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Why does Lemon Juice make you Alkaline?

You’ve probably heard someone say that drinking lemon juice makes you more alkaline. But lemon juice is acidic, it has a pH of around 2.0. So how come lemon juice raises the pH of your urine? Because what’s affecting the pH of your urine isn’t the acid in lemon juice, it’s the minerals from it. When you drink lemon juice, your body metabolizes the citric acid in it but most of the mineral content doesn’t get metabolized, instead those alkaline minerals are discharged in your urine. As a result, your urine pH rises.


Lemon juice is acidic, but it alkalizes your urine

Potential Renal Acid Load – PRAL Score

Potential Renal Acid Load (PRAL) is a method of calculating how much of an acid load the foods you eat put on your kidneys. Foods that are acid forming have a positive PRAL score, they increase the amount of acid that your kidneys must process and discharge. Alkaline foods such as lemon juice have a negative PRAL score, they are alkaline forming – they reduce the amount of acidity your kidneys have to deal with. When you reduce the acid load on the kidneys, the pH of the urine rises.

The PRAL score of lemon juice is  -2.5. It gets that PRAL score because lemon juice contains calcium, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus. Those four minerals are what make lemon juice, or any food, raise the pH of your urine.

PRAL Scores of different food types

In general, fruits and vegetables are alkalizing. Meats, grains, and dairy products are acidifying. You don’t have to avoid acidic foods if working to raise your pH balance, but generally you want to follow the 80/20 rule: Eat 80% alkaline, and 20% acidic.

Alkalizing FoodsFruits

Fruit Juices


Vegetable Juices

Herbs and Vinegar

Acidifying FoodsFish and Seafood



Cereals and Flour

Dairy Products



As you can see, there are a lot more acidifying foods than there are alkalizing foods. When planning meals, it’s best to include the healthier acidifying foods like nuts and beans. They aren’t as acidifying as meats or dairy products, but they are packed with nutrients. Of course, it’s best to avoid sugary foods of any kind altogether.

Metabolic Syndrome: Why you need to raise your urine pH

If you eat an acidic diet, your body simply discharges the excessive acidity in your urine. So is having a low urine pH really harmful to health? Yes, if your urine pH level is chronically low you can end up forming kidney stones, gaining weight, and developing other health problems that are symptoms of metabolic syndrome.

The symptoms of metabolic syndrome are:

  • Obesity
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Kidney Stones
  • High Blood Sugar
  • Chronic Low Urine pH
  • High Cholesterol Levels

If you have three or more of the above symptoms, you should talk to your doctor about metabolic syndrome. A urine pH of 6.1 or higher is generally associated with zero risk of metabolic syndrome. It doesn’t take much to put you in the danger zone. A urine pH of 5.7 is associated with high risk for having all of the symptoms of metabolic syndrome. The difference between perfect health, and having all of the symptoms of metabolic syndrome is just four tenths of a pH!

For more information: How to test your urine pH

Raising urine pH is a method for treating metabolic syndrome. If your doctor determines that you have metabolic syndrome, one of the ways they will treat it is by attempting to raise the pH of your urine. Doctors typically subscribe a calcium supplement for that purpose.

Alkaline water raises the alkaline PRAL score of lemon juice or any food

In conclusion, alkaline water gets it’s alkalinity from calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Alkaline water typically has a PRAL score of between -1.0 – .2.0, depending on how much mineral content the water has. So if you mix your lemon juice with alkaline water, it will then have a PRAL score of around -3.5 to -4.5. It will also buffer some of the acidity of the lemon juice, making it easier on your stomach. On it’s own, a glass of alkaline water can raise your urine pH by .5 – 1. Maintained over the long term, a healthy urine pH balance may lead to better health

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