We all have acidic and alkaline substances in our system, which our bodies balance out to maintain a stable pH. But if your pH becomes overly acidic, it can lead to unpleasant symptoms and potential health complications, which is why it's important to know how to increase pH level in the body.
But before diving into how to raise your pH level, here's a background on body pH: Per a January 2022 StatPearls article, the average human body pH is 7.35 to 7.45 (on a scale of 0 to 14, ranging from acidic to alkaline, where 7 is neutral).
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This slightly alkaline pH helps keep your blood oxygenated so you can function at your best, per the StatPearls article. If your pH level falls below 7.35, that indicates you have too much acid in your body fluids, a condition called acidemia.
Acidemia can be a sign of acid disorders like metabolic or respiratory acidosis, per the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM).
To help you avoid these conditions, here are the best ways to make your body less acidic, including tips for how to get your pH level up.
Severe acidosis can lead to shock and even death, per the NLM. If you show signs of the condition — like confusion, shortness of breath and fatigue — and have an underlying disease like diabetes, kidney disease, liver failure or cancer, visit your doctor so they can help you raise the pH in your body or remove acidity.
1. Take an Antacid
Some forms of acidosis — like hyperchloremic acidosis — can occur if you lose too much sodium bicarbonate, which can be the case if you have severe diarrhea, per the NLM.
So how do you raise body pH in situations like this? Take a sodium bicarbonate supplement, also known as an antacid. In fact, doctors can prescribe sodium bicarbonate antacids to help make blood or urine less acidic, according to the NLM.
Indeed, according to a May 2016 study in RSC Advances, antacids are the quickest way to alkalize the body.
The research also suggests that nano-antacids may provide longer-lasting relief than modern commercial antacids. However, this form of antacid is still being researched, so more studies are needed to determine if they're a better method for how to make your body alkaline fast.
Before popping an antacid to change an acidic body pH to alkaline, it's helpful to verify if you have acidemia in the first place. According to the NLM, you can visit your doctor for blood or urine tests to diagnose the condition and learn how to boost your pH balance.
2. Follow an Alkaline Diet
Another of the easiest ways to alkalize the body naturally is by following an alkaline diet.
There's some research to back it up: According to a May 2018 study in the Journal of Renal Nutrition, eating alkaline foods like fruits and veggies was linked to improved acidosis for people with chronic kidney disease.
So if you're wondering how to become more alkaline, try munching on these alkaline diet foods:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Nuts and seeds
- Oils that contain beneficial fats, like avocado or olive oil
- Soy products like tofu or soybeans
- Herbal and green teas
The alkaline diet limits whole grains, low-fat dairy products and lean sources of seafood like fish. But these foods are also important parts of a balanced diet, per the Mayo Clinic, so it may not be ideal to cut them out entirely. To make sure you get the nutrients you need, work with your doctor or dietitian to craft the best diet for you.
3. Stay Hydrated
Severe dehydration can lead to metabolic acidosis, according to the NLM. So if you're wondering how to become alkaline quickly, staying hydrated is key.
Drinking plenty of fluids (like water and herbal tea) is essential for your overall wellbeing. It's also especially important if you're exercising intensely, as vigorous physical activity can sometimes lead to lactic acidosis, another form of acidosis that occurs when too much lactic acid accumulates in your system, per the NLM.
Use this equation to determine how much water you should drink every day to keep your body functioning well:
- Body weight (in pounds) ÷ 2 = minimum ounces of water you should drink per day.
Is Alkaline Water the Quickest Way to Alkalize Your Body?
If you're focusing on hydration as a method for how to alkalize your body fast, drinking alkaline water may seem appealing.
A September 2017 Biology of Sport study found that hydrating with low-mineral alkaline water was linked to increased urine pH and improved hydration during high-intensity interval exercise. However, the research only included 36 athletes, so larger studies are needed to see if this is an effective method for how to alkalize your body fast.
What's more, despite this study, most experts agree that there's not enough evidence to support using alkaline water to raise pH levels and that attempting to alter your body's pH may not be good for your health, per the Cleveland Clinic. Your best bet? Stick to plain H2O.
4. Manage Underlying Conditions
A number of underlying conditions can lead to acidosis. Per the NLM, these include:
- Kidney disease
- Liver failure
- Low blood sugar
- Prolonged lack of oxygen
- Severe dehydration
- Poisoning from carbon monoxide, aspirin, ethylene glycol or methanol
- Lung disease
- Nerve or muscle disorders
- Chest deformity or injury
How to increase pH level and avoid acidosis thus depends on keeping any underlying conditions under control, according to the NLM. Work with your doctor to determine how to best manage your health.
How Long Does It Take to Alkalize the Body?
There's no set time frame for how to make body alkaline quickly, because the severity and cause of acidosis varies from person to person. Talk to your doctor about how to increase pH levels in your body to best address excess acid.
- Journal of Renal Nutrition: “Alkaline Diet and Metabolic Acidosis: Practical Approaches to the Nutritional Management of Chronic Kidney Disease"
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: “Acidosis”
- RSC Advances: “Nano-Antacids Enhance PH Neutralization Beyond Their Bulk Counterparts: Synthesis and Characterization”
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: “Sodium Bicarbonate”
- Mayo Clinic: "Healthy diets"
- Cleveland Clinic: "Bottled Alkaline Water — Don’t Believe the Marketing Hype"
- Biology of Sport: "The effect of mineral-based alkaline water on hydration status and the metabolic response to short-term anaerobic exercise"
- StatPearls: "Physiology, Acid Base Balance"
Is this an emergency? If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911.