Understanding pH levels of the blood and various tissues is critical as it is a delicate balancing act modulated through various mechanisms. The importance of pH balance in the body cannot be overlooked as it is critical for the body to function optimally. While the blood is alkaline, an acidic stomach is crucial for the absorption of calcium which helps regulate blood pH levels and build healthy bones.
The pH scale runs from 0-14, with 7 being neutral. Anything below 7 is acidic, and anything above 7 is alkaline. An increase in the concentration of hydrogen ions (H+) makes a substance more acidic, and an increase in hydroxide ions (OH-) makes a substance more alkaline.
While eating a diet high in alkaline-forming foods such as leafy green vegetables is healthy, understanding that the stomach is designed to have an acid pH needs to be added to the picture. Alkalizing the stomach with baking soda and alkaline water can do more harm than good.
The best way to get more alkaline minerals into the body is by eating foods high in alkaline minerals. The alkaline mineral calcium requires an acidic pH of the stomach for optimal absorption.
Understanding Ph levels in the body
The body tightly regulates the pH of the blood and ensures that it is slightly alkaline between a pH of 7.35 and 7.45.
The body also regulates the pH of the stomach, which is designed to be acidic, at a pH between 1.5-3.5.
As you can see, the stomach is meant to have an acidic pH, and the blood has a slightly alkaline pH. Disrupting the stomach pH required for optimal calcium absorption can also disrupt blood pH, as calcium is an alkaline mineral that helps maintain normal blood pH.
Understanding pH levels and the importance of maintaining the optimal level of acidity in the stomach for the absorption of alkaline minerals such as calcium is vital, as the proper ph balance of both the blood and stomach are essential for optimal body function and health.
The blood maintains a slightly alkaline state, while the stomach maintains an acidic ph. The ph of the blood must stay within range, which is why the body has many buffer systems for countering excess acidosis or alkalosis of the blood.
What are alkaline-forming minerals?
What makes a food alkaline-forming or acid-forming is the ash or residue left over after the food is burned as fuel.
Alkaline-forming foods are high in alkaline minerals: potassium, sodium, calcium, and magnesium.
What are acid-forming minerals?
Acid-forming foods are high in acid minerals: chlorine, Sulphur, and phosphorus.
Most fruits and vegetables are alkaline-forming, while most bread, cereals, fish, meat, eggs, and chicken are acid-forming. A healthy balanced diet should contain both acidic and alkali-forming foods. However, most people are still not eating enough alkaline foods, which hinders the body’s ability to maintain balanced Ph levels of various tissues.
Due to a decreased consumption of alkaline foods and the consumption of more acid-producing foods in the standard American diet, many adults cannot excrete the daily dietary acid load; thus, the excess acid is buffered by the bone causing weak bones.
But before you jump on the next alkalizing trend, ask yourself how you are alkalizing your body. Are you disrupting your stomach acid levels in the process and causing low stomach acid, leading to weak bone density? (more on this later)
One of the body’s first lines of defense is for the pH of the stomach to have an acidic pH, and for a good reason. The purpose of stomach acid is to destroy harmful pathogens and bacteria that enter the body through the food you eat. Food is one of the primary ways in which the body is exposed to pathogens which is why one of the first steps of the digestive process is to bathe the food in stomach acid to kill any harmful bacteria that may have been on the food.
An acidic stomach is also needed to digest your protein. If you are constantly alkalizing with alkaline water, drinks, or bicarb soda (especially with meals), protein and food will sit in your stomach longer and begin to ferment. As the body holds on to the food for longer due to low stomach acid, it will rot. Low stomach acid caused by alkalizing the wrong way can start a long list of digestive symptoms that begin to present.
The Importance of pH Balance in the Body
Maintaining a balanced ph of blood between 7.35 and 7.45 is critically essential for many processes, including the oxygenation of blood. Since the pH of the blood is so important, the body has many mechanisms for countering the effects of too much acid or alkali in the blood.
A blood pH below 7.35 is acidemia, and a pH above 7.45 is alkalemia. The human body experiences four main types of acid-based disorders:
- metabolic acidosis
- metabolic alkalosis
- respiratory acidosis
- respiratory alkalosis.
The main organ systems involved in maintaining the body’s pH levels are the renal system and the respiratory system.
The renal system affects pH by reabsorbing bicarbonate which is alkaline and excreting acids, and hydrogen ions, which are acidic. If bicarbonate is reabsorbed and acid is secreted into the urine, the body’s pH becomes more alkaline. When bicarbonate is not reabsorbed, or acid is not excreted into the urine, pH becomes more acidic.
The respiratory system also affects and modulates pH levels as exhaling excess carbon dioxide will increase the body’s ph levels to make them more alkaline. The reverse is also true inadequate breathing and exhalation of carbon dioxide will lower the ph of the body, making it more acidic. One more reason to breathe and exhale correctly!
How the bones support Ph balance in the body
Another way in which the body modulates and maintains proper pH levels of the blood is through calcium and the bones. The bone acts as a buffer and helps to balance the pH of the blood. When the blood’s pH levels fall and become too acidic, the parathyroid gland detects this change and releases the parathyroid hormone.
Parathyroid hormone stimulates the osteoclast cells in the bone to break down the bone to release calcium, an alkaline mineral that is then deposited in the blood to raise the pH of the blood back to the normal pH range.
When the pH levels of the blood rise and become too alkaline, the thyroid releases the hormone calcitriol to stimulate the osteoblast cells, which are the bone-building cells to take calcium from the blood and deposit it into the bone to help lower the blood pH back to its normal range.
Through the transfer of calcium being released from the bone through resorption or stored in the bone through the process of remodeling, the correct pH of the blood is maintained.
While maintaining optimal pH through dietary means is important, there is much more to support the fine-tuning of pH balance through the various parts of the body and its tissues through the function of the lungs, kidneys, and calcium homeostasis.
If alkalizing the body is done incorrectly, such as alkalizing the stomach with baking soda or alkaline water, more imbalances can occur throughout the body, further disrupting the intelligent systems of the body.
For this reason, understanding ph levels and how the body maintains the proper pH of all these tissues is super important, as you don’t want to alkalize the body the wrong way. The importance of pH balance in the body and all its tissues is necessary for the optimal function of each tissue.
What causes calcium deficiency?
A common cause of calcium deficiency and side effects of low stomach acid is poor absorption of calcium which can contribute to osteoporosis and weak bone density. Calcium is needed for making healthy bones and helping maintain the blood’s slightly alkaline pH through bone remodeling.
For this reason, it is best to focus on eating an alkaline diet and foods high in calcium for bone health instead of alkalizing with baking soda or alkaline water that causes a pH imbalance in the stomach.
How to Keep pH Levels Balanced in the Body for Healthy Bones
To have healthy bones, you must be able to digest and absorb calcium from foods in the diet. Calcium absorption requires adequate stomach acid (which often declines with age) and the ability to digest and absorb your fat-soluble vitamins D and K, which help with utilizing calcium in the bones. The absorption of vitamin D and vitamin K requires good bile production and flow.
The best natural way to improve bone strength is to eat calcium-rich foods while supporting the stomach’s acidity by taking apple cider vinegar or lemon juice with meals to help with calcium absorption. Foods high in calcium include raw milk, cheese, plain yogurt, almonds, and leafy greens such as kale, okra, broccoli, and watercress.