Take the 2-minute tour ×
Biology Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for biology researchers, academics, and students. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I was recently having a discussion with someone about whether lemon water actually increases the pH of your body (by which I assume they mean the blood); their claim was that once Citric acid was metabolised it results in an increase in pH due to the "anionic properties of citric acid".

I looked around on the internet at it would seem that this is a common claim circulating around health forums: Example 1, Example 2, etc.

Now to me this sounds like something which cannot possibly be true and appears to be a crazy health fad (they seem to spuriously appear and gain popularity now and again), and I cannot find any scientific papers or articles to support or refute their claim.

Can anyone provide a reliable scientific reference or provide a reasonable scientific explanation (preferably accessible to a layman with only A-level (college level) understanding of chemistry and biochemistry) which either supports or refute the claim that drinking lemon water (citric acid) increases the pH of the blood?

I have crossposted this to Chemistry.SE as well, as it is a crossover between chemistry and biochemistry.

share|improve this question

1 Answer 1

The blood pH is tightly controlled, since variations of it are quite dangerous for us. Under normal circumstances the pH is 7.4 (with a normal range between 7.35 and 7.45). Below that we are talking about acidosis, above it about alkalosis. If the blood pH goes about 7.8 or below 6.8, death will occur. This pH is maintained by the Bicarbonate-buffering system, for details see here and here. Food that we take up does not directly influence the blood pH (and there is also no reason for us to do so, since this is tightly controlled and regulated), so this is a health fad. Details that debunk this myth about it can be found here, here and here.

share|improve this answer
The website to which you linked states that Lemons have a "moderate to strong alkaline-forming effect"? How is it that something acidic can form this "alkaline-ash"? –  Shaktal Dec 27 '13 at 13:42
Food gets metabolized in the body and molecules get modified in this process. If you think of the stomach, this is highly acidiy, while the duodenum is pretty alcalic. This gets often mixed up... –  Chris Dec 27 '13 at 13:50

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.