What’s a Normal Blood pH and What Makes It Change? (2022)

The pH scale measures how acidic or alkaline — basic — something is.

Your body works constantly to carefully control pH levels of blood and other fluids. The body’s pH balance is also called the acid-base or acid-alkaline balance. The right pH levels are needed for good health.

The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14. The readings are based around a pH of 7, which is neutral, like pure water:

  • A pH below 7 is acidic.
  • A pH higher than 7 is alkaline or basic.

This scale might seem small, but each level is 10 times bigger than the next. For example, a pH of 9 is 10 times more alkaline than a pH of 8. A pH of 2 is 10 times more acidic than a pH of 3, and 100 times more acidic than a reading of 4.

Your blood has a normal pH range of 7.35 to 7.45. This means that blood is naturally slightly alkaline or basic.

In comparison, your stomach acid has a pH of around 1.5 to 3.5. This makes it acidic. A low pH is good for digesting food and destroying any germs that get into the stomach.

Health problems that make your body too acidic or too alkaline are usually linked to the pH of blood. Changes in your normal blood pH might be a sign of certain health conditions and medical emergencies. These include:

Blood pH balance

Acidosis is when your blood pH drops below 7.35 and becomes too acidic. Alkalosis is when your blood pH is higher than 7.45 and becomes too alkaline. The two main organs that help balance the pH of blood are the:

  • Lungs. These organs remove carbon dioxide through breathing or respiration.
  • Kidneys. These organs remove acids through urine or excretion.

The different types of blood acidosis and alkalosis depend on the cause. The two main types are:

  • Respiratory. This type occurs when the change in blood pH is caused by a lung or breathing condition.
  • Metabolic. This type occurs when blood pH changes are due to a kidney condition or issue.
(Video) Acid Base Balance, Animation.

A blood pH test is a normal part of a blood gas test or arterial blood gas (ABG) test. It measures how much oxygen and carbon dioxide is in your blood.

Your doctor might test your blood pH as part of a regular health checkup or if you have a health condition.

Blood pH tests involve having your blood drawn with a needle. The blood sample is then sent to a lab to be tested.

Can you test at home?

An at-home blood finger-prick test won’t be as accurate as a blood pH test at your doctor’s office.

(Video) Acidosis and Alkalosis MADE EASY

A urine pH litmus paper test won’t show your blood’s pH level, but it may help show that something is off-balance.

High blood pH

Alkalosis happens when your blood pH is higher than the normal range. There are several causes of high blood pH.

An illness can temporarily raise your blood pH. More serious health conditions can also lead to alkalosis.

Fluid loss

Losing too much water from your body can increase blood pH. This happens because you also lose some blood electrolytes — salts and minerals — with water loss. These include sodium and potassium. Causes of fluid loss are excess:

  • sweating
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea

Diuretic drugs and other medications may cause you to urinate too much leading to high blood pH. Treatment for fluid loss includes getting plenty of fluid and replacing electrolytes. Sport drinks can sometimes help with this. Your doctor may also stop any medications that cause fluid loss.

Kidney problems

Your kidneys help to keep your body’s acid-base balance. A kidney problem can lead to high blood pH. This may happen if the kidneys don’t remove enough alkaline substances through the urine. For example, bicarbonate may be incorrectly put back into the blood.

Medications and other treatments for the kidneys help to lower high blood pH.

Low blood pH

Blood acidosis can impact how every organ in your body functions. Low blood pH is a more common medical problem than high blood pH. Acidosis can be a warning sign that a health condition isn’t properly controlled.

Some health conditions cause natural acids to build up in your blood. Acids that can lower blood pH include:

(Video) Alkaline vs. Acidic body – How to Know If You're Too Alkaline or Too Acid? – Dr. Berg

  • lactic acid
  • keto acids
  • sulphuric acid
  • phosphoric acid
  • hydrochloric acid
  • carbonic acid

Diet

In a healthy person, diet does not affect blood pH.

Diabetic ketoacidosis

If you have diabetes, your blood may become acidic if your blood sugar levels aren’t properly managed. Diabetic ketoacidosis happens when your body can’t make enough insulin or use it properly.

Insulin helps move sugar from the foods you eat into your cells where it can be burned as fuel for your body.

If insulin can’t be used, your body begins breaking down stored fats to power itself. This gives off an acid waste called ketones. The acid builds up, triggering low blood pH.

Get emergency care if your blood sugar level is higher than 300 milligrams per deciliter (16 millimoles per liter).

See your doctor if you have any of these symptoms:

  • excess thirst
  • frequent urination
  • fatigue or weakness
  • nausea or vomiting
  • shortness of breath
  • fruity-smelling breath
  • stomach pain
  • confusion

Diabetic ketoacidosis is a sign that your diabetes isn’t being managed or treated properly. For some people, it may be the first sign that you have diabetes.

Treating your diabetes will balance your blood pH. You may need:

  • daily medications
  • insulin injections
  • a strict diet and exercise plan to stay healthy

Metabolic acidosis

Low blood pH because of kidney disease or kidney failure is called metabolic acidosis. This happens when the kidneys don’t work properly to remove acids from your body. This raises blood acids and lowers blood pH.

According to the National Kidney Foundation, symptoms of metabolic acidosis include:

  • fatigue and weakness
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea and vomiting
  • headache pain
  • fast heartbeat
  • heavy breathing

Treatment for metabolic disease includes medications to help your kidneys work better. In serious cases, you may need dialysis or a kidney transplant. Dialysis is when a machine is used to clean your blood.

Respiratory acidosis

When your lungs aren’t able to move enough carbon dioxide out of your body quickly enough, blood pH is lowered. This is called respiratory acidosis. This can happen if you have a serious or chronic lung condition, such as:

(Video) Blood pH Levels: Causes And Symptoms

  • asthma or an asthma attack
  • sleep apnea
  • bronchitis
  • pneumonia
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • diaphragm disorders

If you’ve had surgery, are obese, or misuse sedatives, which are sleeping pills, or opioid pain medications you’re also at risk for respiratory acidosis.

In some slight cases, your kidneys are able to remove the extra blood acids through urination. You may need extra oxygen and medications such as bronchodilators and steroids to help the lungs work better.

In serious cases, intubation and mechanical ventilation can help you with respiratory acidosis to breathe better. It also raises your blood pH back to normal.

A blood pH level that isn’t normal may be a sign you have slight imbalance or a health condition. In most cases, your blood pH will balance out once the cause goes away or is treated.

You may need several tests to help your doctor find the best treatment for you. These include:

If you have a chronic condition like diabetes or kidney disease, your doctor may need to check your blood pH levels routinely. This helps to show how well your condition is managed. Be sure to take all medications as prescribed.

In an absence of health conditions, your body regulates your blood pH, and it’s not something you need to worry about.

Ask your doctor about the best diet and exercise plan to keep you healthy.

FAQs

What makes our blood pH change? ›

The kidneys regulate the pH of the blood by excreting acids in urine. They also produce and regulate bicarbonate, which increases blood pH. These changes take longer than those that occur due to breathing, potentially taking hours or days.

What is a normal pH of blood? ›

In the absence of pathological states, the pH of the human body ranges between 7.35 to 7.45, with the average at 7.40.

What changes pH in the body? ›

This analysis has revealed three independent variables that regulate pH in blood plasma. These variables are carbon dioxide, relative electrolyte concentrations, and total weak acid concentrations. All changes in blood pH, in health and in disease, occur through changes in these three variables.

What is the normal pH of blood quizlet? ›

What is the normal pH range of blood? The normal pH of blood is 7.35 and 7.45.

Why is it important for the body to maintain a normal pH? ›

Importance of pH Balance

Our bodies live and die at a cellular level and the cells must maintain alkalinity in order to function and stay alive. An acidic state causes lack of oxygen at a cellular level. A pH of below 7.4 is sub-optimal rpoviding the perfect environment for bacteria, mold and viruses to grow.

What happens when pH of blood increases? ›

Alkalosis is when your blood pH is higher than 7.45 and becomes too alkaline. The two main organs that help balance the pH of blood are the: Lungs. These organs remove carbon dioxide through breathing or respiration.

What does the pH mean? ›

potential of hydrogen; a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a solution equal to the common logarithm of the reciprocal of the concentration of hydrogen ions in moles per cubic decimetre of solution. Pure water has a pH of 7, acid solutions have a pH less than 7, and alkaline solutions a pH greater than 7.

What does pH stand for? ›

pH, explained

The abbreviation pH stands for potential hydrogen, and it tells us how much hydrogen is in liquids—and how active the hydrogen ion is.

What does high pH in blood mean? ›

A lower pH means that your blood is more acidic, while a higher pH means that your blood is more basic. The pH of your blood should be around 7.4. Acidosis is characterized by a pH of 7.35 or lower. Alkalosis is characterized by a pH level of 7.45 or higher.

What happens when blood pH is too low? ›

The glycolytic enzyme phosphofructokinase is pH dependent,[3] as its activity decreases with decreasing pH, and thus glucose utilization in brain cells is impaired. [4] Therefore, the clinical consequences of decreasing blood pH are drowsiness, stupor, coma, and death in coma.

What pH is good for urine? ›

The American Association for Clinical Chemistry says the normal urine pH range is between 4.5 and 8. Any pH higher than 8 is basic or alkaline, and any under 6 is acidic. A urine pH test is carried out as a part of a urinalysis. After performing a urine pH test, doctors can use the results to diagnose various diseases.

What is the normal pH range of blood Why is it important to maintain this pH quizlet? ›

The pH range of human blood is between 7.36 and 7.42. This nearly constant blood pH is maintained by buffers that are chemical systems that resist pH changes, neutralizing an added acid or base.

Why is pH important quizlet? ›

Why is pH important in ecosystems? The pH of water determines the solubility and biological availability of chemical constituents such as nutrients and heavy metals. It also determines whether ecosystems can use these constituents.

What do pH balance mean? ›

Your body's pH balance, also referred to as its acid-base balance, is the level of acids and bases in your blood at which your body functions best. The human body is built to naturally maintain a healthy balance of acidity and alkalinity. The lungs and kidneys play a key role in this process.

What helps your pH balance? ›

However, there are several natural remedies that can help you maintain a healthy pH balance in your body, including making changes to your diet and lifestyle.
...
Here are a few remedies to try:
  • Follow a well-rounded diet. ...
  • Stay hydrated. ...
  • Consider using probiotics. ...
  • Avoid harsh soaps and skincare products.
28 Sept 2020

How do you maintain pH balance? ›

To keep the pH of your vagina at a consistently healthy level, follow these tips:
  1. Whenever you have sex, use a condom. The barrier will not only protect you from STDs, but it'll also prevent alkaline semen from disrupting your vaginal pH levels. ...
  2. Take probiotics. ...
  3. Don't douche. ...
  4. Eat yogurt. ...
  5. See your OB-GYN.

What pH level is harmful to humans? ›

When the pH levels reach or exceed 12.5 pH, it then becomes hazardous. As with all hazardous wastes, when in contact with human or environmental health, it can be very dangerous.

What's another word for pH? ›

What is another word for pH?
acidityalkalinity
basicityneutrality
pH scalesolution

What is a woman's pH? ›

The naturally neutral pH is equal to 7, but the normal vaginal pH ranges between 3.8 and 5.0, which is moderately acidic [2]. A lower pH value (more acidic) in the vagina than the blood or interstitial fluids can protect vaginal mucosa from pathogenic organisms [4].

What level of pH is acidic? ›

The pH scale is often said to range from 0 to 14, and most solutions do fall within this range, although it's possible to get a pH below 0 or above 14. Anything below 7.0 is acidic, and anything above 7.0 is alkaline, or basic.

What system regulates pH in the body? ›

The renal system regulates the pH of extracellular fluid. The changes in pH induced by the respiratory system are in minutes, while the changes induced by the renal system are in the order of days.

How does low pH affect heart rate? ›

When blood flow to the heart is blocked off, for example, because of coronary heart disease or a heart attack, the blood becomes acidic. This acidity alters cardiac ion channel function and can predispose the heart to develop an irregular heartbeat or arrhythmia.

What is the best pH? ›

6.5 to 8.5

How does blood pH affect breathing? ›

The blood carries carbon dioxide to the lungs, where it is exhaled. As carbon dioxide accumulates in the blood, the pH of the blood decreases (acidity increases). The brain regulates the amount of carbon dioxide that is exhaled by controlling the speed and depth of breathing (ventilation).

Does coffee change your pH? ›

Cultured Coffee: Reduced Acidity and Troublesome Acids

This means the coffee is likely to disrupt your body's pH balance when you drink it. As a result of the different acids and acidity, Cultured Coffee coffee becomes easier to digest resulting in less discomfort and potential for acid reflux or heartburn.

Is morning urine more acidic? ›

The normal range for urine pH is between 4.5 and 8 [4, 5]. Urine pH is slightly more alkaline in the morning than at night.

What does cloudy urine mean? ›

If you notice that your urine looks cloudy instead of its usual clear, yellowish color, it could be due to infections, kidney stones, or other changes in your health. Sometimes pain or other symptoms go along with it. The sooner you learn the cause, the quicker you can get the treatment you need.

Why is it important to precisely regulate the pH of blood or other body fluids? ›

Regulation of body fluid pH is one of the most important physiological functions of homeostasis, because activity of most chemical reactions via enzyme proteins is dependent on fluid pH.

What is pH and why is it important for living things? ›

1 Answer. pH is important because the enzymes that catalyze the chemical reactions of life require a specific pH in order to function. Also, if the pH is increased or decreased significantly, biochemicals like proteins can be denatured and become non-functional, resulting in cell death.

How do the kidneys work to maintain normal pH of the blood explain the relationship between the kidneys lungs and blood pH homeostasis? ›

The kidneys can regulate reabsorption of carbonic acid in the tubule, increasing or reducing acid secretion. So, urine that is more acidic than normal may mean the body is ridding itself of excess dietary acid and thus making blood pH more alkaline. Ammonia is another way the kidney can regulate pH balance.

When human blood pH is too far removed from the optimal value of 7.4 the blood protein known as Cannot transport oxygen and carbon as efficiently? ›

When human blood pH is too far removed from the optimal value of 7.4, the blood protein known as hemoglobin cannot transport oxygen and carbon as efficiently. A pH at an unsafe low level can result in more hydrogen ions sticking to negative regions of proteins.

What pH is generally found in living organisms? ›

Most living organisms, especially aquatic life, function at the optimal pH range of 6.5 to 8.5.

Which of the following pH numbers is slightly basic? ›

The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14. A pH of 7 is neutral. A pH less than 7 is acidic. A pH greater than 7 is basic.
...
Most H+ ions: pH = 4; or pH = 5.Answer 4
Least H+ ions: pH = 12; or pH = 13.Answer 13
Least OH- ions: pH = 8; or pH = 9.Answer 8
7 more rows

What is the pH of sperm? ›

According to the latest version of the World Health Organization laboratory manual (WHO, 2010), the normal values for pH in liquefied semen are between 7.2 and 7.8, whereas in a previous version of WHO clinical manual (WHO, 1992) the normal range of values is from 7.2 to 8.0.

What causes a high pH? ›

High pH levels occur when hydroxide ion concentrations are high and hydrogen ions are scarce. Although acidic conditions more commonly result from human activities, alkaline conditions also can occur and adversely affect aquatic biota.

What can be a reason for having low blood pH? ›

Acidosis is caused by an overproduction of acid that builds up in the blood or an excessive loss of bicarbonate from the blood (metabolic acidosis) or by a buildup of carbon dioxide in the blood that results from poor lung function or depressed breathing (respiratory acidosis).

What happens when blood pH is too low? ›

The glycolytic enzyme phosphofructokinase is pH dependent,[3] as its activity decreases with decreasing pH, and thus glucose utilization in brain cells is impaired. [4] Therefore, the clinical consequences of decreasing blood pH are drowsiness, stupor, coma, and death in coma.

How does blood become alkaline? ›

The kidneys and lungs maintain the proper balance (proper pH level) of chemicals called acids and bases in the body. Decreased carbon dioxide (an acid) level or increased bicarbonate (a base) level makes the body too alkaline, a condition called alkalosis.

What pH is good for urine? ›

The American Association for Clinical Chemistry says the normal urine pH range is between 4.5 and 8. Any pH higher than 8 is basic or alkaline, and any under 6 is acidic. A urine pH test is carried out as a part of a urinalysis. After performing a urine pH test, doctors can use the results to diagnose various diseases.

What pH level is harmful to humans? ›

When the pH levels reach or exceed 12.5 pH, it then becomes hazardous. As with all hazardous wastes, when in contact with human or environmental health, it can be very dangerous.

How does low pH affect heart rate? ›

When blood flow to the heart is blocked off, for example, because of coronary heart disease or a heart attack, the blood becomes acidic. This acidity alters cardiac ion channel function and can predispose the heart to develop an irregular heartbeat or arrhythmia.

What is the best pH? ›

6.5 to 8.5

What causes the body to be acidic? ›

Causes can include chronic alcohol use, heart failure, cancer, seizures, liver failure, prolonged lack of oxygen, and low blood sugar. Even prolonged exercise can lead to lactic acid buildup.

Videos

1. Acid Base Balance: Bicarbonate Ion Buffer
(DrBruce Forciea)
2. Is Having An Alkaline pH Healthy? – Surprising Facts by Dr. Berg
(Dr. Eric Berg DC)
3. How your lungs regulate your arterial blood pH | ABG | Respiratory System | Biology Series
(Medicosis Perfectionalis)
4. Respiration and blood pH
(Eric Iannacone)
5. Respiratory and Metabolic affects on blood pH (including compensation). ABG basics made Easy!
(The Human Body Oversimplified)
6. How the Wim Hof Method changes your blood pH
(MEDspiration)

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