Understanding Body Acidity
The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14, strongly acidic to strongly alkaline. The human body has its own pH, and when those levels are not optimal, it can have a dramatic impact on every system and overall cellular function.
Excess body acidity is thought to be the first step towards premature aging, the interference with eyesight and memory, the beginning stages of wrinkling, age spots, dysfunctioning hormone systems, and a host of age-related phenomena. Medical studies are confirming that body acidity is implicated in almost all diseases.
The Link Between Acidity and Aging
As we age, we become more acidic. The body of most aged individuals is very acidic, loaded with toxic wastes in the bloodstream, cells, and lymphatic system. These acidic wastes come from many sources. If you were to keep your skin, muscles, organs and glands alkaline like they were when you were a baby, you would dramatically slow down the aging process.
Initial signs of body tissue acidity include:
- Feeling weak, tired and having low energy
- Experiencing agitation, anxiety, panic attacks and depression
- Having skin problems like eczema, psoriasis, acne, and hives
- Suffering generalized aches and pain
- Experiencing diarrhea, constipation, or bloating
- Suffering from cramping before or during periods
- Experiencing heartburn
- Needing more sleep
- Having increased dental decay
- Feeling nauseous
- Suffering from loss of libido
Signs of long-term body acidity are far more serious and include:
- Weak immune system
- Chronic digestive problems
- Arthritis, joint, and ligament problems
- Kidney stones, kidney diseases, and gout
- Heart and circulation problems
- Fungal and bacterial infections
Excess acidity is a condition that weakens all body systems. Excess acidity forces the body to borrow minerals, including calcium, sodium, potassium, and magnesium from vital organs, bones, and teeth to buffer (neutralize) the acid and safely remove it from the body. As a result, the body can suffer severe and prolonged corrosion due to high acidity, a condition that may go undetected for years. Acidosis leads to serious problems with major organs such as the liver, heart, or kidneys. In this article, we will be looking into some of the reasons as to why we should avoid acidosis.
An Acidic Body Leads to Weight Gain and Diabetes
An acidic pH may result in weight-related problems, such as diabetes and obesity. When our body is too acidic, we suffer from a condition known as insulin resistance. This insulin resistance forces excessive insulin to be produced in order to maintain healthy blood glucose levels. As a result, the body is flooded with so much insulin that it diligently converts every calorie into fat.
It is very likely that an acid pH from an imbalanced diet produces a condition which stimulates the predetermined genetic response to starvation and famine. Thereafter, the body will have to increasingly hoard every calorie consumed and store it as fat.
Some people reckon that an acid pH immediately signals the powerful genetic response to an impending famine, directly interpreting with the all-important and very sensitive Insulin-Glucagon Axis. When this happens, it makes the body produce more insulin than usual, and in turn, produce more fats and store them.
On the other hand, a healthy and slightly alkaline pH will yield normal fat-burning metabolic activities, making no demands on the body to produce extra insulin and make fats. As such, this allows fat to be burned and naturally lost. A healthy pH diet is also less likely to have any yo-yo effects or cause diet rebounding with additional weight gain.
We should try to maintain a healthy slightly alkaline pH so as to allow fats to be burnt normally for energy, rather than hoarded and stored under our body’s mistaken biochemical belief of an impending famine.
Acidosis Disrupts Insulin-Producing Pancreatic Beta Cells
The beta cells in the pancreas are responsible for making insulin, the endocrine hormone that controls blood glucose levels. These beta cells are especially sensitive to pH and cannot survive if the body is too acidic.
When this occurs, beta cells will lose phase with one another. Their cellular communication will be thwarted, and the body’s immune system will start to over-respond. Stress within the cells will increase, making it more difficult for them to perform adequately and survive. The result is increased likelihood of type 2 diabetes, as well as other dangerous symptoms of insulin resistance, including higher risk of high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Body Acidity Accelerates Free Radical Damage and Premature Aging
Acidosis leads to partial lipid breakdown and destructive oxidative cascades, accelerating free radical damage of cell walls and intracellular membrane structures. In the process, many healthy cells are destroyed.
Acidosis is the first step towards premature aging and accelerated oxidative cascades of cell wall destruction. Signs of acidosis may include wrinkling, age spots, and failing hormonal systems, interfering with eyesight, memory, and a host of other age-related phenomena. Long-term high acidity in the body also interferes with proper detoxification, and unwanted wastes not properly eliminated from the body actually poison the cells.
Acidosis Disrupts Lipid and Fatty Acid Metabolism
Healthy levels of fatty acids such as omega-3s are crucial to fighting inflammation and maintaining a healthy heart, brain, and circulatory system. Acidosis generally disrupts lipid and fatty acid absorption. This disruption may cause neurological problems, as well as problems with hormonal balance within the endocrine system.
An acidic environment also causes LDL-cholesterol to be laid down at an accelerated rate in the heart, inappropriately lining and clogging up the vascular network. In other words, an acid pH initiates electrostatic potential, damaging arterial walls, which in turn initiates a PDGF-dependent immune response, causing cholesterol oxidation and the formation of plaque with heavy metals.
High Acidity Corrodes Arteries, Veins, and Heart Tissues
Like acid eating into marble, acidosis erodes and eats into cell wall membranes of the heart, arteries, and veins. During this process of erosion, our heart structures and interconnective tissues are weakened.
All living tissues are sensitive to their chemical environment. The muscle cells of the heart are no different. The entire cardiovascular system is directly affected by blood plasma pH and works as one large working system of tubular muscles to carry blood and nutrients to all living tissue in the body. The pumping of the heart drives blood through the arteries, veins, and capillary beds and helps to regulate blood pressure and the flow of blood circulation.
The heart is normal when the pH of blood plasma is slightly alkaline, having a pH of 7.35 to 7.41. When the heart plasma rises to an acidic pH of more than 7.35, it gradually erodes away the smooth muscle tissues of the inner walls of the arteries and veins, as well as the heart itself. This process will start to weaken the structural composition of the heart and arterial and venous walls, causing lesions and microscopic tearing throughout its framework.
At the same time, an acid pH destabilizes free ionic balances within circulation, increasing the populations of positively charged particles (cations, an ion with a positive charge of electricity: H, Ca) which directly interfere with the muscle contractility (contraction and relaxation) of the heart and arteries.
Acid pH changes of blood are now thought to result in the following:
- Development of arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)
- Aneurysm (widening and ballooning of artery walls)
- Arrhythmias (abnormal rhythms of the heart including tachycardia)
- Myocardial infarction (heart attacks)
- Strokes (a cardiovascular accident)
The structural weakening of the cardiovascularity also creates irregularities of blood pressure, which further exacerbate the above problems.
Acidosis Alters Energy Metabolism and Energy Reserves
When your body has an acidic pH, it will prevent efficient cellular and body metabolism. In turn, this can cause issues with electrolyte balance, energy, and recovery. Long-term, this same type of acidosis can also weaken bones and muscle tissue and lead to osteoporosis. The mechanism by which this occurs is complex, but there is value in understanding it.
As previously explained, acidosis results in chemical ionic disturbances, interfering with cellular communications and functions. Acidosis reduces positive calcium binding of plasma proteins, therefore reducing the effectiveness of this intracellular signal.
When cells are not communicating properly, it can disrupt crucial functions, including the beating of our hearts, the way our cells use energy, and how well our bodies support healthy tissue. Acidosis can lead to a reduction of cardiac contractility, or the ability of the heart to pump efficiently and rhythmically.
Like our bodies, our cells also have a pump that drives activity and life, though on a microscopic scale! Positive calcium and hydrogen regulate the activities of intracellular proteins and are driven out of the cells by the “Sodium-Potassium Pump” (Na-K pump).
This pump provides a strong incentive for sodium to be driven into cells. It also regulates the amount of both sodium and potassium in the body stores and uses as much as 25 percent of our caloric input daily. Sodium and potassium are important electrolytes that help regulate our most essential systems, including brain and muscular activity. When they are out of balance, it has a detrimental effect on our ability to create and use energy.
In addition to the immediate issues posed by irregular cardiac or mental performance, there are also long-term repercussions. In acidic solutions, fewer positive sodium ions are available, therefore slowing down the processing and induction of nutritional items going into the cells. As a result, with free positive calcium populations and channels being disrupted, calcium may become inordinately leached from the bone masses. This causes osteoporosis.
In a nutshell, an acidic pH drains us of energy and disallows stored energy reserves to be used. It can also cause the degradation of bone and muscle.
High Acidity Slows the Delivery of Oxygen to Cells
Acidosis reduces oxygen in the blood. As all living tissues, especially the heart and brain, need oxygen to function, a lack of it will lead to eventual death. Having an acidic pH will reduce the amount of oxygen that is delivered to the cells, and they will eventually die.
Scientists estimate between 60 and 84 billion cells die each day in the human body, and one of the body’s primary functions is to repair and regenerate cells to maintain regular function. The increased cell death caused by acidosis poses a real threat to longevity and can increase the likelihood of numerous serious conditions and disease processes.
Symptoms and Diseases Associated With Acidosis
What then happens when the body is too acidic? An acidic balance will:
- Decrease the body’s ability to absorb minerals and other nutrients
- Decrease energy production in the cells
- Decrease the body’s ability to repair damaged cells
- Decrease the body’s ability to detoxify heavy metals
- Enable tumor cells to thrive
- Make the body more susceptible to fatigue and illness
Some people who have high acidity levels tend to exhibit symptoms such as:
- Dilated pupils
- Extroverted behavior
- Fatigue in the early morning
- Hyper sexuality
- Rapid heartbeat
- Restless legs
- Shortness of breath
- Strong appetite
- High blood pressure
- Warm, dry hands and feet
How Does the Body Become Acidic?
Acidosis typically develops as a result of multiple environmental and lifestyle factors. Most of the time, the body becomes acidic due to:
- A diet rich in acids
- Emotional stress
- Toxic overload
- Immune reactions
- Any process that deprives the cells of oxygen and other nutrients
When this happens, the body will try to compensate for acidic pH by using alkaline minerals such as calcium. As a result, calcium is removed from the bones, causing osteoporosis. Acidosis, which is an extended time in the acid pH state, can result in rheumatoid arthritis, type 2 diabetes, lupus, tuberculosis, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, and most cancers.
Two main factors leading to cancer are an acidic pH and a lack of oxygen. As such, are we able to manipulate these two factors so as to prevent and control cancer? Everyone knows that cancer needs an acidic and low oxygen environment to survive and flourish. Research has proven that terminal cancer patients have an acidity level of 1,000 times more than normal healthy people. The vast majority of terminal cancer patients have a very acidic pH.
Why is this so? The reason is simple. Without oxygen, glucose undergoing fermentation becomes lactic acid. This causes the pH of the cell to drop to 7.0. In more advanced cancer cases, the pH level falls further to 6.5. Sometimes, the level can even fall to 6.0 and 5.7 or lower. The basic truth is that our bodies simply cannot fight diseases if our pH is not properly balanced.
The Long-Term Effects of Living with Excess Acid
Now that we understand the process by which excess acid affects the body, it’s important to learn the signs, symptoms, and effect of acidosis in each of the body’s primary systems.
The calcium stored in bones is released when serum and soft tissue calcium is decreased, binding and neutralizing excess acid in the tissues. This initial calcium depletion in the muscle can cause muscle cramps.
As calcium is pulled from the bones to neutralize more acid, the bone stores of calcium become depleted causing osteoporosis, weakened and collapsed vertebrae and, often, poor posture and back pain. The calcium mobilized from the bones gets deposited as calcium-acid salts in the joints, leading to degenerative arthritis.
When brain cells are too acidic, they don’t function correctly. This results in the inability to produce the appropriate chemicals (neurotransmitters) to communicate with adjacent brain cells.
This can result in insomnia, anxiety, depression, neuroses, psychoses, and impairment of memory. Since the brain is supposed to communicate through the spinal cord and other nerves to every cell in the body (heart cells, intestinal cells, muscle cells, glandular cells, etc.), every body system can dysfunction if the nervous system is not functioning optimally due to acidic imbalance.
During conditions of excessive acidity, bacteria, fungi, and/or viruses can attach themselves to the inner wall of arteries. This then attracts white blood cells, clotting proteins, clotting cells, etc. to the area. This may cause a plaque to form in the artery, thus narrowing the artery and restricting the flow of blood, oxygen, and nutrients to the tissues supplied by that artery.
If the coronary artery is involved, a heart attack can occur. If excess acidity is present, calcium, which was mobilized out of the bone to buffer the acid, can deposit in the arterial plaque, thus converting the plaque from soft to hard. The plaque makes the arteries stiff, which can cause an increase in blood pressure.
When the pH is too acidic, the cells lining the stomach and small intestine, along with the cells in the pancreas that are responsible for producing and releasing digestive enzymes, don’t function correctly. This results in indigestion, gas, bloating, and abdominal cramping.
If a sufficient amount of nutrients is not being absorbed by the body from food, the entire body can experience malnutrition. Undigested foods may also ferment in the intestines causing toxicity. The resulting nutrient deficiencies, bowel disorders, and leaky gut can cause a host of additional health problems.
Excessive acidity causes the cells of the colon to dysfunction, which can result in diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, or diverticulitis. A disturbed acid balance in the colon can also cause unfriendly microbes to grow and thrive, which can result in SIFO/SIBO, colitis, inflammatory bowel disease (including Crohn’s), or hemorrhoids.
Immune cells that are too acidic do not produce antibodies or cytokines (chemical messengers to regulate other immune cells), and they have impaired phagocytosis (the ability to engulf and destroy microbes). As a result, the affected individual becomes susceptible to viral, bacterial, and fungal microbes, as well as cancer.
The binding of oxygen to hemoglobin in the lungs operates in a fairly narrow pH range. If the pH is too acidic, microbes in the airways can grow much more easily, invade human cells, cause bronchitis, pneumonia, sinusitis, etc., and in doing so, can result in cough, bronchial spasms (asthma), and increased susceptibility to allergens (hay fever).
The urinary system helps to eliminate toxic waste products from the body. Women have bacteria and/or fungi in their bladders because of their shorter urethra, which connects the urinary bladder to the exterior of the body. These microbes can grow rapidly if the urine’s pH is not in the proper range. In excessive acidic conditions, calcium, which is mobilized from the bone to buffer the acid, can form calcium crystals and stones in the kidney’s collection system.
Endocrine and Glandular System
All of the endocrine glands produce hormones through enzymatic action. If the pH is too acidic, the glandular cells cannot produce and release sufficient hormones for the body’s needs. This results in mood swings, blood sugar imbalances, fatigue, reproductive difficulties, and more.
When the pH is too acidic, the metabolic enzymes inside the cells do not work efficiently, which impairs the proper breakdown of fats. High acidity also causes insulin resistance, which in turn can cause fat gain and impair the body’s ability to burn fat correctly.
One final note: The body’s biochemistry is important, but it is just one of many tools to help the clinician understand the whole body. A pH result on its own is not a diagnostic tool and is not a medical diagnosis of any disease. Your holistic health provider should offer an in-depth consultation that looks at every aspect of your lifestyle and history, as well perform additional testing to understand your complete body chemistry and any chronic issues.
If you are concerned by signs of body acidity and want to better understand your own health, please call us at 734-222-8210 or schedule a free consultation now.
1) Physiology of the Sodium-Potassium pump: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK537088/
2) Modes of Cell Death: https://cellandbioscience.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13578-018-0206-6#
3) The Cell Death Pathways: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK10103/
4) How and Why Are Cancers Acidic: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7352839/
5) Tumor Acidity: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fonc.2022.979154/full#
6) Metabolic Acidosis: https://www.healthline.com/health/acidosis
7) Acidosis Causes and Treatment: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/001181.htm#