​It is important to assist your health with a healthy diet and to support healthy digestion through keeping the blood pH levels on track, and to protect your bones and kidneys too. At Health Renewal we recommend you have a consult with one of our integrative doctors who will ensure you use the best supplements and probiotics to assist you with this and to change your lifestyle and diet to ensure optimal health.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • 1What is your PH?
  • 2“When it comes to health, what role does pH really play?”
  • 3Understanding the pH scale
  • 4Body pH balance explained:
  • 5How to test your pH levels?
  • 6You may think its acid — but it’s not...
  • 7Acid isn’t all bad…
  • 8Naturally improving your pH balance:

Most patients might be familiar with the term “pH” from biology class or a skin cleanser commercial. And the idea of balancing your inner pH has become trendy these days, being featured in magazines and spawning an assortment of products in health food stores. But beneath the “trendiness” lies an important concern: the fact that the diet of most of us is overloaded with foods that are acid-forming — that tip the body’s pH toward acidity. Our bodies are equipped to counterbalance a certain amount of acidity, but our diets overwhelms our ability to buffer the acids in our diets — particularly when other acid-promoting factors such as stress enter the picture.

Some proponents would have you believe that balancing your pH will cure all health problems. While pH is one of many factors we look at when considering an individual's health, we never consider it in isolation. That would be too simplistic an approach, and would fail to take into account the complex role pH plays in our physiology. That said, it is an essential factor in our overall health equation.

The pH scale measures acidity in terms of hydrogen ion (H+) activity in a solution. A solution is acidic when it has more free hydrogen activity, and alkaline when there is a lack of free hydrogen activity.

The lower the pH reading, the more acidic the solution. Readings from 0–7 are considered acidic, and numbers from 7.0–14 are considered basic, or alkaline. Pure water, in the very middle of the (logarithmic) pH scale, has a pH of 7.0, which is considered neutral.

In terms of body pH balance, there is no one “correct” reading for the entire body. For instance, healthy human skin has an approximate pH of 5.5 (slightly acidic). Saliva, on the other hand, has a pH of around 6.5–7.4 (teetering on either side of neutral). Your digestive tracts pH can range from 1.5 to 7.0, depending on what stage of digestion is underway. And when the body is in good working order, human blood reveals a narrow pH window of about 7.35–7.45 (slightly alkaline). Other parts of a healthy, well-functioning body will show still other pH readings.

The reason for this is, because different parts of our bodies serve different purposes. Each of these purposes and their related processes requires a particular acid–alkaline environment for optimum function.

Skin needs to be slightly acidic in order to deal with environmental factors like bacteria and other toxins. Likewise, the vagina maintains an acidic environment to protect itself, and when the pH is raised too high, infections like bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections can result. The stomach and other parts of the digestive system are highly acidic out of biological necessity. The digestive acids are part of how we process and use the foods we eat as fuel. They are part of our internal combustion for nutrition.

Part of the confusion over body pH arises from the close-to-neutral pH balance of our blood, saliva, and urine — substances we can test easily. This has led to the mistaken belief that pH levels are static throughout the body, when in fact they are not. Eating more alkalizing foods (such as leafy greens and dried fruits) can help balance and maintain the pH level of your body and ultimately promote better well-being, but this doesn’t happen in a vacuum, and it also doesn’t happen overnight. Along with a diet rich in alkalizing plant foods, it takes time and commitment to certain lifestyle changes, including exercise and regular detoxification. It also takes knowing whether or not your pH is truly off-balance.

Enthusiasts of the “pH miracle” say that simply living in the modern world — with its reliance on refined grains and sugars, corn-fed beef, and unhealthy fats — means we are all overly acidic.

At Health Renewal we can test the pH of your saliva and/or your urine.

If conditions of hyperacidity and inflammation are occurring in your body, the next step is to take a look at the source of the acidity — and food is the first place to start. Imbalanced pH is primarily a product of what you eat.

Considering whether a food is acidifying or alkalizing in the diet can require some mind-bending, because some foods that we think of as “acidic” are, in fact, alkalizing in the diet. It’s actually better to look at whether the food is acid–forming or alkaline–forming, not where the food itself falls on the pH scale. So even though we think of citrus as acidic, fruits like lemons and tangerines are alkalizing because when they’re consumed, they break down and donate alkaline mineral salt compounds like citrates and ascorbates.

Similarly, foods we might normally think of as meek and mild in nature are acid-forming when ingested. Grains and milk are two examples. What’s important is not so much the pH of the food as it goes into our bodies, but the resultant pH once the food is broken down — and this is dictated by the residues the broken-down nutrients leave behind, particularly sulfates and phosphates.

Why is it important to have a certain acid–alkaline balance in our diets? The answer has to do with the balance that occurs between acid and alkaline elements in our digestion.

The acidic environment of the stomach is not only necessary for processing food, but it also helps to protect your body from pathogenic organisms or food antigens that shouldn’t be there.

Interestingly, many people with acid reflux and heartburn — a condition conventional medicine blames on acid-containing foods like fruits and vegetables — actually have too little acid in their stomachs, a problem that’s compounded by medications like Pepcid and TUMS that increase alkalinity in the stomach.

As food makes its way from your mouth to your stomach, the digestive tract becomes more acidic. Pepsin, the enzyme responsible for protein breakdown, needs an acidic environment and therefore gets released into the stomach, where pH is very low (about 2.0–1.5). Your small intestine is where most of the nutrients in your food get absorbed, and where the pH increases from 2.0 to 6.5 as the food travels from the stomach to the small and large intestines.

Protein (particularly in the form of red meats), requires huge amounts of alkaline minerals for complete digestive processing. When the system goes looking for the alkalinity needed to offset the acid load, it looks first to the minerals currently in the digestive tract. If it fails to find alkaline nourishment there, it draws on the calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium minerals stored in our bones.

This is where the good greens and essential vitamins and minerals come in. When we eat a diet that is rich in nutrients, there’s no need to draw on the stored minerals in the bones. It’s when we don’t consume a nutrient rich diet or worse, when we over consume foods that promote acidity in the body that we start tapping our bone resources. In the short term, this isn’t an issue, but in the long run, it can have serious consequences, not just for our bone health but for our overall health.

It is important to assist your health with a healthy diet and to support healthy digestion through keeping the blood pH levels on track, and to protect your bones and kidneys too. At Health Renewal we recommend you have a consult with one of our integrative doctors who will ensure you use the best supplements and probiotics to assist you with this and to change your lifestyle and diet to ensure optimal health.

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