Is Alkalizing Your Body Really Beneficial? Some Scientist Don't Think So
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When it comes to achieving optimal health, certain factors like toxins, stress, medications, and genetics can hinder us from reaching our goals on a cellular level. It is said that alkalizing our bodies to maintain a proper pH level can help reverse the effects of these factors, but now some scientists say it’s more bogus than beneficial.

We have trillions of cells that work together to carry out important tasks that play an essential role in how well we function, including the production of vitamins, proteins, neurotransmitters, hormones, enzymes and even how well we convert nutrients into energy. But can maintaining an alkaline diet help regulate those bodily functions?

What Is pH Balance?

We’ve all learned about pH balance in our high school chemistry classes, but if it’s been a while, here’s a quick chemistry lesson:

pH Balance Chart
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The pH stands for the “potential of hydrogen,” and is the measure of acidity. Anything below a pH of seven is considered “acidic,” and anything above seven is considered to be “alkaline or base.”  An acidic environment has many hydrogen ions while an alkaline environment has few hydrogen ions and more oxygen ions.

Water, for example, has a pH of seven and is neither alkaline nor acidic. Our blood is almost 92 percent water and eight percent blood plasma. According to research, in order to sustain human life, our blood needs to remain at a pH level of 7.4 which is in a slightly alkaline state.

Proponents of alkaline would claim that an alkaline diet, including drinking alkaline water, can help our bodies get rid of disease-causing acidity and live a healthier lifestyle. A few studies have supported these claims, however, some scientists remain very skeptical.

Do You Need an Alkaline Diet?

“Alkaline” has become increasingly popular within the health and wellness world. But the concept that everyone needs to alkalize their body through an alkaline diet is not effective according to some scientists.

The notion behind an alkaline diet or alkaline water is that in order to lower acidity in the body, you should eat and drink food and water with a higher pH level.

Proponents of an alkaline diet argue that meat, wheat, refined sugar, and processed foods with additives can cause your body to overproduce acid that can potentially harm your health, and that low-acidic food can help balance things out by lowering your body’s acidity.

However, according to scientists who argue against the alkaline diet, there are a few problems with this concept.

Nutrition sciences instructor Allison Childress, for example, claims that foods with a high “acid load” don’t have much impact on our body’s pH levels.

“All food is acidic in the stomach and alkaline in the intestines,” Childress adds. So, while the pH level of your urine can vary, Childress claims it’s not clear how much your diet has to do with that.

Even if what you eat does change your urine’s acid levels, according to Childress, “your diet does not affect your blood’s pH levels at all.” National health authorities and other researchers both agree that altering the cell environment of the human body to create a less-acidic, less-cancer environment is virtually impossible.

Is An Alkaline Diet Worth It?

For the most part, according to research, claims about alkaline diets changing your body’s pH levels are unsubstantiated. Each organ system has a unique pH range that do a fantastic job of maintaining a balanced pH level.

It’s possible that an alkaline diet and and alkaline water could offer some benefits in certain circumstances. But one should always do their own research and talk to a medical professional before simply following unsubstantiated claims.


References

Heid, Markham. “Is the Alkaline Diet the Real Deal?” Shape Magazine, Shape Magazine, 5 June 2015, www.shape.com/healthy-eating/diet-tips/alkaline-diet-real-deal.
 
Dayton, Lily, and Lisa Mulcahy. “Those Pricey Alkaline Waters Aren’t Doing Much for Your Health, Expert Says.” Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times, 9 July 2016, www.latimes.com/health/la-he-alkaline-water-20160701-snap-story.html.
 
Berardi, Ph.D. John. “Alkaline Water: Beneficial or Bogus?” The Huffington Post, TheHuffingtonPost.com, 20 July 2016, www.huffingtonpost.com/john-berardi-phd/alkaline-water_b_7762588.html.