Quantified Diet: Tracking pH Levels on a Daily Basis
After reading about importance of maintaining body’s pH balance, I embarked on a self-tracking experiment in January, with the objective to see how often my pH balance changes on a daily basis and whether my diet has any effect on it. To do so, I measured my PH every morning and evening using litmus testing strips (I used Phinex diagnostic pH test strips). The strips proved to be a convenient and reliable way to track pH level on a daily basis, but I did not learn much from tracking it.
First, a little bit of theory. The pH is a measure of how acidic or alkaline is our body. In scientific terms, pH is a negative log value of hydrogen ion concentration in a water-based liquid. The liquid with pH of 0 is completely acidic, whereas solution with pH of 14 is completely alkaline. The balanced, “neutral” solution has a pH of 7. Different bodily fluids have different pH values, but the most convenient way to track your pH balance is based on your urine or saliva. According to “alkaline” theory, lower pH levels are signs of imbalances in the body; the more alkaline is the body, the more potential it has to resist various diseases, including cancer. The diet may affect the pH levels, but body usually quickly restores the levels to the usual range.
The most convenient way to measure pH levels is by using litmus strips. The strips are covered with chemical that changes color when it comes in contact with liquid* You then look up the pH value by comparing the color of the strip with the reference color chart. Naturally, the saliva is the only bodily fluid I am comfortable working with, so I opted for Phinex strips, because they can be used both with saliva and urine. While some reviewers on Amazon suggested keeping the strip in your mouth for 10-15 seconds, I chose to stick to manufacturer’s instructions, and was dipping the strip into the teaspoon with saliva (before breakfast in the mornings, and 2 hours after meals in the evenings). Comparing the colors on the strip against the chart was a bit challenging task, but I think I did well. I then would save the values in my rTracker log. This is how my morning (shown in green) and evening (shown in blue) pH levels looked in January:
As you can see, most of the time, my level stayed around 6.5: the average morning value was 6.59, and the evening value was 6.45, all within “healthy” range of 6.5 -7.4 for salivary pH levels. Even after dinners with a glass of wine, the levels never dropped below 6.25. Perhaps, I could raise the levels by experimenting with “alkaline” diets, but that will have to be some other time. In summary, this was a fun experiment, but I did not learn much from it. If you are curious about testing strips, you may also check out Rapid Response test strips. While they are urine-based, you can track more than just pH levels with them (including glucose, ketones, blood, protein, nitrites, and leukocytes).
*Dip it into saliva or pee on it. Here, i said it!