Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Aspergillus Niger Safety

Fermentation is a process where a microorganism is utilized as a factory to produce certain nutrients or other biologically useful substances for humans. The culture, environment, and feed can encourage production of various products including enzymes and organic acids that are commonly used in foods and supplements. Some molds are benign; think of Saccharomyces boulardii (related to the yeasts in bread or beer) or blue cheese. 

While Aspergillus niger is a black mold, it is not the black mold that contaminates homes. As with the enzymes produced by A. niger, inhalation of mold or enzymes is not healthy for the lungs, and precautions are taken during production. In addition, A. niger is considered GRAS (generally regarded as safe) by the FDA and has been used for a century to produce citric acid and enzymes. Enzymes produced by A. niger do not contain significant amounts of the culture after isolation and purification to USP monograph standards of purity. Just as milk does not contain a cow, enzymes produced by A. niger do not inherently contain black mold. 

The U.S EPA has reported: 

“Exposure to Aspergillus must be nearly universal but disease is rare. The physiological condition of the exposed individual thus appears to be of paramount importance. Patients exhibiting aspergillosis are generally immunocompromised, and thus susceptible to otherwise common and usually harmless microorganisms. Factors that may lead to immunosuppression include an underlying debilitating disease (e.g., chronic granulomatous diseases of childhood), chemotherapy, and the use of supraphysiological doses of adrenal corticosteroids (Bennett, 1980)…A. niger is not a significant human pathogen. Throughout years of use and widespread exposure to A. niger in the environment, there are only several reports of aspergillosis with A. niger, and in Nigeria, one report of a number of cases of otomycosis. There have been only several reports of allergic reactions, which are not uncommon for aspergilli in general, and not unique to A. niger. A. niger is capable of producing several mycotoxins. However, mycotoxin production appears to be controlled by the conditions of fermentation.”  

EPA’s Final risk assessment for Aspergillus niger

Monday, April 26, 2021

Blood pH and diet

Blood pH is relatively constant at around 7.4 because the body will strip calcium from bones, if necessary, to buffer it in the absence of alkaline-forming food components. That is not homeostasis. But blood pH does vary (typically within a range of 6.8 to 7.8, with potentially lethal effects beyond that range) and affects urine pH, which we can easily measure. 

Dietary compounds formed in the body affect blood pH; not the contrasting pH levels in the digestive tract (acid in the stomach and neutral in the small intestine) or the apparent acidity of foods, but what happens after digestion. The minerals or weak acids (citrates, et al) in alkaline-forming foods are used to make alkaline compounds in the body, which won't happen efficiently with a processed food or a non-plant-derived diet. Scientists have measured this effect and doctors have utilized it in practice, so it's not theoretical or based on pH limited to areas of the digestive tract. 

"An advanced understanding of acid–base physiology is as central to the practice of critical care medicine, as are an understanding of cardiac and pulmonary physiology. Intensivists spend much of their time managing problems related to fluids, electrolytes, and blood pH. Recent advances in the understanding of acid–base physiology have occurred as the result of the application of basic physical-chemical principles of aqueous solutions to blood plasma. This analysis has revealed three independent variables that regulate pH in blood plasma. These variables are carbon dioxide, relative electrolyte concentrations, and total weak acid concentrations. All changes in blood pH, in health and in disease, occur through changes in these three variables. Clinical implications for these findings are also discussed."