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Metabolic Acidosis and Digestive Problems


There is currently a rise in over-acidity in the body, known as metabolic acidosis, which is causing an increased incidence of digestive disorders including bloating, cramping, constipation, diarrhoea and lower abdominal pain.

Metabolic acidosis occurs when the body produces too much acid, or when the kidneys cannot efficiently remove or neutralise this acid. This may occur despite normal blood pH and bicarbonate levels. The tendency to consume more red meat, sugar, alcohol, coffee and refined flour as in white rice, white bread and pasta, and decreasing consumption of green leafy vegetables and whole grains and seeds, is changing the body’s cellular environment from alkaline to acidic. Medications and chemicals in processed foods and foods which are not organically produced also increase acidity in the body.

When foods are eaten, they are oxidised in the body resulting in the formation of a residue or ash. If in this residue the minerals sodium, potassium, calcium or magnesium predominate over phosphorus, chlorine and sulphur, they are designated as alkaline ash foods.

The converse of this is true for foods designated as acid ash.

Balanced body chemistry is of the utmost importance for the maintenance of health and the correction of disease. The natural ratio of these residues is approximately 80% alkaline to 20% acid. When such an ideal ratio is maintained, the body has a strong resistance to disease.

During illness of any kind, the body is exhibiting an acute acid state, and an alkaline reserve is necessary to to neutralise this and aid recovery. For a few days during the acute stage of illness, raw vegetable juices and vegetable broths should be taken. This may be in addition to a predominantly alkaline diet.

An over-acidic system increases our susceptibility to disease and can also lead to osteoporosis as the body will supply calcium and magnesium from bone to buffer the additional acid load.

The organs which are responsible for restoring the correct acid-base balance are the liver and the pancreas.

The liver produces alkaline bile which emulsifies fats as part of the digestive process.

The pancreas produces pancreatic juice from bicarbonate in the blood which makes it alkaline. It is then released into the duodenum where its alkaline properties activate the pancreatic enzymes which break down the carbohydrates, peptides and fats from the diet.

If the pancreatic juice is not sufficiently alkaline, complete digestion will be impeded and improperly digested food will accumulate in the small intestine where it is fermented by bacteria and yeast. This causes gas formation and bloating with other symptoms.

freshfruitThis reduced alkaline activity of the pancreatic juice can reduce its the antibacterial property leading to SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth) causing indigestion and abdominal pain. The incomplete breakdown of peptides (from protein digestion in the stomach) to amino acids can cause allergic reactions in the body.

By improving the body’s alkalinity and pancreatic enzyme production, digestion will improve and you will have greater vitality.

The alkaline-forming foods comprise all vegetables and fresh fruit (except cranberries and plums), soured milk products (yoghurt, buttermilk, kefir), almonds, brazil nuts, chestnuts, hazelnuts, sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seeds, millet and sprouted seeds and legumes.

It may seem confusing at first that “acid” fruits (citrus fruits, berries etc.) are classified as “alkaline-forming”. This relates to the end-product of metabolism of the fruit in the body and the proportion of alkaline to acid ash in the residue, rather than to its alkalinity per se.

At View to Health, we have a remedy for your digestive problems. We will advise you on which foods reduce metabolic acidosis and how to balance your diet. A specially formulated digestive tonic and/or supplementation with digestive enzymes or certain minerals may be necessary initially to restore digestive function.

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