The Importance of an Alkaline Diet

Introduction

For many years the behaviour of cells and effects of high acidity in the tissues there has been studied. All though clinical trials involving humans on the effectiveness of functional foods, not having proof for each superfood to prove its functionality is not the same as not being able to prove a theory, or in this case, assuming the superfood just food. Scientific trials prove that consuming alkaline foods does lower systematic pH and directly or indirectly correct many imbalances which cause or contribute to ill health. In this review we will discover some of the studies related to alkaline diet and the results they presented.

 

Terms

Acidosis – is the term used to describe processes causing low blood pH, Acidemia

Metabolic acidosis- systematic rise of acid due to increase in metabolic processed (ie diet) or inability to excrete acids though kidneys.

Renal acidosis- accumulation of creatinine and urea, which crystallize and cause of gout inflammations in joints.

Ketoacidosis – increase of ketone bodies via fat metabolism due to fasting or starvation occurring with diabetes and alcoholism, cause of diabetic coma

Respiratory acidosis- lungs are unable to remove excess CO2 from blood causing acidosis. Alveolar hypoventilation thus leads to an increased PaCO2.which decreases the HCO3/PaCO2 ratio and decreases pH.

 

Studies

pH as a marker for cancer
This experimental alkalizing test measures tissue acidity and could gauge if medical or natural treatments are actually working ….for example, are far more acidic than surrounding tissue. The urine pH is a simple and an inexpensive way to determine the acid/alkaline pH of the body tissues. When the morning urine pH is below 7.2 it indicates tissue acidosis and a potential for a cancerous condition in the body tissues.

Cancer survival in high pH
Otto Warburg, who won Nobel Prize on his study of cellular respiration, discovered that there is a relationship in cancer cell survival and tissue acidity. Cells must maintain pH below 7.2 to undergo fermentation. According to Dr Keith Brewer cancer cells stay dormant above pH 7.4 and start to die at pH 8.5. A major metabolic pathway of cancer cells is fermentation, an anabolic process, in order to produce ATP for energy and in doing so live and multiply.  Therefore we can conclude that cancer cells will be well oxygenated in high pH environment will not be able to undergo fermentation and multiply. This theory is known as the Warburg effect and has been proved to be correct in 2009 as described in The Warburg Effect Suppresses Oxidative Stress Induced Apoptosis in a Yeast Model for Cancer by c. Ruckenstuhl.

Dr Warburg was friend of Albert Einstein who once said it would be a shame if Otto did not return to academics having a huge talent. Warburg also worked with famous Hans Adolf Krebs, who went on to define the citric acid cycle, also known as Krebs cycle.

“Cancer, above all other diseases, has countless secondary causes. But, even for cancer, there is only one prime cause. Summarized in a few words, the prime cause of cancer is the replacement of the respiration of oxygen in normal body cells by a fermentation of sugar.” -Dr. Otto H. Warburg

pH dependent antioxidants
According to a recent study[3], antioxidants scavenging ability increases significantly in pH greater than 7.

pH TEAC Chart
Although blood pH buffering range is between 7.35-7.40 the ingestion of alkaline foods can increase antioxidative potential. TEAC is a standard value system ( based on scavaging capabilities of Trolox, a water soluble form of vitamine E) to compare ability of deprotenation.

 

Graph 1: presents the pH-dependent TEAC values of 5,7-dihydroxyflavone and its derivatives[3]

Dr Carl Reich “Death by Diet” & “The calcium factor”
Treated and cured many patients using functional foods as alkalizing factors as well as megadoses of Ca++ & Mg++, the two most readily usable alkalizing minerals[5]. Dr Reich was later on stripped of his title while he defended his research which outlined that acute chronic deficiency of minerals and vitamins are the underlying cause for most of ailments.  Although years after it was tough that he may have been right, scientist are weary of suggesting such a simplistic treatment for so many disorders.

Hypoxia and latent acidosis
Dramatic fall of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in cells induced by Hypoxia inhibits the sodium hydrogen exchanger (NHE) which transports H+ out of mitochondrion. In simple words, the system that regulates pH within a cell is halted. Change in acidity causes metabolic processes to change.  Some enzymes and proteins which are necessary to carry out important activities become denatured due to change in ph.  To save itself, the cell compensates by performing detour, less efficient, more costly reactions to perform the necessary chemical reaction. Meanwhile, high acidity causes loss of charge in cells and causes cells to attract each other and clump together (see figure 1). Clumped RBCs are unable to travel though small veins in order to be oxygenated in the lungs. Therefore, clumpy cells receive less O2, Hypoxia continues and so does the acidifying cycle.

Rouleau stacked RBC

 

 

 

 

Figure 1- Rouleau- stacked RBC due to lack of unable to be properly oxygenated. Acidosis. (betterblood.net)

Healthy RBC cells

Figure 2- Healthy RBC- well spread out due to charge balance, are well oxygenated, no acidosis (betterblood.net)

Osteoporosis/ Osteomalacia
One example to combat the acidosis cycle is uptake of calcium or other minerals from tissues, such a bone, to help neutralize the acid. Aside from environmental factors the foods we eat may determine the fate of minerals such as Calcium, Magnesium, and Potassium.

Snoring/ Apnea
In some cases snoring may be causes by higher than normal levels of CO2 in blood, Hypocapnia. The body tends to hyperventilates to remove excess CO2, causing irregular breathing patterns, typically during the night, causing snoring to be more prominent. Presence of sleep apnea interferes with constant O2 delivery and may contribute to CO2 build up in the blood and feed the acidosis cycle.

Conclusion

Slight chronic acidosis, otherwise known as latent acidosis, is known to cause metabolic imbalances and efficiency. These imbalances alter efficiency of pH dependent proteins and enzymes and other reactions, such as metabolic pathways of antioxidation.  Alkaline diet is the easiest way to eliminate acidity and promote efficiency of metabolism and overall health. Consuming products that contain highly alkalising ingredients (like Morlife Alkalising Greens) can also be helpful.

 

 

References

 

[1] CHAE YOUNG CHA, 2009, A Model of Naþ/Hþ Exchanger and Its Central Role in Regulation of pH and Naþ in Cardiac Myocytes, Biophysical Journal Volume 97 November 2009 2674–2683

[2] GALLAGHER, F. A., & BRINDLE, K. 2008. Magnetic resonance imaging of pH in vivo using hyperpolarized 13C-labelled bicarbonate. Nature, 453, 940-3.

[3] LEMANSKA, K, 2001 The influence of pH on antioxidant properties and the mechanism of antioxidant action of hydroxyflavones, Free Radical Biology and Medicine, Volume 31, Issue 7, 1 October 2001, Pages 869-881

[4] MILNER P., Oxygen and pH in articular chondrocytes, OsteoArthritis and Cartilage (2007) 15, 735e742

[5]REICH, C. J. 1972. Mineral deficiency. Can Med Assoc J, 107, 113

[6] TOPALOGLU, A. K., 2005. Bone calcium changes during diabetic ketoacidosis: a comparison with lactic acidosis due to volume depletion. Bone, 37, 122-7.

[7] WARBURG, O., 1958. Manometric x-ray actinometer and the effect of x-rays on the fermentation of cancer cells. Z Naturforsch B, 13B, 591-6.

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