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
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.