How Useful is the Urine pH Test for Determining if I am Acid or Alkaline?
Measuring urine pH is a simple test to assess your total body acid or alkaline load, as determined by the acid excreted in your urine. While a meat-heavy diet may make your urine overly acidic, a vegetarian diet can make it too alkaline, making one prone to urinary tract infections.
Urine pH is used to classify urine as either acid or alkaline (base). Seven is the point of neutrality on the pH scale. The lower the pH, the greater the acidity of a solution; the higher the pH, the greater the alkalinity. Blood has a pH of around 7.4 and this is usually acidified as it is filtered by the kidneys to a pH of about 6 in the urine.
Depending on your status, the pH of your urine may range from 4.5 to 8.
The kidneys are extremely important in charge of regulating the pH – urine becomes increasingly acidic as the amount of sodium and excess acid retained by the body increases. Alkaline urine, usually containing bicarbonate-carbonic acid buffer, is normally excreted when there is an excess of base or alkali in the body.
CAN I TEST SALIVA pH?
Yes, you can. However, as saliva has it’s own buffer systems, fluctuations are controlled differently. If you want to monitor your saliva pH, the Hydrion pH Testing Papers are perfect for the job.
WHAT MAKES URINE MORE ACID OR ALKALINE?
A highly acidic urine pH occurs in some medical conditions, such as
- Metabolic or Respiratory Acidosis
- Uncontrolled diabetes
- Respiratory problems in which carbon dioxide retention occurs and acidosis develops
A highly alkaline urine occurs in:
- Urinary tract obstruction (such as kidney stones)
- Pyloric obstruction – this occurs in the stomach and causes vomiting
- Salicylate intoxication (eg aspirin)
- Renal tubular acidosis
- Chronic renal failure
- Respiratory conditions that involve hyperventilation (blowing off carbon dioxide and the development of alkalosis)
HOW DOES DIET AFFECT URINE pH?
In people who are not vegetarians, the pH of urine tends to be acidic. This is due to the acid-forming potential of the protein, which is higher in animal foods. A diet rich in vegetables and fruit (especially citrus) raises the pH and produces urine that is more alkaline. Legumes (legumes & beans), nuts and seeds are slightly acid-forming, but not as markedly as animal proteins.
Most of the bacteria responsible for urinary tract infections make the urine more alkaline because the bacteria split urea into ammonia and other alkaline waste products.
Control of pH is important in the management of several diseases, including bacterial urinary tract infections, kidney stones, and drug therapy.
The formation of stones in the urinary tract is related to the urine acidity. Treatment for kidney stones commonly includes diets or medications to change the pH of the urine to prevent the formation of kidney stones.
Calcium phosphate, calcium carbonate, and magnesium phosphate stones develop in alkaline urine; when this occurs, the urine is kept acidic.
Uric acid, cysteine, and calcium oxalate stones precipitate in acidic urine; in this situation, the urine should be kept alkaline or less acidic than normal.
Here are important points to remember about urinary pH:
- An accurate measurement of urinary pH can be done only on fresh voided urine. If there is a delay between voiding and analysis, it should be kept refrigerated.
- While you’re asleep, the natural decrease in breathing rates causes respiratory acidosis. As a result, a first waking urine specimen is usually highly acidic.
- Bacteria causing a urinary tract infection or bacterial contamination will produce alkaline urine.
- A diet rich in citrus fruits, most vegetables, and other fruits will keep the urine alkaline. Legumes are less acid-forming than animal proteins.
- A diet high in meat, animal proteins (eg milk & cheese) will keep the urine acidic.
- Urine pH is an important screening test for the diagnosis of renal disease, respiratory disease, and certain metabolic disorders.
- If urine pH is to be useful, it is necessary to use the information obtained alongside other diagnostic information.
WHAT IS NORMAL?
Normal urine may range from a pH of 4.5 to 8. Around 6.5 – 7.0 is desirable. Urine is usually more acidic in the morning. For this reason we recommend that urine testing not be done first thing in the morning, but with the second urination of the day.
It is important to note that there is a difference between the pH values of food before and after they are eaten. Citrus fruits, such as lemons and grapefruit are highly acidic, but turn alkaline when they are metabolised by the body. Consumption of large amounts of citrus fruits will cause the urine to become more alkaline.
Click here to book an appointment, or call us direct on 09 846 5566