high/low stomach acid

Stom­ach acid is anoth­er lengthy top­ic.  Holis­tic Nutri­tion Schools talk about stom­ach acid quite a lot as they are prepar­ing prac­ti­tion­ers for the large num­ber of clients who are on GERD med­ica­tion used to reduce stom­ach acid.  I have met sev­er­al clients on stom­ach acid low­er­ing meds.  One of the chal­lenges is that typ­i­cal high stom­ach acid symp­toms like burning/heartburn sen­sa­tions can also mean low stom­ach acid.  Once you have med­ical­ly ruled out the pres­ence of H. Pylori bac­te­ria respon­si­ble for ulcers and/or struc­tur­al issues, you have many options available.

As time goes by, and years of processed food eat­ing have passed, stom­ach acid can become very slug­gish espe­cial­ly if there has been a lack of whole food in the diet rich in plant enzymes.  Oth­er chal­leng­ing and typ­i­cal North Amer­i­can habits include drink­ing with your meals rather than away from meals.  This very pop­u­lar prac­tice dilutes the strength of your stom­ach acid.  Drink­ing caf­feine on an emp­ty stom­ach is anoth­er pop­u­lar pass time as it is used to speed up bow­el move­ments but this can cause pre­ma­ture dump­ing of stom­ach con­tents into the small intes­tine there­by inter­rupt­ing the intri­cate diges­tive cas­cade and even­tu­al­ly caus­ing dis­com­fort.  Some­times burn­ing sen­sa­tions are actu­al­ly “high fer­men­ta­tion acids” caused by poor diges­tion; or there can be stom­ach lin­ing lesions of the mucosa.  Some peo­ple who do present with actu­al high stom­ach acid are often eat­ing too much, drink­ing alco­hol and caf­feine, eat­ing spicy food, con­sum­ing too much sug­ar and smok­ing.  Also worth men­tion­ing is that stress lev­els can affect stom­ach acid pro­duc­tion; either pro­duc­ing too much or too lit­tle.  Get­ting to the root of the stress is impor­tant and so is doing some deep breath­ing before each meal.  10 good long inhales and exhales will go a long way in help­ing you to slow down and relax and there­by help­ing with digestion.

Obvi­ous­ly get­ting on a healthy whole food diet will help tremen­dous­ly with stom­ach dis­com­fort.  Eat­ing small­er size meals also helps.  Start­ing diges­tive enzymes with hydrochlo­ric acid tak­en with food or diges­tive herbal bit­ters tak­en 12 hour before each meal stim­u­late the stom­ach acid in a good way.  Again, drink­ing enough water to pre­vent dehy­dra­tion and AWAY from meals rather than with meals is extreme­ly impor­tant. Drink­ing a large (room tem­per­a­ture as cold water slows diges­tion) glass of water 20 to 30 min­utes before each meal also helps to stim­u­late stom­ach acid which will help in digest­ing food more efficiently.

Along with diges­tive aids, DGL tablets (deg­ly­cyrrhiz­inat­ed licorice) help as these tablets repair stom­ach lin­ing mucosa which help elim­i­nate pain.   Fol­low the direc­tions on the bot­tle; dosage is usu­al­ly 2 tablets chewed 20 min­utes before each meal.  Licorice is cat­e­go­rized as a demul­cent in herbal terms which means it has heal­ing and sooth­ing prop­er­ties help­ful to inter­nal tis­sues.  There are also quite a few elec­trolyte min­er­al sup­ple­ments on the mar­ket which are used to assist in the pH bal­anc­ing of the body (like Bio­med Basictab) which help to alka­lin­ize an acidic body.  These types of prod­ucts sup­port the body in its abil­i­ty to com­pen­sate for acid overload.

Inef­fi­cient stom­ach acid can even­tu­al­ly lead to more seri­ous con­di­tions which is why you want to pro­mote it NOT remove it.  With­out prop­er amounts of stom­ach acid poor absorp­tion of all min­er­als includ­ing cal­ci­um, mag­ne­sium, iodine, iron, zinc (zinc is direct­ly need­ed to help pro­duce HCl) and many more will occur.  Once this starts hap­pen­ing your tis­sues and organs will not receive all the nutri­ents they need to func­tion prop­er­ly.  Anoth­er impor­tant func­tion for stom­ach acid is to start digest­ing pro­tein and the result­ing prod­ucts known as amino acids are major com­po­nents of all hor­mones and bio­chem­i­cal enzymes.  Even­tu­al­ly the immune sys­tem is also affect­ed and any­thing from aller­gies or oth­er immune chal­lenged con­di­tions can emerge.

Stom­ach acid cells not only release HCl to start the diges­tive process; HCl also ster­il­izes food which helps low­er the risk of poten­tial par­a­sitic infil­tra­tion and stom­ach cells also release some­thing called intrin­sic fac­tor (IF) which helps to absorb B12 lat­er in the diges­tive cas­cade in the small intes­tine.  Speak­ing of the diges­tive cas­cade, prop­er lev­els of stom­ach acid trig­ger the release of many oth­er func­tions with­in this cas­cade.  One is the pro­duc­tion of bile by the liv­er which is then stored in the gall­blad­der for release to emul­si­fy fats; there­fore, any­one want­i­ng to lose a few pounds def­i­nite­ly wants to have the prop­er amount of stom­ach acid.

I will stop here as there are many more actions that depend on prop­er pH val­ues of stom­ach acid.  I am sure you are get­ting the pic­ture.  Take good care of your stom­ach acid.


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