Urine pH can reveal important information about your health. Here we look at pH levels in urine and how your diet might impact those levels.
We need hydrochloric acid in our stomachs to digest. If we have high acidic levels in the body, it will prevent proper production of stomach acids. A high pH means the body will likely respond by secreting less acidic fluids, which leads to a shortage of stomach acid. High acidic urine can cause kidney stones.
How to Check Urine pH Levels at Home?
A recent study published by the National Institutes of Health looked at the link between urine pH and abnormal glucose tolerance in both men and women. The team of researchers in Japan conducted a community-based study to look at sex-specific associations and possible signs of pre-diabetes and type-2 diabetes.
They found that low pH levels in urine were “significantly” associated with abnormal glucose tolerance. This suggests that the pH level test might help identify people who are at a high risk for getting diabetes.
If you have any interest in monitoring pH levels in urine, you can do so at home. You will require pH test strips that you should be able to buy at a local pharmacy. Those who want to raise their urine pH can track changes by measuring with the strips once per day.
To test, simply collect a sample in a clean cup and follow the directions you receive with the strips. All it really takes is inserting the strip into the urine for a directed amount of time and then comparing the color on your strip to a color chart.
Urine pH level chart
Most people are unaware of what normal pH levels in urine are. The chart below will allow you to identify low pH levels in urine and high pH levels in urine. Generally, a pH of 7+ is good; however, it is important to keep in mind that since the kidney’s are processing toxins, the first urine that is released can be more acidic.
|Below 6.0||Very acidic: considered the danger zone. Changes to lifestyle are needed|
|6.0 – 6.5||Acidic range: dietary and lifestyle changes should be considered to improve pH level|
|6.5 – 6.75||Moderate range: consider slight adjustments to diet to bring pH back up|
|7.0 – 7.5||Optimal range: you are maintaining an alkalizing lifestyle|
|8 – 9||Too alkaline: this is considered unhealthy|
What Factors Influence pH levels in Urine?
- Diet – what we eat can impact pH in our urine. For example, vegetarians usually have more alkaline in their urine than meat eaters, since meat and dairy produce acid. Most vegetables and fruit are more alkaline. A lot of people think of fruits as more acidic, but once they are consumed, most produce alkaline urine. Cranberries are an exception. They produce more acidic urine.
- Diseases – some people have a disorder that causes acidosis in the blood. The body tries to excrete this excess through the urine and it causes acidic urine. Acidosis-related diseases include respiratory problems that interrupt air exchange, diarrhea, dehydration, severe diabetes, as well as starvation. Urine can have a high pH if you suffer from kidney disease, are vomiting, or have a disease that causes rapid breathing or urinary tract infection (UTI).
- Medications – there are certain drugs that can lead to alkaline urine. Some medications used to treat glaucoma as well as some drugs for seizures may cause alkaline urine. There are also medications that make the urine more acidic. One example would be an antibiotic used to control a UTI.
- Timing – the first urine sample in the morning tends to be more acidic than urine excreted later in the day. This is because we breathe less and shallower when sleeping, so we produce a bit of respiratory acidosis in the blood. If you leave urine in an open container, bacteria can accumulate. Bacteria can turn urine more alkaline.
What Foods Decrease the Urine pH?
If you are looking for a way to lower pH levels in urine, food is often a good place to start. Our modern diet is high in acidic forming foods, such as grain, dairy, and meats. While it is hard to avoid all acidic-forming foods, most people are able to limit the amount they consume.
Acid-forming foods can be neutralized by eating acid-neutralizing foods. Many fruits are acid neutralizing because they contain high amounts of alkaline minerals, such as potassium, calcium and magnesium. Most vegetables are alkaline so a diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables with each meal is recommended.
Foods That Increase pH Levels in Urine
Drinking water can help decrease the acidity of urine by diluting it, which in turn can help prevent the formation of kidney stones. When it comes to how to increase pH levels in urine, you can consider the following:
- Meat – people who consume fresh meat tend to have more acid than those who don’t.
- Cranberry juice – this juice has been known to increase urine pH levels
- Fruits – apples, apricots, berries, oranges, grapefruit, banana, figs, pears, cherries, pineapple, watermelon, and honeydew melon are all alkaline fruits.
- Vegetables – most vegetables are not considered acidic, but here is a list of alkaline vegetables: beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, celery, cauliflower, cucumbers, eggplant, kale, lettuce, onions, peppers, and sweet potatoes.
- Nuts and seeds – these are really an alternative protein that helps make urine more alkaline and reduces the risk of uric acid kidney stones. Almonds, chestnuts, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds are good examples.
- Dairy – alkaline dairy foods such as milk, cheese, yogurt, buttermilk, and cream can be added to the diet, but you should be careful about the amount of saturated fat. Choosing low-fat and non-fat dairy foods is best. The fat content does not impact alkalinity.
- Meat alternatives – replace a portion of your meat intake with legumes, such as beans and peas. They can increase your urine pH while providing you with a good source of protein.
- Molasses – this can also be consumed to help make urine more alkaline.
A study published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology back in 2008 showed that magnesium and calcium can be effective in regulating urine pH by raising it or lowering it, depending on each person. Some experts suggest taking a combination of magnesium and calcium supplements may help in alkalization of urine.
If you have reason to believe that your urine pH level is off, you can try dietary adjustments to bring it back into proper alignment; however, it is best to consult with a doctor about pH level to rule out any underlying health issues.
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