Laurie DeRosa RDH
To understand alkalinity it is important to have an understanding of pH.
pH is an acronym for “potential of hydrogen,” a value that indicates the acidity or alkalinity of a liquid. The measurement of the hydrogen ion concentration in a liquid determines the pH value. Every liquid has a pH value, which falls on a scale between 0 and 14, with 7 being neutral. A pH value less than 7 is acidic: values greater than 7 indicate alkalinity.
Your body also has a pH value. In fact, all your body fluids each have a pH value, but blood most accurately reflects the acidity or alkalinity of your body. Ideally, your blood’s pH should be between 7.3 and 7.5.
How Too Much Acid Affects Us
Research has shown that a slightly more alkaline body is vital for good health and is associated with higher energy levels, better digestion, a healthy weight balance, increased mental clarity, fewer aches and pains, and better overall health. However, if your body is more acidic this will allow unhealthy bacteria to survive and may cause chronic fatigue, weight gain, joint pain, immune deficiency, premature aging, and more. When acids build up in your system your body will restore its optimal pH by depleting certain minerals, such as potassium, calcium and magnesium, from organs and bones.
Balance Your pH With the Right Foods
You can help your body neutralize acids in the blood and maintain a balanced pH by taking some simple steps, like eating the right foods and exercising. Fresh green vegetables, citrus fruits and nuts are alkaline-producing foods while processed meats, dairy products and processed snacks are acid producing.
There are emotional and psychological benefits of having a balanced pH as well. People who achieve their ideal pH balance have been shown to experience a sense of emotional balance and to feel joy and serenity more often. A more acidic environment, however, has been linked to a higher occurrence of anger, stress, fatigue and fear.
Testing Your pH is Easy
A reading of 7.0 to 7.4 is optimal balance, with less than 7 indicating an acidic environment and greater than 7 an alkaline environment. There are a variety of ways to determine your body’s pH, the most accurate of which is to find the pH value of your blood using a pH meter. However, that can be impractical since it would require drawing blood and purchasing a special meter. A more practical and inexpensive method is to find the pH level of your urine using pH strips. But, since your urine pH varies with what you eat, you should measure your pH with pH strips after fasting for at least 12 hours, or when you get up in the morning before you exercise, eat or drink anything.
Only when your pH is balanced is your body able to effectively absorb and utilize important vitamins, minerals and nutrients from your diet and supplements. By managing your pH range and moving toward a more alkaline environment, you should feel better and experience better health.
Laurie DeRosa RDH is a Registered Dental Hygienist with the biological dentistry group at National Integrated Health Associates, NIHA, an integrative medicine and dental center serving the Washington DC metro area. Using the latest in dental technology, her goal is to help the dental patient understand the important connection between oral health and their overall health.