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Lemon Juice - Acidic, Alkaline or Both?

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Conditions: cancer, arthritis, gout, obesity, osteoporosis, allergies, chronic fatigue, diabetes type II, multiple sclerosis, gastritis, G.I. tract ulcers

Lemon-JuiceThere is often misunderstanding of lemon’s pH outside the body versus inside the body.  Let’s get this straight and expound on 10 benefits of regularly taking lemon juice with warm water (note: NOT equal to lemonade!)

Outside the body, lemon juice is acidic (pH is below 7).  This is a non-issue. Everyone knows this.  It’s a citrus fruit.

Inside the body however, when lemon juice has been fully metabolized and its minerals are dissociated in the bloodstream, its effect is alkalizing and therefore raises the pH of body tissue (pH above 7 is alkaline).  Please notice the difference.

Why is it important for body tissue to be alkaline rather than acidic?  Well, for chemistry enthusiasts, we know that in long-term acidic environments, normal cell structure and function are damaged.  The exception to this is the stomach, where the hydrochloric acid secreted there is intended to aid in cellular digestion of food.  But even the stomach is internally lined with special cells to prevent the acid from burning through the stomach’s layers, which is a condition otherwise known as “gastritis” or stomach ulcer.

Similar to the food we eat, human tissue – muscles, organs, fascia, cells and blood simply break down faster in acidic conditions.  The only difference however, is that ingested food becomes fuel for life in its metabolized state whereas broken down tissue dies and becomes toxic waste.

How does the body become acidic?  Through unbalanced diets too rich in acid-producing or inflammatory foods, repressed or unexpressed negative emotions, persistent negative subconscious thought patterns, and overall wear and tear in human body functions.

You may have heard that the acidity of lemon juice reduces the healthy enamel on teeth.  The answer to this lies in whether a person sucks on fresh lemons or limes all the time.  If so, then yes, doing so will damage the teeth’s enamel.

But drinking lemon-water does not expose the teeth for excessive amounts of time to high citrus acidic levels in the mouth, thereby causing no harm to the enamel.  In fact, it improves plaque-stained teeth and bad breath.

You may have also heard that lemon juice causes cavities.  Yikes!  Not true.  I even checked with my own holistic-focused dentist (who I recommend in a heartbeat - Dr. Ross Gorrell in Tsawwassen, B.C., Canada).  No matter if someone takes a lot of lemon juice in their diet, if they have relatively more sugar (processed foods, pastries, candy, pop, cakes, breads, chocolate, etc.), then it's the comparatively higher amount of sugar intake that leads to cavities.  When metabolized in the bloodstream, sugar is highly acidic, and because blood is the body's amazing superhighway, this leads to the breakdown of teeth, among many other symptoms of unbalanced health.


Simply put, outside the body lemon juice is acidic; inside the body after its minerals dissociate, its effect is alkalizing.  So in fact, lemon juice is both acidic and alkalizing.

Now what are its long-term benefits, indicators of general pH level in the body, and exceptions for those who would not be recommended to take it?

10 BENEFITS of Drinking Warm Lemon-Water (i.e. not claimed to be a "cure" for the following conditions)

Helps to:

  • Decrease low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol
  • Cut through and reduce phlegm congesting the lungs and sinuses, or phlegm expressed externally as pus (ex. acne, boils, shingles)
  • Cut through adipose (fat) and cellulite tissue to assist weight loss, especially when taken first thing in the morning before breakfast
  • Decrease “fatty” liver
  • Astringe body fluid to help prevent abnormal fluid discharge (ex. night sweats, spontaneous daytime sweats, seminal leakage, urine incontinence, bedwetting) - this is based on over 4000 years of Traditional Chinese Medicine in which each flavour in food is understood to have a therapeutic purpose, and "sour" flavoured foods are used in herbal medicine to help astringe unwanted leakage of body fluids
  • Maintain teeth and mouth health
  • Reduce sweet, pastry and gluten cravings (which all cause acidic environments in the body)
  • Detoxify and alkalize acidic conditions seen in many diseases ailing people today (ex. rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, degenerative arthritis, cancer, osteoporosis, obesity, gout, diabetes type II, multiple sclerosis, digestive disorders, allergies, chronic fatigue)
  • Nourish and relax tight fascia tissue – ligaments, tendons and connective tissue
  • Maintain glowing, moisturized healthy skin and boost immunity

General pH Level Indicator
Keeping your dosage of lemon juice per 1 cup water consistent, a simple indicator of whether your body is more acidic or alkaline is whether lemon juice in hot or warm water tastes sour or not.  If the sour taste is strong, your body is very acidic.  If it’s not sour at all and even tastes like lemonade to you (without the sugar), your body is in a healthier, more alkaline state.

Depending on a) your ratio of lemon juice to water; b) body’s level of acidity; and c) consistency in daily intake, the taste of lemon-water should eventually not taste very sour at all.

Those who would not be recommended to regularly take lemon-water (or might start with very weak doses) are those who have particularly strong acid reflux (heartburn) or ulcers (known or unknown) – mouth, esophageal or stomach ulcers.  In these cases, lemon juice may cause an irritating “burning” sensation, because it has not yet been metabolized by the body and is still in its acidic state when passing these areas of the gastrointestinal tract.  Therefore, other remedies would be suggested.

Click Why is Lemon Water Alkaline? to watch a short video explanation, or read Dr. Robert Young’s book, The pH Miracle for more information.

NOTE: Taking LIME juice in warm water has similar benefits to drinking warm lemon-water.  See this comparison of nutrition facts between raw lemon and lime juice.

Resources: For evidence-based information on the benefits of lemon juice, read the following:

Lemon Rx: 12 Evidence-Based Reasons Why It Is A Powerful Medicine

The antimicrobial effects of Citrus limonum (Lemon) and Citrus aurantium (Bergamot) essential oils on multi-species biofilms

Sedative, anxiolytic and antidepressant activities of Citrus limon (Burm.) essential oil in mice

Impacts of fresh lime juice and peel on atherosclerosis progression in an animal model

Identification of Coumarins from Lemon Fruit (Citrus limon) as Inhibitors of in Vitro Tumor Promotion and Superoxide and Nitric Oxide Generation

Inhibition of Human Breast Cancer Cells by Citrus Limonoids

Further Studies on the Anticancer Activity of Citrus Limonoids

Citrus Limonoids: Analysis, Bioactivity and Biomedical Prospects

Bioactive compounds from Mexican Lime (Citrus aurantifolia) Juice Induce Apoptosis in Human Pancreatic Cells

Neuroprotective Effects of Citrus Flavonoids

For more information on helping re-balance your body TISSUES to be alkaline, see this article below (new article on this topic to come out soon). The chart on alkaline/acidic foods is particularly useful.

How to Get Your Body in an Alkaline State and Keep it Alkaline: Avoid Acidic Foods

"He who does not know food, how can he understand the diseases of man?"

- Hippocrates (460 - 357 B.C.)

Last Updated Tuesday, 24 February 2015 19:49
This article was written by Dr. Mee Lain Ling
All articles by Dr. Mee Lain Ling

Comments Refresh  

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nestor 2016-09-19 19:33
My brother has colorectal cancer in its early stages. He was told to take a lot of lemon juice as part of an alkaline diet by friends and coworkers. Reading the above article, I realize how good lemon could be for certain types of cancer. Does anyone know if lemon is that good in the treatment of colon cancer and if are there any articles on the internet that shine more light about this subject? Thank you
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Aditya Daga 2016-09-25 11:45
Quoting nestor:
My brother has colorectal
cancer in its early stages. He was told to take a lot of lemon juice as part of an alkaline diet by friends and coworkers. Reading the above article, I realize how good lemon could be for certain types of cancer. Does anyone know if lemon is that good in the treatment of colon cancer and if are there any articles on the internet that shine more light about this subject? Thank you

Pls learn A breathing technique by Art of Living called Sudarshan Kriya .. And few more very effective medicines made by Art of Living foundation based on Ayurveda on cancer.
You can
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CASnyder 2016-11-26 11:04
I've been avoiding drinking acidic beverages, due to concerns for my tooth enamel, and I drink xylitol water (1tsp xylitol / liter water) which is slightly alkaline all day but especially after eating to keep the environment of my mouth alkaline. This has greatly improved my dental health. I would prefer to eat lemon pulp mixed into my food for the citrus fruit benefits, will that be as beneficial to my body as drinking lemon juice water, which would be in contact with my teeth for longer?
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OHRon 2016-12-03 07:16
I have gastric reflux, and lately I have beeb drinking concentrated lemon juice with green tea and a little bit of honey. I feel better.
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Silvia Meredith 2016-12-07 02:56
Thank you for this article, it's so informative and easy to understand! And I love the example of testing the lemon water. I love it:)
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mohammed khyse 2016-12-18 04:53
Thank you very much for your great article,What i realize that lemon or lime is Breast Milk of nature.
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greg 2017-01-22 13:20
Would whether the lemon water tastes acidic or not, not depend on the number of sour taste receptors you have on your tongue? Or does eating an alkaline diet change the number of sour taste receptors you have on your tongue? Or further does an alkaline diet dampen the neuron pathways between said taste receptors and the brain? Would be interested in the research docs you have taken this from.
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steve 2017-02-09 04:25
Hi, thanks for the info. My friend told me to take one teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda in water to alkaline the body. Ive been doing this for some time now, would I be better simply drinking lemon juice to create the same effect?

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