Low Stomach Acid
Pharmaceutical companies persuade the public to buy antacids for what their advertising calls ‘an over-acid stomach’, but the symptoms of acid indigestion and heartburn are usually caused by incomplete digestion. This incomplete digestion, as is the case in many people with IBS, is caused by too little or no stomach acid, or the acid that they do produce is not acid enough!
Most of you have had it, the feeling that too much acid is churning up from the stomach into the oesophagus, burning, or so you think. Acid is certainly the issue, but not the way you might think, in fact what is really going on is not enough at the right strength. The body only makes one acid, hydrochloric acid with pepsin, any other acids that produce symptoms of acid reflux come from the fermentation process which are entirely different from the natural stomach acid.
For perfect digestion, acid reflux free, you need digestive juices at a very low pH, in other words, very, very strong acid. If your stomach is working at a higher pH, then when you eat combination foods like, for example, steak and potatoes, it has difficulty digesting the food properly and the food then ferments and so produces gas that bloats the stomach, causing discomfort. The next stage is a feeling in your ‘heart’ or throat of soreness partnered with that terrible burning sensation.
Antacids don’t know the difference between natural stomach hydrochloric acid and organic acids of fermentation from undigested food. They attack all acids. This is why there can be only temporary relief. As long as stomach acid is low or insufficient, the digestive process is incomplete and fermentation continues.
How can you diagnose this?
If you feel especially uncomfortable after eating, this could contribute to your problem. You can also get a stomach acid analysis done at a laboratory to discover how much gastric acid you produce and also whether you have got enough digestive enzymes.
What to do next?
To help alleviate these symptoms and the problem all together, the following is recommended, and has proven to be helpful:
- Chew your food thoroughly, something that we have all heard from the earliest of times, your digestive process starts with chewing
- Refrain from drinking water and sodas with a heavy meal as it dilutes your digestive juices
- Add ginger, garlic and fresh lemon juice to your food and salads because it enhances the digestive juices
- Use digestive enzymes – unless you have stomach ulcers – every time you eat animal protein such as steak, chicken or fish and/or starches like potatoes, bread, rice and pasta. Digestive enzymes made from natural ingredients, will immediately help your digestion do its task effectively
- Take betaine hydrochloric acid (HCL plus pepsin)
- Avoid ‘histamine H2 –receptor antagonists’ which reduce the levels of stomach acid and prevent your body from absorbing the nutrients from the foods you ingest. If you continuously use anti-acids, other health problems are likely to start, and in a few weeks, months or even years become more noticeable, and you will have no idea why
Some of the long-term effects of this situation are:
Tiredness, headaches, bloatedness, constipation, diarrhoea, sore muscles, eczema, short term memory problems, blurry vision, back ache, low libido, nervous tension, irritability, general lack of drive, flu, colds and kidney problems.
These conditions occur, because the vitamins, minerals and amino acids you are supposed to absorb, and utilise to build a healthy system for repair and maintenance cannot be absorbed, and are literally wasted.
You are what you eat but even more so, you are what you absorb!