Acidification is a topic of great interest, especially among people exploring the knowledge of a healthy lifestyle.
This concept, however, does not occur in medicine, and among the society is often confused with acidosis.
Various sources may suggest you follow an alkalizing diet, also known as a deacidification diet, to restore the normal pH of the blood in the body and benefit the functioning of the body.
Is acidification really a common problem of today's times, or is it just a marketing ploy?
What is acidosis, and what is acidification of the body?
The normal pH of the blood is 7.35-7.45 and can determine the proper functioning of the body and the course of many enzymatic processes in the body.
Maintaining the right pH is possible thanks to the continuous work of the lungs, kidneys, as well as the buffer systems of the blood and tissues.
Lowering blood pH below 7.35 can cause acidosis. Depending on the type of acidosis (non-respiratory or respiratory), a decrease in the concentration of bicarbonate ions or an increase in the partial pressure of carbon dioxide may be considered the cause of the decrease in blood pH.
Acidosis can result from, among other things, acute or chronic renal failure, poorly managed diabetes, intoxication with, for example, ethanol, or chronic or acute respiratory failure and hypoventilation.
Acidosis is a dangerous complication that can be a threat to human health and life.
In turn, acidification of the body, although it is often confused with acidosis, actually has nothing to do with it. When the body is acidified, the acid-base balance may be disturbed, but the pH of the blood does not change. It's just that the body has to put in a little more effort to maintain this blood pH. For this purpose, it can use more different micro and macronutrients. In addition, the concept of acidification often occurs in the context of a diet rich in acid-forming foods, which can slightly affect urine pH, as well as our mood.
However, to a large extent, differentiating products into acid-forming or alkaline-forming and spreading information about a salutary deacidifying diet are simply marketing gimmicks that have little to do with the truth.
Products that can acidify the body
There is a division of products into those that can acidify the body, and those that exhibit alkaline-forming effects. The result of such a division is the ash that remains after burning the products.
Those that leave ash rich in sulfur or phosphorus can be counted as acid-forming substances. On the other hand, alkaline-forming components after burning can stand out with ash rich in magnesium and calcium.
Products that may exhibit acid-forming effects include:
- meat and meat products,
- grain products,
- highly processed food and fast-food dishes.
However, this does not mean that acid-forming dietary components are always "bad" and alkaline-forming ones "good".
Of course, products such as meat, which can be a source of saturated fatty acids, consumed in larger quantities can negatively affect the body, contributing to the development of many diseases such as cardiovascular disease. However, studies to date have not conclusively established that the negative impact of food products is related to their pH and acidity.
Symptoms and causes of acidification of the body
In many sources you can find information that acidification of the body can manifest as chronic fatigue, weakness, apathy, deterioration of hair and nails, increased susceptibility to infections or muscle pain and problems with concentration.
However, it is difficult to say unequivocally whether the symptoms mentioned may be due to the acid-forming properties of the foods consumed.
A diet with high acidifying potential can be rich in highly processed foods, red meat and saturated fatty acids. Usually it does not contain too many vegetables or fruits instead. Nie stanowi więc zdrowego i zbilansowanego jadłospisu. Thus, it does not constitute a healthy and balanced diet. Therefore, it is difficult to determine whether the symptoms and discomforts that occur may be due to the acidity of the foods consumed, or perhaps to a deficiency of vitamins, minerals and other valuable nutrients.
A diet based on acid-forming foods can contribute to undesirable symptoms and consequences, but relying solely on the pH of foods has no basis or justification in the light of scientific studies.
How to "deacidify" the body?
Since you already know that the concept of acidification is heavily abused in the environment, it should not surprise you that the human body will deacidify itself. By what miracle?
Many metabolic processes taking place in the body require a suitable environment, and the pH of the blood must always be between 7.35 and 7.45. To prevent unwanted fluctuations in blood pH, there are special safeguards in the body, namely buffers.
The most important buffer system is the carbonate buffer. Thus, to ensure acid-base balance, the body needs carbonic acid and sodium. When there is an excessive amount of acid in the blood, sodium carbonate breaks down, sodium neutralizes the acid, and the remaining carbonic acid is converted to carbon dioxide and is removed from the body through the lungs.
In that case, is it worth using a deacidification diet at all? Of course!
A diet theoretically designed to deacidify the body is usually a way of eating, limiting the proportion of highly processed foods, meat and simple sugars in the daily menu.
Instead, it can be based on increasing the consumption of vegetables, which is a very favorable trend for the proper functioning of the entire system.
However, it is not worth believing every aspect of alkalizing diets - sometimes it is recommended to give up low pH products, even though they are valuable components of the daily diet.