If Louis Pasteur indeed remarked at the end of his life: “Le germe n’est rien; le terrain c’est tout” (the germ is nothing; the terrain is everything), in the face of a global pandemic, we might ask: what is going on with our terrain?
A central tenet of the hypothesis put forth in these pages is that we are not separate from the cosmos, the global climate. Could we be overheating?
Overheating, in this context, would mean metabolic acidosis. But we must maintain pH 7, so when we overheat in one area, we “overcool” somewhere else. In this case, the corresponding (compensatory) overcooling would be respiratory alkalosis.
I believe we’re not measuring pH in the most meaningful way. pH 7 merely tells us there are equal parts of acid and alkalai; it does not tell us the quantity of each. What matters isn’t the static pH; it’s the pH range.
In general, as we age, the metabolic rate increases, and the pH range narrows. This narrowing of the pH range leads to a loss in homeostatic capacity, perhaps evinced in such conditions as diabetes and high blood pressure. Homeostatic capacity and longevity have been written about extensively by Dr. Joon Yun.
Would a case of metabolic acidosis/respiratory alkalosis make us more vulnerable to infection? Our astronauts, it might be argued, are in a state of subclinical metabolic acidosis/respiratory alkalosis by virtue of their constant acceleration. In addition to their bones demineralizing (spaceflight osteopenia), their viruses are reactivating.
Metabolic acidosis/respiratory alkalosis is known as a “mixed acid-base disturbance.” When both acid and base are off, the blood pH can still test within the normal range. But they could test for its presence behind the scenes by seeing if the Pco2 (carbon dioxide) and blood HC03 (bicarbonate) were moving in opposite directions.
Here is a very simple summary of compensatory respiratory alkalosis:
There has also been recent inquiry into whether impaired systemic oxygen extraction (SOE) might be a factor in ME/CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome). I believe in ME/CFS, we are seeing the opposite problem. The metabolic rate is too slow and the pH range is too wide.
According to this hypothesis, the primary dysfunction always has to do with time (the metabolic rate) and light (the pH). The real problem is with the metabolism, and the acid/alkaline imbalance. Infectious disease is secondary.
In the 1970s, there was a brief flurry of excitement when for a minute it looked as though we were going to find the root cause of cancer, and it was going to be infectious. But it turned out the co-presence (comorbidity) of infections alongside cancer was not causative. Infections were often present when cancer was present, but they were not causing the cancer.
Yet they were appearing together to a statistically significant degree.
I wonder if the cancer and any accompanying infections are both caused by the same thing—namely an underlying metabolic derangement, coupled with a compensatory pH derangement?