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Bicarbonate Blood Buffer and Competitive Inhibition in Drugs

1. Why would administering bicarbonate to a patient be advisable if his blood pH was too low? What is the bicarbonate going to do to adjust the pH of the blood?

2. A drug works by binding to the active site of an enzyme. Why would that cause a physiological change?

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1. Bicarbonate is considered a base, that is, when added to acid, it uses itself up to neutralize the acid, producing water. In the blood, pH is often regulated by a carbon dioxide-bicarbonate system, which, depending on metabolism, has to work to adjust the pH of the blood to remain at a happy 7.1. For reference, a low pH s acidic, a high pH is basic.

For example, in exercise under increasingly anaerobic conditions, lactic acid is created. This acid can readily donate a proton, it's hydrogen ion, (one definition of what an acid does) to something else that can attract said hydrogen. Bicarbonate, with a strong negative charge, can easily attract and sequester the positive hydrogen ion. This creates carbonic acid, which can easily degrade into water and carbon dioxide. The CO2 is then expelled from the body usually via respiratory gas exchange.

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Solution Summary

A two part question about how the bicarbonate buffer system in blood works and how competitive inhibition in drugs can affect physiology.

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