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Lower your dietary acid load to lower your blood pressure

Nov 5, 2019

Our ancient ancestors ate a predominantly alkaline diet of mineral-rich plant matter. Today however, many diets typically contain high amounts of acid-forming animal protein, sugar and grains, with low levels of alkalising vegetables, causing Chronic Mild Metabolic Acidosis (CMMA).

CMMA is a subtle condition that produces small shifts in physiological pH towards acidity and can have a detrimental impact on the optimal function of virtually all body systems. For example, CMMA is associated with increased risk of cardiometabolic diseases – including hypertension.

A recent study explored the association between dietary acid load and hypertension risk (i.e. risk of having blood pressure above 140 mmHg/90 mmHg).  In this meta-analysis the authors looked at accumulated evidence on the effect of dietary acid load on blood pressure. They found 10 studies on the topic, with 8 studies about potential renal acid load (PRAL) and 4 about net endogenous acid production (NEAP). Their findings overall showed that:

  • Hypertension risk was statistically associated with higher PRAL (Odds Ratio of 1.14), affecting both diastolic and systolic blood pressure.
  • Higher NEAP was even more closely linked to hypertension risk with an Odds Ratio of 1.35.

From this the authors concluded “…dietary acid load might be potential risk factor of hypertension.”

Reference: Chen, S. et al. Elevated hypertension risk associated with higher dietary acid load: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Clinical Nutrition ESPEN. 2019;33;171-177.

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