If you're looking to raise your body pH level quickly, then it's essential to make sure you're doing it safely. Like everything else in your body, your pH levels have to maintain their homeostasis. So while you may need to neutralize your acidic system, you don't want to make it basic either.
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Why Raise Your pH Levels?
Your body's optimum pH range is between 7.35 and 7.45, which is very narrow. That means you don't want to make changes to it unless needed. So before starting one of the methods for raising your pH levels, you'll want to take a pH balance test.
The easiest way to test your pH levels at home is a urine pH balance test. Urine tends to run acidic, with an average score between 4.5 and 8 on the pH scale. Scores lower than that show a sign of a pH imbalance, though it may not be as severe as acidosis.
MedlinePlus explains the severity and causes of acidosis: It occurs when your body's pH levels are too low because there's too much acid in your bodily fluids. The kidneys and lungs regulate your acid and base levels. So when you experience acidosis, it's classified as respiratory or metabolic acidosis.
Metabolic Acidosis Diseases
Too much acid in the body causes metabolic acidosis. Your body may be producing too much acid, or your kidneys might not be filtering out enough. That's why there are so many forms of metabolic acidosis.
You can experience acidosis from kidney disease or if you have diabetes. Diabetic acidosis, also known as ketoacidosis, occurs when there is an excessive build-up of ketones. Another form of ketoacidosis is alcoholic acidosis, caused by alcohol use and starvation. Hyperchloremic acidosis occurs when your body runs too low on sodium bicarbonate, which can be triggered by diarrhea. With or without diarrhea, severe dehydration can be a cause as well.
Mild acidosis has few symptoms. You may feel tired or fatigued, or experience bouts of nausea and vomiting. Acute acidosis, however, can cause confusion, headaches and even lead to seizures and in the worst cases, death. While you can try to treat mild acidosis at home, the severity of acute acidosis requires a medical professional.
Other Reasons to Go Alkaline
While acidosis requires medical attention, mild acidosis can impact several other health issues. High levels of acid in the stomach can result in heartburn, the tight burning sensation that you can get in your chest. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) notes that acid reflux and GERD could also be triggered by acidity.
Another NIDDK article discusses the impacts of acidity on indigestion. These two articles show a clear connection between high acidity and digestive issues. Because these issues are related to digestion, they are easily impacted by what you eat. But gastric problems aren't the only conditions impacted by low pH levels.
A study published in the journal Translational Andrology and Urology in December 2015 found that other conditions that are triggered by high acidity can benefit from the alkaline effects of an antacid. They've been found to reduce symptoms for patients with interstitial cystitis, a bladder dysfunction that can flare up from low pH levels in the urine.
Antacids Lower Your pH Levels
MedlinePlus explains that antacids neutralize the acid in your stomach, noting that all current forms of antacids work equally as well, though liquid forms work faster. They are traditionally used to help with gastric issues such as heartburn, GERD and acid reflux.
According to a May 2016 study in RSC Advances, antacids are the quickest way to neutralize your pH levels. There's new research though, that indicates that nano-antacids are more effective than modern commercial antacids. They're still being researched and therefore aren't yet available. But they do show the continued discovery of promising new solutions for imbalanced pH levels.
Unfortunately, commercial antacids don't come without side effects. The MedlinePlus article notes that, depending on the base of the medicine, different issues may arise. Those based in magnesium may cause diarrhea, while calcium and aluminum bases may cause constipation. In rare cases, the calcium can even cause kidney stones and other related problems. Meanwhile, too much aluminum leeches calcium from your body, weakening your bones.
Read more: Side Effects of Eating Tums
Try an Alkaline Diet
You have probably heard about alkaline diets from one source or another. But while it's only beneficial to those who need it, it can make the impact you need. A May 2017 study in the Journal of Renal Nutrition found that eating a diet of mainly fruits and vegetables, which produce alkali, raises your body's pH levels. The study was looking at the impact of diet on alkaline levels for patients suffering from chronic kidney disease.
The results, however, show that a change in diet can impact anyone's pH levels. As you know, it's essential to take a pH balance test before making these types of changes. But if your system is acidic, then changing how you eat can make a difference.
What Are Alkaline Foods?
The Journal of Renal Nutrition study explains that the process of metabolizing protein releases acid. But don't completely cut protein out of your diet — you need it to survive. Try eating more plant-based proteins to help neutralize the effects. Or eating foods that reduce your acid load when metabolized, like citric acid and potassium.
Phosphates either naturally occur in foods or are added in to increase acidity. This impact is directly related to which foods contain phosphates; for instance, soda with phosphates increases acidity. The trisodium phosphate found in cereals, however, will lower your pH. Fats and sugars have a small impact on your body's pH levels; unless you're in ketosis, they won't make much of a difference,
What this shows is that eating an alkaline diet is not always easily achieved. The pH levels of foods in their whole forms may not reflect how it is broken down in the metabolic process. Similarly, not every apple will have the same pH level, which means you'd need to test every apple. So while an alkaline diet can raise your pH levels, limiting yourself to only alkaline foods would be a time-consuming and complicated process.
Read more: What Is an Alkaline Diet?
Drink That Alkaline Water
Alkaline water won't cure cancer, but it will raise your pH levels. A Biology of Sport study from December 2017 noted the positive effects of alkaline water. It's been found to improve athletes' hydration during aerobic exercises. It's also effective at raising the pH level of urine, showing overall effectiveness at boosting your body's pH.
There are several sources of alkaline water, which is probably one of the easiest ways to introduce more alkaline substances into your diet. If you don't want to have to buy endless supplies of water bottles, you can get an alkaline filtration system for your water. That way, you'll always have it when you need it. Just remember to use a pH balance test to make sure you're not overdoing it.
- Biol Sport: “The Effect of Mineral-Based Alkaline Water on Hydration Status and the Metabolic Response to Short-Term Anaerobic Exercise”
- Journal of Renal Nutrition: “Reducing the Dietary Acid Load: How a More Alkaline Diet Benefits Patients With Chronic Kidney Disease”
- LabCorp: “Urinalysis Three Types of Examinations 2”
- MedlinePlus: “Acidosis”
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: “Indigestion (Dyspepsia)”
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: “Acid Reflux (GER & GERD) in Adults”
- Translational Andrology and Urology: “Complementary and Alternative Medical Therapies for Interstitial Cystitis: An Update From the United States”
- RSC Advances: “Nano-Antacids Enhance PH Neutralization Beyond Their Bulk Counterparts: Synthesis and Characterization”
- MedlinePlus: “Taking Antacids”
- Acute Care Testing: "An Introduction to Acid-Base Balance in Health and Disease"