How to help your body maintain perfect pH

pH is a figure that represents the acidity or alkalinity of a solution, like human blood.

Image of several stacked rocks perfectly balanced

A pH of 7 is considered neutral but the normal range for the arterial blood varies between 7.35 and 7.45. If your pH is far afield from 7.4, you have a medical problem, as your cells and metabolic functions will fail with very little variation.

The body uses many mechanisms to control acidity/alkalinity. If you are below 6.9 or above 7.8, you will be comatose, so your body makes adjustments through breathing, skin, urine.


On the pH scale from 0 to 14, 14 is the most alkaline. Lower numbers move you into the acidic range, so you can see that the range considered normal is slightly alkaline. If your body is too acidic (acidosis), you might have some symptoms associated with it:

  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Muscle pain after light exertion

If your body is too alkaline (alkalosis, which is somewhat rare), you may have different symptoms:

  • Calcium deposits
  • Confusion
  • Tremor
  • Muscle twitching or spasms
  • Nausea
  • Numbness


It’s easy to buy a home kit to test your pH with saliva. Normal saliva pH is a little different from blood pH–between 6.5 to 7.0. Foods are considered to be “alkaline producing” or “acid producing,” so it would seem that you could take easy steps to correct your balance and alter your pH.


As with almost every subject, there is controversy.  Some claim that there is no scientific evidence to support the idea that eating alkaline-forming foods affect blood pH to any significant degree; only that it affects your urine pH.  According to others, there is a mountain of evidence to support the alkaline diet. It does make some sense that if your body works every moment to keep your pH levels safe, then giving your body high-quality fuel must be a good thing. I think that is the whole point. There certainly are scientific articles that relate to alkalinity and how it supports health. It cannot be measured in blood pH because, again, your body is equipped to manage that in a very small range, no matter what you eat (because if it didn’t, you would die). The point is to make it easier on your body to do that.


Those who believe in the alkaline diet recommend you try to eat about 4 times more alkaline-forming foods than acid-forming foods, as a general rule. It won’t be surprising to learn that the foods that you should be eating in greatest quantities are generally the same foods that support overall good health. As you might expect, sugar is highly acid-forming. The expected outcome of eating more of the alkaline foods and fewer of the acid foods is that your health and immunity improve, your body doesn’t have to work so hard against bad fuel, and you feel great.

There are acid-alkaline food charts online but it seems superfluous to spend a lot of time attempting to balance your diet by trying to figure out if 80% of what you eat each day is alkaline. Eat a wide variety of foods, most of them fresh, whole, living foods. Don’t eat excessive protein, get rid of the junk (processed foods stripped of their nutrients, alcohol, smoking, sodas, and excessive sugars), and your body will take care of your pH.

See the Zone Diet for a nutrition plan that, if followed, will free you from the worry of tending specifically to the balance of your pH.