What you eat influences levels of blood pH

The PH is the measure of acid and alkaline levels of blood usually through a pH scale. Each number on a pH scale represents a tenfold difference from adjacent numbers.  A fluid with a pH of six is 10 times more acidic than a fluid with a pH of seven, and a fluid with a pH of five is one hundred times more acidic than pure water. Most carbonated soft drinks have a pH of three. This makes them 10,000 times more acidic than pure water. 
Dr Joseph Kamugisha
Dr Joseph Kamugisha

The PH is the measure of acid and alkaline levels of blood usually through a pH scale. Each number on a pH scale represents a tenfold difference from adjacent numbers. 

A fluid with a pH of six is 10 times more acidic than a fluid with a pH of seven, and a fluid with a pH of five is one hundred times more acidic than pure water. Most carbonated soft drinks have a pH of three. This makes them 10,000 times more acidic than pure water. 

A few years ago, I attended a wedding ceremony of my cousin sister with lots of beverages served around. I sat so close to a friend who preferred to mix wine and coca-cola.

When I asked why he chose to mix, he said he wanted to make his drink tasty and lessen the acidic strength of wine. He wanted to avoid alcoholic effects yet the ceremonies were underway. 

He swallowed several glasses, but after a few hours started to complain of dizziness and headache. 

He wanted to get back home but we chose to take him in a private place, offered him fruit salad with mangoes, apples and papaya. He was also offered glass of water to drink slowly.

A few hours later, he was able to re-join us for ceremonies. Both wine and Coca-Cola are highly acidic drinks with high concentration of ethanol and carbon dioxide, respectively. 

Both drinks are strong acid forming substances in blood. Combinations of two drinks worsen acid blood levels where as mangoes, apples, papaya are strong alkaline forming substances in blood. 

The alkaline neutralises the acid in blood to improve the health situation of a patient. When you take in foods, liquids the end products of digestion and assimilation of nutrients leads to formation of acid or alkaline.

The acid-base relationship is part of our body function. For example, as our cells produce energy on a continuous basis, different acids are formed and released into our body fluids. These acids in our body are produced as a result of metabolic activities and are unavoidable.

The pH of blood is tightly regulated by complex buffer system that continuously works to maintain a range of PH between 7.35 to 7.45, which is slightly more alkaline than pure water.

If the pH of blood falls below 7.35, it leads to acidosis, and if severe can lead to central nervous system depression. Severe acidosis where blood pH falls below 7.00 can lead to coma and even death.

If the pH of blood rises above 7.45, it leads to alkalosis. Severe alkalosis can lead to death. It can cause all the nerves in our body to become hypersensitive and over excitable that leads to muscle spasms, nervousness, and convulsions. 

For alkalosis it is usually the convulsions that cause death as seen in severe cases. However, there are always physiological regulatory mechanisms to maintain normal body PH.

Our health is best served by a mixture of nutrients with alkaline and acid-forming foods. Most vegetables and fruits have an alkaline-forming effect on your body fluids.

Most grains, animal foods, and highly processed foods have an acid-forming effect on the body fluids.

 In our daily lives, we tend to feed more on alkaline-forming foods than acid-forming foods to have the net acid and alkaline effects so as to maintain normal blood pH.

The kidney is one of organs charged with regulation of pH in the body due to its function for elimination of hydrogen ions. Tbhat is why patients with kidney problems suffer from extreme acid levels.

The buffer systems work to prevent lowering of blood pH below the range of 7.35 to 7.45 through regulation of dietary and metabolic factors.

The majority of highly processed foods like white flour products and white sugar leads to formation of acids in the body system, and if you spend many years feeding on such foods you overload the buffer systems.

An example of the buffer system overload is seen where the phosphate buffer system uses different phosphate ions in the body to neutralize strong acids and bases. 

It is estimated that 85 per cent of the phosphate ions used in the phosphate buffer system comes from calcium phosphate salts that are structural components of the bones and teeth. 

If the body fluids are regularly exposed to large quantities of acid-forming foods and liquids, the body will depend upon its calcium phosphate reserves to supply the phosphate buffer system. 

In order to neutralise the acid effects of the diet, this may lead to structural weakness in the bones and teeth.

Dr Joseph Kamugisha is a resident oncologist at Jerusalem Hospital, Israel

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