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    Alkaline Diet?


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    Alkaline Diet?

    Post by yoly on Sat Jan 28 2017, 17:20

    The idea, widely promoted on commercial quackery sites, that people need "alkaline" water supplements to "balance body pH" or "neutralize" acidic foods, has no scientific support. It is pure, deceptive sales hype.

    "Acid-base chemistry in physiology

    Don't be taken in by the pseudoscience peddled by quacks, cranks, kooks or crooks! (sample) Instead, take a look at these references provided by real scientists for the education of medical students:

    Blood, Sweat and Buffers — a course tutorial site from Washington University.
    Acid-base tutorial - by Prof. Alan Grogono of Tulane University medical school
    Urine pH varies to help maintain acid-base balance
    Acid-base disorders

    ...and any claims that "acidity" promotes cancer is deceptive nonsense.

    Acid-base chemistry plays a crucial role in physiology, both at the level of the individual cell and of the total organism. The reasons for this are twofold:

    Many of the major chemical components of an organism can themselves act as acids and/or bases. Thus proteins contain both acidic and basic groups, so that their shapes and their functional activities are highly dependent on pH.
    Virtually all important metabolic processes involve the uptake or release of hydrogen ions. The very act of being alive tends to change the surrounding intracellular pH (usually reducing it); this will eventually kill the organism in the absence of buffering agents.

    About two-thirds of the weight of an adult human consists of water. About two-thirds of this water is located within cells, while the remaining third consists of extracellular water, mostly interstitial fluid that bathes the cells, and the blood plasma. The latter, amounting to about five percent of body weight (about 5 L in the adult), serves as a supporting fluid for the blood cells and acts as a means of transporting chemicals between cells and the external environment. It is basically a 0.15M solution of salt (NaCl) containing smaller amounts of other electrolytes, the most important of which are bicarbonate (HCO3–) and protein anions.

    Respiration, the most important physiological activity of a cell, is an acid-producing process. Carbohydrate substances are broken down into carbon dioxide, and thus carbonic acid:

    C(H2O)n + O2 → H2CO3 → CO2 + H2O

    Interestingly, the ingestion of "acidic" foods can make the body more alkaline. This comes about because the weak organic acids in such foods are partly in the form of sodium or potassium salts M+A–. In order to maintain charge balance, some of the CO2 produced by normal metabolism of these food acids must be converted into bicarbonate (that is, M+ HCO3–) which is a weak base.
    See here for more about drinking water and the role of water in your body.

    Maintenance of acid-base balance

    It is remarkable that the pH of most cellular fluids can be kept within such a narrow range, given the large number of processes that tend to upset it. This is due to the exquisite balance between a large number of interlinked processes operating at many different levels.

    Acid-base balance in the body is maintained by two general mechanisms: selective excretion of acids or bases, and by the buffering action of weak acid-base systems in body fluids.
    Over a 24-hour period, the adult human eliminates the equivalent of about 20-40 moles of H+ as carbonic acid H2CO3 which breaks down into CO2 (exiting via the lungs) and H2O (through the kidneys.) In addition, the kidneys excrete perhaps 5% of this amount of acid, mostly in the form of H2PO4– and NH4+. Owing to their electric charges, these two species are closely linked to salt balance with ions such as Na+ or K+, and Cl–.

    The major buffering system in the body is the carbonate system, which exists mainly in the form of HCO3– at normal physiological pH. Secondary buffering action comes from phosphate, from proteins and other weak organic acids, and (within blood cells), the hemoglobin.
    Disturbances of acid-base balance

    Deviations of the blood plasma pH from its normal value of 7.4 by more than about ±0.1 can be very serious. These conditions are known medically as acidosis and alkalosis. They can be caused by metabolic disturbances such as diabetes and by kidney failure (in which excretion of H2PO4–, for example, is inhibited.)

    Numerous other processes lead to temporary unbalances. Thus hyperventilation, which can result from emotional upset, leads to above-normal loss of CO2, and thus to alkalosis. Similarly, retention of CO2 caused by bronchopneumonia, for example, can give rise to acidosis. Acidosis can also result from diarrhea (loss of alkaline fluid from the intestine,) while loss of gastric contents by vomiting promotes alkalosis."

    Acid Alkaline Diets and Cancer, an ethical question

    Jacob Schor, ND

    Berthelot was a French chemist, famous for loads of important things that are not relevant to this article. In 1864, Berthelot moved on from other interests to study thermochemistry which is important to this discussion. In his 1879 book Mecanique chimique, in which he introduced the concepts of ‘endothermic’ and ‘exothermic’ reactions, he described a gadget he had invented for his experiments called a bomb calorimeter.

    A bomb calorimeter consists of a chamber pressurized with oxygen and suspended in a water bath. A sample is added to the chamber and once everything is set up, ignited. The pressurized oxygen pretty much guarantees that whatever is inside the bomb rapidly incinerates and all that remains is ash. The heat released by this controlled explosion is absorbed by the water bath and the increase in temperature is used to calculate the calories given off by the sample. This is how the amount of calories in a food is figured out.

    After the experiment is done, all that is left inside the bomb is ash. Now if you mix that ash with water you can measure its pH and tell whether it is acidic or alkaline. Way back in 1912, Sherman and Gettler published a paper that classed foods that had been tested in this way by the pH of the leftover ‘bomb ash.’ The original paper can be viewed at:

    The current alkaline-ash diet comes from these once upon a time experiments. This is not what we call cutting edge science. In general, fruits and vegetables leave an alkaline ash. In general, meats and grains leave acidic ash. Remember this last bit, we will come back to it.

    Bomb calorimeter

    There is a widespread belief that following an alkalinizing diet, that is avoiding foods that produce acidic ash and choosing to eat foods that leave an alkaline ash, is a valid treatment for cancer.

    Dr. Neil McKinney, who teaches naturopathic oncology at Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine doesn’t think much of this theory. He writes,

    “To put it bluntly, suggesting cancer can be treated or cured by alkalinizing the body is pure rubbish. Treatments based on alkalizing are quackery.”

    McKinney tells me that this fallacy began with Otto Warburg, whose research on the biochemistry of sugar metabolism in the 1920’s to 1940’s won him a Nobel Prize. He observed that cancer cells often live in hypoxic, very low oxygen, and acidic conditions and that they derive energy from sugars by fermenting them the way yeast do. He came up with a theory that these low oxygen and high acidic conditions were the cause of cancer.

    "Cancer, above all other diseases, has countless secondary causes. But, even for cancer, there is only one prime cause. Summarized in a few words, the prime cause of cancer is the replacement of the respiration of oxygen in normal body cells by a fermentation of sugar." -- Dr. Otto H. Warburg

    Current science explains this phenomenon differently. For a tumor to survive it needs to stimulate the growth of blood vessels. Otherwise, it can’t get all the oxygen it needs to metabolize sugar. Tumor cells stimulate blood vessel growth by producing vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Even with this stimulation, tumor cells often outpace the growth of new blood vessels. When they do so, they don’t have enough oxygen.

    When oxygen deficient, tumors change how their cells metabolize sugar. They start breaking it down through fermentation. This isn’t ideal; fermentation releases only about 5% of the energy that would have been produced if oxygen were available. The tumor cells do this to survive, not because they like to. Fermentation of sugar without adequate oxygen produces large amounts of lactic acid. Lactic acid builds up in hypoxic areas where cancer cells have grown too fast. This is because not only aren’t there enough blood vessels to bring oxygen to the tumor cells, there also aren't enough blood vessels to flush away wastes like lactic acid

    Otto Heinrich Warburg 1883-1970

    Low oxygen and acidic tissue environments are no longer considered the cause of cancer. Instead, it is the other way around. Cancer cells create an environment that is acidic and short of oxygen.

    Rapidly growing tumors create an acidic environment lacking in oxygen. It is not acid and lack of oxygen that cause cancer.

    Still, the idea persists that neutralizing the acid produced by tumors and bringing oxygen to tumor cells can cure cancer. It doesn’t. Changing the pH of a tumor does not change its growth rate significantly, nor does it seem to lead to cell death. In 2004, Wenzel and Daniel published results of several experiments using quercetin and other flavones that trigger apoptosis (cellular suicide) in cancer cells. They found that apoptosis occurred independent of changes in alkalinity and acidity of the cellular environment; it was shown that altering pH did not appreciably effect survival or death of cancer cells.

    Even if it were true that raising the pH of a tumor was a useful therapy, there is no easy way to make this happen. The body holds the pH in blood and body fluids within a narrow range. Even a slight shift in pH would change the way enzymes act and the body does everything it can to prevent this from happening. Mechanisms in the body buffer any attempt at raising or lowering the body’s pH.

    Dr. McKinney writes, “I worked for years in radiation therapy research on the hypoxic cell problem. Cancer does not ever form due to an acidic or a low oxygen environment - rather, advanced tumors create these conditions as they outstrip their angiogenesis capacity. It is not possible to alkalize tumors by any oral supplement, … even IV bicarb will not harm tumors.”
    chris c

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    Re: Alkaline Diet?

    Post by chris c on Sat Jan 28 2017, 22:14

    This was the only thing Giles Yeo got right. It was probably by accident.

      Current date/time is Fri Jun 22 2018, 12:01