What is Your Potential?

For the goal of optimal health, let’s get a little scientific about this body suit in which we reside, and one of its most important pieces: pH. This article will help you better understand what pH is, how to measure it, how it affects your body, and what you can do to improve it.

Definition: Potential Hydrogen – the “potential” of any solution to accept Hydrogen ions.

Why is it important?

All enzymes (basis for biochemical reactions) and electrical energy (life) are under the control of pH. The pH controls the speed of chemical reactions in the body by controlling the speed of enzyme activity and electricity moving through the body. Increased pH (more alkaline) creates increased resistance so the electricity travels slower, which tends to keeps things cool and slow, like an alkaline battery. Lower pH (more acid) creates less resistance allowing the electricity to travel faster, making the system hot, like an acid battery.

How is it measured?

PH is measured on a logarithmic scale from 0 (acid) to 14 (alkaline), with 7 being neutral. Higher numbers indicate a substance is more alkaline, thus having a greater potential for absorbing hydrogen ions. Lower numbers indicate a substance is more acid, thus having less potential for absorbing hydrogen ions. The pH of the human body, mostly a solution of water, creates the environment within which its biochemical reactions and metabolic processes occur.

Each number on the scale represents a logarithm, which means there is a tenfold difference between each whole number. For example, a pH of 6 is ten times more acid than a pH of 7, and a pH of 5 is 100 times more acid than a pH of 7.

What causes pH to become imbalanced?

While emotions play an important role, diet appears to be the major influence in maintaining appropriate pH levels throughout the body. Research demonstrates that when food is metabolized and broken down, it leaves certain chemical and metallic residues, a noncombustible “ash” which, when combined with our body fluids, leaves either acid or alkali potentials of hydrogen. Certain foods are “acid-forming” in nature, whereas others are “alkali-forming”. Since the body’s pH is under the direct control of what we eat, changing your diet will change your pH, and changing your pH will change your life.

Blood pH

Blood, which is under pH control, has a narrow ideal range around 7.35 – 7.365 (slightly alkaline). When your blood pH falls outside this range even a small amount, it leads to symptoms and disease. Microorganisms in the blood can change shape, mutate, become pathogenic, and thrive; constructive enzymes become destructive, and oxygen delivery to the cells suffers. Further, when your blood pH leaves its safety zone, it will pull what it needs to survive from other parts of the body. The blood has zero tolerance for being imbalanced.

Now that you have been introduced to the importance of pH, how it is measured and how it affects the blood. Let’s look at how our pH affects urine and saliva . . . and how you can test your pH.

Urine pH

Urine pH reveals what the body is eliminating and how the body is responding to the food eaten, particularly the previous day. It shows how the kidneys, adrenals, lungs, liver and reproductive systems are regulating pH.

Urine pH can range from about 4.5 to 8.5 in the extremes, with the ideal being about 6.8. The pH moves through cycles throughout the day and changes accordingly. In a warmer climate the pH will be slightly lower at 6.3 or 6.4.

In general, the urine pH runs slightly acid in the early morning, slowly becoming more alkaline in the mid-afternoon, then shifting to back to slightly acid. Around 9:00 P.M. the urine pH should move again toward alkaline, providing a restful sleep.

Saliva pH

Saliva pH evaluates the emotional and environmental stressors on the body, and gives the status of our alkaline mineral reserves.

The pH of the saliva is generally slower to change than the pH of the urine. Early morning saliva pH readings should have only slight variations from day to day. Dietary and lifestyle adjustments will be reflected here, but it could take weeks to months for them to appear. However, pH saliva readings during the day will fluctuate immediately upon eating. The pH should always move in an alkaline direction before returning to its normal level, and it should increase by one full point after eating.

The best time to take saliva pH readings is immediately upon arising, prior to putting anything in your mouth. The ideal morning saliva reading is 6.4 – 6.8. After breakfast, the ideal saliva reading is 7.8 – 8.5.

How to test your pH

Color-coded pH paper is easily available from your pharmacy or on-line. Try to find the full-range paper (4.5 – 8.5) to measure the high ends of alkaline and acid.

To measure urine:
Tear off a piece of pH paper
Place in contact with “mid-stream” urine
Immediately compare it to the color code on the package of the pH paper

To measure saliva:
Tear off a piece of pH paper
Spit on a spoon, and place the paper in contact with saliva (don’t put the paper in your mouth!)
Immediately compare it to the color code on the package of the pH paper
Test and record your urine and saliva pH in the morning, afternoon and evening for seven days to establish your current average pH trend.
(This article is intended to give a brief overview of pH. It is in no way conclusive. For additional information, please check with your public library and/or the web.)

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