Alkaline Water and Stomach Acid By Sang Whang

Among the
people who question the validity of alkaline water, the biggest question
is, "What happens to the alkaline water once it reaches the stomach,
which is highly acidic?" People who have some knowledge of the human
body, including medical doctors, ask this question. Let me answer that
question once and for all to erase any doubts about the health benefits
of alkaline water.

In order
to digest food and kill the kinds of bacteria and viruses that come with
the food, the inside of our stomach is acidic. The stomach pH value is
maintained at around 4. When we eat food and drink water, especially alkaline
water, the pH value inside the stomach goes up. When this happens, there
is a feedback mechanism in our stomach to detect this and commands the
stomach wall to secrete more hydrochloric acid into the stomach to bring
the pH value back to 4. So the stomach becomes acidic again. When we drink
more alkaline water, more hydrochloric acid is secreted to maintain the
stomach pH value. It seems like a losing battle.

However,
when you understand how the stomach wall makes hydrochloric acid, your
concerns will disappear. A pathologist friend of mine gave me the following
explanation. There is no hydrochloric acid pouch in our body. If there
were, it would burn a hole in our body. The cells in our stomach wall
must produce it on an instantly-as-needed basis.
The ingredients in the
stomach cell that make hydrochloric acid (HCl) are carbon dioxide (CO2),
water (H2O), and sodium chloride (NaCl) or potassium chloride (KCl). NaCl
+ H2O + CO2 = HCl + NaHCO3, or

KCl + H2O
+ CO2 = HCl + KHCO3

As we can
see, the byproduct of making hydrochloric acid is sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3)
or potassium bicarbonate (KHCO3), which goes into blood stream. These
bicarbonates are the alkaline buffers that neutralize excess acids in
the blood; they dissolve solid acid wastes into liquid form. As they neutralize
the solid acidic wastes, extra carbon dioxide is released, which is discharged
through the lungs. As our body gets old, these alkaline buffers get low;
this phenomenon is called acidosis. This is a natural occurrence as our
body accumulates more acidic waste products. There is, therefore, a relationship
between the aging process and the accumulation of acids.

By looking
at the pH value of the stomach alone, it seems that alkaline water never
reaches the body. But when you look at the whole body, there is a net
gain of alkalinity as we drink alkaline water. Our body cells are slightly
alkaline. In order for them to produce acid, they must also produce alkaline,
and vice versa; just as a water ionizer cannot produce alkaline water
without producing acid water, since tap water is almost neutral.

When the
stomach pH value gets higher than 4, the stomach knows what to do to lower
it. However, if the pH value goes below 4, for any reason, the stomach
doesn’t know what to do. That’s why we take Alka-Seltzer, which
is alkaline, to relieve acidic stomach gas pain. In this case, hydrochloric
acid is not produced by the stomach wall, therefore, no alkaline buffer
is being added to the blood stream.

Let me give
you another example of a body organ that produces acid in order to produce
alkaline. After the food in the stomach is digested, it must come out
to the small intestine. The food at this point is so acidic that it will
damage the intestine wall. In order to avoid this problem, the pancreas
makes alkaline juice (known as pancreatic juice). This juice is sodium
bicarbonate, and is mixed with the acidic food coming out of the stomach.
From the above formulae, in order to produce bicarbonates, the pancreas
must make hydrochloric acid, which goes into our blood stream.

We experience
sleepiness after a big meal (not during the meal or while the food is
being digested in the stomach), when the digested food is coming out of
the stomach; that’s the time when hydrochloric acid goes into our
blood. Hydrochloric acid is the main ingredient in antihistamines and
that is what causes drowsiness.

Alkaline
or acid produced by the body must have an equal and opposite acid or alkaline
produced by the body; therefore, there is no net gain. However, alkaline
supplied from outside the body, like drinking alkaline water, results
in a net gain of alkalinity in our body.

Copyright
1997 by Sang Whang Enterprises, Inc.

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