As I've noted in previous editions of Applied Metabolics, various science meetings are held throughout the year in which scientists meet and discuss their latest research findings. Many such findings are presented in short abstract form as "posters." The significance of these poster presentations is that they provide the gist of the entire study and are also previews of forthcoming studies that will be later published in various professional science journals. While the majority of these poster presentations have little value to anyone engaged in bodybuilding or fitness endeavors, you sometimes do find interesting new material with potential practical use. As such in this article, I will discuss a few of these new studies and their practical implications.
Does the acid/alkaline balance affect muscle protein synthesis?
A study presented at the annual FASEB meeting focused on whether having a predominately acid or alkaline blood range will adversely affect muscle protein synthesis. I fully discussed the acid/alkaline controversy in a past issue of Applied Metabolics and you can easily find that issue in the online article archive by entering the keywords "Acid alkaline" in the search box on the Applied Metabolics website. In that article, I discussed all the health implications of a range of pH, which is a measure of the acid or alkaline conditions in the blood. Many scientists think that attempting to adjust the diet as a way of altering the acidity or alkalinity of tissues is a waste of time since the body does this automatically. Indeed, if the blood gets either too acidic or alkaline it could be life-threatening. Those who follow a ketogenic diet, which involves a diet that contains no more than 20 grams of carbohydrate daily, are often warned about the "dangers" of ketosis. Ketosis refers to having a higher level of ketones in the blood. Ketones are acid byproducts of fat metabolism released by the liver when fat is not completely oxidized. In uncontrolled diabetes, these ketones can rise to levels that produce excess blood acidity, which can be lethal. This is known as diabetic ketoacidosis. But this never happens with ketogenic diets, in which ketone levels rise to only moderate levels that have no negative health effects, but instead provide a number of positive health benefits.
Studies of older people show that if you provide them with buffer substances, which absorb excess acid, it stops the loss of muscle. This implies that having a slightly lower blood pH level, indicative of acidity, although not low enough to cause acute health problems, may still promote catabolic reactions in muscles that result in a loss of lean mass. In addition, certain forms of kidney disease can alter the blood acidity level because the kidney produces several of the primary acid buffering substances in the body, such as sodium bicarbonate . . .