Understanding the potential of hydrogen ion

How blood pH acts as a lifeline for human health and longevity decoded

By Author  |  Mohd Abdul Latheef  |  Published: 17th Dec 2019  6:33 pm

To grow as fast as possible, the physiological environment must be optimised. In this pursuit, the most often neglected component is the acid base homeostasis. The base of acidic and alkaline blood paves the way for muscle growth, strength, fat loss and health.

Understanding blood pH is understanding that the blood possesses a potential of hydrogen called pH, which is a measure of the concentration of hydrogen ions/acids in the blood. If there’s an excess of it (pH below 7), then the blood is said to be acidic. When pH is 7, it is said to be in a neutral state, and when the pH is above 7, then the blood is in an alkaline state which is the most desirable state.

What’s the right pH level?

A healthy human’s blood pH is around 7.41 which means the blood is in an alkaline state. Medical research has demonstrated the pH of modern homo sapiens is more acidic than it used to be. This is more in case of a bodybuilder basically because whatever he/she does to grow generates acids; during training, the body produces lactic acid, the higher its concentration, the lower the blood pH will be.

Eating excess protein, too, decreases the blood pH as proteins are made up of amino acids and extra acids lowers blood pH. When one is on a low-calorie diet, the fat tissues release free form fatty acids which lowers the blood pH. Ketone bodies acidify the blood. The kidneys are strained in an acidic atmosphere and their abilities diminished.

Negative effects

The reason that an acidic state is not good for a sports person according to demonstrated studies is because anabolism or a healthy state is impaired, protein synthesis rate is slowed down. In an acidic state, muscle degradation is 30% higher than a normal pH state. Thus, the question arises — ‘Why extra protein?’.

Anabolic hormone release is negatively affected by prolonged exposure to acids, and because acid acts on the endocrine system, it indirectly regulates muscle fibre size. Acidosis also causes a decrease in insulin sensitivity which encourages free cortisol release (cortisol is a catabolic agent responsible for muscle destruction).

Now, if acid helps waste muscle, can it be the same for adipose tissue? Not really! The acidic environment diminishes the thyroid functioning thus resulting in a decreased metabolism.

Fatigue & diminished performance

When the blood is already full of acids before a workout, you will never be as strong as you need to be. As lactic acid builds up in your contracting muscles, it is harder to extrude it as the blood is already saturated with hydrogen ions. Acidic blood not only causes local muscular fatigue but also central fatigue.

Diminished performance is due to the fact that the acid alkaline balance is not augmented with enough alkaline foods in the form of unprocessed foods (fruits/raw vegetables). This understanding of the fact is self-explanatory for the most part of the blood pH phenomenon.
The result of low pH is more fatigue despite a decreased performance.

Although low pH is detrimental to muscle anabolism, fat loss, performance and good health, rarely do bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts tend to worry about their excessive production of acid and even more rarely do they even consider balancing the environment by eating foods that provide an alkaline atmosphere.


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