by Rose Cole
It may not be what you think.
When Linda came to me, she occasionally suffered from indigestion, from what she thought was due to high stomach acid. What she didn’t know was that the food allergies, depression, dry skin, and rosacea on her cheeks were all connected to her digestive issues… and that it was actually LOW stomach acid which was causing the whole mess.
Who would have thought that LOW stomach acid, also know as hypochlorhydria, could be the root cause of all of these symptoms and disorders
Heartburn (often thought to be caused by too much stomach acid!)
Bloating, belching, flatulence and gas
Constipation or diarrhea
Hair loss in women
What the Multi-Billion dollar ant-acid industry doesn’t want you to know:
While most people reach for antacids when they’re experiencing indigestion and bloating, LOW stomach acid may actually be the culprit…. and you may be doing some really serious damage to your health while taking those antacids.
I’m talking about both over-the-counter ant-acids like Tums and prescription antacids like Prilosec.
I know what you’re thinking… Huh? LOW stomach acid?!
When our stomach acid is too low, the proteins in our stomach can start to ferment from not being broken down properly, and the off-gassing from this process creates pressure in our stomachs. (Imagine a soda bottle that you shook-up) The pressure in your stomach then builds up, pushing open the valve at the top of our stomachs, painfully splashing into your esophagus and causing acid reflux and heartburn.
Not everyone experiences digestive issues when they have hypochlorhydria (low stomach acid)… if fact, most people don’t even know they have it… which is scary.
The problem with not knowing you have it is that your health can start to slowly decline. By the time you figure out why, it’s a lot harder to correct the damage that’s been done.
I also want to clear up a common misconception. Just because you eat acidic foods like orange juice, tomatoes, or coffee, it doesn’t mean it’s going to increase your stomach acid… we’re talking about two completely different types of acid. Stomach acid is Hydrochloric acid which is produced by the stomach, not found in the foods we eat.
I thought it was important to make a clear distinction because I often have people who come to me with hypochlorhydria who say “but I don’t understand how I could have low stomach acid… I eat lots of oranges and tomatoes”.
Somehow the antacid industry has us believing that stomach acid is bad for us. (It may have something to do with the fact that it’s a billion-dollar industry!) Stomach acid is actually GOOD for you; believe it or not!
There are 5 main reasons why you don’t want to have too low of stomach acid:
You can become protein malnourished. Hydrochloric acid (HCl) converts pepsinogen to pepsin… Without stomach acid you can’t breakdown, absorb or utilize protein!
Why is protein important you ask?
- Because protein is vital for virtually everything in the body: healthy muscles, ligaments, tendons, organs, glands, nails and hair. The body’s requirement for protein is directly related to good health. Try building muscle when you don’t have the basic building blocks to make it! This is when some people have a hard time building or maintaining muscle, have weak nails or unhealthy hair.
- Creates the perfect environment for things to live in your body that you don’t want there: Our stomach acid is so acidic that if you were holding it in your hand it would burn a hole in it. (Good thing we have that protective mucus lining in our stomachs!) Because of this extreme low PH, this means that it can destroy invaders like bacteria, fungus, parasites, and viruses that try to enter our bodies on our food. In this way, our stomach acid works as one of our first lines of defense for our immune system; it sterilizes our food!
- Could be robbing you of energy and vitality. You can eat a perfect diet, but if you can’t breakdown, absorb and utilize the nutrients it won’t matter! The more vitamins, minerals, and nutrients we get out of our food, the more energy and vitality we have… it’s as simple as that.
If we have to use more of our body’s own energy and nutrients to digest our food than the food has in it, there is a deficit of energy.
Instead, we want to put hi-octane fuel in our tanks by making it as easy for our body to get all the energy and nutrients out of our food as possible.
Natural aging, a poor diet, the use of certain medications, such as Aspirin for instance, and past infection from H. pylori bacteria can impair the stomach’s ability to produce acid.
Think about it… if you use antacids for heartburn relief or indigestion, they’re not a cure for what is probably causing these problems in the first place. It’s simply a Band-Aid.
Taking pills that further neutralize stomach acid can make your digestion even worse! You’d be doing more of what may have gotten you into this mess to begin with. The reasons stomach acid is good for you:
- Stomach acid or hydrochloric acid (HCl), is a very powerful digestive agent, and is absolutely essential for health.
- HCl’s important functions include:
- Breaking down proteins into the essential amino acids which your body needs in order to stay healthy.
- Allows nutrient absorption: Many vitamins and minerals require proper stomach acid in order to be properly absorbed, including iron, calcium, vitamin B12, and folic acid.
- Preventing disease: the low PH of the stomach acid destroys bad bacteria, microorganisms, and parasites that may have hitched a ride into your body on your food. (Yuk!)
- As you age, your stomach acid tends to decrease, and a poor diet of processed foods is just going to add fuel to the fire and lead you to both digestive and immune problems.
Increase your stomach acid, and heal your digestion & your health.
Here are four of my favorite ways to balance your stomach acid, and make sure you’re digesting your food properly… so you avoid painful heart-burn.
- Add ginger & cilantro to your diet. Some foods will make the problem worse, and other foods that will make the problem better and encourage healthy stomach acid and aid in digestion. These are just two of the many foods that will help aid in digestion.
- Drink all liquids separately from meals. Yep! You read me correctly. Your stomach acid is a liquid, so by drinking when you eat you are diluting the stomach acid that we want to keep nice and concentrated and strong. This may take some getting used to, but a good habit nonetheless.
- Take a stomach acid test: Simple and inexpensive at-home testing can determine if you have low stomach acid – contact me to find out how.
- Take a digestive enzyme capsule and HCl tablet with every meal to increase digestion. Taking a supplement capsule designed specifically to help you digest proteins from all animal and vegetable sources is the fastest way to prevent stomach aches and heartburn and aid in digestion.
If you think that you might need some advice about your digestion, or you’ve experienced pain or discomfort and think it might be related to stomach acid, then give me a call for a free 15-minute nutrition assessment. I have a system of 10 simple steps (seven that I didn’t have time to mention in this newsletter) that can help you end your discomfort immediately. I’d like to help you. Just give me a call, or send me an email…
There is no reason to suffer. So start by healing the root cause and watch your energy and vitality improve, ALL NATURALLY!
Have a happy healthy day!