On this episode of humanOS Radio, I speak with Lynda Frassetto. Lynda is a Professor Emeritus of Medicine in the Division of Nephrology at UCSF. During her research career, she and her colleagues investigated regulation of acid-base balance in both healthy and older people, as well as dietary influences on acid-base balance.
In particular, she has explored how the ratios of potassium to sodium, as well as base to chloride, differ in the modern diet versus the ancestral diet, and how these changes may be linked to greater risk of chronic disease as we get older.
Anthropological evidence suggests that ancient hominids consumed far less sodium and far more potassium, and specifically more potassium alkali salts (primarily from wild plants). The reduction in potential base in the modern diet increases the net systemic acid load, and this in turn may take a physiological toll in myriad ways. Chronic acid load appears to play a role in osteoporosis, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and even age-related decline in growth hormone secretion.
Naturally, lots of questions emerge from this idea. Which nutritional components determine whether a diet is net acid-producing? And what can we do about it on an individual basis? Should we take potassium supplements to rectify the imbalance? Could restoring a healthy sodium to potassium ratio be a hidden anti-aging tool?
To learn about how you can live a more alkaline life, check out the interview!
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