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Old 10-30-2006, 01:31 PM   #21
Robb Wolf
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Stuart-
Second that on understanding the acid base stuff. This stuff was voodoo for me in physical chemistry...I can make the equations work but I'm still stumped.

In the case of the citrate with bicarb however, if you have more buffering activity from the bicarb (not hard to have a greater net alkalinizing load as the potassium bicarb is s small molecule compared to citrate) any acidity introduced via the citrate is more than compensated for. In this scenario the citrate acts as a very readily available energy substrate, while the bicarb is the buffering agent. If the citrate did create a net alkaline environment the bicarb would not be necessary.

Can you track down an example product so we can look at it?
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Old 10-30-2006, 09:18 PM   #22
Stuart Mather
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Robb, what do you make of this:
"The combined organic acids or salts consumed in food are generally changed in the body into alkaline carbonates, thereby increasing the alkalinity of the blood and secretions. The uncombined acids either form alkaline carbonates, or are oxidized into carbon dioxide and water."

The terminal product of the combustion, the acid radical of calcium salts of combustible organic acids, is carbonic acid and is excreted through the lungs and requires no bases to assist in its excretion. The entire calcium content of the salt remains at the free disposal of the body as a base. The same is true of the potassium, sodium and magnesium contained in the salts."

Everything I read about this seems to draw a clear distinction between weak organic acids like citric, ascetic, and to a lesser extent, malic acid and stronger acids, such as sulhuric and hydrochloric, in terms of their having either a net alkaline or acid reaction in the body. At the moment, I assume that the elimination of extra carbonic acid (during normal breathing) from the oxidization of these weak organic acids never even makes it as far as initiating any 'renal shift'.

We'll get to the bottom of this.

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Old 10-30-2006, 10:04 PM   #23
Stuart Mather
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Robb, here is a pretty exhaustive coverage of the biochemistry of human pH homeostasis:
http://navigator.medschool.pitt.edu/...C674615883.doc
After about the third reading of it I started to realize that the lower limit of urinary pH was not a limiting factor on total excess acid excretion at all. Ammonium is produced and excreted in potential amounts that would appear to far outweigh even the most 'acidifying' diet, without urinary pH having to be reduced below 4.7 (the level below which serious uro-genital tract damage would ensue). I'm starting to think the whole 'metabolic acidosis can be induced by acid forming foods' is about as vast and pervasive a crock as the lipid hypothesis. Perhaps then, all the concern about high acid load traditional Inuit diets is a similar crock. I would draw your attention to the 'Bellevue' experiment with Stefannson and Anderson eating a high fat all meat diet in middle age for a year, without the benefit of Inuit heritage, without any adverse bone density consequences whatsoever. Once again I would draw your attention to something we can perhaps agree on. Namely that human pH regulation is NOT a closed system. If it was, of course every excess hydrogen ion would have to be buffered. But excess hydrogen ions resulting from any net acid load diet are just peed or breathed out. Note that there is nothing pathological about peeing and breathing out excess acidity. That's how our lungs and kidneys evolved.

Note that I think a glimmer of appreciation of this can be gained from considering the converse. I seldom hear anyone voicing any concern about eating too many alkalizing foods. That's because the obviously exquisite metabolic machinery of pH homeostasis can just as effectively deal with that environmental eventuality as well. When hunting was poor and paleo folks had to put up with (often bitter and unpalatable ) pre horticultural vegetation for months at a time, they weren't about to get pins and needles and dizziness from metabolic alkalosis. Their pee (eventually) compensated with expelling unrequired bicarbonate and/or their exhalation contained hardly any carbonic acid.



Anyway I'm not trying to be oppositional. Just curious.


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Old 10-31-2006, 05:42 AM   #24
Steve Shafley
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We might be coming full circle back to the fact that the so-called "alkaline" foods tend to be greens, and that greens are beneficial to health when included in the diet.

My review of this topic hasn't been as in-depth as yours, Stuart, but I can certainly appreciate the contrarian stance.
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Old 10-31-2006, 12:52 PM   #25
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Stuart-
The above piece mentions SALTS of weak acids. Way different beast than ingesting a weak acid. The salts ARE actually bases! This is my point: if we ingest that H+ ion HOW do we get rid of it? What are the normal physiological set points we are wired for? Everything you are mentioning appears to be including some form of base...does this make sense or do I need some more coffee?

I think this is a subtle issue with regards to health and would tend to manifest over many years. The Stefanson experiment only lasted a year so it would be tough to draw many conclusions there about long-term acid/base balance. Cordain has some research that shows simply introducing a bit of sodium bicarbonate into the diets of osteoporotic elderly females reversed calcium loss COMPLETELY.

I think it's clear that there are several redundant systems that monitor not only acid/base balance but also electrolyte status (somewhat intermixed). That said, Ingestion of excessive acid (or base...or in the case of uncontrolled vomiting the removal of acid) could have serious consequences for health depending upon the severity of the situation.
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Old 10-31-2006, 11:13 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robb Wolf View Post
Stuart-
The above piece mentions SALTS of weak acids. Way different beast than ingesting a weak acid. The salts ARE actually bases!
Robb, on the contrary :' The uncombined acids either form alkaline carbonates, or are oxidized into carbon dioxide and water." He's not referring here to salts of weak acids at all.


This is my point: if we ingest that H+ ion HOW do we get rid of it? [/quote]


You are still seem to be referring to the human pH balancing act as if we are a closed system. How do we get rid of that ingested H+ ion? We pee it out or we breath it out. And if we have so much excess acid (say from a high so called 'net acid load' diet like, perhaps, traditionally living Inuit or Masai) and our water intake is not enough to flush it out at above pH 4.7 , our equisitely engineered renal system starts peeing out ammonium too. Kind of like a swimming pool having a particular actual pH but considerable TOTAL alkalinity. Except in this case we are talking about a particular urine pH, but a high total acidity (i.e. lots and lots of surplus H+ ions)

Quote:
What are the normal physiological set points we are wired for? Everything you are mentioning appears to be including some form of base...does this make sense or do I need some more coffee?

I think this is a subtle issue with regards to health and would tend to manifest over many years.
I think the point is that we are physiologically so carefully wired for a particular pH set point that if the renal system of homo sapiens was not so wonderfully engineered to cope easily with any conceivable dietary acid load, it would in fact manifest as a problem very quickly. Robb, human pee is always acid. So is our exhaled repiration. Wether we eat lots of plants or we don't. The byproducts of human metabolism are acid. We only have one stomach after all. I'm suggesting that the range of ph dietary load the human renal system is designed by evolution to cope with (even over a lifetime ) is far in excess of even an all meat diet.
I'm not sure about the chloride factor. Maybe a highly acidifying diet (meat and grains) combined with a high chloride intake does strain the limits. My guess is that phytates in grains (calcium fixing) coupled with their net acid load, are much more likely to be a pH homeostasis confounder than any amount of meat. The other point worth noting is that cultures that traditionally ate a lot of animal food didn't have particularly high protein intakes. They got their energy from fat. Inuit only eat moderate amounts of protein. Ditto the Masai. But boy do Inuit like their seal Blubber. And fat metabolism is pH neutral.


Quote:
The Stefanson experiment only lasted a year so it would be tough to draw many conclusions there about long-term acid/base balance. Cordain has some research that shows simply introducing a bit of sodium bicarbonate into the diets of osteoporotic elderly females reversed calcium loss COMPLETELY.
Actually it reversed URINARY CALCIUM loss. The osteoporosis itself went on unabated. Otherwise the osteoporotic elderly wouldn't still be spending a fortune on 'Phosmax', having switched overnight to breathtakingly cheap potassium bicarbonate. Osteoporosis is a VERY complex problem. Net acid load diets are, I think, largely irrelevant (for the simple reason that the human body was designed to easily cope with them - one last time, we are NOT a closed system. 'Buffering' goes on constantly. But at the end of the day excess acid is peed/breathed out, and buffer[bicarbonate] is reabsorbed for the next shift). The subtle endocrinal disaster produced by ten thousand years of moving away from our paleolithic heritage of eating a low carb, mod protein, high fat diet, and compounding that disaster by consuming prodigious amounts of chloride, are IMHO much more likely to explain osteoporosis.

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Old 11-01-2006, 02:39 PM   #27
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AAAAha! Ok, you finally hammered it into my noggin! I was definitely thinking closed system here. I think you are right on about the chloride issue and phytate binding to base-potentiating metal ions.

It is very true that the Inuit had a strong instinct to avoid excessive protein. It's interesting to note also that ketosis tends to minimize nitrogen loss, thus decreasing protein need regarding structural issues, assuming adequate caloric intake.

Stuart, thanks for hanging in and getting me on the right track here!
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Old 11-01-2006, 03:13 PM   #28
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It's comforting to know that even Robb must be taught at times.
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Old 11-01-2006, 08:54 PM   #29
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so the take home message I'm getting from all of this is that I don't need to worry about the acid/base balance of my diet (assuming I'm eating paleo), because my body is more than adequately equipped to expell any excess in either direction.
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Old 11-01-2006, 09:29 PM   #30
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Thanks for hangin in there yourself Robb. I'm certainly no urologist, and renal shift is a pretty complex process. But thinking of it as an open system does seem to me to make the range of (healthy) dietary acid loads even sustained over a lifetime much wider.

I can tell you unequivocably that I feel much healthier after having considerably slashed my chloride intake. In fact I have to thank you in turn for pointing out that the sodium factor in sodium chloride is not the problem. Sodium is a base. For most of the time I've been on a VLC/ mod protein/high fat diet (nearly four years now), I've been studiously substituting potassium chloride for ordinary sodium chloride thinking that because it was potassium type stuff, it was inherently healthier. In fact I think to satisfy my salt habit, I was consuming far more chloride in the 'sodium free' salt because potassium chloride just doesn't taste as salty. Since your comment (in some other pH homeostasis related thread) about the chloride ion being the problem child, I've discovered that various combinations of herbs and spices more than compensate for choosing to forego salt. I realized recently that a level of chloride enhanced taste that I would have really enjoyed not so long ago, now makes me gasp .

On a different tack, I've now been fasting from 8pm to the following 2pm for about a month now, after gradually increasing the fasting period about half an hour daily from my previous VLC lifestyle of pretty much browsing from 10a.m. till bedtime. I've gained slightly more muscle without changing my exercise routine (I can now push up into a free handstand, drop down slowly, and then push once more back up again - very skinny legs help ) I think I probably consume far fewer calories with this regime, but I haven't really been keeping a strict record. I guess that makes the CR component of IF not insignifigant, but what I find absolutely fascinating is that IF CR doesn't seem to involve a loss of lean muscle. Athough the take home message from your comment about ketosis being nitrogen sparing (fascinating), in the context of adequate calorie intake may well be that the (at least body composition) benefits of both CRon and IF are magnified considerably by making them low carb. I realize also that none of the IF pundits suggest every day fasting periods are particularly necessary, but I just wanted to see if I would get really comfortable with this approach. Increasingly I seem to actually enjoy the long period without food. Throughout the fast, I swig from an electrolyte replacer/iced tea mix . My energy levels always stay high I think after another month of this I'll go back to making alternate days different length fasts. I think it's interesting that most of the discussion about IF'ing seems to forget that we all fast every day anyway. Most (higher) life forms on this planet are expressly designed to fast for part of every day. I hadn't eaten till about 10a.m for most of my adult life anyway, so I think I'll just adopt a routine of a 12 hr fast for two days and then an 18hr fast every third day. Breakfast is surely just a plot to make people eat more (breakfast cereal) than they otherwise would .

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