Which System Regulates pH in the Body? Plus How to Restore Balance
Disease thrives in an acidic environment, often due to chronic inflammation and fungal infection. For this reason, your body works tirelessly to ensure that the internal terrain is always slightly alkaline.
A pH of around 7.45 is optimal. Put in perspective, pH 0 is highly acidic and pH 14 is highly alkaline. The pH balance of your body is delicate and can be easily thrown off by acid-forming foods, or a lack (or excess) of exercise. Additionally, stress is an important factor that can throw your body's pH out of whack.
Acid-forming foods also generate high levels of free radicals, which can negatively affect overall health. Which is a double insult to your healthy lifestyle choices.
Another issue with the acid-base balance of your body is that it’s tied into your hormone and adrenal glands. Which can impact all aspects of your life, especially your mental, emotional and metabolic health.
Thankfully, our body is equipped with a wide variety of buffering systems that help regulate pH levels. These so-called “buffering systems” prevent far-reaching fluid pH alterations by absorbing excess hydrogen ions.
In this article, we’ll explore the various systems that control pH levels in the human body; whether bacteria prefer acidic or alkaline environments; the role your adrenal glands play in balancing pH levels; plus 9 simple ways to restore the pH balance of your body naturally.
The Systems that Control Acid-Base Balance
pH regulation in the body is vital for health and wellbeing. The acid-base balance (pH) of your body is closely tied to fluid metabolism and electrolyte balance.
The balance of body fluid pH is carried out, in the main, by your kidneys, brain and lungs. Electrolytes, on the other hand, regulate the plasma in blood and the ability to absorb water.
A disturbance in either system can impact endocrine systems, and thus hormone levels. Conversely, a disturbance to hormones can impact body fluid and blood pH.
Buffering agents in the body help to balance your body’s acidic load. Such as the fascia and bone. Chronic acidemia (high blood pH) contributes to bone demineralization and thus can lead to osteoporosis.
Bicarbonate (or the HCO3?/CO2 system) serves as a crucial pH buffering system in your body. Furthermore, the amount of haemoglobin in your red blood cells helps to balance pH. For this reason, eating a diet that is filled with alkaline-forming, iron-rich foods such as tofu, hemp seeds, kale, quinoa and pumpkin seeds, is great for balancing pH levels and increasing your red blood cell count.
Do Bacteria Like Acidic or Alkaline Environments?
Your body is made up of trillions of microbes. These include yeast, bacteria, fungi and viruses.
In fact, research is now pointing to your gut microbiome (the community of microbes in your gut) as your second brain. When “bad” bacteria proliferate, they produce excess acids. In fact, all processes of the body produce acids as a byproduct.
Some bacteria (known as acidophiles) thrive in acidic environments as low as a pH of 1.0. While others prefer a more neutral or base environment.
Conversely, there are some microbes (known as alkaliphic microorganisms) that prefer an alkaline environment. Fungi, on the other hand, favours acidic environments. While pathogenic microbes are often neutrophils, and as such prefer base environments.
The Adrenal Glands’ Importance to Blood and pH Balance
Your adrenal glands work with the kidneys to regulate blood chemistry and blood pressure. Playing a vital role in balancing your pH levels.
A plethora of enzymes work with your kidneys and blood to regulate the delicate pH balance. Interestingly, if you eat a snack that is high in sugar (highly acidic), your kidneys will eliminate excess hydrogen atoms to help your body balance pH levels.
Adrenal fatigue can set in if your kidneys are overworked; for example, if you eat a lot of processed foods high in sugar. Both your adrenal glands and kidneys become exhausted, leading to a cascade of inflammatory conditions and reactions that could jeopardise your health.
To optimise your pH levels, it’s important to reduce or refrain from eating overly processed foods.
Does Alkaline Water Balance pH Levels?
Because your kidneys play a vital role in balancing the pH of your blood, dehydration can impact your kidneys functioning, increasing your body’s pH. By reabsorbing carbonic acid, the kidneys can increase or decrease acid secretion.
One study found that drinking mineral-rich alkalising (AK) water improved the acid-base balance of both blood and urine.
38 volunteers were split into two groups. One group drank normal (non-mineralised) bottled water for 4-weeks. While the other group drank normal bottled water for the first and last week and AK water during the middle 2-week period.
The placebo group saw no change in their pH levels, while the group that consumed AK water improved acid-base balance and hydration.
9 Ways to Restore the pH Balance of Your Body
The good news is that restoring your body’s pH can be done via simple healthy lifestyle choices.
Calming practices combined with healthy eating and gentle exercise can work wonders for your pH. Firstly, you should avoid acidic forming foods such as meat, alcohol, cigarettes, fizzy drinks.
Did you know that beer has a pH of 2.5? So much for it being a healthier alternative! Pollution, drugs and sugar should also be avoided where possible.
Here are 9 simple ways to restore the pH balance of your body:
- Daily meditation
- Gentle yoga/ exercise
- Citrus fruits, most berries, grapes, melon
- Fresh green juice
- Cruciferous vegetables, green leafy vegetables, onion family
- Deep diaphragmatic breathing
- Alkaline water
Balancing the delicate pH of your body is an important factor in achieving optimal health. Several lifestyle factors can throw your pH balance off, leaving you feeling sluggish – such as sugary drinks or processed foods.
Your body is designed to eat a natural whole-foods diet and is perfectly equipped to balance pH levels with ease. However, modern stressful sedentary lifestyle practices can jeopardise your pH balance. The good news is that there are simple steps that you can take today to begin to restore your pH balance. Resulting in increased energy levels and enhanced wellbeing.
Written by best-selling author and integrative nutrition health coach Rowanna Watson, who has a passion for natural health. Rowanna is an expert in all areas of holistic health, plant-based nutrition, detoxification and personal development.
Water for Health Ltd began trading in 2007 with the goal of positively affecting the lives of many. We still retain that mission because we believe that proper hydration and nutrition can make a massive difference to people’s health and quality of life. Click here to find out more.
Acid-forming foods generate high levels of free radicals, which can negatively affect overall health. Which is a double insult to your healthy lifestyle choices.