The Importance of pH Levels in the Body

25 May, 2020
It isn't possible to change the pH levels in your blood through changes to your diet. This is controlled by your kidneys. Read on to find out more!
 

Contrary to what some people believe, the pH levels in your bodily fluids don’t change. Alkaline diets have no effect on the body’s pH balance. This is something that’s controlled efficiently by the kidneys.

The kidneys are responsible for filtering your blood and maintaining the levels of key ions. This, in turn, generates urine and regulates your blood pH level, which the scientific literature puts at around 7.44.

Alkaline diets have no effect on body pH

Alkaline diets based on fruits and vegetables have recently become quite trendy because of the claim that they’re able to change your blood pH levels and thereby reduce the risk of certain diseases. However, this is completely false.

Firstly, consuming lots of vegetables on a regular basis is doubtlessly good for your health and will help prevent certain conditions. But this is because of the vitamins and antioxidants they contain. They have nothing to do with your kidney function.

Current scientific studies show it isn’t possible to vary the pH levels in the body without resorting to pharmacological methods. And this is probably a good thing since varying your blood pH could kill you due to the disruption in nutrient transit and metabolic processes!

So, will an alkaline diet improve my health?

An alkaline diet can certainly have a positive impact on your health, but mainly because it’ll help you to acquire certain healthy habits. In the first instance, these types of diets shun processed products, simple sugars, and trans fats because they are ‘acidic foods’. Then, they encourage the consumption of fresh foods, which are called ‘basic foods’.

 
A collection of slices of citrus fruit.

This change in your eating pattern will mean that you get a better supply of vitamins and minerals, all of which will have a positive impact on your cardiovascular health, according to an article published in the journal Nature Reviews Cardiology.

In addition, eating fatty acids found in oily fish and nuts, such as omega-3, will also be good for your heart. So, as you can see, there are definitely some positives to gain from this type of diet.

However, despite all of this, your body’s pH levels will remain exactly the same. The only possible variation might be the pH level of your urine. This could change depending on the excretion of certain minerals. But it’s hardly worth changing your diet for.

Studies on the influence of diet on bodily pH levels

Few studies exist which measure pH variation as a result of different eating patterns. This is mainly because the kidneys’ main role is to maintain the body’s acid-base balance.

Physiology textbooks, therefore, are quite sure about the impossibility of affecting the body’s pH balance without pharmacological treatment. As a result, very few researchers have proposed any related studies.

 

Most of the studies that do exist have looked at the effects of an alkaline diet on bone density and the risk of osteoporosis. This is because these types of diets do vary the amount of minerals removed via the kidneys, such as calcium or phosphorus. However, studies still haven’t shown any relationship between the two.

A woman eating an alkaline diet to regulate her pH levels.

You can’t change your body’s pH levels!

Because your kidneys are so efficient, the body’s pH levels will always stay the same unless you have a medical condition. You simply can’t change them by changing your diet. In any case, changing your body’s pH levels could easily cause you serious health problems or even death.

This doesn’t mean that alkaline diets can’t bring you positive health benefits. They can certainly help to prevent diseases in the medium and long term because of their high levels of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Eating more fresh products instead of processed ones is always good for your health. However, setting those harmful foods to one side is not going to alter your kidney function and certainly not going to change your body’s pH levels.

 
  • Fenton TR., Fenton CJ., Evidence does not support the alkaline diet. Osteoporos Int, 2016. 27 (7): 2387-2388.
  • Pilz S., Verheyen N., Grubler MR., Tomaschitz A., Marz W., Vitamin D and cardiovascular disease prevention. Nat Rev Cardiol, 2016. 13 (7): 404-17.