How to minimise excess acid and
carbon dioxide concentrations
Carbon dioxide is a well known greenhouse gas. It
exists in the normal atmosphere at a very low concentration (0.03 percent).
Biologically, it is a destructive and toxic gas that is produced in high
concentrations inside the body cells of humans and other animals as a consequence
of the metabolism of food. Average humans produce in their cells
a total of half to one kilogram of carbon dioxide per day. This
carbon dioxide is carried to the lungs via the blood and is breathed out
into the atmosphere.
The carbon dioxide produced in body cells is destructive
and toxic to cells because carbon dioxide is a partially-charged polar molecule
that reacts with water to form acids (strictly, protons). Body cells are
seventy-five percent water and the body is sixty percent water overall. The
destruction and toxicity caused by carbon dioxide occur in body cells before
the body can either control carbon dioxide physiologically by intracellular
and extracellular chemical buffers or eliminate carbon dioxide physically
by exhalation from the lungs.
The acids formed from carbon dioxide contribute
to fatigue and to degenerative and inflammatory diseases and are involved
in certain viral diseases. They are considered also to be involved directly
with the causes of ageing and senescence. That is, carbon dioxide and the
acids it forms are considered to be involved directly in the ageing process.
In nature, animals that have evolved processes that quickly and efficiently
eliminate carbon dioxide and acids from their bodies live extraordinarily
long, healthy and energetic lives. Some of these animals show negligible
signs of senescence and die from accident, starvation or predation rather
than from old age. They may be potentially immortal.
In people, diseases that utilise carbon dioxide
concentrations as the destructive step in the disease pathogenesis include:
(carbon dioxide is involved in the dissolution of joint cartilage);
dioxide is involved in the dissolution of bone substance); neurodegenerative
diseases such as Alzheimer's
disease (carbon dioxide is involved in the acidity
of lysosomes and the necrosis of brain cells);
such as ankylosing spondylitis, rheumatoid arthritis
sclerosis (carbon dioxide is involved in the
acidity of lysosomes and in the inflammatory reaction); and a range of
age-related degenerative diseases such as
(carbon dioxide is involved in the acidity of lysosomes and in the inflammatory
reaction). In addition, many skin
diseases and many
from epithelial tissues where carbon dioxide concentrations are high and
acidic conditions are common.
Many viral diseases require the removal of the outer
viral protein coat by the acid conditions of phagosomes and lysosomes inside
body cells. Removal of the outer coat allows the nucleic acid of the
virus to become infective (for example,
infections). Other viruses utilise acid
conditions inside body cells to maximise the viral enzyme activities involved
in replication (for example, lentivirus (including
The damaging effects of excess carbon dioxide and
acid in the body can be minimised by an integration of several approaches.
Four of these approaches are described below:
1. Decrease carbon
dioxide production in body cells. That is, diminish
the intake of high-calorie foods that are readily absorbed into the body
and are readily metabolised to carbon dioxide and acids such as refined
carbohydrates, fats and alcohol. Increase the consumption of high-fibre foods
that are not readily absorbed into the body and hence are not readily
metabolised. In other words, follow nutritionists' advice and eat healthy,
high-fibre foods. Avoid chronic stress. Stress increases the metabolism of
some tissues and the destruction of peripheral fat and muscle. This increases
the production of carbon dioxide and acids in the body.
2. Increase the elimination
of carbon dioxide from the body. This can be
achieved in a number of appropriate ways. In particular, an increase in carbon
dioxide elimination from the body occurs as a consequence of regular exercise.
The resultant increases in blood vessel diameters and in tissue capillary
numbers that occur with regular exercise help to remove carbon dioxide from
the tissues. Exercise also increases ventilation in the lungs which increases
the elimination of carbon dioxide from the body. Avoid excess travel in aircraft.
Aircraft travel increases carbon dioxide concentrations in tissues by a
diminution of the Haldane effect. The Haldane effect is the displacement
of carbon dioxide from haemoglobin in red blood cells by oxygen concentrations.
The Haldane effect is diminished in an aircraft cabin which is pressurised
only to the equivalent height of two to three thousand metres and contains
recycled air. Avoid the breathing of recycled air in modern office buildings.
Recycled air is low relatively in oxygen concentration and high relatively
in carbon dioxide concentration. Recycled air diminishes the carbon dioxide
concentration gradient between the lungs and the atmosphere.
3. Drink adequate amounts
of water. Water intake hydrates body cells and
dilutes intracellular and extracellular carbon dioxide and acid concentrations.
Preferably, water should be consumed that contains appropriate 'hard' mineral
complexes of bicarbonate (such as magnesium bicarbonate).
4. Neutralise excess
carbon dioxide and acid concentrations in body
cells. This is achieved by the consumption of
water that contains appropriate mineral complexes of magnesium bicarbonate.
With the consumption of water that contains magnesium bicarbonate, the
bicarbonate is able to enter body cells to neutralise carbon dioxide
and acid concentrations before any intracellular destruction occurs. When
strenuous physical activities are undertaken, such as competitive sport,
magnesium bicarbonate protects the natural organic and inorganic phosphate
buffers inside muscle cells. This minimises fatigue caused by acidity and
minimises muscle cramps. Energy and performance are
It is known that the consumption of appropriate
bicarbonates is correlated to the neutralisation of acid in the human body.
Amongst other effects, this neutralisation of acid decreases bone resorption,
increases the rate of bone formation and possibly stops the decline in muscle
and tissue wasting that occurs with ageing (see
Sebastian et al, 1994
N Eng J Med 330 (25): 1776-81 and Frassetto
et al 1997 J Clin Endocrin Metab 82 (1): 254-259).