For the most part eating more fruits and veggies will have an alkaline-forming effect on your body.

Most grains, animal foods, and highly processed foods have an acid-forming effect on your body fluids, especially refined wheat flour and Sugar.

You can purchase a chart showing foods with actual ph values from many sources online but here’s a list I found and “borrowed” from another website without ph#’s (url below)

ALKALIZING VEGETABLES
Alfalfa
Barley Grass
Beet Greens
Beets
Broccoli
Cabbage
Carrot
Cauliflower
Celery
Chard Greens
Chlorella
Collard Greens
Cucumber
Dandelions
Dulce
Edible Flowers
Eggplant
Fermented Veggies
Garlic
Green Beans
Green Peas
Kale
Kohlrabi
Lettuce
Mushrooms
Mustard Greens
Nightshade Veggies
Onions
Parsnips (high glycemic)
Peas
Peppers
Pumpkin
Radishes
Rutabaga
Sea Veggies
Spinach, green
Spirulina
Sprouts
Sweet Potatoes
Tomatoes
Watercress
Wheat Grass
Wild Greens

ALKALIZING ORIENTAL VEGETABLES
Daikon
Dandelion Root
Kombu
Maitake
Nori
Reishi
Shitake
Umeboshi
Wakame

ALKALIZING FRUITS
Apple
Apricot
Avocado
Banana (high glycemic)
Berries
Blackberries
Cantaloupe
Cherries, sour
Coconut, fresh
Currants
Dates, dried
Figs, dried
Grapes
Grapefruit
Honeydew Melon
Lemon
Lime
Muskmelons
Nectarine
Orange
Peach
Pear
Pineapple
Raisins
Raspberries
Rhubarb
Strawberries
Tangerine
Tomato
Tropical Fruits
Umeboshi Plums
Watermelon

ALKALIZING PROTEIN
Almonds
Chestnuts
Millet
Tempeh (fermented)
Tofu (fermented)
Whey Protein Powder

ALKALIZING SWEETENERS
Stevia

ALKALIZING SPICES & SEASONINGS
Chili Pepper
Cinnamon
Curry
Ginger
Herbs (all)
Miso
Mustard
Sea Salt
Tamari

ALKALIZING OTHER
Alkaline Antioxidant Water
Apple Cider Vinegar
Bee Pollen
Fresh Fruit Juice
Green Juices
Lecithin Granules
Mineral Water
Molasses, blackstrap
Probiotic Cultures
Soured Dairy Products
Veggie Juices

ALKALIZING MINERALS
Calcium: pH 12
Cesium: pH 14
Magnesium: pH 9
Potassium: pH 14
Sodium: pH 14

ACIDIFYING VEGETABLES
Corn
Lentils
Olives
Winter Squash

ACIDIFYING FRUITS
Blueberries
Canned or Glazed Fruits
Cranberries
Currants
Plums**
Prunes**

ACIDIFYING GRAINS, GRAIN PRODUCTS
Amaranth
Barley
Bran, oat
Bran, wheat
Bread
Corn
Cornstarch
Crackers, soda
Flour, wheat
Flour, white
Hemp Seed Flour
Kamut
Macaroni
Noodles
Oatmeal
Oats (rolled)
Quinoa
Rice (all)
Rice Cakes
Rye
Spaghetti
Spelt
Wheat Germ
Wheat

ACIDIFYING BEANS & LEGUMES
Almond Milk
Black Beans
Chick Peas
Green Peas
Kidney Beans
Lentils
Pinto Beans
Red Beans
Rice Milk
Soy Beans
Soy Milk
White Beans

ACIDIFYING DAIRY
Butter
Cheese
Cheese, Processed
Ice Cream
Ice Milk

ACIDIFYING NUTS & BUTTERS
Cashews
Legumes
Peanut Butter
Peanuts
Pecans
Tahini
Walnuts

ACIDIFYING ANIMAL PROTEIN
Bacon
Beef
Carp
Clams
Cod
Corned Beef
Fish
Haddock
Lamb
Lobster
Mussels
Organ Meats
Oyster
Pike
Pork
Rabbit
Salmon
Sardines
Sausage
Scallops
Shellfish
Shrimp
Tuna
Turkey
Veal
Venison

ACIDIFYING FATS & OILS
Avacado Oil
Butter
Canola Oil
Corn Oil
Flax Oil
Hemp Seed Oil
Lard
Olive Oil
Safflower Oil
Sesame Oil
Sunflower Oil

ACIDIFYING SWEETENERS
Carob
Corn Syrup
Sugar

ACIDIFYING ALCOHOL
Beer
Hard Liquor
Spirits
Wine

ACIDIFYING OTHER FOODS
Catsup
Cocoa
Coffee
Mustard
Pepper
Soft Drinks
Vinegar

ACIDIFYING DRUGS & CHEMICALS
Aspirin
Chemicals
Drugs, Medicinal
Drugs, Psychedelic
Herbicides
Pesticides
Tobacco

ACIDIFYING JUNK FOOD
Beer: pH 2.5
Coca-Cola: pH 2
Coffee: pH 4

List taken from www.rense.com

One thing to keep in mind is that our emotions and stress levels affect our acid/ alkaline balance GREATLY! You can eat as healthfully as you like but if your adhering to rigid thought patterns (like adhering to a strict diet for years), working too many hours and not getting enough rest, have irregular sleep patterns, in a state of constant worry you’ll never correct your acid balance by food alone. So again “don’t panic”. If you would like to learn more about this subject or are interested in supplements or nutritional counseling to balance your ph levels contact us to learn about products we use and believe in, or schedule a nutrition session and learn how to bring yourself to an optimal level of health. Stay well.

 

Shawn Kinsella LMT, CA, PYT

 

Sources for this article include:

Introduction to the human body by Gerard J. Tortora and Bryan Derrickson

Wikipedia.com

Rense.com

My opinions