With the focus on prebiotics and probiotics, the notion of “pH balance” is not center-stage. Yet, this vital health component is interwoven with microbiome health.
IS THERE AN OPTIMAL pH?
There is no one pH level for the entire body. Different organs, tissues, and cells have different pH levels. On a scale of 0-14, seven is neutral. Your stomach, which breaks down food, is well below seven. The pH of your brain is at another level. Your skin is at another. The optimal pH of your blood is slightly alkaline, at a pH between the narrow range 7.35 and 7.45.
WHERE IN THE BODY IS THE PH LEVEL MOST IMPORTANT?
Our blood. The plasma in our blood, the liquid portion, needs to be at the right pH level – slightly alkaline – in order to carry oxygen. If it can’t carry sufficient oxygen to the cells, their function can be impaired. Blood also carries nutrients throughout the body and needs to be at the optimal level to do this job efficiently. An imbalanced blood pH is an environment where pathogens, viruses, and mold can proliferate. The body will work hard to keep the blood pH at its optimal state.
DOES THE BODY REMOVE CALCIUM FROM THE BONES TO REVERSE ACIDITY IN THE BLOOD?
The body attempts to neutralize acidity by borrowing minerals from organ systems and bones. With time, organs and bones are weakened. This explains why osteoporosis and other diseases may develop.
ARE FAT CELLS CREATED TO REDUCE ACIDITY?
In an acidic state, the body will try to shield itself from danger by storing acid in fat cells. It may even create fat cells just to store acidity.
DO THESE SELF-DEFENSE MECHANISMS FIX OVER-ACIDITY?
Not always. Prolonged and excessive acidity causes a condition called acidosis. This causes a loss of insulin sensitivity and effects the metabolic functions, creating a vicious cycle. This can lead to renal disease, diabetes, diarrhea, systemic lupus, urinary tract obstruction.1
IS IT BETTER TO BE TOO ALKALINE?
The key word is balance. And that means a pH within that very tight range of 7.35-7.45. Each increment, upwards or downwards, has a dramatic effect on the body. Either over-acidity or over-alkalinity can be harmful. The balance is delicate and caution is required when it comes to diet and lifestyle factors.
WHAT HAPPENS TO THE BODY IN AN ACIDIC ENVIRONMENT?
Acidity acts like fertilizer for yeast, fungi, mold, and pathogenic bacteria. Excess acid can manifest as disease.
Reduced hormone levels, including growth hormones
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF OVER-ALKALINITY?
SHOULD I TEST MY ACID-ALKALINE BALANCE WITH A TEST STRIP?
Test strips help. But it would be better to have your urine tested and analyzed by a physician. If there is an imbalance of either too much acidity or alkalinity, a physician will help uncover the cause of the imbalance.
WHAT CAN I DO TO KEEP MY PH IN BALANCE?
Following The Microbiome Diet is your first line of defense. Eating a diet rich in nutrients and avoiding chemicals in processed food is the best way to maintain pH balance. A study by physicians emphasized the ability of a plant-based diet to maintain health and prevent diseases.
The Microbiome Diet strengthens the gut ecology like no other plant-based diet. The longer one stays on the Microbiome Diet, the more balanced the gut ecology is, and the healthier you – and your blood pH – become. 1 Pizzorno, J.ND, Editor in Chief. Acidosis: An Old Idea Validated by New Research Integr Med (Encinitas). 2015 Feb; 14(1): 8–12. 2 Tuso,P. MD. Nutritional Update for Physicians: Plant-Based Diets. Perm J. 2013 Spring; 17(2): 61–66.