The Acid-Alkaline Balancing Act
We hear so much about a ‘Balanced Diet’. However, everyone has something different to say to define what that means. Some say it means having certain percentages of carbohydrates, proteins, fats and fibers in your diet. The percentages vary so much that it can be more confusing than helpful. The trouble is, with the diversity found in people’s intake of food, everyone’s individual nutritional needs are uniquely different and may be impossible to define.
The human body, the most amazing survival machine, does a natural balancing act to survive, as long as there are sufficient nutrients available in the blood. Among these things, the most critical function of balancing is the maintenance of constant pH value of the arterial blood (7.365). We can die if the pH value is too high or too low. This balancing act is conducted by two buffers in the blood: alkaline buffer (NaHCO3, KHCO3 or Ca(HCO3) 2) and acid buffer (H2CO3). As we age, we lose alkaline buffer.
In 1996, Dr. Lynda Frassetto of UCSF published (in the Journal of Gerontology) the artery blood hydrogen ion concentration (H+) and plasma bicarbonate concentration (HCO3-) as a function of age groups. A noticeable decline begins at the age of 45, and by age 90 we lose 18% of bicarbonate in our blood. Dr. Frassetto’s study clearly states that the pH value of the artery blood at the beginning of the sampling used is all the same.
Since the pH values are the same and the bicarbonate contents are decreasing, the hydrogen ion density must also be decreasing. But we know that the foods digested in our blood are constantly adding hydrogen ions. How is that possible? The answer is that the acid solution as liquid acid is constantly being changed to solid acid such as lipids, plaques, cholesterol, fatty acids, etc.
These solid acids cause problems such as clogged arteries, heart attacks and strokes. This is the process of aging and eventual death. The solution to health maintenance is to add more bicarbonate to the artery. True balancing acts are done by the body. We must supply bicarbonate to the artery so that the blood can balance hydrogen ions and bicarbonate in the artery.