Alkalinity, Acidity and the Importance of Body pH – a Primer
If you do a search for “alkaline diet” online, you’ll find a plethora of articles that tell you an alkaline diet is better for you than an acidic diet. I agree with this entirely. Here are a few things you need to know about alkalinity, acidity and your body’s pH levels.
The normal pH of body fluids is between 7.35 and 7.45 on the pH scale. Neutral pH is 7.0 on the scale, so the body is always more alkaline than acidic. If your pH levels drop below 7.35, the condition is referred to as acidosis. When pH levels rise above 7.45 it is called alkalosis. Both are bad for you. If your blood pH were to fall below 6.8 or rise above 7.8, you would die.
Since you’re reading this article, you can safely assume that your body pH is probably within the normal range. What you need to realize is that your body constantly produces acidic products all the time through natural metabolic processes (i.e. living). This is why the body has five systems that regulate pH levels. They are: the respiratory system; the kidneys; the carbonic acid / bicarbonate buffer system; the protein buffer system; and the phosphate buffer system.
Why five systems? pH levels are critical to the proper functioning of your body’s functions. Minute changes in pH impact all the body’s systems. It is also important to remember that alkalosis and acidosis are relative terms, describing shifts in total body chemistry towards more alkaline or acidic conditions.
So, how does acid build up in the body? There are several primary ways this occurs.
1. Metabolism (complete or incomplete) of food.
2. Metabolic waste produced from normal cellular activity.
3. Ingestion of acids from our food, drink and environment.
4. Stress – physical and emotional.
Because acids are always being produced or ingested, they need to be buffered by the systems mentioned above. Acidosis occurs when those systems can’t keep up with the constant demand. Usually they do just fine, but when you excessively tax the buffering systems, your body chemistry will shift to a more acidic condition – still alkaline – just less so. This can have a multitude of negative health consequences. Here are a few.
1. Weakening of structural composition of the heart and circulatory system
2. Accelerated damage from free radicals causing premature aging
3. Disrupted metabolism of lipids and fatty acids involved in nerve and brain function
4. Weight gain and diabetes
5. Disrupted energy metabolism
6. Reduced oxygen in the blood
7. Decreased absorption of minerals and other nutrients
As you can see, helping your body better regulate its pH levels can have a significant impact on your health. The easiest way to do this is to ensure you’re not taxing your body’s acid buffering systems. This means eating better and LIVING better in general. I am here to help you give your body the nutrition it needs for optimum health.
For more information on how I can help you through nutrition, visit my listing.