The Effects of Chronic Low-Grade Metabolic Acidosis on Health

Here are some ways that low-grade metabolic acidosis can harm the body

Within the body, extreme systemic acidosis is incompatible with life. For example, diabetic acidosis can be life threatening. More important to us here is the fact that even slight acidosis, a slight acidic tilt, brings with it serious health consequences. Moderate, non-life threatening acidosis, results in sub-optimal functioning of uncounted cells, tissues, and organs. To survive, the body must excrete and/or neutralize excess acids regaining a life-supporting acid-base balance.

When laboring under chronic low-grade metabolic acidosis, the body responds by using its limited alkali reserves, which are attached to minerals. This coping mechanism results in systemic mineral depletion, which in turn has many health consequences. Some of these include:

Loss of calcium in the urine

  • Dissolution of bone and the development of osteopenia and osteoporosis
  • Increased risk of kidney stones

Reduced bone formation 

  •  Increased risk of osteoporosis, osteopenia and needless fracture

Loss of potassium and magnesium stores from the body  

  • Resulting in a tendency towards hypertension (high blood pressure) and inflammation and pain

 Increased levels of blood parathyroid hormone (PTH) 

  • High PTH can cause bones to become brittle and prone to fracture.

Breakdown of body protein (protein catabolism) 

  • Causing muscle wasting and increased age-related muscle loss

Depressed protein metabolism

  • Resulting in the body's inability to fully repair cells, tissues, and organs

Irritation of the bladder and urinary tract 

  •  Can lead to frequent and painful urination and interstitial cystitis

Suppression of growth hormone, insulin-like growth factor, and other pituitary hormones

  • Causing suboptimal tissue renewal and hormone dysfunction

Accelerated aging from accumulated acid waste products

  • Increased production of free radicals—unstable molecules that cause cellular damage, resulting in the worsening of pain and inflammation, and the lowering of immune capacity

Greater oxidation of free radicals and impaired activity of antioxidant substances that protect the body from free radical damage

  • Increasing risk of degenerative disease and premature aging

Tendency for connective tissue to weaken due to increased free radicals

  • Excessive acid has actually been found to be stored within the connective tissue.

Decreased efficiency of cellular ATP energy production

  • Causing impaired cellular function and, eventually, impaired organ function

Increased fluid retention

  • Resulting in the excessive accumulation of fluids within body tissues

 Disrupted balance of intestinal bacteria

  • Leading to a variety of digestive problems

Encouragement of the growth and spread of yeast and fungi

  • These potential pathogens thrive in an acid terrain

Creation of a more fertile breeding ground for many viruses, including HIV

  • Viruses thrive in an acidic, low-antioxidant environment

Reduced size of the brain's pool of energy reserves

  • Reported to cause weakened mental capacity

Decreased ability to perform exercise at a high level of intensity

  • Acidity creates a low-oxygen environment that is worsened by exercise.

Increased acidity of the mouth

  • Leading to imbalanced oral bacteria and, consequently, increased dental decay and periodontal (gum) disease

Creation of a mild form of hypothyroidism (low thyroid function) and a chronic overproduction of the stress hormone cortisol

  •  Resulting in multiple negative effects on the body

Development of low blood phosphorus levels

  • Contributing to a loss of appetite, anemia, muscle weakness, and other health problems

Suboptimal liver detoxification

  • Potentially causing a buildup of toxic residues in the body
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