Why a body becomes acidic
Becoming acidic is generally an acquired condition that may have precipitating health issues, possibly persisting over decades of one’s life. One of the most statistically significant causes is a chronic H.Pylori infection, which under certain conditions gradually lowers stomach acid production resulting in indigestion and eventual loss of nutrients. Other causes could be due to undiagnosed celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, overgrowth of intestinal fungus, dysbiosis or inherited genetic defects predisposing a person to illnesses such as allergies, poor glucose metabolism, thyroid disease, and diabetes type 1. Any chronic illness or condition imposes a profound metabolic stress on a body and byproducts of a chronic metabolic stress are highly acidic to the body. Otherwise, if no known chronic health conditions had been previously identified, most likely the chronic latent acidosis (a.k.a., mineral depletion) has been implicated by imbalances in one’s life style. Additionally a decrease of kidneys or pancreas functions with age or as acquired conditions may also be a contributing factors.
Latent acidosis is a symptom of the body’s decreased ability to remove the toxic waste. In otherwise healthy individuals, it is often caused by damaging lifestyle factors, including a nutritional imbalance leading to a systemic mineral depletion. Since there is no testing available to measure the bioavailability of over 90 minerals required for a human organism to function, it makes the diagnosis rather difficult in the mainstream medicine and thus not fully recognized. The current standards of diagnostics measure a limited number of nutrients and when the levels of the basic electrolytes and minerals are somewhat within the range, no further investigation is conducted. The diagnostic routine becomes compromised and the patient is treated for the symptoms and not an underlying cause.
Latent acidosis is mostly prevalent in highly developed and industrialized parts of the world, such as United States as an example. An abundance of mineral-depleted foods along with the food industry driven by high profit margins, the vicious cycle contributes to implications of a typical “Western pattern diet” driven by never ending market acquisition wars among competitive food industries.
Western pattern diet. The dietary pattern has become a culture that suffers from imbalanced carbohydrate, protein, and fat consumption tendencies and a reversed the natural dietary sodium/potassium ratio. This dietary complex provides an insufficient mineral content as found in processed foods, breads, meats, diary and sweets. Consequently, all of these foods and particularly an excessive amount of protein consumption require a significant volume of gastric acid to activate the protein digestive enzymes responsible for bio-assimilation of nutrients.
Mineral depletion of foods over time has become so drastic that eating normal amounts of food no longer provides the necessary nutrition to sustain an optimal body function without additional supplementation. An abnormal sence of hunger becomes a nature’s call for more nutrients that are no longer available in healthy ratios.
The following statistics are the historical consequences of basic mineral depletion
|1940 to 1991
|1940 to 1991
|1940 to 2002
|1940 to 2002
Data by McCance and Widdowson’s The Composition of Foods and [srs]
Furthermore, the refining process alone removes over 60% of the minerals from grains. By the time it reaches the consumer table, the cooking reduces the nature given vitamins, enzymes and amino acids by 20% or more. People feel less satisfied eating the foods, adding more starches and increasing the size of the meals, which eventually leads to overeating and weight gain causing an additional stress on the digestive system.
Gastric acid. This is where the digestive disaster starts. Gastric acid is composed of hydrochloric acid (HCl), sodium chloride (NaCl) and potassium chloride (KCl). With help of parietal cells (a.k.a., oxyntic cells) the body produces and sustains a highly acidic environment after the high in protein foods are ingested. In the duodenum ( first section of the small intestine), the acid is neutralized by pancreas via secretion of sodium bicarbonate and food is further broken down with pancreatic secreted enzymes. The more gastric acid is produced, the more bicarbonate ions are needed to neutralize the hydrochloric acid of chyme.
The first signs of an imbalanced diet or high stress lifestyle. The consumption of foods that are difficult to digest and the chronic stress synergistically activate high levels of gastric acid production. As the body’s capability to neutralize the acids diminishes over time, an abdominal pain and peptic ulcers can be one of the first signs of a mineral deficiency. With time as the levels of gastric acid decrease, the presence of H.Pylori infection commonly found in vast majority of people, becomes a further contributing factor in reduced gastric acid secretions and stomach ulceration.
Stomach acid production and bicarbonate synthesis for stomach acid neutralization require a marked utilization of minerals. If the food is not minerally rich, such as that typical of “Western pattern diet”, the entire nutritional cycle will enter the stage of a gradual and unavoidable mineral depletion. The less minerals are available, and especially zinc, copper, boron, selenium and manganese, the weaker the thyroid function will become and the less gastric acid will be produced. Deficiency in gastric acid and affected enzymatic functions facilitate a further malabsorption, impairing the minerals assimilation. And the less mineral buffers are available within the body, the less carbonates will be available to counteract the acidic waste from metabolic processes.
The beginning stage and symptoms of tissue acidosis. The very first symptoms that come with mineral deficiency are usually associated with an underactive thyroid function that often causes diminished levels of energy, unrested sleep, excessive sleepiness in afternoons, insomnia and reduced gastric acid production. Gassiness, burping and heartburn after eating hard to digest foods are the most prominent symptoms of deficiency of gastric acid production.
Indigestion and misdiagnosis. A person coming to a doctor’s visit complaining of acid reflux and heartburn is generally prescribed acid suppression medications, such over the counter antacids or even proton pumps without measuring the actual gastric acid secretion. Long term usage of these so called “aids” wreaks a chaos on one’s digestive system leading to devastating and often irreversible consequences.
In reality, most cases of heartburn and burping are not a result of misdiagnosed high acid production but an insufficiency of gastric acid and thus indigestion. If not enough gastric acid is produced, the sphincter of ampulla (a.k.a., sphincter of Oddi) will not properly contract, allowing the gastric acids to escape into esophagus causing a heartburn. At the same time, the fermentation of foods caused by deficiency of gastric acid’s activated enzymes, creates gassiness that escapes through the inactivated sphincter of ampulla. The only way to eliminate the symptoms at this point is to increase the gastric acid production to restore the digestive process by activating the enzymes and thus contracting the sphincter.
The wrong approach. What is commonly done on the other hand to rectify the indigestion symptoms is completely counteractive to digestive process, and that is suppressing the digestion! Using antacids or H2 blockers to suppress the gastric acids deactivates the digestion process leading to malabsorption of ingested proteins and consequently the minerals and vitamins. Another mistakenly utilized method is drinking some water with a pinch of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) after meals, which indeed effectively relieves the heartburn at the expense of digestive process, and with repeated use can lead to serious consequences.
Find out how to check if your body is capable of effectively neutralizing the metabolic waste.