Alkaline Diet: Does It Work?

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Louise Hay

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Is it good or bad?

The quick overview made in the previous paragraph - necessary to understand the organism's high capacity to counteract pH variations - explains why the alkaline diet does not find unanimous opinions from experts.

In general, advocates of so-called official (allopathic) medicine do not consider it important for preventing disease and promoting physical efficiency (as, on the contrary, many naturopaths argue).

Nevertheless, there is a general consensus in recognizing the benefits of a diet rich in fruit and vegetables, not only for the alkalizing minerals it contains, but also for the supply of fiber, vitamins and antioxidants, and for the ability to prevent various wellness pathologies (some types of cancer, obesity, diabetes, hypertension and hyperlipidemia).

In the scientific literature you can find various studies that highlight the importance of consuming a good amount of alkaline foods every day to prevent osteoporosis, muscle weakness associated with aging (renal function and with it the ability to eliminate excess of hydrogen ions decreases with old age) and the formation of some types of urinary stones (such as those consisting of uric acid, cystine and calcium oxalates).

Furthermore, an alkaline diet helps to counteract the loss of calcium due to excessive sodium intake (extensive use of salty foods) and in this sense it is useful for women in the postmenopausal period, especially if at risk of osteoporosis.

Alkaline Diet in Sport

In sport, and in particular in bodybuilding - where the protein intake is particularly high (even 2 or 3 times higher than standard levels) - it is recommended to keep the intake of fruit and vegetables high to counteract the acidosis induced by this. eating style.

For the same purpose, the integration of glutamine is useful, which is used by the kidneys to synthesize ammonia (NH3), which spontaneously accepts a proton (NH4 +) and is excreted as an ammonium ion, thus removing H + ions and mitigating acidosis.

The integration with Alkalizing Agents (eg sodium bicarbonate, potassium bicarbonate, citric acid, potassium citrate ...) is exploited by athletes engaged in disciplines with a strong lactacid commitment (for example in the 400, 800 and 1500 meters). The rationale for this integration is based on the ability of these substances to neutralize the lactic acid that accumulates during very intense efforts, forcing the athlete to reduce their performance level.

Contraindications and Side Effects

The alkaline diet - due to the high potassium intake that characterizes it - is contraindicated for patients suffering from kidney disease or taking potassium-sparing diuretics.

It is advisable to consult a doctor in the presence of heart disease or taking medicines, to ensure that there are no contraindications or interference.

Supplementation with alkalizing agents in high doses is a common cause of gastrointestinal disturbances, with abdominal cramps and diarrhea.

Alkaline diet in clinical practice

Modulating the acidity of the diet can also have therapeutic significance.

An alkaline diet - which emphasizes the consumption of fruit (with the exception of plums and cranberry or cranberry), vegetables (with the exception of corn and lentils) and milk, to the detriment of meat, eggs, fish and cereals - is in fact capable of lowering urinary pH by hindering the formation of acidic kidney stones, such as those consisting of uric acid, calcium oxalates and cystine.

The acid diet, reversed from the previous one, hinders the formation of kidney stones formed by calcium carbonates and phosphates and magnesium phosphates.

Acidification / alkalization can also be used to modulate the duration of action of pharmacological treatments.

  • In the presence of acidic urine, an acidic drug (for example a salicylate) tends to be reabsorbed by the renal tubule, prolonging its duration of action; conversely, a basic drug (for example dextroamphetamine) is excreted more quickly in the urine if these are acidic.
  • The situation is reversed in the presence of basic urine.
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