The Acidity of the Human Body
In schools across the U.S., teachers use litmus paper tests to demonstrate the difference between acidity and alkalinity to elementary school students. But is the concept of acidity and alkalinity relevant in people’s everyday lives? Yes, because every component of the human body has an essential pH level that is necessary for survival. Therefore people must encourage the proper pH levels in their bodies.
Scientists developed a scale for measuring the acidity or alkalinity of various mineral solutions using a pH scale from 0 to 14. Pure water has a neutral pH of 7.0. Any solution with a pH below 7.0 is acidic, with pH 0 being the most acidic. Any solution with a pH above 7.0 is alkaline, with pH 14 being the most alkaline.
The human body, when healthy, retains a slightly alkaline balance. The pH of our blood is a constant 7.4. If the pH of a person’s blood drops to 7.0 they would die from massive organ failure. Organs such as the heart, lungs, and brain require the blood’s pH to remain at a steady 7.4.
So the human body constantly works to maintain the proper pH. This is difficult, because every single cell in the human body is living, breathing, and making waste. And these waste products tend to be acidic. There are several ways in which the body can become too dangerously acidic: if the body gets too much acidic food, if the cells manufacture too much acidic waste, or if the body cannot remove or neutralize these acids. If the acids cannot be neutralized or removed, then the cells are literally bathing in their own waste. This condition is called acidosis, or over-acidity.
Acidosis erodes and eats into the cell membranes of the heart, arteries, and veins similar to the way that acid can slowly eat its way through some of the world’s strongest materials, like marble or metal. Over-acidity causes many diseases, as well as premature aging, through slowly eroding and killing the body’s cells.
Acidity and the Pancreas
Some parts of the body are naturally more Acidaburn alkaline than others. Highly alkaline glands like the pancreas and liver are the most susceptible to acidic damage. Pancreatic juice has a pH level between 7.8 – 8.0. Bile from the liver has a pH between 7.5 – 8.8. But when the acidity of the whole body becomes higher, pancreatic juices and bile also become more acidic. Acidic pancreatic juices and bile become destructive and irritate the surrounding tissues of the pancreas and liver, causing inflammation, stones, ulcers, and even cancer.
Overly-acidic bile also causes reflux, or the backflow of bile through the pancreatic duct, up the small intestine, into the stomach, and up into the esophagus. Likewise, bile reflux affects the duodenum and stomach, causing inflammation, ulcers, and cancer. Acid reflux and bile reflux often appear together, further inflaming the lining of the esophagus and increasing the possibility of esophageal cancer.
Another concern of high body overall acid toxicity is biliary pancreatic reflux, or when the bile backs up into the pancreatic duct. This back-up of bile may trigger an attack of acute pancreatitis and exacerbate the problems of chronic pancreatitis. Acidic bile is also thought to be a major factor in the development of gallbladder stones. Gallbladder stones can cause severe damage to the pancreas and liver through the blockage of pancreatic and bile ducts.
When the blood becomes too acidic it is difficult for pancreatic cells to acquire the necessary minerals and bicarbonates essential to the production of sufficiently alkaline pancreatic juice. Without appropriately alkaline pancreatic juice many problems appear, such as:
o Fewer pancreatic enzymes make it through the duodenum, causing indigestion,
o A decreasing in the activities of protease inhibitors (the special enzymes that suppress protease from digestion of its own pancreas within the own pancreatic duct). The inflammation of pancreatitis begins as the protease begins digesting its own pancreatic cells,
o An increase of calcium in the pancreatic duct that leads to stones that irritate the pancreatic duct,
o A decrease in the anti-microbial properties of the pancreatic juice,