Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: pH and Stress ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: pH and Stress
Category: Health
Asked by: jat-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 14 Aug 2002 00:43 PDT
Expires: 13 Sep 2002 00:43 PDT
Question ID: 54402
Is there any data out there to support the contention that stress
affects pH of the extracellular fluids of the body?  If so, what's the
explanation?  My guess is that, under stress, we tend to turn
Subject: Re: pH and Stress
Answered By: till-ga on 14 Aug 2002 01:17 PDT
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
The pH value in the human body  is controlled  by some mechanisms and
is kept as constantly as possible at a level of 7.4.  So you´re never
going to be really "acidic".
The mechanism of pH regulation is described very well in the following
“ pH
The pH of blood is kept relatively constant at the slightly alkaline
level of about 7.4 (a pH of less than 7 indicates acidity, of more
than 7 alkalinity). Venous blood is maintained at a somewhat less
alkaline level (7.35) because of the higher carbon dioxide content. A
system of efficient buffers in the blood and the selective excretory
functions of the lungs and kidneys keep the pH within these narrow
limits. Physiological mechanisms stabilize a normal pH in the blood
both by regulating the rate and depth of respiration in order to
maintain a normal tension of carbon dioxide in the blood and by
excreting acid or alkaline urine from the kidneys.
In terms of immediate urgency, the respiratory function of the blood
is vital. A continuous supply of oxygen is required by living cells,
in particular those of the brain since deprivation is followed in
minutes by unconsciousness and death. A normal male at rest uses about
250 millilitres of oxygen per minute, a requirement increased manyfold
during vigorous exertion. All of this oxygen is transported by the
blood, most of it bound to the hemoglobin of the red cells. The minute
blood vessels of the lungs bring the blood into close apposition with
the pulmonary air spaces (alveoli), where the pressure of oxygen is
relatively high. Oxygen diffuses through the plasma and into the red
cell, combining with hemoglobin, which is about 95 percent saturated
with oxygen on leaving the lungs. One gram of hemoglobin can bind 1.35
millilitres of oxygen, and about 50 times as much oxygen is combined
with hemoglobin as is dissolved in the plasma. In tissues where the
oxygen tension is relatively low, hemoglobin releases the bound
The two main regulators of oxygen uptake and delivery are the pH of
tissues and the content of 2,3-diphosphoglycerate (2,3-DPG) in red
cells. The effect of pH on the ability of hemoglobin to bind oxygen is
called the Bohr effect: when pH is low, hemoglobin binds oxygen less
strongly, and when pH is high (as in the lungs), hemoglobin binds more
tightly to oxygen. The Bohr effect is due to changes in the shape of
the hemoglobin molecule as the pH of its environment changes. The
oxygen affinity of hemoglobin is also regulated by 2,3-DPG, a simple
molecule produced by the red cell when it metabolizes glucose. The
effect of 2,3-DPG is to reduce the oxygen affinity of hemoglobin. When
the availability of oxygen to tissues is reduced, the red cell
responds by synthesizing more 2,3-DPG, a process that occurs over a
period of hours to days. By contrast, tissue pH mediates
minute-to-minute changes in oxygen handling.
Carbon dioxide, a waste product of cellular metabolism, is found in
relatively high concentration in the tissues. It diffuses into the
blood and is carried to the lungs to be eliminated with the expired
air. Carbon dioxide is much more soluble than oxygen and readily
diffuses into red cells. It reacts with water to form carbonic acid, a
weak acid that at the alkaline pH of the blood appears principally as
The tension of carbon dioxide in the arterial blood is regulated with
extraordinary precision through a sensing mechanism in the brain that
controls the respiratory movements. Carbon dioxide is an acidic
substance, and an increase in its concentration tends to lower the pH
of the blood (i.e., becoming more acidic). This may be averted by the
stimulus that causes increased depth and rate of breathing, a response
that accelerates the loss of carbon dioxide. It is the tension of
carbon dioxide, and not of oxygen, in the arterial blood that normally
controls breathing. Inability to hold one's breath for more than a
minute or so is the result of the rising tension of carbon dioxide,
which produces the irresistible stimulus to breathe. Respiratory
movements that ventilate the lungs sufficiently to maintain a normal
tension of carbon dioxide are, under normal conditions, adequate to
keep the blood fully oxygenated. Control of respiration is effective,
therefore, in regulating the uptake of oxygen and disposal of carbon
dioxide and in maintaining the constancy of blood pH.”
from: Encyclopedia Britannica CD Rom Deluxe Version 2001

What´s the effect of stress now ?
Under stress you tend to breath faster so that the pH lowers, a
process known as acidosis.  So the answer to your question is a clear
"Yes you get acidic – at very least a very little bit".

The experts say:
"The respiratory rate (rate of breathing) is modified by disease.
Persons with fever have an increased respiratory rate
(hyperventilation), which serves to lower body temperature (this rapid
breathing is analogous to the panting of a dog). Hyperventilation is a
common response to painful stress. Any condition leading to acidosis
(lowering of body pH) similarly drives the respiratory rate upward.
Diseases of the lungs--with the accompanying inability to oxygenate
the blood adequately--have a similar effect."
from: Encyclopedia Britannica CD ROM Deluxe Version 2001

Search Strategy.
offline source:
I used the search function within the Encyclopedia Britannica CD


Request for Answer Clarification by jat-ga on 14 Aug 2002 08:54 PDT
Perhaps I wasn't clear enough.  Your answer, although good, wasn't
exactly what I was looking for (do I still get charged for this?). 
What I'm more interested in knowing is the effect of stress from one's
job, interpersonal relationships, death in the family, etc. rather
than the "fight or flight" kind of stress where one obviously has an
increased breathing rate.  There is something "different" going on as
a physiological response to the kinds of things I mention, above. 
Perhaps the mechanisms are similar, I don't know.  However, I know
from personal experience that, although I can get irritable and
anxious and the muscles between my shoulder-blades get tight and I may
get a headache from time to time while under stress (the kind I
mentioned, above), I don't walk around hyperventilating with an
increased heart rate.  Hope this helps you zero in better on what I'm
looking to find...

Clarification of Answer by till-ga on 14 Aug 2002 10:05 PDT
Certainly the kind of stress you describe influences the way you feel
physically. But the answer to your question:
”Is there any data out there to support the contention that stress
affects pH of the extracellular fluids of the body ?” is clearly no.
The pH  value has to be constant within the given small range.
There are other ways the vegetative nervous system reacts but never by
lowering the pH remarkable.
O course you can ask another question dealing with the influences of
stress on the vegetative system.


Request for Answer Clarification by jat-ga on 14 Aug 2002 11:07 PDT
Second try at some clarification.  OK, I'll play along.  I realize
that pH won't be directly affected by stress.  But, I do think it will
be affected indirectly, as a by-product, as it were, of more direct
bodily responses to stressors.  For example, if the adrenals kick in
in response to stressful situations, then perhaps the presence or
breakdown of an abundance of adrenal hormones throws the body into an
more "acid" state, for which it then needs to compensate.  Catch my
drift?  If so, please feel free to consider this to be a separate
question, and I'll pay my usual ten bucks.  Thanks...

Clarification of Answer by till-ga on 14 Aug 2002 12:04 PDT
There is no need to pay another fee. I want you to be satisfied with
my answer. The other thing is if you asked a completely new question.
Well maybe my first answer really focussed too much in blood pH.
Results for salvia are different:

Some more infos on acidity and stress:
A stress test based on measurung pH:
"Health Tips
 Part 2:: Are You Acid Stressed?
Acid stress is a drop in your body's pH below normal. A measure of
your body's pH reveals the acidity or alkalinity of your internal
environment. The simplest way to determine your individual pH status
is through a quick and inexpensive saliva pH test that you can perform
on yourself. Testing your pH on a regular basis will give you a guage
of your body's pH tendency. Of course, the importance of this test
won't be realized until you understand its implications in your
personal health.
Date: 06/18/01          Source: Deborah Payne, CCN 
It has been determined that an alkaline body is more conducive to
health and well-being than an acidic one. An undesirable pH can lead
to a variety of negative health effects. A body that tends toward
acidity heightens the risk for infections from bacteria, yeast,
parasites, and viruses. All of these "critters" seek out and thrive in
an acid environment. Not only are you more susceptible to infections
such as colds and the flu, degenerative diseases like cancer,
arthritis, heart disease and osteoporosis are promoted if your pH is
consistently acid. If disease is to be prevented or successfully
managed, an acid pH must be overcome.

Your level of acid stress can be determined by measuring saliva pH to
see if your body indicates an acid or alkaline pH value. The pH scale
runs from 0 to 14.0, with 7.0 representing neutrality - an optimal
acid/alkaline balance. A value below 7.0 indicates acidity, and
greater than 7.0 indicates alkalinity. The pH scale is a logarithmic
measurement, meaning that a pH of 6.0 is not just one unit less than a
pH of 7.0, but rather, 6.0 is ten times more acidic than 7.0! In this
light, you can see how a slight change in your pH value can have a
great impact on your internal environment and, ultimately, your

To perform this simple test, all you need is a roll of pH testing
paper (preferably pHydrion test paper), a plastic spoon, and some
fresh saliva! The test uses a pH-sensitive, color-coded test strip to
reveal your personal pH status. For the saliva test:
- Be sure not to eat, drink, or brush your teeth for 30 minutes prior
to the test
- Swallow a couple of times to clear the mouth and stimulate new
- Then discharge some saliva into a PLASTIC spoon (it is recommended
NOT to touch the pH paper to your tongue due to the chemicals in the
- Tear off a one-inch strip of pH paper, place into saliva and let sit
- After approximately 30 seconds, compare the color of your immersed
pH paper with the color chart provided on the pH testing roll
- The lower your pH value below 7.0, the greater your degree of acid
- Continue testing and recording your pH for a few weeks - first thing
in the morning and at bedtime (This will show your personal pH trend)
Deborah Payne is a Certified Clinical Nutritionist who owns and
operates NutriBridge Nutritional Services in Colorado Springs. Deborah
coaches individuals and families on how to lead a more enthusiastic
and energetic life through identifying and correcting the body
chemistry imbalances that underlie all diseases and unhealthy aging.
To find out if acid stress or any of the other health imbalances are
adversely affecting your health, professional health coaching
appointments are available by phone or at the NutriBridge office."
Monumental Massage
( ) 
They do not mention how far away from usual the values may be.

"Saliva pH testing. 
The pH of your saliva moves from high to low according to what you eat
in your diet over a period of time. Tear off a strip of pH test paper
1-2" long and hold it below your mouth so that you can spite a small
amount of saliva onto an end of the strip. Shake the extra spittle off
of the end of the strip and compare the change in color of the
moistened end to the color chart. Note on a piece of paper that you
can record on from day to day the number of the pH value. Do this at
the very beginning of each day before you have put anything whatsoever
in your mouth. This will be your "normal" saliva pH before  being
changed by things going into your mouth or the events of the day. Keep
this record in a secure and convenient location so that you can record
the values in successive days. This is the simplest, most bare-bones
pH test routine. You just look at the one reading at the start of the
day and compare it to the prior day's readings. If the change is
towered a slightly alkaline reading 7.0 - 7.4, as the days progress,
then you are on the right track. If there is no change or the readings
are moving away from the proper range, then you are not doing enough
correct actions to improve your health. These values, by the way, can
be much affected by emotional and mental states of the individual.
Take note if this seems to apply when you evaluate the pH values.
What do the numbers mean? 
5.5-6.0  State of health is mildly poor or very poor. Anxiety or
chronic stress could also be dominating the physiology. If
mental/emotional factors are not the cause, improving diet,
detoxification and exercise will move the values up to the correct
6.2-7.0  Usually indicates that emotions are not getting the best of
physiology. This range improves more easily with improvement in diet,
a detoxification program and some exercise where there was not enough
before. "Improving diet" for those with a pH below 7.0 means eating
70% or more foods from the alkaline-ash* list of foods daily.
7.2-8.0  Diet isn't a major problem unless stably above 7.4
Vegetarians commonly fall in this high pH range and can be headed
toward exhaustion. Worry and anxiety can be overriding the positive
benefits they get from their good diets. When worry and too much
stress is not the case, the physical handling is to include more rice
cereals and other acid-ash in their diets to tone down the pH. (See
acid-ash and alkaline-ash foods list, attached.) Also, mild
detoxification and exercise may be of benefit to improve conditions.
Here, in a quick glance, is how you can test and evaluate your body's
pH. Monitoring your saliva pH can help you improve your diet and other
lifestyle characteristics so that your health can be under your
There are two other types of pH tests that can be done. The first is
called the "saliva stress test" and the second tests one's urine. Both
tests are more complicated to do than the one given here and will be
the subject of a later writeup.
Acid-ash / alkaline ash: The ash factor means when food is burned or
metabolized by the body, what is it's pH value - acid or alkaline.
Some foods, oranges or apple cider vinegar, for instance, are acid
before metabolizing and alkalizing afterwards.
( )

Maybe a look at (
) can be helpful as well. Due to many tables and picturs there I can´t
copy the text without destrpying the readability.

Hope that i took the biscuit now !


Request for Answer Clarification by jat-ga on 14 Aug 2002 13:24 PDT
Although what was supplied was interesting, it still doesn't answer my
question.  I'm well aware of salive/urine pH testing.  But these are
"symptoms" or indicators.  What I want to know is the "why" of it.  If
a person is under the kinds of stress I've indicated previously, then
will their urine/saliva turn more towards "acid"?  If so, why?  What
is secreted that throws these body fluids towards acid?  Or, what is
secreted that when it breaks down leaves an acid "residue" of sorts
that needs to be handled by the body in order to return to proper pH
levels?  Or, what other possible physiological mechanism takes place
that moves the body in an acid direction?  We're still talking past
one another, it seems.  Let's try again.  Thanks...

Request for Answer Clarification by jat-ga on 17 Aug 2002 14:43 PDT
Is my request for clarification of 14 August still open?  Haven't
received an attempt to answer it, yet...

Clarification of Answer by till-ga on 18 Aug 2002 04:35 PDT
Sorry that you had to wait for this clarification. I had to contact
some people with specialized knowledge by phone and they were not
reachable for some days. I must emphasize here that the subject has
become rather complex within the clarification process. Your question
has now turned into :
“What I want to know is the "why" of it”

There are hints for the mechanism causing acidification from the
psychosomatic view:

Bad diets - including meat and potatoes, fried foods, soft drink
colas, sucrose and other sugars - build up acid salts in the body.
Often these deposits, by having to be stored away from blood flow, can
remain in the body for decades. Stress - both mental and physical -
can also form acid deposits in the body. Mental stress can make you
feel depressed. While the physiological, scientific connection to
stress in the body has not been completely established, there exists a
school of thought in psychology, called psychosomatics, which
maintains that one's mental state will influence health. Doctors in
Japan, following more than forty years of research and testing,
believe that daily drinking of alkaline water can lift depression. Let
us look at some of the healing benefits of drinking ionized alkaline
The Health Nuts
( )

Certainly – or at least often - stress will be accomplished by  trying
to compensate it by eating:

“ Eating and Over-Acidification
There is only one physiological disease - the over-acidification of
the body, due primarily to an inverted way of eating and living. This
over-acidification leads to the one sickness or primary symptom – the
overgrowth in the body of micro- organisms, whose poisons produce the
symptoms we call diseases”. This powerful statement is from Dr. Robert
O. Young’s’ book “Sick and Tired, Reclaiming our Inner Terrain”. Dr.
Young, Ph.D., D.Sc., is a medical nutritional biologist, or in other
words a researcher, who may be on the threshold of a “new biology”
whose principals, if proven, could revolutionize the way we look at
our health.
By understanding that making some simple changes in your eating habits
and lifestyle, you can potentially improve the level of your health,
energy, and longevity.
Since Dr. Young’s’ primary finding is that over- acidification of the
blood is an underlying cause of many diseases , we must first begin to
understand and become more familiar with what causes this increased
acid condition. Unfortunately, many of our typical daily food choices
and negative emotional states (stress), create this over abundant
acidic internal body environment.
The reality is that it is very difficult to make these so called
simple changes in the way we eat and think – but it can be
accomplished. If Dr. Young’s’ theory of balancing your bodies
biochemistry does prove out over time, many of the “quick fix”
approaches of prescription drugs, fad diets, and miracle cures will no
longer be the mainstream, but a more natural approach of eating,
living and thinking will prevail.
As I write this newsletter, I see how day to day reality and
temptation is evident amongst us all. Recently at a resort, I observed
that we, as Americans poison ourselves with the “accepted” massive
quantities of processed food, red meat, bread, potatoes, pasta,
desserts, soda, coffee, high sugar fruits, dairy products, and
alcohol- all essentially toxins that most of us consume on a daily
basis. It just seems to be magnified here. SO HOW ARE WE SUPPOSED TO
It is a difficult task, but what I find so appealing about Dr.
Young’s’ program is that he’s not asking us to give up what we enjoy
so much, the pleasure of eating all of the above mentioned foods. What
he does recommend is to first begin by superhydrating (increased water
intake) your body with the Supergreens (49 organic grasses) and
becoming more aware of both the benefits (alkaline) and negative
(acid) effects that the foods we eat have on our body. As far as Dr.
Young is concerned, once you super- hydrate with supergreens and
choose to eat more alkaline foods you are on your way to changing your
biochemistry, and therefore improving many aspects of your health. An
appropriate metaphor that Dr. Young uses to explain his work is, “IF
DO, TREAT THE FISH OR CHANGE THE WATER?" Orthodox traditional medicine
may treat the fish, but the new biology holistic approach is to change
the water. That’s what the ultimate new goal is, change our internal
environment to a more alkaline state, or a less acidic state.
I have personally been on Dr. Young's’ program for approximately 3
months now, and I’d like to share my findings thus far which includes
reduced cravings for desserts, loosing about 10 pounds, and an energy
level that’s as good as ever. As many of you know, I have a moderate
approach to health care so during this “experimental phase” I also
expect no miracles or magic bullets (although there are many favorable
testimonials in Dr. Young’s’ book, Sick and Tired). In addition it
does take some discipline to drink at least 2 quarts of alkalized and
energized water each and every day. That’s the commitment.
What I will be closely watching and very interested in is the
beneficial effect of the supergreen drink on sustained weight loss, on
increased energy levels, reduced food cravings, reduction of muscular
spasm and pain, and increased joint mobility and flexibility.
I would be happy to speak to you on a individual basis to discuss your
specific concerns or questions regarding this new and unique approach
to health care. “
Dr. Arnold Angrist
( )

I hope that these hints now help to improve answering your question in
a satisfying way.
Maybe this list from may help you to find an interesting
book on the subject:

jat-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars
My question was a hard one and is of such a nature that it would be
difficult to find specific answers.  Researcher gave a good go of it,
however.  I'd still like to pursue this topic and hope to do so,

Subject: Re: pH and Stress
From: grenfell-ga on 05 Oct 2002 01:43 PDT
I believe the first question that should be asked is : What is your
sex and age?
These factors have to be taken into account when talking about stress
effects to the body. Circulation has a lot to do with the build up of
toxins thus increase or changes in cellular metabolism as well as
decrease estrogens or other precursors to enzyme activity taking
place. Exercise also has a very important role in keeping stress in
control. This also has to do with releasing homocystine levels that
can be troublesome in various ways within the body due to build up.
The body is always trying to maintain homeostasis, even when its not
unbalanced from what we eat.

Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy