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This is fairly true.

In our bodies we have receptors constantly monitoring the level of the CO2 in our blood. When the level of CO2 rises, these receptors (called chemo-receptors) will register this, and signal the breathing center to increase rate of breathing.

What does this have to do with acidity you ask?

In our blood we have buffer systems, which are designed to minimize the change in pH done our blood by different waste products of metabolism. The main buffersystem is called the bicarbonate buffersystem:

CO2 + H2O <----> H2CO3 (carbonic acid) <---> H+ + CO3- (unbalanced)
The reaction is catalyzed by the enzyme carbonic anhydrase.

From the above equation you can deduct two things:

a) If you ADD CO2 to the equation, more H+ will eventually be produced and this will diminish the pH of the blood (pH = -log([H+])).

b) If you REMOVE CO2 from the equation, the reverse happens and less H+ is produced. This will raise the pH of the blood.

This is why the chemoreceptors register blood CO2 levels. Actually, what they are measuring is the pH of the blood. If they register too low a pH, they can signal the ventilation center in the brain to increase breathing, and thereby remove more CO2 from the body, and raise the pH.


The body uses this to combat conditions in which the pH of the body is too low. An example of this could be the state of diabetic ketoacidosis. This condition, not uncommon amongst diabetics, is characterized by increased acid production and thereby a lower blood pH.

The body responds to this threat by increasing ventilation (increased breathing) thereby removing CO2 from the blood and raising the pH. By these means the condition is compensated.

Normal blood pH ranges are: 7,35 - 7,45.

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βˆ™ 2009-12-19 02:10:19
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Q: Does the acidity of blood control the breathing rate?
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What happens to blood PH with decreased breathing rate?

Decreased breathing rate &gt; more Co2 and less O2 in blood &gt; more acidity &gt; Lower PH level


Why does breathing rate and heart rate increase when you run?

Your muscles use a lot of energy when running. This produces substantial amounts of carbon dioxide which raises your bloods acidity. Elevated blood acidity signals your medulla to increase your respiratory rate along with your heart rate to increase to blood flow to the lungs to expel the carbon dioxide and restore normal blood pH, around 7.4


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Carbon dioxide is necessary to maintaining the breathing rate in humans. When oxygen is utilized, the waste (carbon dioxide) is transported in the blood as dissolved bicarbonate. However, the presence of CO2 (carbon dioxide) in the blood causes it to become more acidic. Chemoreceptors in the blood monitor blood acidity and report to the the medulla area of the brain. If the chemoreceptors and the medulla evaluate that the acidity is too high, the medulla will instruct the intercostal muscles (muscles in between rib bones) and the diaphragm to increase the breathing rate. This is how CO2 regulates breathing rate and is necessary to our bodies.


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