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Alkaline vs acidic: what do they mean exactly?

pH and acidity

How to calculate pH and why its values are important for overall wellness

The general well-being of our body is essentially based on the concept of balance.

When this balance is altered, our body begins to send us signals, in the form of disorders of varying degrees, which, if overlooked, can worsen or become chronic.

Some theories, acknowledged even by the general public and developed in several books, claim that the acid-base balance can really affect our overall health.

To indicate the acidity or alkalinity of a substance, one uses, as a measuring unit, the pH scale (potential hydrogen). Based on this parameter, one indicates as:

  • neutral, a pH equal to 7;
  • acidic, a pH lower than 7;
  • basic, a pH higher than 7.

According to some studies,  an over acidic pH  /search-by-physiological-area/alkalising-supplements, would be a factor that "weakens" the body's natural defences, favouring a potential development of different problems: "In my opinion, acid waste literally attacks joints, tissues, muscles, organs and glands causing dysfunction of varying degrees, from minor to most serious ones". (Theodore A. Baroody, Rocco Palmisano, Alcalinizzatevi e ionizzatevi – Per vivere sani e longevi, Bis edizioni).

One of the possible countermeasures to be taken in these cases, also suggested by several specific texts, is to follow an alkaline diet, i.e. based on foods with alkaline pH, which can highly restrict the production of acids.

Extra help can arrive by taking specific supplements, rich in alkaline minerals and other nutrients useful for maintaining proper acid-base balance.

How to calculate pH

The debate about the real possibility to accurately calculate the level of acidity in the body is still open.

Some argue, in fact, that an accurate measurement is impossible: «To date, no examination is able to accurately measure our level of acidity, because current diagnostic methods reveal only the waste acids that are present in body fluids (blood, lymph, urine, mucus, saliva). These examinations do not provide a definite level of how much waste acids are in fact present…» (Theodore A. Baroody, Rocco Palmisano, Alcalinizzatevi e ionizzatevi – Per vivere sani e longevi, Bis edizioni).

Blood and urine tests, however, are able to provide good benchmarks to see whether our pH is in balance.

You can also proceed independently at pH calculation, using the litmus paper (sold in pharmacies).

Simply wet a paper with saliva or urine and see what colour it takes, comparing it with the colours of the pH scale.

To obtain more reliable results, it would be good to do a saliva and urine test soon after waking up (before brushing your teeth, drinking or eating, if you are performing it on saliva).

The values considered "optimal" by most of the texts on the subject are:

  • a pH between 6.5 and 7.5 for saliva;
  • for the first morning urine (generally more acidic), a pH not exceeding 7.5.

Those who want to know more, can refer to some specific texts, such as Alcalinizzatevi and ionizzatevi – Per vivere sani e longevi, Theodore A. Baroody and Rocco Palmisano, Bis edizioni.

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