Alteration in the acid-alkaline balance

We, specially those of us of Western culture, are used to believing that our organism is a machine capable of metabolising whatever we put into it. We leave it to our senses to decide what is palatable or acceptable.

Actually, the human body is a very sophisticated system with exceptional qualities, which, in order to function properly, needs “fuel” with characteristics suited to its high specialization. It is endowed with many systems which are able to buffer possibly harmful imbalances, but they stop working when they are not regularly reset.

Cells function in an aqueous environment in which various substances are dissolved: these, amongst other things, contribute to the control of the acidity or alkalinity of the solution.

Each system of the body functions in an environment having a specific, but dynamic, pH (a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a solution, see “Glossary”).

The blood, for example, is able to carry out its functions correctly only within a narrow pH range (between 7.36 and 7.42), while the tissues can tolerate a wider range.

The pH levels are kept constant by buffering systems, that is substances capable of neutralizing imbalances caused by events which provoke alterations, but it must be remembered that these systems are liable to depletion, if they are abused.

So what can have an effect on the pH of the zones of the body?

- The water we drink

- The food we eat

- Medicines

- Environmental pollution

- Prolonged physical or psychological stress

- Excessive ideation

These days there is a marked general tendency towards metabolic acidosis, which leads to a predisposition for various pathologies.

When cells become more acid, apart from the damage caused directly, less oxygen is absorbed, encouraging anaerobic metabolism [see “Lack of Oxygen”].

For example, cancer cells thrive in an acid, anaerobic environment, while they have difficulty surviving in an alkaline one: some aspects of the modern approach to naturopathy are based on this concept.

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