The pH and Enzyme Relationship

May 03, 2018

The pH and Enzyme Relationship

You may get flashbacks to high school science or maintaining your pool, whichever is fresher in your mind, when you see or hear about pH, but it’s important to understand that each of us has our own pH levels in our bodies. While an average healthy person generally has set ranges of pH (or levels of acidity) in different parts of the body, even the slightest difference can have major repercussions. A good example of this is enzymes. As crucial as enzymes are to keeping you up and running, they need to be in a suitable pH level to do their jobs.

pH and the Body

Bodily pH is not uniform, and if you think about it, that makes a lot of sense. Something like saliva is relatively neutral, in the 6.5-6.75 range. By comparison, gastric secretions like stomach acid are more acidic, and something like bile would be more alkaline. Where things go wrong in the body is generally when acidity levels are higher than they should be. What causes this? It varies.

When you have too much acid in your body fluids, it leads to a condition called acidosis, which can be extremely dangerous if left unchecked. This comes in two main forms: respiratory acidosis, where there is too much CO2 in the blood, and metabolic acidosis, which starts primarily in the kidneys. Diabetes, kidney issues, and dehydration can all factor into these conditions.1

There are certain foods that have a higher acid content as well. While eating these won’t lead to acidosis directly, lowering your intake is sometimes advisable. These foods include:

  • Grains
  • Sugar
  • Processed foods
  • Sweetened beverages
These foods are best eaten in moderation anyway, for a variety of health reasons.

The pH-Enzyme Link

You don’t need to be in a life-threatening situation for imbalanced pH to pose a problem, and enzymes are a perfect example. Each enzyme has an optimum pH level where it performs at its best. For example, pepsin is a protease enzyme that helps break down proteins in the stomach. Being in the stomach, it performs best at an acidic pH.2

But what happens when the pH doesn’t match the enzyme? Well, pH environment can literally change the shape of an enzyme to the point where it’s not recognizable to the body. If this takes place, then whatever action or reaction the enzyme was supposed to play a part in either doesn’t happen or it happens at a much slower or reduced rate.3 Going back to the example of digestion – if your digestive pH is off balance, it can hinder the proper digestion of food. We know from science that slower or irregular digestion is not only uncomfortable, it also impacts your nutrient intake.4

This can be a major concern if you are trying to use enzymes to support your digestive health or any other facet of health. Even if you use supplemental enzymes, if they are going into a body with a pH level that’s not suitable, chances are that you’re only going to see a fraction of the potential benefits, if any. The good news is that as this issue becomes more clear, companies are already navigating the issue, as is the case with Enzymedica’s Thera-Blend.


Thera-Blend is an exclusive process we use for the protease, lipase, amylase, and cellulase enzymes in our enzyme supplements. This process combines multiple enzyme strains in order to get greater overall activity over a broader range of pH levels. The result is that Thera-Blend enzymes are both more effective and faster-working than other digestive enzyme supplements. The reason for this is two-fold. First, several enzyme strains are able to break down more bonds in food passing through the digestive system than a single one. In addition, even as the body’s pH ranges ebb and flow, having multiple strains means a more consistent result.

The relationship between enzymes and the body’s pH level is a perfect example of how one effort to support your health is often contingent on something else to have the desired effect. This is why it’s so important to talk to a doctor or medical professional before taking dietary supplements. Their guidance will not only help you find the supplements you need, it can also provide you with dietary plans that will assure that they can effectively meet your needs.

1. Pizzorno J. Acidosis: An Old Idea Validated by New Research. Integr Med (Encinitas). 2015;14(1):8-12.
2. Cornish-bowden AJ, Knowles JR. The pH-dependence of pepsin-catalysed reactions. Biochem J. 1969;113(2):353-62.
3. Shi HZ, Guo QS, Zhu ZB, Hu TT, Zhang SW. [Effects of temperature and pH on digestive enzymes activities in Whitmania pigra]. Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 2012;37(17):2538-41.
4. Clissold FJ, Tedder BJ, Conigrave AD, Simpson SJ. The gastrointestinal tract as a nutrient-balancing organ. Proc Biol Sci. 2010;277(1688):1751-9.

Related Posts

  • What Is the Keto Diet and How Can I Make the Most of It?
    What Is the Keto Diet and How Can I Make the Most of It?

    In the world of diets, sometimes it may seem like every week there’s something new guaranteeing you’ll lose weight. It can be hard to know what these diets are, how well they work—and if they do work, what you can do to make them even more ef...

  • 4 Ways to Decrease Gas and Bloating
    4 Ways to Decrease Gas and Bloating

    Gas and bloating may be natural byproducts of eating, but that doesn’t mean they’re not embarrassing. For some of us, our symptoms can be so bad that we stop eating some of the foods we love—but this isn’t the only way to solve the problem. T...

  • What Is SIBO? And What Can Help?
    What Is SIBO? And What Can Help?

    Written by Dr. Michael Murray Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) may seem like a new condition, but I first wrote about it over 35 years ago. At the time, in the early 1980s, there was a lot of focus on the overgrowth of Candida alb...

  • 4 Natural Ways to Slim Down and Feel Your Best
    4 Natural Ways to Slim Down and Feel Your Best

    Living a healthy lifestyle is all about balance and making wise choices to take care of your body. While healthy living needs to be consistently practiced, it shouldn’t need to take all of your energy. If you’re looking to skim off some extra...

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.

Also in Articles on Natural Digestive Health and Wellness

All Your Enzyme Questions Answered
All Your Enzyme Questions Answered

November 13, 2018

We’re passionate about how powerful and important natural digestive enzymes are, so we’ve assembled a helpful guide to give you simple, straightforward explanations to your enzyme questions.

Continue Reading

5 Ways to Encourage Healthy Habits in Kids
5 Ways to Encourage Healthy Habits in Kids

October 08, 2018

It can be challenging keeping kids healthy, especially with the demands of school, work and other life activities. Get a leg up on the season this year by following one of these five suggestions for healthier habits and healthier kids.

Continue Reading

Let's Talk About Poop... No, Really.
Let's Talk About Poop... No, Really.

October 03, 2018

If there’s one thing you’d rather not talk to your family, your best friend or even your doctor about… it’s poop. Yet, our poop can tell us so much about our health that it’s something we should be aware of.

Continue Reading