Wednesday, August 09, 2006

A Primer on Cellular Terrain

The term pH, which means "potential hydrogen," represents a scale for the rel­ative acidity or alkalinity of a solution. Acidity is measured as a pH of 0.1 to 6.9 and alkalinity as a pH of 7.1 to 14; a pH of 7.0 is considered neutral. The num­bers refer to how many hydrogen atoms are present compared to an ideal or stan­dard solution. Normally, blood is slightly alkaline, at 7.35 to 7.45; urine pH can range from 4.8 to 7.5, although normal is closer to 7.0.

Acid-base metabolism refers to the metabolic processes that maintain the balance of acids and bases (alkalines) in body fluids. Acids release hydrogen ions, while bases accept them. The total num­ber of these hydrogen ions present deter­mines the pH of a fluid. Too many hydro­gen ions (a pH below 7.0) produce an acidic state called acidosis; too few hydrogen ions (a pH above 7.0) cause an alkaline excess called alkalosis; both can lead to illness.

Oxidation-reduction is the basic chemi­cal mechanism in the cell by which energy is produced from foods. Electrons (neg­atively charged particles in an atom) are removed from one atom, resulting in "oxi­dation" of this first atom, and then are added or transferred to another atom, resulting in "reduction" of this second atom. This continual process of energy metabolism is actually a flow of elec­trons, or a minute electrical current, within the cell.


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