Does Body pH Matter?

urine pH strips

According to a lot of holistic health websites, body pH levels are the most important thing you can monitor to ensure good health and wellness.  But is this true?

And what about alkaline water?  If you've done any research at all on this topic, I'm sure you've seen clams that alkaline water is pretty much a cure-all for anything that ails you. 

No matter what the subject, anytime such lofty claims are made, we should be quite skeptical.

So should you really be concerned about body pH levels?

I would argue that yes, we should be aware of what can negatively affect our body pH levels.  But we also need to be aware that some of the claims coming out of this part of the alternative health movement are simply not true.

But first, maybe you need a quick refresher on the pH scale?

Yet the idea behind balancing your body pH isn't quackery like some would have you believe.  Why do I think this way?

You see, our cells are alkaline by nature but acidic by function.

Most of your cells need to remain in a slightly alkaline environment to stay healthy and function optimally. But the metabolic activities of our cells create acid wastes.

All remains well as long as we give our bodies the proper raw materials to remove these acids.  The best examples of these alkaline-forming foods are mineral-rich raw vegetables. Drinking enough purified water is also incredibly important.

What happens if we don't?  If we eat too many processed foods, junk foods, drink too many sodas, etc. that simply don't offer much (if any) nutrition?

These acids can build up, leading to the all too common condition called low-grade acidosis

Keep in mind that our bodies do not operate in a vacuum.   

Yes, we have mechanisms in place to keep our blood pH in check, but years of poor eating can strain these mechanisms.  We need to eat mineral-rich foods to provide the proper raw materials needed to balance the acids.  Otherwise our bodies pull out the mineral reserves in our muscles and bones in order to neutralize the excess acids.  The problem is our muscles and bones need those minerals too.

healthy blood cells

Soda is perhaps my favorite example as a poor dietary choice as it has a very low pH of 2.5. 

Say a 150 lb man drinks just 8 oz of soda (pH 2.5).  His body contains about ten gallons of water, so that one small soda is enough to make his body water's pH one thousand times more acidic than it should be.

Thankfully, his body does not let that happen.  But it puts a lot of stress on his tissues and organs to neutralize all that acid.  And that is just from 8 oz of soda.  How many people do you know that drink soda all day long?

And since we're talking about a very low pH item that we consume, let's go the other direction and look at alkaline water.

Why Alkaline Water is a Sham

I'll admit to getting caught up in the hype of alkaline water for a short period of time.  But I quickly came back to my senses. 

And yes, I did try it.  It was many years ago, so I can't remember how long I drank it - no more than a few weeks.  What I remember most was how it made my stomach quite queasy.  Shouldn't have been a big surprise though, since it had a pH of 10.0!

This high pH water is simply not found in nature.

Water is typically between 6.0 and 8.0 - nice and neutral.  Some of the purist mountain streams are around pH 6.5, so slightly acidic.  Would one try to argue that this source of water would not be healthy?  Not me, certainly.

So what else don't I like about it?

High pH water can alkalize the stomach and cause a host of digestive issues (malabsorption of nutrients, ulcers, parasites).  This is even more concerning considering a lot of people are struggling with too little stomach acid in the first place.

There have also been a lot of claims made that drinking alkaline water will protect you from cancer.  Since we have been becoming more acidic eating highly-processed foods, and cancer rates have been skyrocketing, I can see how some made a connection.  But as the saying goes, correlation does not imply causation.

The research hasn't been clear on the benefits of alkalinity on cancer.  In fact, some studies are showing that acidic treatments are showing promise.   Some have also discovered tumors growing in people with an alkaline pH - the tumors are simply creating their own acidic environment.

Any health benefits from alkaline water could be contributed to people becoming hydrated by drinking more water.  What I've typically heard from people is that they feel good in the beginning, but not after drinking this high pH water long-term.

Here's what you should know.

Keeping your body pH balanced is as simple as eating lots of whole foods (I prefer organic when possible).  This includes lots of vegetables, fruits, grass-fed and pastured meats and eggs.  If you have issues with acidity, try limiting or even eliminating sugars, grains, and processed foods

More information on each topic is below.

Learn how to achieve body pH balance.

Learn which foods are alkaline forming foods and which are acid forming foods.

Take a look at what your pH readings should be:

blood pH saliva pH urine pH

And of course, learn how and when to test your pH using the quick and easy pH strips.

Having trouble getting back on track?  Try these effective and inexpensive alkaline supplements.

Have a question about your body pH?

Please share your questions below and I will answer them to the best of my ability. Help me give you the best answers possible by sharing as many details as you can.

You are free to comment on what others have written too. Just always keep it respectful (only positive/helpful comments will be published).

What Other Visitors Have Said

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- Body pH