Your body balances acidic and alkaline substances to maintain a stable pH. But if your pH level is thrown out of whack and there's too much acid in your internal fluids, you may be wondering how to remove acidity from the body.
First things first, what is an optimal pH balance? According to a January 2022 StatPearls article, the average pH of the human body is 7.4 (on a scale of 0 to 14, ranging from acidic to alkaline, where 7 is neutral).
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Having a slightly alkaline pH is important to keep your blood oxygenated, per the StatPearls article. Acidemia occurs when your pH dips below 7.35, which can be a sign of acid disorders like metabolic or respiratory acidosis.
To help, here's how to get rid of acid in your body and how to neutralize your pH balance naturally.
Before taking measures to neutralize acid or get acid out of your body, visit your doctor to see if you have acidosis, per the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM). If you do indeed have an underlying acid problem, then your doctor can treat it, which is the best way to neutralize acid in the long term.
1. Eat Alkaline Foods
What neutralizes acid? Alkali (also referred to as bases) can help.
Following an alkaline diet to neutralize acid may be one effective means to remove acidity from your body. Indeed, a May 2018 study in the Journal of Renal Nutrition found that eating alkaline foods — specifically, fruits and veggies — was linked to improved acidosis for people with chronic kidney disease.
Foods to eat on an alkaline diet include:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Nuts and seeds
- Oils that contain beneficial fats, like avocado or olive oil
- Soy products like tofu or soybeans
As a bonus, eating more alkaline foods may positively affect lean muscle mass, cardiovascular health and memory and cognition, according to a 2012 review in the Journal of Environmental and Public Health.
2. Limit or Avoid Acidic Foods
By the same token, limiting foods that throw off your pH balance is an effective method to help you get acid out of your body, according to the Journal of Renal Nutrition research.
Per the Journal of Environmental and Public Health review, here are foods to limit or avoid due to their high acid loads:
- Grain products like white bread, white rice and white-flour tortillas
- Dairy products like milk, yogurt and cheese
Whole grains, low-fat dairy products and lean sources of seafood like fish can throw off your pH balance, but they're also typically part of a nutritious diet, per the Mayo Clinic. As a result, you shouldn't necessarily cut them out entirely — instead, talk to your doctor or dietitian about the best eating plan for you and your health needs.
3. Stay Hydrated
Sometimes acidosis is the result of severe dehydration, according to the NLM. Staying well-hydrated is thus one way to make your body less acidic and prevent acidosis in the first place.
Use this equation to determine how much water you should drink every day to keep your body functioning at its best:
- Body weight (in pounds) ÷ 2 = minimum ounces of water you should drink per day.
4. Take Your Medications
Here's what else can neutralize acid: Taking medication for any underlying conditions.
That's because health issues like diabetes, kidney disease, liver failure and cancer can cause different types of acidosis, according to the NLM. Maintaining a consistent medicine regimen can thus help you avoid acidosis so you don't have to worry about scrambling to find a remedy that neutralizes acid once symptoms have already flared up.
5. Ask Your Doctor About Sodium Bicarbonate
Some forms of acidosis — like hyperchloremic acidosis — occur when your body loses too much sodium bicarbonate, a chemical compound that functions as an antacid, according to the NLM. This can be the case if you have severe diarrhea, for instance.
How do you neutralize acid from this condition (or, in other words, raise your body's pH)? Luckily, manufactured sodium bicarbonate isn't hard to come by: It's baking soda, per the NLM, and your doctor can prescribe you tablets or powder supplements to treat acidosis (along with other conditions, like heartburn and indigestion).
But make sure to talk to your doctor before trying this remedy, as they'll need to test your blood or urine to confirm acidosis before recommending this treatment for you.
How to Neutralize an Alkaline
Alkalosis is when your body's pH is too alkaline, according to the Cleveland Clinic. You can treat it by getting infusions of electrolytes and certain acids, like hydrochloric acid.
- Journal of Environmental and Public Health: "The Alkaline Diet: Is There Evidence That an Alkaline pH Diet Benefits Health?"
- StatPearls: "Physiology, Acid Base Balance"
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: "Metabolic acidosis"
- Journal of Renal Nutrition: "Alkaline Diet and Metabolic Acidosis: Practical Approaches to the Nutritional Management of Chronic Kidney Disease"
- Mayo Clinic: "Healthy diets"
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: "Sodium Bicarbonate"
- Cleveland Clinic: "Metabolic Alkalosis"