To understand what is pH, you have to learn a little chemistry… it you want to of course 🙂
The following content is considered technical, please read at your own choosing.
What is pH, Defined
pH is defined as the Potential of Hydrogen in an aqueous solution, where:
- ‘Potential of Hydrogen’ equals the negative logarithm of the Hydrogen Ion concentration denoted by [H+]; and
- ‘aqueous solution’ is a liquid in which the main constituent is water, where ‘aqueous’ is derived from the Latin word ‘aqua’ which means water
Written in mathematical terms:
pH = -log [H+], where:
If you want to learn more technical information and history about what is pH, please visit Wikipedia page on pH, it does a good job of explaining what is pH.
For our purposes:
pH identifies a solution as being either acidic, neutral, or alkaline according to the pH Scale shown below; and for our purpose, the ‘solution’ we are referring to is your home tap water.
Before describing the numerical significance of pH, the pH Scale, and how pH is measured, please consider the following description of what water is made of as this is necessary to understand the role of pH as it relates to water, and ultimately, what pH means to your body chemistry.
What Water Is Made Of
Water is a molecule made up of two naturally occurring elements, Hydrogen and Oxygen, in a ratio of two Hydrogen atoms to one Oxygen atom, and is commonly represented as H2O or [HOH].
The two Hydrogen atoms and one Oxygen atom in water are held together by a stable chemical bond created by an electrical attraction.
Taken one step further, the water molecule H2O or [HOH] is more accurately represented as [H+ OH-]°, where:
- [H+] is one Hydrogen Ion with an electrical charge of +1;
- [OH-] is one Hydroxide Ion (or a combination of one Hydrogen Ion connected to one Oxygen Ion) with an overall electrical charge of -1;
- and the [H+ OH-]° water molecule has an overall neutral charge of 0
When Hydrogen and Oxygen Ions are combined in a water molecule [HOH] as shown by the following equation [H+] + [OH-] = [H+ OH-]°, the overall electrical charge is neutral or 0, because the +1 charge from the Hydrogen Ion [H+] is canceled by the -1 charge from the Hydroxide Ion [OH-].
It is a good thing the overall charge of water is neutral or 0 or else you would get shocked every time you come in contact with water!
Now that we have described what makes up water, recall from above, water is made up of one Hydrogen Ion [H+] and one Hydroxide Ion [OH-], we go back to explaining what is pH in terms of the pH Scale described below.
What is pH Scale
The numerical range of possible pH values, known as the pH Scale, is as follows:
pH Scale ranges from 0.0 to 14.0, where:
- pH = (equals) 7.0 is considered Neutral, where the number of Hydrogen Ions [H+] equals number of Hydroxide Ions [OH-]
- pH < (less than) 7.0 is considered Acidic, where the number of Hydrogen Ions [H+] is greater than the number of Hydroxide Ions [OH-]
- pH > (greater than) 7.0 is considered Alkaline, where the number of Hydrogen Ions [H+] is less than the number of Hydroxide Ions [OH-]; written differently, alkaline solutions are those in which the number of, or concentration of Hydroxide Ions [OH-] is greater than the number of Hydrogen Ions [H+].
The pH Scale is illustratively represented below:
The Importance of a pH Value Difference of 1.0
As shown above, the mathematical equation for pH = -log [H+].
The significance of the ‘log’ = logarithmic component of the mathematical equation is the following:
A numerical value change of pH = 1.0 represents a tenfold, 10x, change in Hydrogen Ion [H+] concentration. For example:
- a pH = 6.0 water solution has 10x MORE Hydrogen Ions [H+] in solution than a pH = 7.0 solution;
- a pH = 5.0 water solution has 10x MORE Hydrogen Ions [H+] in solution than a pH = 6.0 water solution, however, the pH = 5.0 water solution has 10×10 = 100x MORE Hydrogen Ions [H+] in solution than a pH = 7.0 solution;
- a pH = 4.0 water solution has 10x MORE Hydrogen Ions [H+] in solution than a pH = 5.0 water solution, however, the pH = 4.0 water solution has 10x10x10 = 1000x MORE Hydrogen Ions [H+] in solution than a pH = 7.0 solution;
- and so forth throughout the range of the pH Scale
The significance of this tenfold 10x change in concentration/unit of pH is that the lower the pH of a water solution, the exponentially 10x, more acidic and aggressive the solution is. For example, stomach acid has a typical pH = 1.5 – 3.5, which is considered very strong acidic – 100,000x more acidic then neutral pH = 7.0 water. This low pH is what aids our bodies in the digestion of the food we eat and the beverages we drink.
On the opposite side of the pH scale, meaning on the alkaline side, or where pH > 7.0, this means:
- a pH = 8.0 water solution has 10x LESS Hydrogen Ions [H+] in solution than a pH = 7.0 solution, in favor of 10x MORE Hydroxide Ions [OH-] in solution;
- a pH = 9.0 water solution has 10x LESS Hydrogen Ions [H+] in solution than a pH = 8.0 water solution, however, the pH = 9.0 water solution has 10×10 = 100x LESS Hydrogen Ions [H+] in solution than a pH = 7.0 solution, in favor of 100x MORE Hydroxide Ions [OH-] in solution
How is pH Measured?
pH can be measured in one of three ways:
- By measuring the concentrations of all species in an aqueous solution and then using a knowledge of chemical reaction equations and mathematics to determine the specific Hydrogen Ion concentration [H+] in the aqueous solution.
Calculating the Hydrogen Ion concentration [H+] in an aqueous solution is a complex process and beyond the scope of the information included on this page;
- Using a pH measuring device called a pH Meter that is designed to measure the Hydrogen Ion [H+] concentration in aqueous solutions by placing the pH Meter measuring bulb tip in the aqueous solution, and then through a series of mathematical calculations, the pH meter displays the resultant pH on a screen for you to read;
- Using a simple to do pH Indicator Drop Test in which a pH Indicator is placed in a small volume of the aqueous solution being tested. When combined, the pH Indicator in the aqueous solution changes the color of the solution depending on the pH of the solution, and then the color is compared to a pH Indicator specific color chart (as shown above) that corresponds the solution’s pH with the given color.
What is pH of Common Household Liquids / Foods
Every day common household liquids and foods have varying pH values.
Take a look at the following Table to see some examples:
|Household Liquids / Food
|Liquid drain cleaners
|Bleach, over cleaners
||10.5 – 11.5
|Milk, saliva, urine
||6.3 – 6.6
|Black coffee, espresso
|Pop, fruit juices
||2.5 – 3.5
As you can see from the Table above, the pH of common household liquids and food can vary greatly from acidic to alkaline.
pH and Water
Water is a liquid and it is special because its pH can be made to vary from low pH (pH < less than 7.0 = very acidic) to high pH (pH > greater 7.0 = very alkaline), depending on the Hydrogen Ion [H+] concentration in it. Because of water’s ability to have varying pH levels, it is considered to be the ideal Universal Solvent.
Normally, water has a neutral pH at or close to pH = 7.0, however, water’s pH can be changed easily in several ways. For example, the pH of water can be changed:
- By the addition of chemicals / minerals / elements that adjust the pH up or down, depending on both the amount and composition of chemicals / minerals / elements being added to the water, and the amount of water that the chemicals /minerals / elements are being added to.
- As in the case of Chanson Countertop Alkaline Water Ionizers or Chanson Under Countertop Alkaline Water Ionizers, by the direct ionization of water through the use of applying an electrical current to a given volume of water.
pH and Neutralization
Acidic solutions, or solutions with a pH < less than 7.0 neutralize alkaline solutions, or solutions with a pH > greater than 7.0, and vice versa, alkaline solutions with a pH > greater than 7.0 neutralize acidic solutions with a pH < less than 7.0.
This natural phenomena becomes important in understanding alkaline water, pH, and how our bodies are affected by what we eat and drink.
The Importance of pH, Your Blood, and Alkaline Water
The importance of pH and your body can not be understated.
The number one thing your body is responsible for maintaining for optimal health is body temperature.
Generally accepted “normal body temperature range” is between 36.1°C (97°F ) and 37.2°C (99°F).
If your body gets cooler then say 35.0°C (95°F ), you get the ‘chills’, and prolonged chills can lead to the hypothermia, which can lead to eventual heart failure and even death.
On the contrary, if your body gets warmer then say 38.0°C (100.4°F ), you get a fever, a condition normally associated with your body fighting off an infection and typically very unpleasant to experience.
If body temperature is the most important thing your body is responsible for maintaining, what is the second most important thing?
The second most important thing your body is responsible for maintaining is your blood pH!
In a process beyond the scope of this website known as acid-base homeostasis, our blood’s pH is typically maintained between 7.32 and 7.42 by many complex bodily systems.
According to research, a slightly alkaline blood pH = 7.365 to 7.45 is sufficient to prevent disease in your body.
It stands to reason, that what we eat and drink affects our blood pH and consequently, our energy levels.
Taking a common sense approach, if you consume foods and beverages that are acid containing or acid producing in your body, your body will have to work harder to neutralize those acids, compared to if you consume foods and beverages that are alkaline containing or alkaline producing in your body.
Since your body is made up of 45-75% water, the water you consume is the easiest way to help your body regulate its blood pH.
If you consume water with a pH > greater than 7.0, known as alkaline water, then you are helping your body maintain its blood pH close to or at the ideal alkaline blood pH = 7.365 mentioned above.
The best way to do this, in our opinion, is by consuming freshly produced ionized alkaline water with a pH = 8.0 – 9.5 on a regular basis.
What Are The Benefits of Drinking Alkaline Water