More Info on Acid-Base Balance

I’m indebt­ed to Dr. Jef­frey Moss for pro­vid­ing these inter­est­ing excerpts from the research lit­er­a­ture on diet, the use of potas­si­um bicar­bon­ate sup­ple­men­ta­tion and their rela­tion­ship to meta­bol­ic aci­do­sis and chron­ic ill­ness.

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The fol­low­ing is an abstract of an arti­cle by Drs. RC Mor­ris Jr, O Schmidlin, M Tana­ka, A For­man, L Fras­set­to and A Sebas­t­ian that appeared in Sem­i­nars in Nephrol­o­gy.

Com­pared to the pre­his­toric diet, the mod­ern human diet con­tains not only exces­sive NaCl and defi­cient K+, but also defi­cient pre­cur­sors of HCO3- and some­times exces­sive pre­cur­sors of non­volatile acid. The mis­match between the mod­ern diet and the still ancient bio­log­i­cal machin­ery of humans sub­tly but chron­i­cal­ly dis­or­ders their inter­nal milieu, giv­ing rise to a pro­longed state of low-grade potas­si­um defi­cien­cy and low-grade meta­bol­ic aci­do­sis whose sever­i­ty increas­es with age. Sup­ple­men­tal KCI can­not redress this mis­match and cor­rect this state.

How­ev­er, the mis­match is redressed and the state cor­rect­ed by restor­ing intakes of K+ and HCO3- to lev­els approach­ing those in the diet of our pre­his­toric fore­bear­ers, with either fruits and veg­eta­bles or with sup­ple­men­tal KHCO3. So restored, KHCO3 can: 1) atten­u­ate hyper­ten­sion and pos­si­bly pre­vent its occur­rence by sup­press­ing the phe­nom­e­non of nor­moten­sive NaCl-sen­si­tiv­i­ty, in part by its natri­uret­ic effect; (2) pre­vent kid­ney stones by reduc­ing uri­nary excre­tion of cal­ci­um and increas­ing uri­nary excre­tion of cit­rate; (3) ame­lio­rate and pro­tect against the occur­rence of osteo­poro­sis by increas­ing the renal reten­tion of cal­ci­um and phos­pho­rus, and by sup­press­ing bone resorp­tion and enhanc­ing bone for­ma­tion; and (4) like­ly pre­vent stroke.

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Anoth­er impor­tant arti­cle by Drs. L Fras­set­to, RC Mor­ris Jr, DE Sell­mey­er, K Todd, and A Sebas­t­ian appeared in the Euro­pean Jour­nal of Nutri­tion. Key state­ments from the abstract include:

Our group has shown that con­tem­po­rary net acid-pro­duc­ing diets do indeed char­ac­ter­is­ti­cal­ly pro­duce a low-grade sys­temic meta­bol­ic aci­do­sis in oth­er­wise healthy adult sub­jects, and that the degree of aci­do­sis increas­es with age, in rela­tion to the nor­mal­ly occur­ring age-relat­ed decline in renal func­tion­al capac­i­ty. We also found that neu­tral­iza­tion of the diet net acid load with dietary sup­ple­ments of potas­si­um bicar­bon­ate (KHCO3) improved cal­ci­um and phos­pho­rus bal­ances, reduced bone resorp­tion rates, improved nitro­gen bal­ance, and mit­i­gat­ed the nor­mal­ly occur­ring age-relat­ed decline in growth hor­mone secretion–all with­out restrict­ing dietary NaCl.… We argue that any lev­el of aci­do­sis may be unac­cept­able from an evo­lu­tion­ar­i­ly per­spec­tive, and indeed, that a low-grade meta­bol­ic alka­lo­sis may be the opti­mal acid-base state for humans.

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In addi­tion, arti­cles in the Jour­nal of Nutri­tion have stat­ed that mod­ern (“West­ern­ized”) diets can lead to a sub­stan­tial decline of potas­si­um intake com­pared with tra­di­tion­al food habits, and a large frac­tion of the pop­u­la­tion might now have sub-opti­mal potas­si­um intake. A high potas­si­um intake was demon­strat­ed to have pro­tec­tive effects against sev­er­al patho­log­ic states affect­ing the car­dio­vas­cu­lar sys­tem, kid­neys, and bones.

Find out more about Dr. Lavine’s Ten Step Pro­gram to Con­quer Chron­ic Ill­ness

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