What is the acid-base balance?
The acid-base balance corresponds to the notion of pH of a solution. The human body contains different liquids, each with its own pH. The reference is the blood pH which is 7.4, i.e. neutral. Maintaining this pH balance is to ensure the proper functioning of the body.
It should be noted that each food has its own pH. Thus, our pH balance depends on our lifestyle and diet, as well as on our ability to restore the pH balance disturbed by the ingestion of food that is too acidic or, on the contrary, too alkaline.
The pH scale:
The pH is graduated by a scale from 1 to 14.
- An acid-base balance corresponds to a neutral pH of 7.
- A pH below 7 corresponds to an acidic balance.
- A pH higher than 7 corresponds to an alkaline balance.
How does the human body regulate the pH?
To regulate the acid-base balance, the human body has a “buffer system” that maintains a constant pH in our cells and blood.
Thanks to the enzyme carbonic anhydrase, the human body makes bicarbonate
which works as a buffer and can bind to acid. Once bound, carbonic acid is formed in the body, which is then broken down into water and carbon dioxide, which is expelled by respiration.
Thus the pH is constantly corrected in the human body.
This system is helped by the ingestion of certain alkaline foods or minerals such as Zinc, Magnesium, Iron and Calcium. The latter is a co-factor of the enzyme carbonic anhydrase, which helps to form bicarbonate.
How to measure pH?
To measure the pH, it is necessary to get specific urine strips. These can be found in pharmacies, for example. They indicate your pH level by means of a color code.
What are the signs of a bad acid-base balance?
The list of signs indicating a change in the body’s pH is very long, but here are the main ones: skin problems, fatigue, digestive problems, acid reflux, urinary tract infections, inflammation, joint pain, etc. In case of doubt, we advise you to consult your doctor.
Nutrition, a parameter of the acid-base balance.
Nutrition plays an important role in the acid-base balance of the human body. Each food has an alkaline or acidic property depending on its composition. For example, foods such as meat and dairy products have a very acidic charge, as do industrial and processed products.
Do not rely on the taste of the food to determine whether it is acidic or alkaline. Lemon for example, which is very acidic in the mouth, is an alkaline food!
It is necessary to rely on the PRAL or Potential Renal Acid Load, an index that measures the alkalinity and acidity of foods.
Some tips to maintain your acid-base balance:
- Eat a healthy and varied diet
- Avoid refined and industrial products such as sugar
- Eat a reasonable amount of food to avoid tiring your body with a heavy meal
- Work on your deep breathing (elimination of carbon dioxide)
- Drink regularly