Diet alters the acidity of the body. High intake of protein produces sulfuric acid, causing acidosis with urine acidification. This alters human bone health adversely with resulting elimination of calcium.
The metabolic syndrome includes abdominal obesity, insulin resistance, high blood pressure, abnormal lipid levels, and possible cardiovascular disease. Metabolic acidosis causes increased production of cortisol, which is known to cause abdominal obesity. High uric acid is associated with both metabolic syndrome and increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
The following study was done to determine the relationships between acidosis, abdominal obesity and the metabolic syndrome in 1051 men. The subjects were tested for blood pressure, C-reactive protein, glucose, insulin, HDL-cholesterol, triglycerides, uric acid, kidney function, cortisol, and urine pH. The subjects were grouped according to the severity of urine acidity.
Analysis of the results showed that lower urine pH (acidification) was associated with higher BUN (a kidney test) and higher intake of protein foods. High protein foods contain methionine and cysteine which are metabolized to free sulfuric acid. Lower urine pH was associated with increased waist circumference, indicative of the metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance and an elevated BMI. Also, acid pH was associated with higher fasting glucose, higher serum triglycerides and reduced HDL-cholesterol. Lower urine pH was not associated with elevated blood pressure, but correlated with a higher uric acid. (Serum cortisol levels were not related to urinary acidosis in this study.)
This study reflects that waist circumference and insulin resistance are related to urinary acidification. However, the cause of the relationship was not found to be due to increased cortisol production. A relationship between urine acidification and increased blood pressure was not found.
CONCLUSION: Urinary acidification is seen with visceral obesity and the metabolic syndrome. Increased intake of dietary protein may cause the urinary acidification, but visceral obesity was not found to be the result of increased cortisol production.
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