What is optimal pH, and how can you achieve it? This is an excellent query, and one which can have an impact upon your long-term health. First put forth in 1909, pH is the logarithmic measure of hydrogen ion concentration in any water soluble solution (1). While this may sound highly technical and you may assume this is rather useless information, the pH within your body may be a critical topic to consider when looking to achieve health. Why?
Your body must keep a tight rein on the pH within your system, using a variety of mechanisms to achieve this crucial balance on a daily basis. A value at or very near to 7.4 on the pH scale is ideal within your blood, and the body is very intolerant to even small variations from this number. In fact, according to one expert source, if your blood pH goes above 7.8 or falls lower than 6.8, this can be fatal. Luckily, several substances and compounds act as buffers, to keep your blood pH within the required range at all times (2).
However, some experts hold that forcing the body to draw upon its resources to maintain the optimal pH balance is hard on your system. They recommend adhering to an alkaline diet and drinking alkaline water, in order to lower the burden placed on your body – while at the same time refreshing, cleansing and keeping your system healthy.
As just mentioned, 7.4 is the optimal pH for your blood to be at all times. However, you may be confused, if you've ever used home testing kits, which allow you to determine the pH level of either your urine or saliva. These kits use special paper that will turn a specific color, depending upon the amount of acidity or alkalinity that is present. It is important to note that the optimal pH reading for your saliva is much lower when compared to your blood, with a number between 6.5 and 7.0 being considered normal (3).
The nature of the pH scale means that even small shifts represent a large change within the acidity or alkalinity of your blood. How so? For example, if your blood pH were to fluctuate from 7.4 down to 6.4, this actually means that the concentration of hydrogen ions within your blood has gone up by a factor of ten (4). This is astonishing, and it clearly shows why keeping your blood within a strict pH range is such a priority to your body. In fact, your body will rob minerals from cells, organs and even bones in order to keep your blood pH within acceptable limits.
While experts disagree on whether consuming primarily alkaline foods and alkaline drinks is truly important, and more research is called for, many believe that this is the best way for you to impact your health. One reason they cite is the tendency created by the typical modern diet towards over-acidity, by creating too much acidic waste within the body (5).
Also, some body processes are acid-producing (such as exercising spurring the creation of lactic acid within the muscles). This isn't to say that you should stop exercising, but instead, that you may want to consider following an alkaline diet plan. In addition, pay careful attention to the liquids you drink, as these can impact your pH as well. Taken together, this strategy can help your body to more easily maintain an optimal pH level - which may lead to less stress on your system and a greater level of wellness for you to enjoy.