The musculoskeletal system is also known as the “locomotor” system, consisting of both the skeletal and muscular systems. The skeletal system is made up of the skeleton (of course), which makes up the body’s bones and teeth. The muscular system involves the muscles, cartilage, ligaments, tendons, joints, and other connective tissue. The musculoskeletal system allows for body support, stability, posture, locomotion, internal motion, and protection of inside organs. This translates into walking, running, digesting, breathing, cardiac beating, etc.
Like with any other system, the musculoskeletal system suffers when the body’s pH is acidic, maybe more so. When the musculoskeletal system becomes acidic-inflamed, there is a loss of net nitrogen, resulting in the loss of precious muscle. At the same time, acid builds up in the joints and damages cartilage (the most abundant structural protein in the body), and other connective tissue. When the cells that generate synovial fluid (fluid found in the joints) become acidic, they cause excessive dryness and inflammation in the joints, potentially causing SEVERE pain.
When buffering systems are exhausted, and alkaline reserves are depleted, oxygen, calcium, sodium, phosphorus, and other minerals are pulled from the body’s organs, muscles, bones and teeth to neutralize excess acid in the tissues. This becomes evident as calcium extracted from the bones gets deposited in the joints as uric acid crystals or calcium-acid salts. These deposited acids can build up in joints like the hands, feet, knees, and back – leading to often debilitating arthritic conditions! This condition, often referred to as gouty arthritis, can feel like broken glass in joints and can be extremely painful. OSTEOPOROSIS can also manifest as calcium is pulled from the bones to buffer the excess acid waste.
High acid levels and mineral loss can also lead to weakened and damaged vertebrae, osteoporosis, poor posture, degenerative spine disease, and back pain in general.
Unbalanced pH levels present many more issues related to the musculoskeletal system.
In a 1995 study, researchers emphasized that acidotic states create the degradation and oxidation of protein, enacting a catabolic response in muscle and leading to loss of lean body mass. (1)
On the same note, a 2001 study in the American journal of kidney diseases concluded that induced metabolic acidosis for as little as 48 hours leads to a reduction in muscle protein synthesis in humans. (2)
Researchers in a 2013 study found a correlation between acidic body levels and sarcopenia, where muscle mass and/or function declines with age. (3)
According to Finlayson in 1964 study, collagen turnover is noticeably reduced in chronic acidosis, compromising connective tissue and its attaching role. Collagen is very important for skin, bone, muscle, tendon, and construction of joints. (4)
In order for the musculoskeletal system to perform optimally, pH levels must be within a healthy range.
1- England, B. K., & Price, S. R. (1995). Acidosis and glucocorticoids interact to provoke muscle protein and amino acid catabolism. Blood purification, 13(3-4), 147-152.
2- (2001). Acute metabolic acidosis decreases muscle protein synthesis but not albumin synthesis in humans. American journal of kidney diseases, 38(6), 1199-1207.
3- Greig, C. A. (2013). Nutritional approaches to the management of sarcopenia. Nutrition Bulletin, 38(3), 344-348.
4- Finlayson, G. R., Smith Jr, J. G., & Moore, M. J. (1964). Effects of chronic acidosis on connective tissue. JAMA: the journal of the American Medical Association, 187(9), 659-662.
Kleger, G. R., Turgay, M., Imoberdorf, R., McNurlan, M. A., Garlick, P. J., & Ballmer, P. E.