• Dr. Gladis Walter

Lemons, Alkaline body and pH balance

Everything started with a question that someone sent me recently:

“If lemon is acidic, why lemon juice is recommended to keep the body alkaline”?

This is the type of question that cannot be answered with a yes or no because the answer is linked to knowledge and common sense. And this is a simple fact: most people do not know what acidity or alkalinity is, so they keep repeating what someone said. When you are in a group of people and they start talking about, I want you to be knowledgeable, so that you can engage in the conversation. For that, you need to know what alkaline means.

This is the chemistry of your daily life!


The water molecule dissociates and, depending on the characteristics of the solution, there will be a higher or lower concentration of hydrogen ion. pH is the measurement of hydrogen ion concentration in a liquid solution and the value goes from 0-14. ph7 is considered neutral, pH 6.9-0 is acidic and from 7.1-14 is alkaline. Taking the lemon juice, as an example, it is a water-based solution and with many hydrogen ions, equivalent to pH2, characteristic of an acid.



Lemon juice is very acidic - ask your dentist!

It is as acid as the stomach, whose pH varies from 1.5 to 3.5. The stomach is the most acidic part of our body, loaded with hydrochloric acid. This is the perfect condition to activate enzymes, responsible for accelerating chemical reactions, during the process of breaking down the food that we eat, and turning it into energy. And here is the important aspect of being alive: you cannot abruptly change the pH of an organ or tissue without consequences.

If your stomach becomes alkaline, the enzymes will not be active, the digestion will stop, the flow of energy will stop. The maintenance of the pH of our blood is also so important, that it is tightly regulated by lungs and kidneys, keeping the balance between pH7.3-7.4. That is why, if you have a serious respiratory problem, your life is at risk. The kidneys will try to eliminate as many metabolites as possible, to help to maintain the blood at the correct pH.


When the kidneys receive the alert, they may choose to eliminate sodium, potassium, magnesium, phosphate, citrate, uric acid, for example. That is why the urine has a variable pH. Depending on the diet and the need to keep the internal environment, the urine will be more acidic or more alkaline.

Going back to the question, can lemon juice make your body more alkaline?

Vitamins, minerals, fibers, from the lemon juice, and other food that you eat, contribute to building a healthier body but not a more alkaline one. If you read this article/blog, you know why. What you eat can be loaded by the kidneys and, because of the minerals, the urine may become more alkaline, but not the entire body.

There is a way to calculate the potential renal acid loads (PRALs) of each food, and you can find tables with a list of foods in books and publications.

When each compartment of your body keeps the correct pH - some are acidic and others are alkaline - there will be harmony and the energy will flow through it.

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1. Passey C. (2013). Reducing the Dietary Acid Load: How a More Alkaline Diet Benefits Patients With Chronic Kidney Disease. J Ren Nutr 2017, 27(3): 151-160. https://doi: 10.1053/j.jrn.2016.11.006.

2. Schwalfenberg G. K. (2012). The alkaline diet: is there evidence that an alkaline pH diet benefits health? Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health, 2012, 727630.

3. Penniston, K. L.; Steele, T. H.; Nakada, S. Y. (2007) Lemonade therapy increases urinary citrate and urine volumes in patients with recurrent calcium oxalate stone formation. Urology, 70 (5): 856-860.

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