Regulating the acid-base-balance for a constant pH-value

Regulating the acid-base-balance

Regulation of the acid-base balance is necessary to stabilise the pH value in the blood. In doing so, the following factors play an important role:

Nutrition can regulate the acid-base balance

The acid-base balance is mainly regulated by the nutrients from our nutrition, as they are metabolised in either an alkaline or an acidic way. Moreover, when breathing or during physical exercise, acid occurs as a waste-product of the cellular energy supply and impacts the pH value.

Buffer systems stabilise the pH value in the blood

Our body is equipped with an extremely powerful buffer system and therefore can regulate the acid-base balance. Buffers are protective devices that absorb minor pH changes in the body fluids and in the cell, especially with regard to the stabilisation of the pH value in the blood. Important buffering substances include bicarbonates dissolved in the blood and the red blood colourant haemoglobin. Because of the buffering systems and the stabilisation of the pH value, a slightly acidic pH is not initally harmful.

Regulating the acid-base balance with the bicarbonate buffer

The bicarbonate dissolved in the blood can "mop up" acid. Carbonic acid develops, which degrades to water and carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is exhaled by the lungs. By this means, the pH value in the blood can be regulated quickly and effectively. The acid-base balance is ths regulated by bicarbonate buffers. For this purpose, they have to be regenerated continuously by supplying alkaline mineral compounds via nutrition.

Excretion organs, namely kidney and lung, are involved in stabilising the pH value in the blood

The most important organs that regulate the acid-base balance are the kidney and lung. The kidney is the only organ that can excrete acid directly from the body. The lung provides in the short-term for a stable pH value via respiration. Thereby, the body can regulate the acid-base balance through an increased respiration of carbon dioxide.

Bone and connective tissue can regulate the acid-base balance

If the capacity of the buffering system becomes depleted and renal excretion has reached capacity, then the organism needs to displace additional acid immediately to maintain optimal metabolic working conditions. This occurs by acid incorporation into the connective tissue, which is especially appropriate for storing the acid load because of its physical properties. The pH value is thus stabilised. However, the ability of the connective tissue to bind water decreases. The supply of the micronutrient copper can help in the maintenance of normal connective tissue.

For regulating the acid-base balance, the organism resorts to the body’s own base depot, the bone. By this means, too, the pH value in the blood can be stabilised. To compensate for the acidic strain, alkaline mineral compounds are set free from the bone. If this condition persists for some time, the physiological balance between the formation and destruction of bone shifts. Therefore, the bone substance is increasingly broken down. The supply of the two minerals calcium and magnesium contributes to bone health.

Basica Acid-Base Calculator