pH is simply a scale for expressing the acidity or alkalinity of a substance. The scale ranges from 0 to 14. A 7 is considered neutral, while values less than 7 are more acidic, and values above 7 are more alkaline.
Each whole pH value below 7 is ten times more acidic than the next higher value. For example, a pH of 4 is ten times more acidic than a pH of 5 and 100 times (10 times 10) more acidic than a pH of 6. The same holds true for pH values above 7, each of which is ten times more alkaline—another way to say basic—than the next lower whole value. For example, a pH of 10 is ten times more alkaline than a pH of 9. Most human bodies experience a pH of 4.5 – 8.0, and a neutral pH for the body is precisely 7.33.
pH is on a logarithmic scale. The pH is equal to -log10 c, where c is the hydrogen ion concentration in moles per liter. Acidic and basic are two extremes that describe chemicals, just like hot and cold are two extremes that describe temperature. Mixing acids and bases can cancel out their extreme effects; much like mixing hot and cold water can even out the water temperature. You may have experienced this before when mixing vinegar (an acid) with baking soda (a base). A substance that is neither acidic nor basic is neutral—pure water is usually neutral, with a pH of 7.0.
When chemicals are mixed with water, the mixture can become either acidic or basic. Vinegar and lemon juice are acidic substances, while laundry detergents and ammonia are basic.
Chemicals that are very basic or very acidic are called “reactive.” These chemicals can cause severe burns. Automobile battery acid (usually sulfuric acid) is an acidic chemical that is reactive. You can also find this substance in a much more diluted form in acid rain. Household drain cleaners often contain lye, a very alkaline chemical that is reactive.
While these reactive chemicals may be great for cleaning or for facilitating electrical reactions, the human body is better off closer to neutral. Though we are all different, usually having a neutral pH of 6.5 to 7.5 is ideal. However, a pH of 4.5 to 8.0 is considered normal, according to random sampling of healthy people.
What is the Importance of Measuring My Body’s pH with pH Test Strips?
pH test strips can give a basic indication of the overall health of your body at any given moment in time. A reading of 6.5 and lower, especially consistently, can be an indication that your body is too acidic. Knowing this information can help you make better food, diet, nutrition and lifestyle choices to help your body get back to a more alkaline environment.