Acidosis and its effects on DNA and Cancer

acidosis-dna-cancerDNA is a complex subject. Most people know of it as a mysterious chain of coded information shaped in a complex helix or double helix. We know that DNA affects how we appear physically, defects and strengths in our makeup, and replication of our cells. With approximately a trillion cells dying each second, it’s amazing that more doesn’t go wrong.

Let’s consider the effects of an acidic environment on DNA. When the water inside our cells becomes more acidic, DNA undergoes a process called depurination. This is a chemical reaction that breaks down base elements of DNA known as purines. This reaction causes information gaps in DNA strands and can lead to mutations during replication. Depurination is known to play a major role in cancer initiation. [1]

In 1931, Dr. Otto Warburg was awarded the Nobel Prize for his discovery that cancer cells would metastasize in an acidic environment. Eighty years later, we are able to study DNA and better understand the acid-cancer connection.

[1] Cavalieri, E.; Saeed, M.; Zahid, M.; Cassada, D.; Snow, D.; Miljkovic, M.; Rogan, E. (2012). “Mechanism of DNA depurination by carcinogens in relation to cancer initiation.”. IUBMB Life 64 (2): 169–179.