When rates of opportunistic infection spike, we might ask ourselves if there could be an underlying metabolic condition helping to set the stage. Why this? Why now? 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), we might be wise to ask: what is going on with our terrain?
A central tenet of the hypothesis put forth in these pages is the idea that we are not separate from the cosmos. If we consider climate change through a holistic lens, would it be too far-fetched to ask: could we be overheating?
Overheating, in this context, would mean mild 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. The quantity of each has implications for the relative amount of hydrogen (acid) and hydroxide (alkalai) ions in the body. In other words, we are simply seeing pH 7; we are not seeing how it’s being generated, behind the scenes. What matters isn’t the static pH; it’s the pH range.
If the body lacks acidity, we may increase the metabolic rate, but this will narrow the pH range (while continuing to test as a pH 7). If the body lacks alkalinity, we may decrease the metabolic rate, but this will widen the pH range (while continuing to test as pH 7). In general, as we age, the metabolic rate increases, and the pH range narrows. The narrowing of the pH range leads to a loss in homeostatic capacity, which is evinced in such conditions as diabetes and high blood pressure, as has been written about extensively by Dr. Joon Yun.
Would a mild case of metabolic acidosis/respiratory alkalosis render us more vulnerable to infection? Our astronauts, it might be argued, are in a state of mild 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 may be 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, 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 metabolism, and acid/alkaline imbalance. Infectious illness is secondary. The physical universe, according to contemporary physics, is emergent. Information, not matter, comes first.
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 infectious illness alongside cancer was not causative. Infections were 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 the accompanying infections were both caused by the same thing—namely an underlying metabolic derangement, coupled with a compensatory pH derangement—and, if so, whether deranged metabolism/pH could be playing a role in the spike of infectious illness we’re seeing now?
The climate is overheating. Perhaps we are, too.