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The pH Balance of the Body is Maintained By The Kidneys

The term pH balance refers to a measurement of the degree to which a substance is acidic or alkaline.  In chemistry, pH is the acronym for "Potential Hydrogen" and it is the measurement of acidity.

ph test

An acid is any chemical that releases hydrogen ions in solution.  The Potential Hydrogen scale was invented in 1909 to measure the acidity of beer. The scale extends from 0.0 to 14.

A solution with a measurement of 7 is neutral; solutions measuring below 7 are acidic; and solutions measuring above 7 are alkaline (or basic).  To put this scale into perspective, it is important to note that a change of one whole number represents a 10-fold change in hydrogen ion concentration.  For example, a solution with a measurement of 4 is 10 times as acidic as one with a measurement of 5 and 100 times as acidic as one with a measurement of 6.

Slight disturbances of the acid-balance of the body's fluids can seriously disrupt biological functions.  Maintaining the pH balance of the body's fluids is one of the key functions of the kidneys.  Blood, for example, normally has a measurement ranging from 7.35 to 7.45.  Deviations from this range can cause fainting, paralysis, or even death.

The Effects of Acid Imbalance

The normal pH balance of blood plasma is approximately 7.4.  If it falls below 7.35, a state of acidosis exists and if it rises above 7.45, a state of alkalosis exists.  A person will only survive for a few hours if their pH balance is below 7.0 or above 7.7.  It is quickly fatal if it falls below 6.8 or above 8.0.  In a state of acidosis, the central nervous system becomes depressed and this causes symptoms such as confusion, disorientation, and coma.  In a state of alkalosis, the skeletal muscles are over stimulated causing muscle spasms, convulsions, or respiratory paralysis.

Acid-base imbalances fall into two categories - respiratory and metabolic.  Respiratory acidosis occurs when there is an accumulation of carbon dioxide, which lowers the Potential Hydrogen.  On the other hand, Respiratory alkalosis results from hyperventilation, in which carbon dioxide is eliminated faster than it is produced.

Metabolic acidosis can result from increased production of organic acids, such as lactic acid in anaerobic fermentation and ketone bodies in alcoholism and diabetes mellitus.  It can also result from chronic diarrhea or overuse of laxatives, or from ingestion of acidic drugs such as aspirin.  Metabolic alkalosis is not as common as metabolic acidosis. It can result from overuse of bicarbonates such as antacids or intravenous bicarbonate solutions. It can also result from the loss of stomach acids due to chronic vomiting.

Good pH Balance = Good Health

Generally, health is maintained when the body's fluids have their normal pH measurement.  Different fluids have different measurements.  For instance the blood and tissue fluid normally have a measurement of 7.35 to 7.45, while urine usually has a measurement of 5 to 6.  Once they stay within these ranges, a state of health usually exists.  When they move out of these ranges, however, sickness or even death could result.

Maintaining or restoring a balanced pH is not possible when the body is loaded with acid toxins.  Acid imbalances compromise the efficient functioning of all cells and organs, leading to premature deterioration and degeneration of health.

NOTE: All degenerative diseases and disease-causing organisms only develop in an acidic environment.

Nutritional chemistry reveals that raw fruits and vegetables provide the best source of nutrients that helps to maintain the constant pH balance of the body's biological systems.  When heat is applied to these foods, through cooking, or preservatives and refined sugars are added to them, most of their nutritional properties are destroyed and they become more acidic.  When we consume these foods in their acidic state, we contribute to acid imbalances within the body's biochemical systems.  This places greater burden on our buffer systems to regulate these imbalances that can lead to their malfunctioning, over time.

What Is A Buffer System?

A buffer is any mechanism that resists changes in acidity. The body has two types of buffers:

  • Chemical buffers - substances that bind hydrogen ion and remove it as the concentration of a solution begins to rise, and releases hydrogen ion as the concentration begins to fall.  The three major chemical buffer systems of the body are the bicarbonate, phosphate, and protein systems.

  • Physiological buffers - systems that control the body's output of acids, acid bases, or carbon dioxide.  The body's two main physiological buffers are the urinary system and the respiratory system.

The body's buffer systems, especially the respiratory and the urinary buffer systems, are designed to compensate for acid imbalances.

Poor diet is possibly the single most significant reason for the increasing incidences of renal failure.  Almost 90% of adults in western societies, over the age of 50 years, suffer from some form of degenerative disease.  The pH-factor, which is a critical factor in the efficient functioning of all biological systems, must be the central focus around which a balanced diet is formulated.

The key to maintaining proper pH balance, and by extension biological balance, is to include a fair amount of these foods in our diet.  If we are to support the efficient creation and maintenance of energy and quality of health, we need to maintain a diet compatible with natural pH balance.

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