Acidity: A Widespread Problem

Monday, October 19, 2009  |  0 Comment

by Christopher Vasey

Christopher Vasey, N.D

Today the vast majority of the population in Western (industrialized) nations suffers from problems caused by acidification, because both modern lifestyle and diet promote acidification of the body's internal environment.

In general, the current standard diet is primarily composed of acidic or acidifying elements (proteins, cereals, sugars). Alkaline foods such as vegetables are eaten in much smaller quantities; their alkaline content is insufficient to neutralize surplus acids. Furthermore, the consumption of stimulants like tobacco, coffee, tea, and alcohol - everyone of which has an extremely acidifying effect on the body - has grown to enormous proportions.

Stress, nervous tension, noise, shortage of time, and other pressures are facts of life today and contribute to increasing the body's acidification through the physiological disturbances they create.

Physical exercise - which can play an important role in maintaining pH balance - is more often than not either insufficient or excessive. In both cases, acidification of the body's internal environment is the result.

Of all the factors causing acidification, the most important is unquestionably food. The majority of acidosis sufferers can be treated simply by significantly reducing their consumption of acids and increasing their consumption of alkaline foods.

There is a special category of individuals, however, who are sick not only because of inadequate lifestyle and an excessive intake of acids. They also suffer from a metabolic weakness that is particularly susceptible to acids.

Some illnesses arise because a person's body is unable to properly metabolize a particular nutrient. Partially or completely unmetabolized nutrients stagnate in the body, causing it to fall ill either through their own toxic effects or by disrupting the body's functioning. In diabetes, for example, the substance that is poorly metabolized is sugar; in rheumatism it is proteins; in obesity it is fat; in celiac disease it is gluten; and in water retention it is salt. These are just a few of the many substances, acids among them, that the body may have trouble metabolizing.

Difficulty metabolizing acids primarily involves weak acids. Weak acids are normally quite easy to oxidize, and their elimination through the lungs in the form of carbon dioxide or breath moisture makes the strong alkaline substances with which they had been combined available for the body's use. As a rule, foods rich in weak acids, such as fruits, whey, yogurt, and vinegar, contribute a large number of alkaline elements to the body. But this is not always true for everyone, specifically that category of people whose metabolisms have trouble oxidizing weak acids.

For such people, acids are poorly oxidized, if at all, and these substances remain in the body without releasing the alkaline substances with which they are combined. In people with this metabolic weakness, foods that would normally contribute a high quota of alkaline substances instead have the effect of acidifying the internal environment. The same food can have an entirely different effect depending on the body of the person who ingests it. This is why some dietitians declare that lemon is an alkalizing food while others claim it is acidifying. Both are correct. The error lies in not determining whether the physical constitution of the person eating that kind of food has an inherent metabolic weakness toward acids.

People afflicted with this metabolic debility must take additional precautions with their diets. It is essential that they carefully regulate the amount of foods they eat that are rich in weak acids.

Normally, this group of "acid foods" doesn't figure in the classifications set up to help people maintain their acid-alkaline balance. Foods are generally divided into only two groups: acidifying and alkalizing. Acid foods are usually included in the list of alkalizing foods, since with their weak acids they have an alkalizing effect on most people. But the lack of a third list of acid foods could lead to serious problems for individuals whose metabolic Achilles heel is acids. They could consume large quantities of fruits, vinegar, and so on, confident they were alkalizing their internal environments, whereas in fact they were creating precisely the opposite effect.


The Acid-Alkaline Diet for Optimum Health
Christopher Vasey

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