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Acidification of the Urine

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Although the most commonly sought condition is the opposite, i.e. urinary alkalinization, in some cases acidification of their urine it can prove to be a useful behavior for maintaining a state of health.

Urine e pH

Urine is the product of renal excretion, through which metabolic or catabolic products dissolved in the bloodstream (harmful waste, especially urea, ketone bodies, creatinine, etc.) are expelled from the body.
Controlling urinary pH means evaluating and measuring the kidney's ability to acidify urine; the latter, together with the exhaled breath (pulmonary ventilation), are responsible for the acid-base balance of the blood through the expulsion of NON-volatile acids (hydrogenions) produced normally and daily by the metabolism (about 60mEq). Hydrogen ions, if not expelled, cause a lowering of blood pH and metabolic acidosis; any difficulty in producing and eliminating acidic urine in conditions of metabolic acidosis almost always suggests renal insufficiency.
As can be easily understood from what has been described above, the pH of urine can fluctuate significantly and represents an indispensable condition for maintaining blood homeostasis (prevention of systemic acidification or alkalosis); normally, the urine pH is between 4.4 and 8, with normality at 6/7.

Acidification of the Urine

Urine acidification is useful in the prevention and treatment of cystitis (bladder infection), urethritis (urethral infection), and urethrocystitis (bladder + urethra). It is also used in pharmacology to modulate the effect of some drugs, favoring the elimination of weak bases (useful practice for example in case of amphetamine overdose) and hindering the excretion of weak acids (in this case urinary acidification reduces the elimination of the drug by prolonging its half-life).
The bacteria that infect the urinary epithelium generally belong to coliforms and are most commonly Escherichia coli, a microbial strain that is particularly sensitive to the surrounding pH. In acidic conditions, Escherichia coli is NOT able to reproduce effectively, therefore, in case of urinary tract infections it is still useful to try to acidify the urine.
The most used food (and the only one subjected to clinical trials) in the treatment of urinary infections (by virtue of its power to acidify the urine and above all to prevent bacterial adhesion to the urinary mucosa) is blueberry juice. The latter is a drink obtained from the fruits of American cranberry and it seems that if consumed in portions of 500-750 ml/day it can promote the prevention and remission of the aforementioned pathologies; however, as often happens, the experimental results are still controversial but it is still necessary to specify that it is a food and not a drug; therefore, being characterized by the TOTAL absence of contraindications, it is always advisable to use it.
Other foods useful for acidifying urine are all those containing an abundant acid residue deriving from chlorine (Cl), phosphorus (P) and sulfur (S). In particular, foods useful for acidifying urine are: cheese, egg yolk, white and red meat, fish; followed by dried fruit, legumes and cereals.

Other methods: Contraindications

Urine acidification can occur following inappropriate dietary habits such as ketogenic (or generally high-protein) diets, but also after PROTRACT physical exercise. In both cases, also due to dehydration, the pH of the urine undergoes acidification due to:

  • Chetonic bodies
  • Nitrogenous residues

Although they also contribute to the acidification of urine, from my point of view it is absolutely inadvisable to exploit these obsolete and generally unwanted conditions; the negative aspect that precludes their use in therapy against urinary tract infections is the potentially tiring effect they have on the renal filtering system (see ketogenic diet)… without considering that both ketone bodies and nitrogenous residues , in addition to acidifying the urine, determine a systemic impairment which, in some cases (such as in renal failure) can lead to severe metabolic acidosis.

NOTE: regardless of the method chosen, in people with hyperuricosuria (high levels of uric acid in the blood) or hypercystinuria (high urinary levels of cystine), acidifying the urine means promoting the formation of stones in the urinary tract; for these categories of patients, urinary alkalinization is therefore recommended and acidifying the urine is strongly discouraged. The same goes for the prevention of osteoporosis, given that a diet CHRONICALLY rich in acid residues promotes bone mineral loss.

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