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Beware of claims that you
can change your blood pH

Tammy Roberts, MS, RD, LD, Nutrition and Health Education Specialist in Barton County, University of Missouri Extension

Sarah Janicek, B. S., Extension Associate, Nutritional Sciences, University of Missouri Extension


The only way to test the pH of the blood is to actually test the blood

You may have seen advertisements about eating certain foods to change the pH of your blood so that you can prevent cancer, become more youthful, have more energy, or prevent a variety of other diseases. The pH of any solution can range in number from 0-14. Seven is considered a neutral solution. Above 7 is more alkaline and below 7 is more acidic. The fact is our blood pH remains fairly constant and we cannot change it by what we eat.


The type of diet some of these advertisements refer to is the Alkaline Ash diet. This diet promotes consumption of fruit, vegetables and milk with only minor amounts of meat, fish, eggs, and grains. The thought is that if you eat these foods, your body will benefit by becoming more alkaline. These foods do leave by-products that make the urine more alkaline. But urine is not blood. Urine is contained in the bladder and then excreted.


Supporters of this diet believe that it can prevent cancer because some studies have shown that in a test tube, cancer cells grow faster in an acidic environment. In similar tests, chemotherapy drugs have worked more effectively if the area around the tumor was more alkaline. These are only test tube studies and have not been tested in the human body. According to Dr. Gabe Mirkin in an article on, studies show that cancer cells cannot survive in an alkaline environment but neither can any of the other cells in your body.


The normal pH of the body is 7.35 to 7.45. If something happens to change this, the body immediately works to get the pH back to this range. There are certain situations when the pH of the body changes slightly. For example, when lactic acid is produced (during or after a hard workout) or when the kidneys are not functioning properly. In the case of the workout, the body adjusts in different ways to get the pH back to normal. In the case of kidneys not working properly, dialysis is needed to help maintain the pH of the blood. Dr Mirkin states that anything that changes the pH of your body can make you very sick and death could result.


Another thing to note is that the pH of the blood will not be the same as the pH of the urine or saliva. Don’t believe that you can test either the urine or saliva and know the pH of your blood. The only way to test the pH of the blood is to actually test the blood.


The American Cancer Society does recommend a diet of mostly plant foods with limited saturated fat and added sugars. The reason plant-based foods help reduce the risk of cancer is because of the nutrients the plant contains, not because they can change the pH of your blood.




Last Updated 05/05/2009



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