pH Balance of Your Body
You have always heard the word “pH” in school, in medical laboratories, in health facilities like hospitals and clinics and even in health topics including this one. It seems that pH is a big man in the world of science. But why it is so and how?
pH actually stands for the “power of Hydrogen”. Thus it’s a measurement of the concentration of the hydrogen ions in the body. The pH scale goes about from 1 to 14; 1 to 6 shows the scale range of acidity while 8 to 14 show alkalinity. So where does 7 lie? It’s considered to be the neutral pH. Ideally, the body’s pH should not be in between 7.30 to 7.45. These pH levels should be maintained to make your cells stay healthy and function properly.
You might have heard from before that the food you eat and drink are responsible for maintaining the pH levels in your body. WRONG. The food you eat and drink may have contributed to your body’s acidity or alkalinity but it not something that maintains the pH balance in your body. What’s amazing with the human body is that it is composed of an intricate system of buffers that is always at work to maintain the body’s pH.
Now what happens when the body’s pH falls below the minimum 7.35? It results to a state called acidosis that throws your central nervous system into depression. When severe acidosis occurs, which means a pH balance below 7.0; it might cause someone to go under coma and worse, death. When the body’s pH goes above the maximum level which is 7.45 pH, it goes under the condition called alkalosis. Through an altered mechanism, severe alkalosis would make your body go into severe convulsions, muscle spasms and nervousness. In most cases, it’s the convulsions that cause death.
So how are the foods you eat responsible with balancing your body pH? You have read earlier that there is actually none but those foods you eat affects your body fluid which in turn is responsible to determining your body’s pH. When you finally ingest food and drinks, the nutrients they contain ends up being an acid ash or alkaline ash depending on their pH. Your body cells also produce acids that interact with these ashes, wand when they meet become responsible for the different forces and metabolic processes that happens inside your body. The body’s buffering system (carbonic acid-bicarbonate buffer system, protein buffer system and phosphate buffer system) together with the body’s eradication of hydrogen ions through the kidneys and carbon dioxide exhalation maintains the balance from going in on an overdrive.
When you eat foods that are too acidic, you are overtaxing your buffering systems that results to detrimental changes with your overall health. Your phosphate buffers for example uses several phosphate ions to neutralize strong bases and acids in your body. Most of these phosphate ions depend on calcium phosphate salts which is the structural mechanism of your teeth and bones. When you eat a diet that is acid forming, your phosphate buffers draw their supply of calcium phosphate from your bones and teeth thus increasing the incidence of osteoporosis and bone breakage. This also results to your urinary system developing calcium-rich stones in your kidneys as they filter your blood on an acid-forming diet.
There are many other examples of how an acidic diet can affect your overall health and it’s pertinent that you avoid this by eating more alkaline forming foods like fruits and vegetables and limiting your intake of acid forming foods like grains, processed foods and animal foods like red meats.