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Monday, October 19, 2009  |  2 Comments
Your body is a factory of constant, ongoing chemical reactions. Most of these reactions are taking place at the cellular level. Like any other factory, the body produces wastes that can be quite toxic to the body if they are not disposed of properly. Contrary to popular belief, blood is not sterile. A large percentage of this waste from our cells finds it’s way into the blood stream. These toxins (mycotoxins, exotoxins, and endotoxins) can alter the environment of the blood in a negative way if they are not rapidly metabolized. One of the major cellular waste products are hydrogen ions. These (positively charged) ions are responsible for changing the environment of the blood by making it acidic, which can be very detrimental to the functioning of all other bodily processes.
The pH of blood is closely maintained between 7.45 and 7.35. More specifically, the blood within the arterial system stays near 7.45 while the blood within the veins stays near 7.35. Blood in the veins is more acidic due to the large amounts of hydrogen ions indirectly produced from carbon dioxide that is released from the tissues. Death may rapidly occur if the blood pH falls outside the range of 6.8 to 8.0 for more than a few seconds, as a blood pH outside of this range is incompatible with life. This fact greatly relays the importance of careful regulation of hydrogen ion concentration in the body. Normally, the body is able to maintain an acid-base balance with little difficulty. The lungs and the kidneys are the primary organs by which the body regulates its supply of acids and bases. It is when we do not have enough raw materials for the body to accomplish its task that we run into problems with acid-base balance. Even small changes in acid-base balance can have dramatic effects on the normal function of cells within our bodies. For instance, one of the main manifestations of acidosis is a depressive effect on the central nervous system. This may be experienced as disorientation and in more severe episodes as coma. Conversely, a person who tends to have more alkaline blood will experience over-excitability of the nervous system, seen as nervousness, tingling, spasms, and twitches of the muscles. Excessive alkalinity that is not promptly addressed can lead to violent muscle spasms and convulsions.
The most important nutrients in our bodies for maintaining acid-alkaline balance are certain alkaline minerals. More specifically, calcium, magnesiun, sodium, potassium, chloride, and bicarbonate (a combination of hydrogen, carbon, and oxygen molecules) are responsible for the precise balance involved. Physicians routinely analyze the proportions of these elements in order to determine one's relative acid-base concentrations. By fine-tuning the relative amounts of these elements in the blood, many practitioners of natural medicine can work to improve their patient's overall balance with the environment. The amounts of these minerals can be mathematically compared to arrive at a general consensus in regard to how well the body is dealing with it's production of hydrogen, a waste product. As stated earlier, a buildup of hydrogen can lead to imbalances in the acid-base ratio. If the physician finds an unusual ratio between those different elements, he/she may suspect an irregularity in the production and clearance of hydrogen in the patient. Natural medicine practitioners will then design and implement a treatment geared toward correcting this imbalance, by intervening with strategic use of absorbable minerals and trace minerals to re-establish a healthful balance.
Analyzing pH balance and the concentrations of minerals in the blood provide yet another way for the practitioner of natural medicine to address the ability of the body to maintain homeostasis, or balance. By supplying the body with enough of the smaller, lesser known substances found in nature, physicians can steer how the body reacts to it’s own internal production of wastes and to external influences on it's health. Additionally, by preventing excessive fluctuations in acid-base balance, the body may be more apt to heal itself from chronic forms of illness. Thus in summary, maintaining the complex functioning of the body’s tightly regulated pH system requires maintaining proper mineral and trace mineral levels to sustain optimal and healthful balance.
Ions... the body’s electrical energy source
Energy is an important factor in the function of our bodies. We often say, "I am lacking energy" or "I wish I had more energy." But, what is energy? Simply defined, energy is the capacity to do work, or to place matter into motion. It is the use of energy by our body that creates the quality we call "life." There are many forms of energy used by our bodies: chemical energy, electrical energy, mechanical energy and electromagnetic energy. This article will analyze the form of energy called electrical energy or electricity. It will also describe how substances obtained in our diets are responsible in generating this form of energy.
Electricity is a fundamental entity of nature consisting of negative and positive particles exhibiting attractions and repulsions. These attractions and repulsions manifest themselves as movements of these charged particles, or in other words--electrical current. This form of energy plays a critical role in the proper function of our body.
The key players in creating the electric energy within our body are structures called ions. An ion is an atom or group of atoms carrying an electric charge by virtue of having gained or lost one or more valence electrons. Valence electrons are those electrons in the outer ring of electrons orbiting the nucleus of the atom. Ions may exist in solid, liquid, or gaseous environments, although those in liquid are more common and familiar. Most ionic compounds fall in the category of chemicals called salts.
Ionic minerals existing in a liquid state are electrolytes. An electrolyte is any compound that, in solution, conducts electricity and is decomposed or electrolyzed by the electricity. This form of compound is ionizable in solution.
Electrolytes, or in other words compounds that are ionizable in solution, play an essential role in many body functions. Cells create electrical energy as ions move from the solutions inside the cells of our body to the solutions outside the cells. This form of energy is a staple in the normal function of man body systems. For example, the nervous system uses electrical energy, termed nerve impulses, to transmit messages from one cell in the body to another cell in the body. This manifests as muscle movement, glandular secretion, excretion, temperature regulation, and even mental thought. Let us analyze, in more detail, the role of certain ions in some body functions.
In the body, fluids both inside and outside the cells are electrolyte solutions. This means they are water suspensions of ions. The electrolyte solutions both inside and outside the cells contain equal amounts of positive (cations) and negative (anions) ions making the body as a whole electrically neutral. The limiting boundary of the cell, the cell membrane, separates these ionic solutions.
Generally, a very small excess of anions accumulates immediately inside the cell membrane along its inner surface, and an equal number of cations accumulates immediately outside the cell membrane. This is the resting state of the cell. This difference in ion concentration on the adjacent surfaces of the cell membrane creates an electrical energy potential or electrochemical gradient. This is very similar to a battery where one end has a larger concentration of positively charged particles and the other end a greater concentration of negatively charged particles. Completing the circuit by connecting the ends of the battery, allows charged particles to move between the two ends creating energy as an electrical current. A similar energy source arises in the body as charged ions move across the cell membrane.
In our bodies, the nervous and muscular systems use the electrolyte properties of ionic sodium and potassium, assisted by lesser trace elements ( e.g. copper) to generate currents across the membranes of their cells. This current, or movement of charged particles, results from the electrochemical gradient set up across the cell membrane. The electrochemical gradient sets up the two types of movement that produce the current. The chemical gradient results in the passive movement of ions from a region of higher concentration to a region of lower concentration. The electrical gradient creates a movement of ions of one charge to an area of ions of the opposite charge. The result of this current is the transmission of nerve impulses and the contraction of muscle tissue.
The ionic particles of the nervous impulse can be visualized in the following simplified process. Neurons, the conducting cells of the nervous system, communicate by generating and propagating action potentials. An action potential is an abrupt pulse-like change in the positive-negative charge differential on either side of the nerve cell membrane. This results in a change of the resting potential of the cell. This can be caused by any factor that suddenly increases the permeability of the cell membrane for positively charged sodium ions. This movement of ions results in a flow of charged particles into and out of the cell, creating an electrical current. The replication of this process to adjacent areas of the cell membrane forms the electrical message, or nervous impulse, that moves along the nerve cell toward another cell in the body. This propagated action potential then becomes the energy source that initiates body functions ranging from muscle contraction to creative thought.
Ions, as we can see, play an important role in the body. Calcium, potassium, sodium, chloride, and copper ions are some key ions that participate in the body's electrical events. Potassium is the major positive ion inside the cell. Sodium is the major positive ion found in the fluid outside the cell. Ionic chlorine is the most abundant negative ion. Imbalances of any of these ions or certain trace ions in the body or inhibition of sodium ion transport across the cell membranes can lead to dysfunction in the conduction of electrical messages. This dysfunction quickly leads to a general body disturbance and loss of ability to maintain somewhat stable internal conditions. We then come back to the problem we faced when we started this article saying, "We just do not have enough energy."
pH Balance starts with proper hydration, and hydration is synonymous with minerals... especially ionic minerals.Alkalive pH Booster contains over 72 ionic minerals. It will boost the pH of your water to 9.5 by infusing it with millions of ionic particles.
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5. Schauss, Alex. Minerals and Human Health: The Rationale for Optimal and Balanced Trace Element Levels. Life Science Press: 1995
6. Grogono AW, Byles PH, Hawke W: An in-vivo representation of acid-base balance. Lancet. 1976
7. Horne, M., Swearingen, P. Pocket Guide to Fluids, Electrolytes, and Acid Base Balance. St. Louis, Mosby. 1993
8. Whitney E, Cataldo CB, Rolfes SR, eds. Understanding Normal and Clinical Nutrition. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 1998
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