Alkaline Versus Acidic? Chances are, if you're even remotely health-conscious, you've heard about the benefits of an "alkaline diet" and the issues associated with an "acidic body". With all the conflicting information out there, you may have asked yourself, what is the difference between alkaline vs acidic and what exactly are the effects on your body?
To help clear up any confusion, we've put together this guide to explain what it's all about and how it really affects you...
Alkaline Vs Acidic: What does this mean?
The definitions of alkalinity and acidity are quite scientific, so in a nutshell, just remember that acids have low pH, while alkalis have high. Your body needs to have them both in balance in order to be healthy and function optimally.
The Science Behind Alkalinity & Acidity
In order to better understand the science, let's first start with the basics...
What Is An Acid?
An acid is a chemical that gives protons or hydrogen ions and/or receives electrons in a chemical reaction. The majority of them have a hydrogen atom bonded to their molecules, that when dissolved in water, yield a cation and an anion. The greater the concentration of these hydrogen ions, the greater the solution's acidity and the lower its pH.
Acid has a Latin derivation, coming from the Latin words acidus or acere, meaning sour. A well-known characteristic of acidic foods, when dissolved in water is their sourness. A good example is vinegar, which contains high levels of acetic acid.
What Is An Alkali?
An alkali is a chemical producing OH- ions in water. OH- ions are known as hydroxide ions. If a chemical has a pH greater than 7 then it is an alkali.
The two letters p and H are frequently used to indicate how alkaline or acidic something is...
What Does pH Mean?
This is short for the potential of hydrogen and is a scale used to measure the acidity of a watery solution. Acidic solutions have lower values of this than alkaline solutions, which have values above seven.
The pH scale is like the Richter scale of earthquakes; it is logarithmic. On such a scale, 6 is 10 times greater than 5. A value of 9 is 10 times greater on the scale than 8. If a watery solution has a pH less than 7 then it is acidic, if the pH is greater than 7 then it is alkali. Pure or distilled water has a pH of 7. Most pH values range from 0 to 14.
pH In The Body
Our body is full of fluids, think blood, sweat etc. However, there is considerable variation in the pH of each specific type body fluid. We won't discuss all of them but mention some of the most important.
The pH of blood normally ranges from 7.35 to 7.45. In the stomach, there is a pH ranging from 1.5 to 3.5. This is called gastric acid and plays a key role in digestion.
Ideally, each of the fluids in the body should have its own appropriate acid/alkaline balance to properly perform...
What Is Alkaline/Acidic Balance?
The right proportion of alkaline versus acidic as would naturally occur. The acid-alkaline balance has a very important effect on health and is often disregarded when health troubles arise. One of the main causes of illness is oxidation. Oxidation increases acidity, which can then lead to negative effects on the body and its systems.
Is Acidity Always A Problem?
When we are born our pH is perfectly balanced. It may surprise you, but our bodies are about 90% water, with an optimal average pH of around 7.4. As people age, they usually become increasingly more acidic over time. This is largely caused by the typical "Western diet" and modern lifestyle factors. An ideal body tissue pH is about 7.45. If you can maintain this then your health will greatly benefit. This has been shown repeatedly in many studies.
The Problem With Excess Acidity
Anything below 7 is considered acidic, whereas 7.45 is mildly alkaline. Prolonged excess acidity is detrimental in terms of health and wellness. In fact, you can often feel some of the symptoms of excess acidity in the body:
- Abdominal discomfort
- Decreased appetite
Causes could be drinking too much, eating more than you should, exercising to excess, consuming the wrong food for too long, or reacting to chemicals or poisons in the environment. If you've ever suffered from a hangover, then you know first hand what some of these symptoms can feel like.
The acid-alkaline balance is vital for breathing, digestion, and overall metabolism. All work at their best with correct pH levels.
When your body is acidic, important minerals are removed from your bones and other organs to assist in neutralizing the acid and getting it out of the body. The effects of this are mineral deficiencies. These deficiencies are often unnoticed for years and only become obvious when symptoms become more serious.
Among the problems caused by mild acidity are:
- Yeast infections
- Excessive fatigue
- Unwanted weight gain
- Tooth cavities
- Aging prematurely
As acidity continues and worsens, things get more severe and can include:
- Cardiovascular damage (heart attack, stroke)
- Immune deficiency
- Urinary infections
- Infections of the kidney
- Osteoporosis (weakening of the bones)
- Some types of cancer
Top Ways To Balance pH Naturally
There is a lot of information about this, on the Internet and other sources, such as books, scientific journals, etc. However, the consensus and top lifestyle tips from most reliable and authoritative sources are:
Drink More Water
One of the best things you can do to balance your pH and for your health in general is to make sure you are adequately hydrated. By drinking lots of pure, fresh water you'll help your body to cleanse itself and flush out any acidic toxins and waste. Make sure you drink extra when exercising or in hot weather, when you can easily become dehydrated.
To give your body an extra hydration boost while maintaining essential pH balance, add our all-natural Phenoh REPLENISH to your water to deliver your system with additional vital electrolytes, vitamins, and antioxidants.
Learn More: Hydration
Diet & Foods
The Western diet has a major role in the high acidity levels seen in many people. Common components of this diet, such as dairy products, far too much sugar, a lot of meat, and many grains all affect the pH level of the body, causing greater acidity.
As the body burns food as energy, it produces acidic waste. Either the body then neutralizes it or it needs to be excreted. If there is too much waste, as there often is with typical modern diets, then the kidneys need to start working overtime. Over time, this can cause kidney problems and other associated health issues.
There are limits as to how the body can adjust its pH levels without controlling the diet. When a diet has too much acid-forming food, the body becomes more acidic. Similarly, eating an excess of alkali-producing food causes the body to be too alkaline. You must eat a balanced diet.
Unfortunately, it is difficult to easily tell if food is acidic or not just by looking at it or guessing.
Most people correctly think of lemons on a tree or in the kitchen as acidic. When a lemon is squeezed the juice has a lot of citric acid. However, lemons when eaten are alkali forming in the body.
Similar confusion occurs with milk. By itself, when outside the body, milk is alkaline but under digestion, milk becomes acidic.
Scientific analysis and testing is therefore used to determine which category foods fall into.
Here is the list of some common foods and their acidic or alkaline nature:
Acidic foods cause acidity to increase in the body when digested. Foods, which contain protein, sulphur, and phosphate are often acidic, with some below:
- Dairy products, such as milk, cheese, butter,...
- Red meat, such as beef, lamb, mutton,...
- Shellfish, such as oysters, mussels, clams,...
- Many grains, such as all types of wheat, white rice, corn, rye,...
- Processed foods, refined sugar, most popular breakfast cereals, packets of chips,...
- Carbonated drinks, such as sodas, colas,...
- Some alcoholic beverages, such as beer, wine,...
Foods containing plenty of potassium, sodium, magnesium, calcium, and iron are often alkali forming. They reduce acidity.
- Green vegetables, such as spinach, broccoli, silver beet,...
- Some fruits, such as cucumbers, avocados, .. (However, most fruit even though acidic when not eaten, become alkali forming in the body, even such sour fruits like lemons and limes)
- Vegetables, such as potatoes, pumpkin, carrots,...
- Apple cider vinegar (Surprising as vinegar of any sort is acidic outside the body)
- Legumes, such as lentils, beans, chickpeas,...
- Some seeds, such as pumpkin, sesame, caraway,...
To help balance the body’s pH level, your diet should ideally contain about three-quarters of alkaline foods. A lot of fresh fruits and vegetables and salads should be on the menu. The remainder can be made up of lean grains and proteins. Also, don't forget hydration. You need about 120 ounces of water daily!
Another good tip is to limit your consumption of alcohol.
Alcohol often causes changes to your pH by affecting the ability of your kidneys to maintain chemicals in the blood, such as phosphate. Imbalances of this and other chemicals in the blood can negatively affect your body’s metabolism.
Exercise is essential to your overall wellbeing.
It's well-known that exercise plays a key role in most health recommendations, but did you know it is also very helpful in balancing the pH?
Exercise assists the body to renew and maintain a neutral pH balance in fluids that need it. Aerobic exercise is the best sort of exercise for the maintenance of the body's acid-alkaline equilibrium. How it works is the muscles, when in use, help cut down acid accumulation in the body.
You should do some sort of aerobic exercise daily. Walking, gardening, dancing, weights (although with lighter loads for aerobic exercise), swimming, etc are all good.
If you need a bit of a boost of energy or help with stamina, add Phenoh PERFORM, our endurance super blend to your water when exercising.
Learn More: Benefits of Real Endurance
Apart from what you put into your body, we must also mention stress and how it can impact your pH.
Stress is a natural reaction which happens if you're in a dangerous situation or one that needs total focus such as a top sportsperson in a major event. Stress, like this, is short-lived and is called acute stress. Recovery from it is usually swift.
Conversely, if your body's stress system is active for long periods then you have what is called chronic stress. Chronic stress causes the constant or frequent release of certain hormones and this can have adverse health consequences, particularly over a long time.
It is the constant repetition of stressful things in our lives that cause this and also negatively impact your pH balance by making your body function in ways that promote acidity.
Meditation, light exercise, spending time in nature and taking regular time out for rest, recreation and relaxation are all good ways to help reduce your stress levels.
Natural Alkaline Minerals
There are two naturally-occurring minerals which, when used in appropriate amounts, can offset acidic load during exercise, improve oxygen delivery for improved performance, and more.
Phosphate is a urinary buffer and the second most bioavailable buffer in the bloodstream.
When the body adapts to altitude, for example, phosphate is involved in shifting the hemoglobin-oxygen dissociation curve so that more oxygen is delivered to peripheral tissues and the body can continue to perform at its best.
Bicarbonate is a respiratory buffer and the leading mineral buffer responsible for regulating blood pH. When the blood becomes acidic, bicarbonate scavenges the extra acid and delivers it to the lungs where it is exhaled from the body as carbon dioxide.
Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) is very helpful in neutralizing excess acidity. The drinking of small quantities of food-grade baking soda or our better-tasting and more nutritious blends of it in water helps to balance out the body's pH.
Phosphate works together with bicarbonate in regulating blood pH but is also involved in other energy producing systems as well.
Learn More: The Science
So effective are these natural alkaline minerals, we include them as key ingredients in all of our products.
Finally, when it comes to alkaline versus acidic and balancing acid and alkali in the body the key things to remember are:
- Stay properly hydrated
- Eat more raw plant-based foods
- Eat fewer processed foods
- Exercise regularly
- Reduce your stress levels
In addition to these tips, you can also supplement your diet with natural alkaline minerals by adding our unique formulations to your water:
- REPLENISH - Our Hydration Superblend of Himalayan Pink Salt, Aloe Vera, and Bamboo Extract
- DEFEND - Our Immunity Superblend of Echinacea, Turmeric, Ginger, and Green Tea
- FOCUS - Our Energy Superblend of Matcha, Green Tea, Lion’s Mane, and Rhodiola Rosea
- PERFORM - Our Endurance Superblend of Himalayan Pink Salt, Honey, Beet Root, Purple Sweet Potato, and Rhodiola Rosea
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