The body's ability to function in a healthy way rests on it's ability to stay in balance. The body has to maintain a delicate balance of fluids, chemicals, living organisms and energy. Since all of the body's cells are interconnected and interdependent, a loss of pH balance can lead to serious health risks.
What is pH?
The two letters, "pH" literally stand for "potential hydrogen". pH is used to measure how basic acidic an environment or solution is. pH is measured on a scale from 0 to 14 with 0 being the strongest acid and 14 being the strongest base. A pH of 7 is considered to be neutral. Pure water has a pH of 7 and is neutral. One characteristic of bases is how slippery they are as in the case of soap and bleach. The strongest acids are dangerous to touch or breathe, such as hydrochloric acid.
pH and the Body's Cells
Different parts of the body have different optimal pH levels. The saliva and blood are neutral but the gastric juices inside the stomach are very acidic with a pH of about 1.5. The acidity in that part of the body helps the stomach to perform its functions optimally. However, when the pH inside the body is lower than it should be, or too acidic, this environment becomes friendly to harmful living organisms and harmful to the body.
How Much is Too Much?
Since the pH scale is logarithmic, the difference between a pH of 1 and 2 is actually ten-fold. The difference between a pH of 1 and 3 is actually 100 fold or 10 times 10. Therefore, when the pH level inside the body changes, this represents an enormous change in the environment that can make way for harmful substances to thrive where they once couldn't. It also makes it more difficult for the body to fight off harmful substances because the disease-fighting cells perform best in their optimal pH.
What Affects pH in the Body?
The body's pH can be affected by many things including what we eat, drugs we take and hormonal changes. When our bodies are stressed, they respond with changes in the amounts of hormones in our blood. This can affect everything from weight management and blood pressure to our digestive health. This is why mental stress is a contributing factor to the development of stomach ulcers.
What Happens When the Body's pH is Out of Balance?
Our cells are constantly reproducing, breaking substances down, building and moving substances in and out of them. However, they don't do this on their own. These processes are started or helped by all sorts of chemicals from enzymes to electrolytes. When the body's pH is off balance, it affects how these enzymes and substances work. It can make it so their function is impaired or so that they don't work at all. Therefore, a pH imbalance can affect everything that's connected to how those chemical substances work which is virtually everything. This can give way to an overgrowth in harmful organisms that cause everything from hair loss to chronic illness.