Chronic metabolic acidosis stimulates the catabolism of bone and muscle in experimental animals and humans. The toxicity caused by acidosis involves changes in endocrine function and toxicity arising from the homeostatic responses that are activated by the body to maintain pH near normal levels. Glucocorticoids, insulin, insulin-like growth factor-1, and parathyroid hormone play important roles in the homeostatic responses of bone and muscle to acid. Bone buffering of acid and the resulting increase in renal calcium excretion leads to negative calcium balance. Activation of the ubiquitin-proteasome proteolytic system and branched-chain ketoacid dehydrogenase in muscle, along with hepatic glutamine synthesis in the liver and renal glutamine uptake, are homeostatic mechanisms that cause negative nitrogen balance and loss of muscle mass. Treating the acidosis of chronic renal insufficiency improves both bone and muscle metabolism by reducing the loss of calcium and protein and amino acids in the two organs, respectively. Thus, treating acidosis suppresses both bone and muscle catabolism in patients with normal and reduced renal function.