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Why you should know about pH

Updated: May 21

What is pH?

pH stands for potential Hydrogen, sometimes known as parts Hydrogen, and is the measure of the hydrogen-ion concentration in a solution. The pH range is from 0 - 14 with 7 being neutral. A pH level higher than neutral is termed alkaline, and below neutral is termed acidic. The higher the pH, the more oxygen rich the fluid is.

Why is pH important to your health?

Human blood stays in a very narrow pH range around 7.35 - 7.45 and being outside this range will disturb the metabolic activity throughout your body which can lead to chronic disease. If your body's pH level is not balanced, you cannot effectively assimilate vitamins, minerals and food supplements which will have an inevitable and negative impact on your health - Your body pH affects everything.

How to test your pH

You can easily and quickly test your saliva or urine pH with pH strips to get an idea of your body's pH levels. Your urine and saliva optimal ranges are slightly different to your blood pH since they are different fluids with different actions in your body. Also, readings of your saliva and urine pH will fluctuate since your mouth is likely to contain acidic bacteria throughout the day. Food, drinks and toothpaste can affect the pH in your mouth altering the reading. Your urine is more of a reflection of the processes your body is undertaking to remove acids from your body. Despite the fluctuations it is still a good way to get an indicator of your overall health and what things might be negatively or positively impacting it.

Healthy ranges for Saliva pH (7.0 - 7.5) and Urine pH (6.75 - 7.25):

Saliva pH Range

Urine pH Range

pH < 6.0

Very acidic: Danger zone, your body is too acidic. Serious changes to diet and lifestyle are recommended.

pH < 6.0

Very acidic: Danger zone; your body is too acidic. Serious changes to diet and lifestyle recommended.

pH 6.0 - 6.5

Acidic: Lifestyle changes are strongly recommended to improve the pH of your body.

pH 6.0 - 6.5

Acidic: Lifestyle changes are strongly recommended to improve the pH of your body.

pH 6.5 - 6.75

Moderate: Lifestyle changes are suggested to improve the pH of your body.

pH 6.5 - 6.75

Moderate: Lifestyle changes are suggested to improve the pH of your body.

pH 7.0 - 7.5

Optimal: Keep up the good work by maintaining an alkalising lifestyle.

pH 6.75 - 7.25

Optimal: Keep up the good work by maintaining an alkalising lifestyle.

pH 8.0 - 9.0

too Alkaline: while not uncommon, this is not healthy.

pH > 7.5

too Alkaline: the may indicate that the body is too alkaline OR the kidneys are producing ammonia to buffer acids due to mineral deficiency.

Ways to improve your pH:

The most common indicator of a health problem with regards to blood pH is if it is too acidic. Symptoms include fatigue, joint pain, headaches, chronic pain or a stiff neck. It's much less common to be consistently alkaline, however, if you are, you may suffer from hand tremors, nausea, vomiting, confusion, lightheadedness and muscle twitching.

Research shows that unless your body is slightly alkaline, the body cannot heal itself, so no matter what you do to look after your health, it won't be effective until your pH level is up.

If your pH is consistently low or high, consider the help of a health professional.

6 ways to raise your pH naturally if you are too acidic:

  1. Drink water - a majority of people are chronically dehydrated resulting in acidic pH. If your pH is neutral or even slightly acidic, consider adding natural substances to increase it's alkalinity: Fresh lemon (although lemon is acidic, adding it your water in small amounts has an alkalising effect on your body). Try adding lemon juice to your water first thing in the morning.

  2. Get more low-impact, aerobic exercise - low-impact, aerobic exercise helps your body sustain and restore it's neutral pH balance of tissues because it works your muscles and helps to reduce the accumulation of acid in your system. It also helps to improve your breathing patterns so it's excellent for reducing stress too. Try to do at least one form of activity each day such as Pilates, walking, dancing, swimming, gardening etc. The more you exercise, the better off your overall health will be.

  3. Change to an alkaline diet - good, old fashioned healthy eating, vegetables (especially dark and green such as spinach, kale, cucumber, broccoli, avocado, celery, bell-pepper, carrots), fruits (especially strawberry), beans/lentils, almonds, seeds, and wild rice. Eating plenty of leafy greens is one of the best ways to improve the alkalinity of your blood.

  4. Cut back on acid-producing food and drinks - processed food, sugar, soft drinks, alcohol, coffee, fruit juices, cakes, breads, peanuts, walnuts, pasta and wheat. If you are feeling unwell or in pain, try a sugar detox.

  5. Take multi-vitamins to supplement your diet - look out for high quality, natural and age specific vitamins if possible.

  6. Cut down on stress - stress produces cortisol which is a stress hormone that affects your neuro-endocrine system. Chronic stress also leads to shallow breathing or even holding your breath reducing the amount of oxygen you're taking into your system. Oxygen is essential for maintaining your acid-base balance (and health). Try mindfulness, meditation or even just taking 5 calm deep breathes throughout the day especially when you're feeling stressed.

To lower your pH naturally if you are too alkaline:

  1. Drink water to help your kidneys filtrate your blood and flush out your system

  2. Get more Cardio-vascular, anaerobic exercise - Cardio-vascular, anaerobic exercise increases the amount of acid from your muscles and metabolic system. Try to do at least 5 x 20 minute sessions per week and don't forget to add core stabilising exercises such as Pilates to keep you free from muscle and joint strain

  3. Try breathing into a paper bag for 10 full breaths to increase the carbon dioxide levels in your body,

  4. Incorporate potassium and chloride-rich foods and drinks into your diet such as raisins, apricots, figs and wheat germ

Whether your pH is too low or too high, water, exercise, and leafy greens are key to health. It's much more common for peoples' pH to be too acidic than too alkali, in which case we always recommend low-impact, slow and repetitive movements to help restore acid-base balance. When doing cardio-vascular exercise, we recommend incorporating core stabilising exercises into your routine to reduce the risk of muscle and soft tissue overload or joint strain. Since Pilates is low-impact, repetitive and combines deep breathing with movement, it is an excellent choice for most health conditions.

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