Adrenal Fatigue: The Western Diet and Diabetes as Common Causes of Acidosis - dummies

Adrenal Fatigue: The Western Diet and Diabetes as Common Causes of Acidosis

By Richard Snyder, Wendy Jo Peterson

Many factors go into maintaining pH balance in the body. Acidosis, when the blood is too acidic, increases your risk of developing adrenal fatigue. Some of these are dietary factors; others relate to problems with the organs themselves.

The Western diet

One contributor to acidosis is the Western or standard American diet. This diet is high in animal protein, which can promote oxidative stress. It’s high in omega-6 fatty acids and low in omega-3 fatty acids — levels that can promote inflammation.

The diet is also high in sugar, processed salt, chemicals, preservatives, and pesticides and toxins from the environment. The daily exposure to poor diet and toxins that deprive cells of the nutrients they need contributes to the development of acidic blood.

Certain food substances have a very high acid content and should be avoided if possible:

  • Phosphoric acid is in many foods and beverages, including processed meats and carbonated beverages, namely sodas. The high acid load causes increased stress on the kidneys and the adrenal glands. A few studies suggest that continued phosphoric acid exposure over time can contribute to kidney disease.

  • High fructose corn syrup and similar sugars are in many processed foods and beverages. These sugars have been shown to elevate blood pressure, cause weight gain, increase insulin levels, and cause insulin resistance as well as metabolic syndrome.

Changing your way of eating is fundamental to changing your health. Did you know that many vegetables are actually alkaline in nature? These include spinach, broccoli, asparagus, kale, and onions. In addition, many citrus fruits, such as lemons and oranges, have an alkaline effect on the body after they’re digested and metabolized.


You’re likely familiar with diabetes as a condition that involves high blood glucose levels. In Type I diabetes mellitus, the body simply doesn’t make insulin. In Type II diabetes mellitus, the insulin has trouble getting into the cells in response to high blood glucose. One of the most common causes of Type II diabetes is obesity.

Diabetes mellitus can cause eye disease (retinopathy), affect the integrity of the nerves and nervous system (neuropathy), and cause kidney disease. In fact, diabetes is the leading cause of kidney disease in the U.S.

From an acid-base perspective, diabetes mellitus is an acid-producing state. Diabetes can cause acidosis for a couple of reasons:

  • When the blood sugar levels are high, the body can generate a type of acid called a ketoacid. Diabetic ketoacidosis is a condition that often requires admission to the hospital and intravenous insulin.

  • Diabetes can cause a type of acidosis by affecting the kidneys’ ability to eliminate excess acid in the urine. A few studies suggest that the acid-producing effects of diabetes are enough to increase the formation of kidney stones, especially uric acid stones.

Diabetes can produce advanced glycosylated end products (AGEs). AGEs are significant promoters of the inflammatory response that can stress the adrenal system.

If you have diabetes, one of the most highly recommended dietary plans is the low-glycemic diet. To understand this diet, you need to be familiar with the glycemic index, which is a measure of a food substance’s ability to increase the insulin response after you consume that food.

Candy and other foods high in sugar have a high glycemic index because they stimulate an increased insulin response. Certain fruits like bananas also have a high glycemic index, whereas others, such as apples, have a lower glycemic index.

In general, a plant-based diet is low on the glycemic index. A strict alkaline-based diet can help restore pH balance to the body and, as a bonus, help you lose weight and lower your blood glucose levels.