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Acidity Kills the Pancreas

by Peter Melamed, PhD, and Felix Melamed, MS

From the Townsend Letter August/September 2015


Three main, interrelated reasons for widespread digestive disorders in the modern world might be chronic metabolic acidosis, low exocrine pancreatic function, and intestinal dysbiosis. Chronic metabolic acidosis mainly distresses two alkaline digestive glands: the liver, and pancreas, which secrete alkaline bile and pancreatic juice with a great amount of bicarbonate. The acidic shift in the bile and pancreatic juice pH can cause serious biochemical/biomechanical problems. The pancreatic digestive enzymes need an alkaline milieu function properly; therefore, low pH disables their activity. This may be the crucial cause of indigestion. Acidification of the pancreatic juice decreases its antimicrobial activity, promoting intestinal dysbiosis. Reducing the pH of the pancreatic juice can lead to the premature activation of the proteolytic enzymes inside the pancreas, potentially leading to pancreatitis. The acidification of bile produces bile stone formation and precipitates aggressive bile acids, which irritate the entire biliary system. An aggressive combination of the acidic bile and the pancreatic juice can activate irregular spasms of the duodenum’s walls and consequent bile reflux into the stomach and the esophagus. The normality of the exocrine pancreatic function is the core of proper digestion. Presently, there is no efficient and safe treatment for enhancing exocrine pancreatic function. Reinstating normal acid-base homeostasis can be a pathophysiological therapeutic approach for numerous gastrointestinal disorders.

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