Diet-Induced Acidosis
Author: Tammie Burak
Publish date:
Summary: Our bodies are in a state of constant motion. Even when we’re sleeping, the machinery of the body is at work.

Metabolism is the chemical work within our cells that keeps us alive. We often speak of metabolism in relation to digestion and the process of turning the food we eat into energy, but metabolism involves much more. Metabolism is the process in which the chemical reactions within cells de-construct old cells and produce new ones. These chemical reactions also repair damage in tissues and cause growth. All this and much more goes on within our cells at a frenetic pace every moment of every day of our lives

When Things Go Wrong

Bruce Tuten on Flickr 

Rarely do we give these metabolic processes any thought. We eat, drink, work and play, thinking little about how our diet, thoughts and activities affect us on a cellular level. However, when disease strikes, we sometimes think about our cells and wonder what went wrong.

One of the things that can go wrong is acidosis. Acidemia is the medical term given for blood that is too acidic. The commonly used term for acidic blood, though, is acidosis. Technically, acidosis refers to the process that causes blood to be acidic. Nevertheless, in this article, acidosis is the term that will be used.

While there are a number of recognized medical conditions that cause different forms of acidosis, an important one to discuss is diet-induced acidosis. Although it is a common underlying condition and may be at the root of most illnesses and diseases, diet-induced acidosis is seldom tested for or addressed in medical treatment. A key element to understanding acidosis is pH.

What is pH?

Why is pH so important to our health? Here’s a brief explanation. The concentration of positive hydrogen ions in a substance is measured in pH units on a scale that goes from 0 to 14. The pH of any substance is an expression of how acidic or alkaline the substance is. Water, which is neutral, has a pH of 7, right at the midpoint on the scale. Alkaline substances, or bases, are any substances that are greater than 7 on the pH scale. For example, baking soda, a base or alkaline substance is 8.3. Acids are substances that fall below 7 on the pH scale. Vinegar, an acid, is 2.2.

pH values of some common substances. Illustration from Anatomy & Physiology, Connexions Website...

Blood must maintain a pH of around 7.4 and the body is constantly adjusting to keep the blood within the normal pH range. This is important because metabolism, those chemical reactions that take place inside the cells, depends upon a constant pH level of about 7.4. The body is very sensitive to changes in the acidity of the blood. Even small changes trigger significant compensating responses.

Various kinds of acids result from the metabolism of food components. For example, protein metabolism produces sulfuric acid. Lipid metabolism, resulting from the fats that we eat, produces fatty acids. Too much acid-producing foods in the diet result in increased acidity of the blood, or acidosis. Your body responds to increased blood acidity in several ways.

Increased ventilation: One way your body protects against acidity is through exhalation of carbon dioxide. When the brain senses increased acidity, breathing becomes more rapid to get rid of carbon dioxide that results from neutralizing acid in the blood. This raises the pH, making it more alkaline. When you exercise for instance, your cells burn more glucose for energy. The burning of glucose produces acidic waste which your body throws off in the form of carbon dioxide. As a result of the increased rate of fuel-burning, you breathe more heavily when you exercise to remove the extra waste.

Increased renal re-absorption and generation of bicarbonate: Your kidneys play a major role in regulating acidity by moving acids out of the body with the urine. The kidneys also re-absorb filtered bicarbonate so that it is not lost. Bicarbonate is an important neutralizing agent of acids.

Emergency Measures: When the acid load is too high for too long, the body takes emergency measures to neutralize the acidic condition. Calcium, an alkaline element, is drawn from the bones and processed by the kidneys. Muscle tissue is also broken down and used to make ammonia which is strongly alkaline. When these emergency measures are relied upon too frequently because of chronic diet-induced acidosis, the body suffers serious consequences. Kidney stones can form and bone-thinning and muscle-wasting may result. In addition, as a person ages, diet-dependent acidosis worsens likely because of a decline in kidney function. Long-term, chronic diet-induced acidosis is also more likely to result in diabetes, hypertension and may increase cardiovascular risk.i

Acidosis has also been linked to these and many more health conditions:
● cancer
● dental sensitivity
● insomnia
● kidney stones,
● low energy
● migraine headaches
● osteoporosis
● recessed eyes
● rheumatoid arthritis

Good news

The good news is you can re-balance your pH and improve your health simply by changing your lifestyle. Here are some recommendations to help you reduce an acidic condition and improve alkalinity.

1. Avoid these acid-forming foods:

Animal products like meat, milk and dairy products, fish, seafood and eggs are all highly acid-forming foods and should be eliminated from the diet. Although it goes against popular wisdom, it shouldn't be surprising to note that countries where diets are high in meats and dairy products also have high rates of osteoporosis and hip fractures.ii

What about milk? Don’t I need milk for the calcium? Contrary to what we’re told in the media, drinking more milk is not a good preventative measure against osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is not so much a disease of calcium deficiency as it is a disease of overabundance of protein. Many health-conscious people emphasize drinking fat-reduced milk and eating low-fat milk products. This makes matters worse, because by removing the fat, you end up consuming more protein per milk serving. And it’s the milk protein that forces your body to scavenge your bones for calcium to neutralize the resulting acidic condition. Drinking milk and eating dairy-containing foods is acid-producing. Get your calcium from alkalizing plant sources like sesame seeds and leafy green vegetables.

Highly processed foods are acid-forming foods. In place of sugar and refined foods, choose naturally sweet fruits and foods closest to their natural state.

Salt increases diet-induced acidity because of its chemical composition. Reducing salt intake is an important step to take in returning your body to a healthy pH balance.iii

2. Reduce stress.
In addition, you must get a handle on stress if you want to improve your pH level. Stress increases the amount of cortisol in the blood which triggers a host of changes throughout your body. The net result of chronic stress is increased acidity.

God has known all along that a bad diet and prolonged stress is bad for our bones and inspired King Solomon to write, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones" (Proverbs 17:22).

3. Increase fresh vegetables and fruit.
Fresh vegetables are an excellent source of potassium, magnesium and calcium, alkalizing minerals. fresh fruits and vegetables. To raise your pH or alkalinity at meal-time, try loading half your plate with salad and eat smaller amounts of whole grains, nuts and legumes.

4. Drink adequate amounts of water.
There is no substitute for plain water. Water is the solvent of our cells. All the chemical processes that go on within our cells happen in a fluid state and are dependent upon adequate amounts of water. To improve alkalinity, you can add lemon juice or use a water ionizer.






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