Alternatives & Traditional

Posts tagged ‘hydrogen’

The Stomach Acid is a Waste Product Myth

I have seen a number of people erroneously claiming stomach acid is not necessary to the body and is in fact a dangerous byproduct in the body.  The myth was traced back to a Dr. Young. An article promoting this myth is found on his FaceBook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/50864627953/permalink/10152914603067954/ .

This article is addressing the various myths being promoted by Dr. Young and will explain the importance of stomach acid in the body.

Let’s start with the claim that the stomach does not digest food. Digestion starts in the mouth and continues in the stomach and throughout most of the intestine. Therefore, I am not really sure what he means by the stomach not digesting food. If that is the case then wouldn’t the same apply to the mouth and intestines since enzymes are working in all these areas to digest the food? So where does Dr. Young think digestion takes place if at all?

As for his claims about the stomach alkalizing food this just further backs my belief that Dr. Young DOES NOT understand human physiology. Alkalizing of the chyme occurs in the duodenum, not the stomach.

When we ingest food or liquids stomach acid is released for a variety of reasons.:

-Stomach acid is needed to kill ingested pathogens.

-Stomach acid is needed to acidify certain nutrients such as minerals and the vitamins B6, B12 and folate for absorption. These B vitamins are required for methylation, which is essential for about 4,000 processes in the body including the production of more stomach acid.

Methylation is also required to prevent cancer, reduce the risk of heart disease, build up neurotransmitters and hormones, support energy levels and the immune system, for cartilage synthesis, etc.

And a lack of stomach acid decreases the conversion of silica in to orthosilicic acid (OA). Declining stomach acid leads to decreases in OA, which in turn leads to many of the conditions associated with aging such as osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, emphysema, diverticulitis, wrinkles, etc.

-Stomach acid is required for the protein digestive enzyme pepsin to function. Without sufficient stomach acid the proteins fail to break down properly leaving protein solutes that can trigger off immune reactions.

I have a write up on the benefits of stomach acid here:

http://medcapsules.com/forum/showthread.php?tid=2945

The chyme, which is a mixture of food or ingested liquids, stomach acid and enzymes is made acidic by the stomach acid for the above reasons. The chyme is then released in to the duodenum where pancreatic bicarbonate is released to neutralize the acids in the chyme. The duodenum IS NOT the stomach. The stomach only releases bicarbonate after digestion in the stomach is finished to neutralize whatever acid is left in the stomach since the stomach does not maintain a protective barrier 24 hours a day.

What really get me is how Dr. Young claims hydrochloric acid is a waste product when it is essential for many things in the body.

And he is wrong on most of what he claims the hydrochloric acid causes. Stomach acid DOES NOT cause indigestion nor reflux. A lack of stomach acid can cause these, which is why things that increase stomach acidity such as bitters, betaine HCl or vinegar are used to treat these conditions. See:

http://medcapsules.com/forum/showthread.php?tid=2632

Excessive stomach acid (hyperchlorhydria) is actually so rare that it is almost unheard of. Especially since stomach acid levels naturally decline with age and most people are acid deficient after the age of 40.

It was once thought that excess stomach acid was a cause of stomach ulcers. That myth was disproven decades ago!!!!!

Stomach acid only causes stomach ulcers when the stomach’s protective lining is not there to protect the stomach, such as when nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are used such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Nuprin, etc), celecoxib (Celebrex), naproxen (Naprosyn), etc. These drugs inhibit hormones known as prostaglandins. Most people familiar with these hormones know that some are associated with inflammation since they dilate blood vessels, which can lead to leakage. But these hormones are also required for the production of the stomach’s protective lining.

If Dr. Young understood ulcer formation he would also know that the most common cause of ulcers is the bacteria Helicobacter pylori, which secretes highly alkaline and toxic ammonia to neutralize the stomach acid that would otherwise kill the bacteria.

Helicobacter pylori is also a primary cause of stomach cancer. Stomach cancer risk has been found to have a direct correlation to low or absent stomach acid, which is contrary to Dr, Young’s claim.

His claims in number 5 are simply laughable!!!!!

Apparently Dr. Young is also unaware of the fact that stomach acid is released with the ingestion of any food or liquid. Even the though of food can stimulate stomach acid release. This DOES NOT occur only with animal protein sources as he implies.

Then there is his contradiction. He claims earlier that the bicarbonate and the acid are produced in equal parts. But then he claims that as the stomach acid is released the bicarbonate is released in to the stomach to neutralize the acid thus inducing alkalosis and using up the alkaline reserves. First of all none of this is true. Then he continues with claiming the hydrochloric acid is taken up by the blood lowering the plasma pH, which is also complete nonsense. If that really happened we would all be dead. So how does he explain the alkaline reserves being depleted while there is still an excess of acid supposedly entering the bloodstream if they were produced equally? Using some common sense should tell him that if these two compounds are formed in equal amounts then this would also mean that the depletion of sodium bicarbonate would also mean a complete depletion of the stomach acid. In other words, if the salt forms one unit of bicarbonate and one unit of hydrochloric acid and one unit of bicarbonate will neutralize one unit of hydrochloric acid that would mean that a depletion of the bicarbonate reserves would mean a complete neutralization of ALL the stomach acid. In fact, this does not even take in to account the compounds in our diet that will neutralize the stomach acid such as carbonates, alkaloids, etc. in the diet that all neutralize acid. Therefore, the stomach acid would be depleted long before the bicarbonate. So where is all this hydrochloric acid coming from that is supposedly entering the bloodstream according to his bogus claims?

If Dr. Young really understood human physiology then he would also know that acid buffering bicarbonate is released in to the blood by parietal cells during stomach acid secretion leading to ALKALINITY of the blood, not acidosis as he claims. He should research the “alkaline tide”. Alkalizing bicarbonate is also produce in the blood. So again, how is acidosis occurring when stomach acid never enters the blood and even if it did the acid would be neutralized by the bicarbonate and the body’s pH would still be maintained through respiration and kidney function?

In fact, it is not the acid that is the danger as he claims, it is the base that has to be dealt with. See:

https://mcb.berkeley.edu/labs/forte/morphol.html

Then Dr Young refers to the Pishinger’s space as an “organ” when it is not an organ. A space is not an organ. Furthermore, if you look up Pishinger’s space the only sites that come up are the ones repeating his claims.

Dr. Young also refers to the acids from cells as waste again when in fact they are required for our health and existence.

Then Dr. Young claims there is no mention of any organs that store acids from metabolism and diet. So what? There is no reason to store these acids since they are utilized by the immediately. For example, we produce carbonic acid continually, which serves numerous purposes such as to buffer highly alkaline and highly toxic ammonia, to maintain circulation, to allow oxygen release from hemoglobin, to form more stomach acid for proper digestion and absorption, and for the production of bicarbonate!!!! Come on, this is BASIC human physiology he is not grasping!!!!!!

Then Dr. Young falsely claims the kidneys store acids. The kidney IS NOT a storage organ and DOES NOT store acids.

Dr. Young then goes on to falsely claim these acids are buffered then eliminated via the skin, urinary tract and bowels. See the contradiction in his claims? If the bicarbonate buffers were used up by stomach acid leading to an increase of hydrochloric acid in the blood leading to acidosis as he claims then where is the bicarbonate buffers coming from that are supposedly buffering those acids? There are no other buffers in the blood. And if there were they would be used up by the hydrochloric acid in the blood if t really made it in to the blood which according to Dr. Young is causing acidosis. How can you buffer the metabolism acids if acidosis is present? The answer is you cannot. Yet this is what Dr. Young is claiming. So not only does he need to learn some human physiology, he also needs to learn some basic chemistry.

Dr. Young contradicts himself yet again with claim number 7. If a high animal protein meal caused acidosis as he falsely claims then the excess hydrogen ions from the acidosis he claims would be excreted through the kidneys causing ACIDIC, not alkaline urine. Then Dr. Young goes on to claim a base being excreted in the urine, which is the alkalinity. So where is this Base coming from? Again that base would have to be bicarbonate, which he claims earlier is depleted by the hydrochloric acid. So again, where is this base coming from if his claim were true?

Dr. Young’s myth about tissue acidosis leading to disease has already been addressed a number of times. The vast majority of diseases arise in an alkaline, not acidic environment.

On claim 8 Dr. Young talks about lactic acid during heavy exercise that in order to be absorbed by the collagen fibers as he falsely claims would have to be excreted. The lactic acid being excreted by muscles during heavy exercise myth was disproven decades ago!!!! During heavy exercise non-acidic lactate is formed, which IS NOT the same thing as lactic acid even though the terms get used interchangeably frequently. The burning sensation people feel IS NOT from lactic acid but rather an excess of hydrogen ions (protons).

Same with Dr. Young’s false claim that the lactic acid is stored in the tissues. How can this be occurring when no lactic acid is secreted from cells?

Dr. Young’s claim in 9 starts out bogus then gets outright bizarre where he refers to alkaliphile glands. Alkaliphiles are microorganisms, NOT glands!!!! So it looks like he is making up his own terms along with his “facts”.

In claim 9 Dr. young further incorrectly states that the body’s alkaline reserve status can be determined by blood or urinary pH testing. This is totally ludicrous!!!!! Salivary pH is affected by the amount of bacteria in the mouth so things such as brushing your teeth will make the saliva more alkaline. So will drinking water, thinking of certain foods, etc. Dry mouth increases acidity as alkaline saliva normally washes away acid forming bacteria in the mouth. Urinary pH is affected by hydration levels, certain supplements and medications and by bacteria in the urine. Urinary tract infections lead to highly alkaline urine as the bacteria use the enzyme urease to split urea in to highly alkaline ammonia. The alkalinity helps the bacteria, as with most pathogens, to survive.

Claim 10 starts out right away with a major error since this IS NOT how the blood pH is maintained. Again, pH is maintained through respiration and kidney retention or elimination of hydrogen ions (protons). If the acids were being pushed in to the connective tissues or spaces

And how can the blood give the urine the same amount of acidity if the tissues, such as the kidneys store the acids as Dr. Young claims?

Urinary pH DOES NOT reflect tissue pH. Tissue pH is maintained by the blood, which again does not reflect in urinary pH.

In claim 11 he refers again to “alkaliphile organs”. Again alkaliphiles ARE NOT glands, they are microbes.

Next Dr. Young refers to hyperproteinization leading to people looking like prunes as they age. More garbage!!! Wrinkles are the result of a lack of orthosilicic acid and/or ascorbic acid, which in turn leads to a loss of collagen and elastin in the skin. Orthosilicic acid loss occurs from a DECLINE in stomach acid since stomach acid aids in the conversion of silica in to the usable orthosilicic acid.

Apparently Dr. Young does not understand ORP either. Without going in to long explanation ORP is simply a sales tool often misrepresented to sell products. It DOES NOT measure all the antioxidants of the body.

In claim 12 Dr. Young talks about the acids being stored again, which is not true, the alkaline reserves being depleted that again is not true and again contradicts Dr. Young’s other claim of acids being excreted in to the urine at the same amount that is going in to the blood. Again, how can X amount of acid enter the blood and X amount be excreted in the urine if Y amount of acid from X is being stored in the tissues?

Most of the claims up to number 18 are just regurgitated proven wrong already claims.

I find it interesting in claim 18 though that Dr. Young mentions pH regulation by respiration and by the kidneys. If he is aware of these pH regulators then he should also be aware of the fact that this goes against his claim about HCl entering the blood leading to acidosis. Even if it were true that the acid could enter the blood the body responds to even the slightest shift in pH by adjusting respiration to either increase or decrease the pH of the blood. Since there are no reserves involved there are no reserves to be depleted as he claims. Same for kidney function, which is the second primary means of pH regulation.

Claim 20 does not make any sense either. Sodium bicarbonate IS NOT reabsorbed. It is neutralized by acid. The blood maintains bicarbonate levels, not sodium bicarbonate in the blood. Note that he even points this out in claim 21 where it states “CO2 + H2O = H2CO3 = HCO3 + H+”. Where is the sodium (Na)? It’s not there because he is talking about the blood bicarbonate, not sodium bicarbonate that he is incorrectly claiming is absorbed back in to the bloodstream.

In claim 22 Dr. Young claims ammonia is trapped and concentrated in the kidney. Again, the kidney DOES NOT store things, especially highly alkaline and highly toxic ammonia that would kill the tissues if it built up like Dr. Young is claiming.

In claim 23 Dr. Young claims and 90% of the carbon dioxide is used by the body to “reabsorb alkaline minerals and make sodium bicarbonate for buffering gastrointestinal and metabolic acids.” What is needed to absorb these alkaline minerals? STOMACH ACID!!!!! So once again Dr. Young is contradicting himself.

In claim 24 Dr, Young states: “Of all the ways the body can buffer metabolic and dietary acids, the excretion of protein (the eating of meat and cheese) generated acid residues is the only process that does not add sodium bicarbonate back into blood circulation. “.

First of all as pointed out sodium bicarbonate is neutralized by the acids, not reabsorbed in to the bloodstream. Blood bicarbonate (note not sodium bicarbonate) is formed in the blood from carbonic acid.

Secondly, what else is needed for sodium bicarbonate production? Sodium chloride salt, which is abundant in meats and dairy. So again his claims are contradictory.

At least in claim 25 Dr. Young gets something right when he states “Human Body is an acid producing organism by function”. The body is composed of acids, runs on acids, requires acids to maintain circulation and oxygen delivery, for maintaining health and tissues, for detoxification, etc.

What Dr. Young does not seem to understand is the fact that we cannot live or even exist without acids. Or the fact that ALL foods are metabolized in to acids, not just animal proteins.

-James Sloane

Top 5 Worst Internet Health Information Sites: Curezone.org Part 2: Alkaline/Acid Support Forum Part 2

Acids erroneously get a bad rap from sites trying to promote the alkalize for health myth. Acids are actually essential not only to our survival, but also our existence.  These essential acids include hydrochloric acid, pyruvic acid, acetic acid, carbonic acid, hyaluronic acid, glucuronic acid, malic acid, lactic acid, citric acid, uric acid, fatty acids, amino acids, ascorbic acid, pantothenic acid, folic acid, etc.

Acids generated by the body for health include:

  • Stomach acid for the digestion of proteins and to kill ingested pathogens.
  • Lactic, acetic and other flora generated fatty are needed for proper mineral absorption.
  • The same acids listed above also kill off pathogens.
  • Hyaluronic acid helps to prevent the spread of pathogens, cancer cells and venoms.
  • Hyaluronic acid also holds our cellular matrix together.
  • Flora generated fatty acids keep Candida growth under control and to keep Candida from morphing in to its pathogenic fungal form.
  • Glucuronic acid aids in detoxification of the body.
  • As building blocks for all cells, hormones, neurotransmitters, antibodies, etc.
  • Amino acids are needed the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which fuels the cells and helps them to function properly.
  • Carbonic acid regulates blood pressure, is also required for the production of stomach acid and coverts highly toxic ammonia in to the antioxidant uric acid.
  • Citric acid is produced by bone cells to maintain healthy bones through bone remodeling.
  • Citric, malic and pyruvic acids are required form the formation of adenosine triphosphate that fuels our cells and helps them to function properly.

These are just some of the acids generated by the body to benefit the body.

The body also relies on external source of acids for health.  For example, one of the most common antioxidants in plants is the polyphenol tannic acid. Chaparral contains nordihydroguaiaretic acid (NDGA), the strongest natural antioxidant known.  Not only does NDGA work in both the lipid and water portions of cells unlike most antioxidants, NDGA has also been found to significantly inhibit cancer cells.  Chlorogenic acid and betulinic acid are powerful anti-viral and anti-cancer compounds.  Usinic acid is a strong antiseptic found in usnea lichen and kombucha tea. Benzoic acid is another strong antiseptic found in various plants. Amino acids not synthesized by the body must be obtained from external sources.  Same with fatty acids that serve various functions from killing pathogens to building cell membranes. Various vitamins required by the body such as vitamin C and B5 are acids. Orthosilicic acid derived from external sources and created with the help of stomach acid forms various tissues in the body.  These include bone, cartilage, skin, tendons, ligaments, teeth, etc.  Salicylic acid is a common anti-inflammatory found in a number of plants.

Ironically, the alkalize or die supporters are big fans of diets high in fruits and vegetables for health.  And what are some of the acids found in fruits and vegetables?  Oxalic acid, malic acid, citric acid, chlorogenic acid, succinic acid, fumaric acid, lactic acid, oxalacetic acid, tartaric acid, quinic acid, benzoic acid, acetic acid, allantoic acid, sulfuric acid, phosphoric acid…………

Speaking of diet, the alkaline supporters rely heavily on what they refer to as alkalizing foods.  Various lists of acid forming and alkaline forming foods can be found on the Internet, but they rarely match up.  Not surprising since there is not any solid science behind the claims.

For instance, one website shows various soy products as being highly alkaline, while another site claims soy is an acid forming food.  These same sites also disagree on white kidney beans with one site claiming they are acidic and the other alkaline.  Several sites I found claim avocado is alkaline and one claims it is acidic.  Looking at other sites I found one that claims honey is highly acidic and another site claiming honey is alkaline.  One site claims all forms of rice are acidic and another site claiming japonica and wild rice are alkaline. Blueberries are considered acidic on some sites and alkaline on other sites.  Depending on the site cow’s milk is considered alkaline, neutral or acidic regardless if raw or pasteurized. There are plenty more contradictions between the various sites.

I see a lot of the confusion being that there is no basis for the claims of acid or alkaline forming.  Sugar is considered acid forming even though the fruits and vegetables considered either acid or alkaline all contain the same sugars.  And fructose found in so many fruits that are considered alkaline is processed the same way as the fructose found in “junk foods” they consider acidic. Foods high in acids, such as lemon and kale are considered alkaline, while other acid sources such as pomegranates and cranberries are considered acidic.

There just does not seem to be any rational for the foods are either acidic or alkaline claims.  Foods high in protein you would think are acidic due to the breakdown of proteins results in highly alkaline ammonia first, which then forms uric acid.  Yet, spirulina which is nearly 4 times higher in protein than beef, which should be considered acidic is actually considered alkaline. Could it be based on fiber content?  Can’t be.  Jerusalem artichoke is considered acidic and sweet potatoes are considered alkaline despite both being high in fiber.  Could it be the starch content?  Again, not the case.  Yams, which are considered alkaline are nearly twice as high in starch than lentils that are considered acidic.  Maybe it is the simple sugar content.  Yet grapes, which are loaded with sugar are considered alkaline while Brussel sprouts, which are lower in sugar are considered acidic.  Maybe it is the mineral content.  Since there are so many different minerals I will just focus on the three that would be considered the primary alkaline minerals potassium, calcium and magnesium.  Blackberries, which are considered acidic are significantly higher in all three minerals than cantaloupe that is considered alkaline.

Milk regardless if raw or pasteurized still contains the same amount of protein, sugar and minerals.  Yet some people claim that raw milk is alkaline while pasteurized milk is acidic as where other people claim all forms of cow’s milk are either acidic, neutral or alkaline.

Beef is considered acidic even though it is high in “alkaline minerals” such as potassium, sodium, calcium and magnesium.

I have also seen lists claims that vinegar or kombucha tea are alkaline, even though there have been reports of people developing acidosis after consuming too much of these acid sources.

Lemon juice though, which also contains sugar and various acids is actually considered alkaline.  The actual pH of lemon juice is actually acidic, but as with every food and drink we ingest it stimulates an alkaline effect in the body.  How can this be?  Simple.  When we ingest foods or drinks the stomach acidity has to drop in pH to a certain level of acidity before the stomach can empty in to the intestines.  Therefore, it does not really matter what proteins, minerals, sugars, etc. that are in the food or drink.  They all leave the stomach at the same acidic pH range.

The stomach contents dumped in the intestines, known as chyme, is always acidic.  The intestines cannot handle this kind of acidity though.  Therefore, as soon as the chyme enters the first part of the intestine it is met with alkalizing sodium bicarbonate released by the pancreas.  Interestingly, the alkaline sodium bicarbonate is formed from sodium chloride salt that the alkaline supporters consider acidic.

From there the byproducts of the food can be dealt with in different ways.  Sugars for example are considered acid forming. So what is the acid byproduct of sugar metabolism?  Carbon dioxide. Is carbonic acid acidifying or alkalizing though?  Actually both.

Carbon dioxide combines with water to form carbonic acid.  Carbonic acid serves several beneficial functions for the body such as regulating blood pressure.

If a person hyperventilates this will cause the person’s blood to become excessively alkaline.  As a result the blood vessels constrict pushing blood away from the brain causing the person to pass out.  When the person passes out they fall down, which helps in part to restore blood flow to the brain.  Respiration also slows down or temporarily stops in part to increase carbonic acid levels back to normal.  This allows the blood vessels to relax restoring blood flow to the brain.

Another function of carbon dioxide is the formation of sodium bicarbonate.  The sodium is provided by sodium salt we ingest.  This sodium bicarbonate functions to neutralize the acidity of chyme as it leaves the stomach to protect the intestines from the acidity.

As proteins are broken down the amino acids that make them up are released.  Amino acids are based with ammonia, which is not only highly alkaline, but also highly poisonous to the body.  Carbonic acid helps convert the highly toxic ammonia in to uric acid.  Uric acid is one of the body’s primary antioxidants.  Because an acid is being used to covert the toxic ammonia in to another acid there is no real gain in acidity.

Carbonic acid is also required for the formation of stomach acid, which among other functions helps with the absorption of minerals needed to build bone.

Excess carbon dioxide is eliminated so that the proper pH of the blood is maintained.

As we can see it does not matter what the food is the results are all the same.  Food is first brought to an acidic pH then the acidity is neutralized as it leaves the stomach.  The only way a food can alter the body’s pH to make it either acidic or alkaline is for that food to overwhelm the body’s natural pH buffers.  This is extremely difficult to do unless consuming extremely large amounts of acid sources like vinegar or alkaline substances like calcium carbonate.

The only foods that do not have their pH altered by the stomach acid or the bicarbonate released on the chyme are fibers.  Fibers are not really food for the body though, but rather the flora.  The beneficial acid producing flora that inhabit various parts of our body enzymatically break down fibers, which are long chain sugar molecules, in to simple sugars to feed on.  The bacterial fermentation of these sugars allow the bacteria to produce acids that control pathogen overgrowth and aid in mineral absorption.

Now we can see why the acid food and alkaline food claims contradict each other.  They are not based on any real facts, but rather opinions.

Even if the blood starts to become acidic the primary means of pH for the body is respiration.  Therefore, as blood acidity increases so does the respiratory rate to increase alkalinity by decreasing carbonic acid and hydrogen ions.  On the other hand if someone goes in to alkalosis their respiratory rate will decrease or temporarily stop to allow the buildup of carbonic acid and hydrogen ions to restore the pH.

If the pH goes beyond the range that respiration alone can handle then the body can use other means to maintain it’s pH.  Kidneys are second in line for maintaining pH.  Kidneys do this primarily by retaining or excreting hydrogen ions and bicarbonate to raise or lower pH.

Respiration and kidney function account for virtually all the pH regulation in the body.  Since neither contain “alkaline reserves” there is no depletion of “alkaline reserves” as is often claimed by the alkaline diet myth supporters.

Of course primary pH regulation is more involved, but I am trying to give a very basic expiation for people.  If you want a more detailed explanation of respiratory pH regulation here is some suggested reading with a more involved but still simple to follow explanation:

http://www.biology.arizona.edu/biochemistry/problem_sets/medph/02t.html

Some people claim that acid foods deplete the bones of minerals because the bone minerals are used to buffer the acids.  This is even more rare than acidosis itself since buffering of blood acids with bone minerals is the last resort used by the body to maintain pH.  Again respiration is the body’s main means of pH regulation followed by hydrogen ion retention or elimination by the kidneys.  These account for virtually all the pH regulation of blood.  The body also uses protein buffers, such as albumin, and phosphate buffers to regulate blood pH long before using bone minerals.  Therefore, acidosis would have to be extreme and long term before the acidosis would have any effect on the bones.  In acidosis this extreme the worry would not be bone loss, but simply survival since severe acidosis can be deadly.  Luckily acidosis this extreme is so rare that a person would likely have a better chance of being struck by lightening multiple times than to develop acidosis this severe.

There are some foods that are considered acidic such as beef, dairy and colas that can induce bone loss.  This process though has NOTHING to do with acidity.  These are all high phosphorus sources, which is what leads to the bone loss.  Phosphorus is essential to an extent to maintain healthy bones, but in excess it leads to bone loss by triggering a process known as pseudohyperparathyroidism (PHPT).  This is similar to another condition known as hyperparathyroidism (HPT).  In both cases the parathyroid glands release a hormone known as parathyroid hormone (PTH), which breaks bone tissue down raising serum calcium levels.  There are several causes of this.  Parathyroid nodules, which are believed to be triggered by a lack of vitamin D can increase PTH output.  PTH is also released in response to either actual serum calcium deficiencies, such as from insufficient vitamin D levels, or perceived low serum calcium levels.  The release of PTH due to perceived low serum calcium is known as PHPT.  When people consume foods high in phosphorus an imbalance can occur between calcium and phosphorus levels with a major increase in the phosphorus ratio.  The parathyroid glands respond to this perceived drop in calcium by releasing PTH, which raises calcium levels to restore balance of the calcium-phosphorus ratio.  Again, this has absolutely nothing to do with these foods being acidic.

Milk does contain a large amount of calcium, but it still induces PHPT for a simple reason.  Protein in milk blocks calcium absorption, but not phosphorus absorption.  Protein’s blocking action on calcium absorption is also evidenced by the myth that milk creates mucus, which I addressed in this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUCgEL7JaOI

It is also evidenced by the fact that the two nations with the highest consumption of dairy in the world, the United States and Finland also have the highest rates of bone mineralization diseases in the world.

Another common misconception promoted heavily on alkaline promoting sites is that pH strips can be used to monitor blood pH by testing the pH of either the urine or the saliva. Salivary and urinary pH though do not reflect the actual pH.  The pH of both can change for a number of reasons without changes in the blood pH.

Urinary pH for example can change depending on the amount of urine hydration there is or the amount of minerals being excreted through the urine.  Some medications can also alter urinary pH.  Bacterial infections can split urea to produce highly alkaline ammonia to protect themselves from acidity.  In this process urinary pH rises (becomes alkaline) from the infection despite no changes to the blood pH.

Salivary pH increases as we sleep since saliva production shuts down.  Saliva helps to alkalize the mouth and wash away acid forming bacteria in the mouth.  Therefore,  when we sleep the bacteria levels go up, also resulting in “morning breath”, causing a lower (acidic) pH in the mouth.  As we wake up and become more active saliva helps to wash away some of the bacteria and brings the pH of the mouth back up.  Dry mouth from methamphetamine use, certain medications like antihistamines or certain diseases such as Sjogren’s syndrome can also lower the salivary pH.  Other factors that can affect salivary pH include whether or not you just brushed your teeth or what you recently ate or drank.  It has also been known for decades that something as simple as thinking about a certain food can alter salivary pH as the pH of the saliva adjusts in anticipation of the food.

This is why the only way you will know what your blood pH is would be through a blood test.  And even that can change in an instant.  For example, as I have pointed out a number of times respiration is the body’s primary method of pH control.  Hyperventilating will alkalize the body quickly, but you will also pass out due to the induced alkalosis.

This is an example of why I encourage people to learn how the body really works instead of accepting all the hype out there on the internet or in books, magazines, etc.  I recall when the book Alkalize or Die book came out.  And of course many people simply accepted the claims as fact without bothering to check other sources to see if this author’s opinion were fact.

I know scare tactics help to sell books, but still we are talking about people’s health and people are profiting off this nonsense they promote while putting people’s health at risk.  Just because something is in print this does not make it automatically true.

Top 5 Worst Internet Health Information Sites: Curezone.org Part 2: Alkaline/Acid Support Forum Part 1

The whole concept of acid-alkaline balance is another highly misunderstood are of health.  Unfortunately, sales sites in particular have presented so much information to promote their products that the real truth has become so muddy.  For example, the multilevel marketing company Kangen International and sellers of their products have posted various videos and articles full of false and misleading information.  I have addressed their claims various times in the past including this review of some Kangen water promotional videos:

http://medcapsules.com/forum/showthread.php?tid=2762&pid=3782#pid3782

I have also covered other Kangen myths and posted other links with evidence in this post:

http://curezone.com/forums/fm.asp?i=1661838#i

And have additional information in this post:

http://curezone.com/forums/fm.asp?i=1531679

I addressed the myths on another site trying to claim acids were the cause of so many diseases here:

http://medcapsules.com/forum/showthread.php?tid=2761&pid=3781#pid3781

The principle of Kangen alkaline water is that the mineral hydroxides formed will alkalize the body preventing disease.   Hydroxides though are not only dangerous directly, but can also lead to secondary health issues.

Hydroxides cause tissue damage directly because they are some of the strongest free radicals known and are caustic, chemically burning the tissues.  For example, Milk of Magnesia is used as a laxative because it is it consists of magnesium hydroxide.  Magnesium hydroxide neutralizes the stomach acid leading to a separate set of health problems.  What does not get neutralized itself by reaction with stomach acid reaches the intestines where it chemically burns the intestinal wall.  This leads to an influx of water in to the intestines and increased peristalsis.  The burning of the intestinal wall leads to an increased risk of problems such as leaky gut and cancer and diarrhea can lead to electrolyte imbalances if used too frequently.

Kangen International has provided a great example of how easy it is to mislead people.  Kangen claims they received approval from the Japanese Ministry of Health (JMH) to use these machines and claims that they are in nearly every home in Japan.

The fact though is that the JMH has NEVER issued approval to any alkaline water devices.  Yet, Kangen posted a tiny picture of what they claimed was the approval certificate on their site.  If it was not a certificate of approval from the JMH then what was it.  They made sure the picture of the document was too small to read so I copied the picture in to a Word document then enlarged the photo.  The document was merely a business license to make the machines, nothing doing with approval from the JMH as claimed.

I have a friend that comes to visit from Tokyo several times a year so I asked about these machines.  My friend had no idea what I was talking about and said most people simply drink tap water there.  Therefore, I did some more research and found that only around 10% of the homes in Japan have alkaline water machines.  That is a big difference from the Kangen claims of being in nearly every household in Japan.

Those are just a few of the many lies Kangen has been found to have made regarding their machines as well as pH and health.

In reality the body RARELY ever goes acidic, or too alkaline for that matter.  This is because either excess acidity, below 6.8, or excess alkalinity, above 7.8 will kill a person.  Therefore, the body has numerous redundant systems to maintain its narrow pH range.  Although, excess alkalinity is considered more dangerous than excess acidity since the body has various means to reduce acidity, but virtually nothing to combat excess alkalinity.

Respiration is the body’s primary means of pH regulation.  If the blood starts to get acidic our respiration increases to blow off carbon dioxide(CO2), which reduces carbonic acid and acidic hydrogen ions.  If the body starts to become too alkaline the respiration slows down to retain CO2, increasing carbonic acid, and decreasing hydrogen ion removal.  Other means the body can use to maintain pH include:

  • Buffering acids with bicarbonate.
  •  Excreting hydrogen ions, carbonic acid or bicarbonate out through the urine or retain them to adjust pH.
  • The pH is also regulated by proteins that either bond or release hydrogen ions in response to pH imbalances.
  • Using phosphates and hemoglobin as buffers
  •  As a last resort excess acidity can be buffered by the minerals present in bone.

References:

http://dwb4.unl.edu/Chem/CHEM869R/CHEM869RLinks/www.usyd.edu.au/su/anaes/lectures/acidbase_mjb/control.html
http://www.chemistry.wustl.edu/~edudev/LabTutorials/Buffer/Buffer.html

This is why we rarely see acidosis (overly acidic blood) or alkalosis (overly alkaline blood).

Acute acidosis can occur with severe vomiting and diarrhea, ketoacidosis, inadequate oxygen intake or utilization (respiratory acidosis), rhabdomyolosis, kidney failure and by poisoning with certain chemicals.

Acute alkalosis can occur with over consumption of hydroxides including alkaline waters, consumption of milk with hydroxides, overuse of carbonates such as antacids or baking soda, prolonged vomiting, excessive aldosterone secretion, diuretic use and hyperventilation.

One Curezone poster claimed that all disease was the result of the lymphatic system becoming too acidic.  The pH of the lymphatic system though is kept slightly more alkaline than the blood.   Therefore, lymphatic acidosis does not occur.

Interestingly, this same poster claims that “nitrate toxicity” poisons people by the formation of methemoglobin that locks up oxygen leading to death by oxygen insufficiency.  Actually, it is nitrite that does this, not nitrate.  And what promotes nitrite formation?  A high (alkaline) pH in the stomach.  Yet this poster was pushing an alkalizing drink made with caustic calcium hydroxide.  Even though his recipe also included lemon juice to buffer some of the hydroxide, without a pH meter it would be impossible to tell if the solution was alkaline, neutral or acidic.  If maintained as an alkaline drink as intended the calcium hydroxide would not only chemically burn the tissues, but it would also neutralize the stomach acid leading to increased nitrite and thus methemoglobin formation.  Therefore, the drink he was advocating promoted the formation of the nitrites he was claiming was poisoning and killing people.  I addressed his claims here:

http://curezone.org/forums/fm.asp?i=1486784#i

And his other claims here:

https://medreview.wordpress.com/2013/02/27/top-5-worst-internet-health-information-sites-curezone-org-part-2-ask-moreless/

To make matters worse, neutralizing stomach acid interferes with the absorption of certain nutrients needed to produce more stomach acid.   This leads to a more chronic decline of stomach acid further promoting nitrite and methemoglobin production.  These same acid dependent nutrients are also required for over 4,000 other reactions in the body that include immunity, energy formation, controlling water balance, prevention of heart disease, etc.  This is why I would never recommend this protocol and don’t recommend things that neutralize the stomach acid including Kangen water, baking soda, magnesium oxide or calcium carbonate (oyster shell, coral, dolomite) supplements, antacids or acid blockers.

Because chronic acidosis is so rare and diseases are so prevalent, even common sense should tell us that acidosis is not a cause of most diseases.  Most often it is a byproduct of a disease, not a cause.

Still myths surrounding alkalinity being healthy abound.  For example, the persistent myth that cancer is caused from acidity and killed by alkalinity.  If this is the case though then why do cancer cells have a more alkaline internal pH than healthy cells?  Why aren’t people more prone to chronic acidosis such as those with COPD all dying of cancer?  Why do strict vegetarians and raw foodists who consume “highly alkaline diets” still getting cancer?  The answer is simple.  Our pH, which rarely goes acidic or alkaline has nothing to do with cancer formation or treatment.

In fact, the ulcer and cancer causing bacteria Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) protects itself from stomach acid by secreting highly alkaline ammonia to neutralize the stomach acid.  As pointed out previously H. pylori is known for causing cancer.  Therefore,  we have an example of cancer forming in an alkaline environment.  On the other hand stomach cancer is very rare in younger people who have higher stomach acid levels.  This is the result of most pathogens, including cancer causing pathogens being destroyed by sufficient stomach acid.  Stomach acid levels decline with age and this process is accelerated by the use of acid neutralizing substances such as ionized alkaline water and antacids as well as acid blockers (proton pump inhibitors more apt to be taken by older people.

This is also evidenced by the fact that wild dogs in particular can eat bacteria ridden meats that they may be scavenging long after the death of the animal or that they stored for later eating.  The reason these dogs can consume these meats full of bacteria that would poison a human is because dogs produce significantly higher levels of stomach acid than humans.  These higher levels of acid effectively kill the bacteria they are ingesting preventing them from becoming sick from food poisoning.

Another common myth heavily promoted on alkaline sales sites is that most pathogens are killed by acids and thrive in an alkaline environment.  The reality though is that the opposite is true.  This is why the parts of the body that help protect us from pathogens are normally acidic.  These include the female organs, skin, stomach, parts of the intestines, and sinuses.  Urine is normally acidic to control pathogens and to prevent kidney stones.  One of the symptoms of bacterial urinary tract infections is an alkaline urinary pH since the bacteria split urea in to highly alkaline ammonia and other alkaline substances to protect themselves from acidity.

Skin infections can occur when the skin loses it natural pH mantle that keeps it healthy and controls pathogens.  Soap for example removes the acid mantle.  People who repeatedly wash their hands with soap or have their hands in water a lot can develop skin infections as the removal of the acid mantle leads to cracks in the skin and increased pathogen growth.

Other means by which alkalinity can promote disease include:

When people have their gallbladders removed they become at a much higher risk of intestinal cancers.  Why?  Because caustic, alkaline bile gets dumped in to the intestines instead of being squirted in as needed.  This dumping of the alkaline bile burns the intestinal wall repeatedly leading to the increased risk of cancer.

Despite being alkaline, high serum calcium can lead to various health issues.  These include high blood pressure, mental fogginess, constipation, etc.

Excessive alkalinity in the blood or urine can also allow minerals to precipitate out where they do not belong leading to various health problems.

Alkalizing methods, such as carbonates and hydroxides including those from alkaline waters, neutralize the stomach acid.   Ironically,  sufficient stomach acid is needed to absorb many of the same minerals the alkalosis advocates claim people need to be healthy.  Furthermore, a lack of stomach acid inhibits the absorption of the B vitamins B6, B12 and folate.   Not only does this lead to nervous system disorders, but also other problems including cervical dysplasia in women, heart disease from elevated homocysteine, neurological disorders,  cancer and immune suppression from decreased methylation………

Lack of stomach acid also blocks the proper breakdown of proteins since the protein digestive enzyme pepsin cannot work without sufficient stomach acid.   This can lead not only to protein deficiencies, but also partially digested proteins entering in to the blood stream triggering allergic reactions.   These allergic reactions further stress the adrenals leading to immune suppression, increased inflammation, chronically low blood pressure or orthostatic hypotension, thyroid issues, blood sugar problems, water retention and other health problems.

I have seen some people claim that neutralizing the stomach acid with things such as alkaline waters will simply cause the body to generate more stomach acid.   This is not completely true.   Keep in mind that B6, B12 and folate require sufficient stomach acid in order to absorb.   These B vitamins though are also required to produce stomach acid.   When people wipe out their stomach acid they interfere with the absorption of these B vitamins, which in turn interferes with stomach acid formation.   This in turn interferes with the absorption of these B vitamins………….   It is vicious downward spiral.   The elderly are the most at risk since stomach acid levels gradually decline with age.   People on acid blockers and antacids or that are neutralizing their stomach acid through other means are also at higher risk for the same reason.

If the alkaline supporters think about it why did people start pickling foods?  It was not for flavor.  Foods were pickled because the acids produced by the fermentation killed any pathogens or microbes that would spoil the food.

Boric acid has been used to treat infections by Candida species:

http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/30/2/312.long

Acids have also been shown to control Aspergillus fungi as well:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20943191

http://mic.sgmjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/155/9/3100

“Utilizing various free sialic acids and other carbohydrates, sialic acid derivatives, sialoglycoconjugates, glycoproteins, -keto acid related compounds and amino acids we have found that the binding of A. fumigatusconidia to type IV collagen and fibrinogen was inhibited by (i) glycoproteins (in a sialic acid-independent manner), and (ii) free sialic acids, glucuronic acid and -keto acid related compounds. However, inhibition by the latter was found to be the result of a shift in pH from neutral (pH 7.4) to acidic (less than pH 4.6) induced by the relatively high concentrations of free sialic acids, glucuronic acid and -keto acid related compounds used in the binding assays. This suggests that previous reports describing inhibition of A. fumigatus conidia binding by free sialic acid may actually be due to a pH shift similar to that shown here. ”

http://content.karger.com/ProdukteDB/produkte.asp?Doi=232521

Three different stages were found during growth of Aspergillus fumigatus as characterized by the changes in pH of the medium: (1) An acidic phase (phase I); (2) a second phase (phase II) during which the pH rises till values around pH = 8.5; (3) a third phase (phase III) during which the pH remains constant or drops slightly. During phase I a fast appearance of certain antigenic components was found that is ascribed to an active process of excretion. Additional antigenic components appeared in the culture medium after lysis of the microorganisms (phases II and III). Lysis of the microorganisms and appearance of antigenic components are dependent on the glucose concentration of the medium.

http://130.88.242.202/medicine/Aspergillus/articlesoverflow/20038606.pdf

Title: Aspergillus fumigatus survival in alkaline and extreme zinc-limiting environments relies on the induction of a zinc-homeostasis system encoded by the zrfC-aspf2 genes.

“Interestingly, this would explain the slightly reduced growth ability of the AF891 strain expressing aspf2 in acidic media (Fig. 9B).”

A great example exposing both the alkalinity prevents cancer and alkalinity kills pathogens myth is the cancer causing Helicobacter pylori bacteria.  Not only does this bacteria cause cancer, but it cannot survive in an acidic environment.  Therefore, once H. pylori screws in to the stomach wall the bacteria secretes highly alkaline ammonia to neutralize stomach acid to protect itself.  Despite the alkalinity created by the ammonia the bacteria can still cause cancer.

People also need to understand that when they try to force the pH in to an alkaline state they just put more stress on the body.   This is because the body now has to work harder to deal with the excess alkalinity since alkalosis is a dangerous condition.

To make things worse, most of the products out there designed to alkalize the body also neutralize beneficial acids such as stomach acid and the flora acids that control Candida.

Neutralizing the stomach acid leads to:

  • Nutritional deficiencies.  Primarily proteins, minerals and vitamins B6, B12 and folate that all require sufficient stomach acid for proper absorption.
  • increased pathogens entering through the digestive system
  • Improper protein digestion since the protein digestive enzyme pepsin cannot work without sufficient stomach acid.
  • Increased risk of allergies from incompletely digested proteins that can enter the bloodstream through the intestines and act as antigens to the immune system.
  • Acid reflux from longer digestion time and increased fermentation in the stomach.
  • Increased risk of cancer, heart disease and inflammation from decreased methylation, etc.
  • Suppressed immune function from decreased nutrition and methylation.
  • Further declines in the production of stomach acid due to decreased methylation required to form stomach acid.

In addition, over alkalizing the system can promote candidiasis.  There is a very persistent myth that Candida albicans cannot survive a high (alkaline) pH.  The fact is that C. albicans can survive very acid to extremely alkaline pH.  The primary difference is the form the Candida takes on dependent on the pH.  Candida is a dimorphic microbe meaning it can exist in two forms.  Candida can exist as either yeast or fungus depending on the pH of the terrain it is in.  At a low (acidic) pH C. albicans remains in a benign yeast form and its growth is inhibited as the Candida growth gene is turned off.  When C. albicans is exposed to a high (alkaline) pH the Candida gene is turned on and the Candida morphs in to its pathogenic fungal form.  In its fungal form the Candida develops finger-like projections known as hyphae that allow the Candida to dig in to and damage tissues.  C. albicans hyphal growth is inhibited at an acidic pH of 4 or below reducing tissue invasion and damage.  I have compiled some research from non-commercial sites to prove these facts.  The growth of C. albicans in an alkaline environment, as well as an acidic environment in a pH range of 2 to 10:

http://ec.asm.org/cgi/content/full/5/9/1550
http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=232444

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15189995?ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DiscoveryPanel.Pubmed_Discovery_RA&linkpos=1&log$=relatedarticles&logdbfrom=pubmed

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10629054?ordinalpos=11&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DefaultReportPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum

http://www.springerlink.com/content/06crgmq4x3nj2820/

“In vitro, C. albicans can thrive over a remarkably wide range of extracellular pH, at pH values of 2-10 (Odds 1988)”. They also point out that alkalinity promotes hyphal growth of C. albicans.

http://www.springerlink.com/content/j5v6h012235h3576/

“Upon response to environmental stimuli C. albicans can switch between yeast-like and filamentous, hyphal growth. This allows C. albicans to generate niche specific responses, form biofilms, adhere, and invade epithelial tissues. ”

It is this switch to the hyphal growth, from alkalinity, that allows C. albicans to become pathogenic by more readily invading tissues:

http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=97632
http://www.cell.com/current-biology/abstract/S0960-9822(06)00252-1

Hyphal growth has been shown to be inhibited at the acidic pH of 4 in all strains of C. albicans showing that an acidic pH helps to prevent C. albicans from being pathogenic.  An alkaline pH on the other hand promotes pathogenesis of C. albicans as it promotes hyphal growth. The article from the following link points out what I have been trying to explain to people for decades.  Stomach acid helps to control pathogen growth, including Candida.  The same applies to the skin, which is normally slightly on the acidic side.  When the pH is raised to the alkaline side candidiasis of the skin is promoted.

http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1770313

“In tissue samples from mucosal surfaces with a non-acidic pH, such as the tongue, oesophagus, intestine, and most skin areas, filamentous forms of C albicans predominated, and most of them exhibited both 1H4 immunostaining and an invasive phenotype (fig 3A ). In internal organs having a non-acidic pH (liver, lung, heart, and thyroid) from patients with systemic candidiasis, variable numbers of yeast cells were found, together with hyphae or pseudohyphae in virtually all cases. In these tissues, both yeast and filamentous forms showed strong 1H4 immunoreactivity (fig 3B , C). In contrast, in those tissues with an acidic pH, such as the stomach and collecting ducts of the kidney, the predominant form of C albicans was the blastospore (yeast). Interestingly, in these locations yeast cells essentially showed no 1H4 immunoreactivity (fig 3D , E). However, when adjacent tissue invasion was present, hyphae or pseudohyphae were the predominant form.”

“The ability to undergo transition from the yeast to the hyphal form appears to be crucial in the pathogenesis of invasive candidiasis. 4– 6 Both yeast cells and hyphae are found in infected tissues and contribute to pathogenesis. Yeast cells are better suited for rapid haematogenous dissemination, but together with hyphal elements they are also capable of breaching epithelial and endothelial barriers to cause extensive organ damage. 4 During the infectious process, yeast cells and hyphae may encounter different microenvironments within the host. At acidic pH, C albicans grows mostly in the yeast form; at an alkaline pH, it grows primarily in the filamentous form. 2, 6, 7 Gastric acid provides an effective barrier to most microorganisms (normal gastric pH values are 1–3.5). In contrast, achlorhydria and the use of H2 antagonists, which raise gastric pH, have been found to be associated with a higher proportion of invasive gastric candidiasis. 17 Similarly, although the skin is relatively inhospitable to fungal growth, 18 the experimental increase of skin surface pH yields more pronounced cutaneous candidiasis in human volunteers. 19”

Another risk of fungal Candida overgrowth is the increased risk of leaky gut syndrome.  As the hyphae of fungal Candida dig in to the intestinal walls the damage leads to increased intestinal inflammation.  In turn the intestines become more permeable and allow antigenic protein solutes to absorb through the intestinal wall in to the bloodstream.  These antigenic proteins can then trigger off adverse immune reactions such as allergic responses.

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