Alkaline for Life®

Testing your pH: a pathway to alkaline balance

Susan E. Brown, PhDBy Dr. Susan E. Brown, PhD

It’s not easy to tell what condition your bones are in at any given time. The only real outward signals that your bones may be weakening are receding gums, weak or broken teeth, and muscle loss—and even those signs don’t necessarily indicate how much bone you’ve lost, if any. So what can you do to assess how healthy your bones are right now?

At the Center for Better Bones, we use various tools to help assess bone health over time. One such tool that you may find useful is pH testing, which will give you a sense of whether your body is tending toward acidity, or is in the balanced, slightly alkaline state that’s necessary for healthy bones. This test is relatively simple and can be done in your own home.

How to test your pH

Your pH can be measured using a simple at-home test that measures the acidity of your urine (first of the day is best) or saliva. These tests are available at our website or through other online resources. Instructions on how to use them come with the test; they are simple and easy to understand, so we recommend them as you begin the process of switching to an alkaline diet. The first step in establishing an alkaline diet is to assess your current pH. A good approximation of tissue pH is easily obtained by testing the pH of your saliva or first-morning urine. Follow these simple steps to test your pH at home.

  1. Obtain and become familiar with the pH test paper included in your kit. This paper measures the acid-alkaline state of any liquid. Readings at the low end of the scale indicate an acidic state, and those on the higher end a more alkaline state.
  2. First thing in the morning, preferably after 6 hours of sleep, get a test strip or tear off a three-inch piece of paper from the roll.
  3. a. Testing with urine: Either urinate directly on the paper or collect urine in a cup and dip the paper into the urine in the cup. Please note that first morning urine (after 6 hours of sleep without urinating) is the most valuable pH reading according to our research.

    b. Testing with saliva (if you can’t go 6 hours without urinating): Rinse your mouth with water, spit it out into the sink, and spit again. Now, collect some saliva in a spoon and moisten the paper in the saliva. Do not eat, drink or brush your teeth before the test.

  4. As the test paper is moistened, it will take on a color. The color relates to the acid or alkaline state of your urine or saliva and ranges from yellow to dark blue. Match the color of your test strip with the chart provided on the back of your test kit. A number below 7 means that your urine is on the acid side. The lower the number, the more acidic the condition. Seven indicates a neutral state, neither acid nor alkaline.
  5. The ideal urine reading should be between 6.5 to 7.5, and saliva readings should be between 7.0 to 7.5, with an occasional lower (more acidic) reading. Below, we give you tips on what to do if your reading is not in the ideal zone.

Readings below 6.5:

At first, most people will have low pH readings due to the acid-forming tendency of the standard American diet. In this case, increase your intake of vegetables, fruits, root crops, nuts, seeds and spices, striving to get 80% of your nutrition from these alkalizing foods. For details on the acid or alkaline forming nature of the various foods, see The Acid-Alkaline Food Guide (Square One Publishers, 2006).

Readings above 7.5

A highly alkaline reading is likely due to catabolism, the process of breakdown of body tissue which triggers excess nitrogen in the urine. If you are consistently getting readings at 8.0, contact your health professional about how to stimulate the repair state to reverse this catabolic cycle.

Be patient and persistent. Remember, your pH indicates your reserve of alkaline minerals. It can take time to build up these reserves. Do not be discouraged with a slow movement towards the ideal alkaline measurement. It may have taken decades to get where you are; a few months to sustained repair and renewal are well worth the effort and attention.

Monitor your pH over time

You do not have to measure your pH every day, but it is an excellent idea to keep some record of your pH test results over time. At the Center for Better Bones we use a Monthly pH Testing Record. You might want to use this chart yourself. As you incorporate our Alkaline for Life® Eating Program, and as you use supplements like ours which alkalize, you will see your pH reading move into the desired range.

Our other articles on pH balance include:

Better Bones Program


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Original Publication Date: 01/01/2009
Last Modified: 10/09/2014
Principal Author: Dr. Susan E. Brown, PhD