Understanding pH Levels
Let’s face it: Some health-related topics go unaddressed. With minimal side effects initially, it’s easy for some things — like balancing your pH levels — to take a back seat. Especially when it feels like there are so many other (perhaps larger) issues to focus your energy on. But no matter how minor the issue may seem, it’s important to stay informed on how it could impact you long term.
What is pH?
Simply put, pH (potential of hydrogen) is the measure of acids and bases in your blood and other fluids. Our bodies are designed to naturally maintain a healthy balance between the two, helping the body function optimally and resist disease. However, if we don’t do our part to support the body during this process, we can run into problems.
Your pH levels fluctuate, ranging anywhere from 0 to 14 depending on the type of fluid you’re measuring. For instance, your blood is naturally more alkaline or basic, while your stomach is generally more acidic. For scale, consider water, which has a pH level of 7. Anything below 7 is considered acidic, meaning there are more hydrogen ion compounds and anything higher than 7 is alkaline, meaning there are fewer hydrogen ion compounds.
What can happen if your pH levels aren’t balanced?
Believe it or not, too much acidity can weaken the body and cause toxins to multiply — leading to issues like diabetes, premature aging, and yeast overgrowth. Although on the other end of that, if you have too many bases in your body fluids, you may experience gastrointestinal problems or skin irritations. Our organs are always working to balance out pH levels — the kidneys and lungs playing a critical role in this process. But there’s always the potential for much worse symptoms to appear.
For starters, if your body fluids become too acidic, you may experience acidosis. This means that your kidneys and lungs aren’t able to balance your pH levels like they should. There are numerous types to consider, including respiratory, metabolic, and lactic. On the other end of that, if your blood pH levels become too alkaline, you may experience alkalosis. This means that your body fluids contain too many bases. Again, there are several types of alkalosis to consider. No matter what type of acidosis or alkalosis, the earlier the issue is uncovered, the better the end result will be.
How can you restore and maintain healthy pH levels?
Unfortunately, you can’t always prevent a pH imbalance from happening. But there are preliminary steps you can take to reduce the risk. Look at your diet, for instance. Do you consume a lot of fruit? You may need to drink more water (a recommended 8-10 glasses per day) to keep your system in balance. Fruits aren’t the only acidic thing to look out for, though. Red meat, artificial sweeteners, and refined carbohydrates are highly acidic and more difficult to balance. If you consume these foods regularly, you may want to think twice. Incorporate more alkalizing foods like whole grains and healthy fats into your diet to make it more balanced. If testing shows you have a pH imbalance, there are medications and supplements to help you recover, but you should always consult your doctor for treatment.
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