The availability of qualitative (exploring reasons, opinions, ideas, hypothesis), and quantitative (using data to generate statistics using variables to identify patterns) research into the direct effect internal and external stimuli have on human pH bio-chemistry in relation to disease is accumulating, but not mainstream, as with many other hypothesis and theories regarding alternative medicine. This is the main reason why the conventional scientific community and naysayers have trouble agreeing with diligent pH researchers and well-established practitioners with many decades of anecdotal evidence from patients who followed a pH balancing protocol. This type of LIFE SAVING research has been suppressed for a century now! And why? Simple. Acknowledgment of the TRUTH and disease prevention threatens the deep pockets of the pharmaceutical industry and the validity of the conventional medical paradigm!
Unfortunately, even certain groups within the holistic community try to minimize the validity of the acid/alkaline theory, maybe in fear that their lifestyle or dietary program may be threatened or undermined. A pH balanced anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle is a necessary compliment to ANY successful lifestyle program, not a threat; an opportunity to create bridges, not burn them! For all these reasons there is controversy and denial as to the direct impact an individual’s diet and lifestyle has on the physiological pH of body tissues and fluids, in direct association with disease initiation and progression. Fear, greed, and stubborn, unsubstantiated, dogmatic indifference can be blinding and misleading. Highly validated, definitive, logical conclusions can be derived through both direct and indirect channels to support claims for the validity of the pH balancing theory that implicates low grade chronic acidosis as a MAJOR underlying cause AND effect of inflammatory degenerative disease. The direct and indirectly related research that is available provides overwhelming evidence that diet and lifestyle induced insidious latent acidosis is a real phenomenon, has significant clinical relevance, and can largely be prevented and treated through dietary and other lifestyle changes!
Although no one lifestyle protocol is 100% effective for every individual, compiling evidence shows these pH balancing theories to be valid when explained correctly, thoroughly, and in the right context. The universal recognition and application of these very basic pH balancing principles can save countless lives via disease prevention and disease reversal through the body’s own homeostatic innate balance.
Even though the proof is plain as day, most doctors don’t think outside the box that the conventional medical system and big Pharma has encapsulated them since they started medical school! Doctors in this narrow minded, egotistical, greed driven enterprise are expected to follow this standard of care, disease managing, broken health care system if they want to continue to practice medicine. Although many have great intentions, most doctors don’t do their own research beyond drugs and surgery. They are not open-minded enough, can’t see the big picture, and as a result they are blind to the truth and ultimately what’s in the best interest of their patients. If allopathic physicians were able to THINK outside the box, surely they would recognize the significance of acid/alkaline balance beyond their biased clinical perception. They would then be able to recognize the accumulating damaging effects of low grade chronic acidosis when left unchecked.
Conventional methods used to correct metabolic acidosis alone, exemplify the neutralizing effect an administered alkali has on the blood as well as the urine when acid levels are dangerously elevated. Clinical metabolic acidosis, which can occur when the blood gets too acidic, can happen suddenly from let’s say chronic diarrhea, diabetic ketoacidosis, or with kidney disease (when the rope finally snaps), and can be life threatening. Although clinically severe symptoms can be prompted with little warning, it’s the ACCUMULATED damage from years of poor diet and lifestyle that antagonized this “sudden” danger to eventually materialize. Without addressing the root cause of acidosis, the damage can be quite extensive, with or without the result of an immediate clinical life-threatening situation. Doctors can’t identify the root cause, because they are only focused on clinical manifestations after the fact. That’s all they were taught to look for, even with what would seem to be an obvious path of destruction left in the progressive acidic wake.
Despite all the noticeable benefits conventionally trained doctors still can’t come up with a functional preventative plan, only a reactive one with many limitations at best. Although the connection is plain as day to critical free thinkers, they still can’t see the forest for the trees!
HIGH ACID LOAD AND KIDNEY DAMAGE
You are proposing that our body will “balance” its fluid and tissue pH on its own despite our terrible diets, toxic thoughts, multi-tasking, naturally acidic metabolism, and heavily polluted environment? Comparison research, common sense, studies, and tons of anecdotal evidence say NO. Despite the fact that the blood pH remains in a tight range when buffer systems are functioning optimally, the higher range of normal provides the body with far more oxygen. Even with these protective systems in place, poor diet and lifestyle habits, day in and day out, ultimately lead to increased interstitial, lymph, and tissue acids. At the same time, this decreases oxygen availability, which promotes the perfect environment for viral and bacterial proliferation and disease manifestation, in a low cellular energy, more stagnant metabolic system. Accumulating acid/inflammation is the MOST prominent underlying factor responsible for malfunctioning kidneys, as well as most all disease. That is not to say that certain conditions can’t lead to clinical alkalosis, especially kidney disease, but the origin of the problem is an acid forming diet and lifestyle!
Tell your kidneys that normal metabolic processes compounded by the daily accumulative impact from acidic diets, and lifestyles, have no impact on their longevity!
- 1 in 3 American adults is currently at risk for developing kidney disease.
- 26 million American adults have kidney disease — and most don’t know it.
- Kidney disease is the 9th leading cause of death in the United States.
- Every year, kidney disease kills more people than breast or prostate cancer.
- In 2013, more than 47,000 Americans died from kidney disease.
“A MODEST body of research, including animal studies, observational epidemiology and small clinical trials, has examined the potential role of the dietary acid load in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). The evidence largely supports the hypothesis of a direct relationship between higher dietary acid load and CKD progression, bone loss and sarcopenia.”
ACCUMULATING DATA SUPPORTS A NET-ALKALINE PRODUCING DIET AND SUPPLEMENTATION CAN ASSIST IN PREVENTING AND EVEN REVERSING KIDNEY CONDITIONS LIKE CKD!
In the 2005 Pub Med peer reviewed manuscript, ‘Dietary acid load: A novel nutritional target in chronic kidney disease?’ authors stated “Diet is a major determinant of the acid load that must be excreted by the kidney to maintain acid-base balance.” They continued by saying that early studies suggest that LOWERING the dietary acid load can improve subclinical (low grade chronic) acidosis, preserve bone and muscle, and slow decline of glomerular filtration rate (kidney function) in animal models and humans. “Contemporary diets in industrialized nations are largely acid-inducing. As a consequence, humans may be poorly adapted to contemporary acid-inducing diets and this may contribute to the pathogenesis of modern epidemics of chronic disease, including kidney disease.” (1)
The authors of the 2014 Pub Med study, ‘Dietary acid load and chronic kidney disease among adults in the United States’ assessed the dietary acid loads of 12,293 U.S. adult participants older than 20 in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 1999 and 2004. The authors stated “This is one of the few studies to assess the relationship of dietary renal acid load with markers of CKD in a large, representative population, and to examine the association of socio-demographic characteristics with dietary renal acid load.” They found high dietary acid load (DAL) is associated with GREATER risk of CKD, and older age, poverty, racial/ethnic minority status, and limited education are independently associated with high DAL among U.S. adults. “DAL may be an important target for future interventions in populations at high risk for CKD.” (2)
In a 2004 Pub Med study, “Prevalence of acidosis and inflammation and their association with low serum albumin in chronic kidney disease”, authors found that “elevated CRP (marker of inflammation) and low serum bicarbonate (acidic) are independently associated with hypoalbuminemia (low blood albumin), explaining much of the high prevalence of hypoalbuminemia in chronic kidney disease (CKD).” In other words, acidosis is no doubt connected to CKD. (3)
ACIDOSIS IMPLICATED IN CAUSE AND EFFECT, WITH DIET BEING A MAJOR FACTOR!
A 2014 peer reviewed research article, ‘Metabolic acidosis and the progression of chronic kidney disease’ published in BMC Nephrology clearly stated, “Accumulating evidence identifies acidosis not only as a consequence of, but as a CONTRIBUTOR to, kidney disease progression.” They went on to say that even in the absence of an obvious clinical acidosis that dietary acid load may produce detrimental effects. Adding to that the authors proclaimed that several studies suggest that treatment of acidosis with oral alkali can slow the progression of CKD. (4)
In this 2015 research paper, published in the journal Kidney International, the authors highlight that CKD is directly impacted by the acid/alkaline balance in the body, and that one of the MAJOR INFLUENCERS on the likelihood of developing CKD is the level of acidity in the diet. The researchers went on to say that a high dietary acid load in conjunction with kidney impairment results in metabolic acidosis and CKD progression, and that “normalization of acid–base homeostasis in chronic kidney disease (CKD) holds promise for mitigating disease progression.” (4)
Yes, high blood sugar can damage the small blood vessels of the kidney as well, but remember, high sugar intake and lingering sugar in the blood is also very acid forming. Guess what organ primarily deals with the non-fixed acid load? You got it, the kidneys! Besides being damaging to the fragile kidney’s tubules, high blood sugar is also known to raise uric acid levels, which can lead to high blood insulin, along with high blood pressure, leading to hypertension and increased insulin resistance. Studies show high blood uric acid levels are highly associated with hypertension and CKD, and hypertension is also associated with kidney disease.
EVEN THOUGH BLOOD PH LEVELS MUST REMAIN WITHIN A TIGHT RANGE, BEING ON THE HIGH END OF THE NORMAL RANGE PROVES TO BE HIGHLY BENEFICIAL!
Low serum bicarbonate levels indicate low blood pH leading to acidosis. This equates to the excess production of acid, often times coupled with inferior excretion of acids from the kidneys, and an inability for the kidneys to generate adequate bicarbonate like with CKD.
In a 2013 Pub Med study “High serum bicarbonate level within the normal range prevents the progression of chronic kidney disease in elderly chronic kidney disease patients”, researchers investigated the ideal serum bicarbonate level (high or low) within the normal range to prevent CKD progression. The findings suggested that serum bicarbonate level is INDEPENDENTLY ASSOCIATED with CKD progression, and that a high serum bicarbonate level (within the normal range) is associated with a low risk of CKD progression. (5)
In a 2014 study, ‘High dietary acid load predicts ESRD (end stage renal disease) among adults with CKD’, published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, Dr. Banerjee and her team analyzed the data from 1486 adults with CKD who were participating in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III (NHANES III) and were followed for up to 14 years. They examined the correlation between DAL (dietary acid load) and net acid excretion leading to end stage renal disease. Higher acid diets generally contain more meat, while low acid diets contain more fruits and vegetables. The researchers concluded high DAL in individuals with CKD is independently associated with increased risk of ESRD. In fact, the ones that consumed high acid diets were foreseen to develop kidney failure THREE-FOLD in comparison to the subjects who consumed low acid diets! (6)
Just like with high protein diets, it’s not just the meat that’s to blame. Sure, excessive amounts of meat, especially red meat, is not necessary, harder to digest, and can generate a significant amount of acid. However, the acidic load from the meat would be dramatically reduced if it were balanced with adequate amounts of alkaline forming veggies. In addition, overcooked meat further increases the acidic impact as well as lower quality meats. Most conventional meat is fed a high GMO, pesticide laden, damaged, hormone filled, damaged predominantly omega 6 diet which promotes toxicity, inflammation, and acidity in the animal and the human consuming it. Opt for organic grass-fed meat with higher Omega 3’s, less the GMO’s and pesticides whenever possible, don’t overcook, and make the meat your side dish amongst a healthy variety of fresh alkaline forming veggies!
THE BENEFITS OF A MINIMAL ACID LOAD ON THE KIDNEYS ALONE SHOULD SPARK FURTHER INVESTIGATION INTO LIMITING EXCESSIVE DAMAGING ACIDS PRO-ACTIVELY!
Common conventional clinical procedures correct this often times life threatening metabolic dysfunction with pH balancing fluids like bicarbonate. Not surprisingly, these indoctrinated physicians aren’t able to connect the dots, identifying low blood bicarbonate as a SYMPTOM prior to a clinical event! Studies identify the ravaging effects associated with metabolic acidosis by the time it is clinically addressed.
Authors of 2005 Pub Med study, ‘Metabolic Acidosis of Chronic Kidney Disease’ found that “Several adverse consequences have been associated with metabolic acidosis, including muscle wasting, bone disease, impaired growth, abnormalities in growth hormone and thyroid hormone secretion, impaired insulin sensitivity, and progression of renal failure.” (7) This clinical condition is often treated conventionally through the execution of alkaline forming bicarbonate in an attempt to balance blood pH levels. The correction of blood pH through the use of bicarbonate is also REFLECTIVE IN THE KIDNEYS, resulting in a more alkaline or balanced urine pH.
According to the Toxicology Handbook itself, the administration of a bicarbonate load not only increases plasma bicarbonate concentration, buffers excess hydrogen ion concentration, and raises serum pH, but also results in urinary bicarbonate excretion and an alkaline urine pH.
ALKALIZATION THERAPIES USED TO MANAGE CONDITIONS LIKE KIDNEY STONES, PROVE THE EFFICACY OF ALKALIZATION TO CORRECT PH IMBALANCES AT ANY LEVEL.
Keep in mind, kidney stones don’t develop overnight. The kidneys can only eliminate acid waste every 24-48 hours. Therefore, kidney stones are the result of the GRADUAL precipitation of excessive acid waste like uric and oxalic acid and the calcium taken from the bones to buffer the acids. This excessive waste could have been discarded of in a timely manner, preventing the formation of stones in many cases, if the root cause was better understood.
Authors of 2010 Pub Med study, ‘Urinary alkalization for the treatment of uric acid nephrolithiasis’ found that there is clinical efficacy for therapies with potassium citrate/potassium bicarbonate for dissolution of radiolucent stones with respect to controls. “Mean urinary pH was SIGNIFICANTLY continuously higher during the alkali treatment study in comparison to the control study period, even though the mean of urinary volumes were similar in the two periods. In conclusion, urinary alkalization with maintaining continuously high urinary pH values could be the treatment of choice for stone dissolution and prevention of uric acid stones.” (8)
A 2003 study published in European Urology, ‘Prospective Study on the Efficacy of a Selective Treatment and Risk Factors for Relapse in Recurrent Calcium Oxalate Stone Patients’ found that calcium oxalate stone patients with or without recurrences fared best with fluid and alkalization therapy when compared with all other therapeutic measures. (9)
A 2010 study, ‘Urinary alkalization for the treatment of uric acid nephrolithiasis’ reported the clinical effectiveness of therapy with potassium citrate/potassium bicarbonate for dissolution of radiolucent stones compared to controls with only 1500 ml water daily. The researchers concluded that URINARY ALKALIZATION while maintaining continuously high urinary pH values, “could be the treatment of choice for stone dissolution and prevention of uric acid stones.” (10)
In this 2014 Pub Med Study, ‘Effect of oral alkali supplementation on progression of chronic kidney disease’, authors clearly expressed “Randomized controlled trials showed that base substitution, either by modification of the diet or by simply adding alkalizing agents, might halt the decline of kidney function in subjects with CKD.
In 2012 a meta-analysis concluded that “ALKALI THERAPY might provide a long-term favorable effect on renal function in patients with CKD.” (11)
If the etiology and pathology of disease was better understood by conventional medicine, pro-active measures could be taken to limit and avoid needless pain, suffering, and death from pH imbalances before they escalate to dangerous levels. Alkalization therapies are shown to work for metabolic acidosis, which PROVES that these therapies would work for chronic latent acidosis, which is the gradual buildup of acids in the fluids and tissues. If these therapies can be used for treatment, then it would seem MORE than obvious that the same concept would work for prevention!
SO, WOULDN’T AN ALKALINE FORMING DIET HAVE AN EFFECT SIMILAR TO THESE THERAPIES?
While these alkalization therapies use high-dose alkali forming solutions like bicarbonates to correct more extreme pH imbalances, it’s evident that alkaline forming whole food sources produce the SAME alkaline forming substances and metabolic by-products like sodium-bicarbonate and will have a similar impact on the fluids and tissues of the body reflecting in urine analysis.
The 2012 Pub Med study, ‘Dietary acid reduction with fruits and vegetables or bicarbonate attenuates kidney injury in patients with a moderately reduced glomerular filtration rate due to hypertensive nephropathy (kidney disease)’ compared the efficacy of alkali-inducing fruits and vegetables with oral sodium bicarbonate to diminish kidney injury in 30 patients with hypertensive nephropathy (kidney disease) in the first 2 stages. The authors found that a reduction in dietary acid decreased kidney injury in these patients and concluded that fruits and vegetables were COMPARABLE to effects of administered sodium bicarbonate. (12)
Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, it has been debated by naysayers for some time now whether or not alkaline forming diets have proven health benefits, and if the urine is an accurate window to the status of your health. Unsubstantiated, poorly researched counterarguments state that the body’s pH is maintained at a very constant level despite the acidity of the food or beverage being consumed, which we know is FAR from true.
As far as the blood buffering systems keeping blood pH levels in normal range (despite the alkaline or acid effect of the food or beverage consumed) this may be true in a clinical setting where conventional doctors react to only severe symptoms, ignoring the obvious. However, when taking a critical HOLISTIC view, the low end of the normal blood Ph range provides FAR LESS OXYGEN to the tissues, which in and of itself is cause for alarm! What about the damage that low pH blood does as it’s passing through the system? And that’s just the blood we are talking about, not the potential acid waste buildup in the extracellular fluids, tissues, and joints.
According to the British Journal of Nutrition, “Diet-induced ‘low-grade’ metabolic acidosis has only very small decreases in blood pH and plasma bicarbonate within the range considered to be normal. Within that range, means that the system equilibrates nearer the lower end of normal rather than the higher end of normal. But, if the duration of the acidosis is prolonged or chronically present, even a low degree of acidosis becomes significant.”
Acids accumulated beyond the bloods buffering capability don’t just disappear. These systems do a great job of keeping blood pH levels in normal range UNTIL the blood is saturated with acid. Then chemical buffers and elimination channels like the kidneys can become overwhelmed or damaged, forcing acids into the interstitial fluids and tissues.
So yes skeptics, the average of a series of URINE TESTS CAN PROVIDE a clear window as to the status of your current health. This is a verifiable fact. If pH urinalysis was not an accurate test for what is happening in the body, why do many endocrinologists utilize this method to assist in the diagnosis of ketoacidosis, hypercalciuria, hyperoxaluria, and nephrolithiasis?
If lemons, wheatgrass, celery or any other alkaline forming fruits, vegetables, or superfoods consumed have little to no effect on the body’s pH levels, then why do urine tests CONSISTENTLY register an elevated or more balanced urine pH after consuming these foods?
Similarly, why do acid-forming products like soda and concentrated protein sources like meat lower urine pH levels. Keep in mind, it’s not that meat is bad because it can lower urine pH (although high sugar soda is never a good option), it’s the EXCESS of meat in the absence of alkaline forming foods that creates a highly acidic environment. Yes, sometimes urine pH can read highly alkaline, like when ammonia is released from the kidneys in an attempt to neutralize the excessive acids, or from the release of ammonia from pathogenic urea splitting bacteria. However, the body is still highly acidic nonetheless.
MANY STUDIES PROVE THE POSITIVE IMPACT ALKALINE FORMING FOODS AND SUPPLEMENTS HAVE ON EXCESS ACID ELIMINATION.
In fact, a recent study in 2010, published in The Nutrition Journal, revealed that an alkaline diet can cause an INCREASE in uric acid excretion through the urine. On the other hand, acidic diets suppress uric acid excretion in the urine. “This study strongly suggests that by adjusting the diet to include alkaline food, it can promote the removal of uric acid in the blood, which implies hope for the removal of formed uric acid crystals in the joints.” (13)
In a 2008 PubMed study, ‘Plant based dietary supplement increases urinary Ph’, researchers noted that the net acid load of the typical Western diet can compromise many aspects of human health, including osteoporosis risk/progression; obesity; cardiovascular disease risk/progression; and overall well-being. With urinary pH providing a reliable surrogate measure for dietary acid load, “the study examined whether a plant-based dietary supplement, one marketed to increase alkalinity, impacts urinary pH as advertised.” Authors concluded, “Supplementation with a plant-based dietary product for at least seven days INCREASES urinary pH, potentially increasing the alkalinity of the body.” (14)
According to the British Journal of Nutrition “The normalization of a low-grade chronic metabolic acidosis has been accomplished by two methods: change in dietary patterns and alkaline supplementation.” Alkali supplementation is generally in the form of potassium, calcium, magnesium, or sodium bicarbonate, citrate, or malate. “Increased fruit and vegetable consumption, as well as potassium and magnesium alkali intake, is consistently associated with a base producing diet.”
PH BALANCED DIETS THAT PLACE A GREATER FOCUS ON ALKALINE FORMING MINERAL RICH FRUITS AND VEGETABLES ARE FOUND TO HAVE A POSITIVE EFFECT ON BONE MINERAL DENSITY
Healthy pH levels are IMPERATIVE for preventing bone loss and osteoporosis, as numerous studies confirm!
In a 1999 Pub Med study, “Potassium, magnesium, and fruit and vegetable intakes are associated with GREATER bone mineral density in elderly men and women”, authors found that greater potassium and magnesium intake was significantly associated with greater bone mineral density (BMD) in both men and women. The researchers concluded “These results support the hypothesis that alkaline-producing dietary components, specifically, potassium, magnesium, and fruit and vegetables, contribute to maintenance of BMD. (15)
Researchers of a 2001 four period crossover study, “Diet acids and alkalis influence calcium retention in bone” investigated whether a diet intervention specifically focused on acid load could modify calcium metabolism in humans. Their findings confirmed that alkalizing nutrients prevent bone resorption, or bone loss. Additionally, excreted acids derived from food were found to influence calcium metabolism. In fact, the acid-forming diet increased urinary calcium excretion by a WHOPPING 74% when compared with the base-forming diet. (16)
In a 2013 double blind placebo-controlled study, ‘Potassium citrate supplementation results in sustained improvement in calcium balance in older men and women’, researchers randomly assigned 52 men and women to take 60 or 90 mmol (2-3 grams) of potassium citrate or a placebo daily noting measurements of bone turnover markers, net acid excretion, and calcium metabolism. Remarkably, after six months, net acid excretion was SIGNIFICANTLY lower in both treatment groups compared to placebo and the subjects’ dietary acid was completely neutralized! Keep in mind doses of potassium citrate used in this study are very high and best enacted under the supervision of a practitioner. (17)
In this 2006 Pub Med randomized, prospective, controlled, double-blind trial of 161 postmenopausal women (age 58.6 +/- 4.8 yr.) titled, “Partial neutralization of the acidogenic Western diet with potassium citrate increases bone mass in postmenopausal women with osteopenia” authors stated, “Chronic acid loads are an obligate consequence of the high animal/grain protein content of the Western diet.” They concluded “Bone mass can be increased SIGNIFICANTLY in postmenopausal women with osteopenia by increasing their daily alkali intake as citrate.” (18)
At the same time, TOO HIGH DIETARY PROTEIN AND HIGH SODIUM CHLORIDE (toxic iodized table salt specifically) diets are known to lower blood plasma pH as well as negatively impact blood, urinary pH, and BMD.
In a 2007 Wiley Peer Reviewer Study, ‘Low-Grade Metabolic Acidosis May Be the Cause of Sodium Chloride–Induced Exaggerated Bone Resorption’ authors examined the effect of increased dietary sodium chloride (NaCl) on bone metabolism and acid-base balance. After inducing a calculated increase in NaCl intake in healthy male test subjects, “we conclude that low-grade metabolic acidosis may be the CAUSE of NaCl-induced exaggerated bone resorption (bone loss), as determined by analyzing bone resorption markers.” (19)
In the 2010 study “High protein diets may cause bone loss in older women”, researchers from Perdue University tested the effect of BMD on high protein diets including both meat and vegetarian protein. The researchers found that the group that ate a high protein meat containing diet (higher acid forming) DECREASED in bone mineral density by 1.4%. A second study performed with different, but similar, criteria came up with the same result. Overall, the authors stated, “Our results suggested that for postmenopausal women, choosing a high protein omnivorous diet for effective weight loss, may decrease BMD and increase the risk of osteoporosis.” (20)
Even though the correlation between high protein intake and increased acid load is clear, and a big factor, it’s NOT A HIGH PROTEIN DIET ALONE THAT TIPS THE SCALE TOWARDS ACIDOSIS.
Yes, we may be consuming above the daily recommended amount of protein (which may be just enough or fall short for many, considering how much we are actually absorbing and assimilating depending on age and physical condition). However, it’s more the acid/alkaline imbalance that needs to be corrected. According to studies, the negative effects of a high protein diet can be NEUTRALIZED by sufficient intake of alkaline forming substances.
A 2008 study in The Journal of Nutrition confirmed that a high protein diet induced a metabolic acidosis characterized by high calcium, magnesium, and citrate excretion at all ages. The researchers also found that supplementation with (alkaline forming) potassium citrate neutralized the negative impact of a high protein diet, as evidenced by decreased urinary calcium and magnesium excretion. (21)
In 2004 Pub Med study, “Effects of potassium citrate supplementation on bone metabolism”, researchers stated that Western diets rich in animal protein result in long-term acid loading that negatively impact both the kidneys and bones, despite increases in net renal acid excretion with the potential induction of chronic acidemia. The results of this study suggest that treatment with an alkaline salt, such as potassium citrate, can reduce bone resorption (bone loss) thereby contradicting the potential adverse effects caused by chronic acidemia of protein-rich diets. (22)
Another important factor to note is that protein, in balanced quantities, also acts as one of the blood’s chemical buffers in the neutralization and elimination of acids. As a buffer, protein can act as a base or an acid, depending on homeostatic requirements.
In the 2001 Pub Med study “Influence of nutrition on acid-base balance–metabolic aspects”, authors confirmed that increased protein intake DOES NOT necessarily result correspondently to increased acid excretion for the following reasons: 1) additional dietary alkali can compensate for protein-related acid production. In other words, alkaline forming foods can buffer the impact of the proteins acid load 2) As a chemical blood buffer, protein can act as a weak acid (carboxyl group) aiding the kidneys capacity to excrete excess acid by instigating the formation of ammonia which buffers or soaks up (H+) acid. (23)
At the same time, dietary PROTEIN IS A CRITICAL COMPONENT FOR BONE GROWTH, so you need enough of it. In animals, dietary essential amino acid supplementation is shown to INCREASE bone density and strength. Similarly, in humans, amino supplementation increases insulin-like growth hormone (IGF-I), a known bone growth promoting factor. Thus, high protein diets would have a similar effect paralleling an increase in IGF-1 with increased bone growth. In confirmation, individuals with osteoporosis are known to have low circulating levels of IGF-1. This study finds that patients with hip fractures who received protein supplements had significantly greater increases in serum levels of insulin-like growth factor and as a result needed half the recovery time than the controls. (24)
Another study supports a protective role for increased dietary animal protein in the skeletal health of elderly women in CONJUNCTION with calcium intake. (25)
Adequate protein, therefore, is essential for bone growth as studies suggest. As far as decreasing your acid load and maintaining ideal pH levels, it’s all about BALANCE!
Additionally, MOST ANIMAL PROTEIN IS HIGHER IN ACID FORMING, SULFUR RICH AMINO ACIDS THAN PLANT PROTEIN, and is therefore more acid producing, potentially causing more bone loss when out of balance.
In a 2001 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, ‘A high ratio of dietary animal to vegetable protein INCREASES the rate of bone loss and the risk of fracture in postmenopausal women’, authors concluded that women with a high dietary ratio of animal to vegetable protein consumption have more rapid femoral neck bone loss and a greater risk of hip fracture than those with a low ratio of animal to veggie protein. “This suggests that an increase in vegetable protein intake and a decrease in animal protein intake may decrease bone loss and the risk of hip fracture.” Keep in mind this study does not suggest eliminating animal protein as this has been seen to reduce bone as well as muscle growth. Once again, it’s all about balance! (26)
So, we know from various studies that positive net alkaline producing diets and supplementation rich in alkaline forming minerals like calcium, potassium, magnesium, and weak acids like citrate, are seen to have a positive impact on excessive acid elimination as is evident by blood and urine pH status, calcium retention, and bone preservation.
In addition, we know that protein increases the body’s overall acid load, and high protein diets have been implicated in bone loss, as is evident by excess urinary calcium excretion and low BMD. We also know that dietary protein and supplementation is proven to be primordial for bone growth, strength, and recovery. We can also conclude that a healthy balance between animal and plant protein is preferable for calcium retention and thus bone health.
With all these factors taken into consideration, one may conclude that given the essential benefits of protein and alkalinity on bone growth alone, that maybe the real culprit is the diet’s overall net acid load, not just the protein. The following study confirms this:
A 2005 article in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition by Anthony Sebastian proclaims, “If a lower dietary net acid load permits greater anabolic (bone building) effects of protein on bone, we might want to consider whether net base-producing diets might optimize the anabolic effects of dietary protein on bone.” (27)
Now you know why mom always forced us to eat our veggies! Besides the high quantities of acid forming protein being consumed, the average Westerner is not coming CLOSE to the daily recommended amount of alkaline forming fruits and vegetables, which makes all the difference in maintaining acid/alkaline balance! In fact, the average American consumes less than the 2 cups of fruits AND veggies each day. That equates to less than 4 servings, with the minimum amount suggested being 5-9 servings (which is very low to begin with). Disturbingly, ONLY 1% of adults and 2% of kids are actually reaching the daily fruit and veggie recommendations, which isn’t even close to enough for optimal health in today’s toxic environment!
The only way a higher protein diet is doable without all the age promoting, degenerating, negative side effects, is by complimenting the higher protein consumption with an overall net base producing diet and proper supplementation.
Let’s not forget how acidic the OVER CONSUMPTION OF RAPIDLY FERMENTABLE CARBOHYDRATES like added simple sugars, high fructose corn syrup-(GMO-avoid), lactose, and refined grains and flours can act on the gut as well as systemically.
It has been well known for some time now that feeding cattle and horses high carbohydrate diets full of cereal grains can lead to acidic gut syndrome. This leads to increased production of VERY harmful endotoxins, initiating a cascade of inflammatory cytokines that can inflame and breach the intestinal lining, leading to systemic inflammation which includes the brain, creating anxiety and adverse behavior. Increased risk of gut infections, skin and respiratory conditions, poor immunity, and many other issues associated with food allergies and intestinal stress have been well documented in animals fed a diet rich in rapidly fermentable carbohydrates, resulting in the administration of mega-doses of antibiotics.
The standard American diet is loaded with these low-fiber gut irritating carbohydrates in fast, refined, and processed foods of convenience, so these findings are certainly not limited to animals. Although conventional medicine has not yet discovered the etiology of autoimmune diseases and various allergies, there are CLEAR trends in animal production as well as in the Western human diet towards the inclusion of more refined and ill-prepared grains and starches. Holistic practitioners are WELL AWARE of the severe primary and secondary conditions associated with fermented acidosis, and its direct association with the consumption of a high acid producing sugar/grain/starch diet especially (but not exclusively) in refined form.
BEWARE: There are many acid-producing players most people are consuming on a regular basis that tip your pH toward the acid side far worse than just protein itself! A big part of that incredible imbalance consists of acid forming oxidized vegetable oils, internally produced and environmental toxins (what you consume makes all the difference in how toxic and acidic you are), acid forming refined and added sugars like high fructose corn syrup, toxic acidic table salt, commercially ill prepared grains, low quality conventional and pasteurized animal products, conventional mold contaminated coffee beans, soda, processed foods, damaged glycated proteins (AGE’s) pesticides, GMO’s, and toxic thoughts just to name a few. And we wonder why obesity, diabetes, heart and kidney disease, digestive and neurological disorders, cancer and other inflammatory, acidic, metabolic degenerative diseases have reached epidemic digits!
https://www.kidney.org/news/newsroom/factsheets/FastFacts http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/quick-guide-to-getting-more-fruits-and-vegetables http://www.livestocklibrary.com.au/handle/1234/19842