How not having Enough Stomach Acid can Hurt You

Do you get heart burns?
Feel nauseous when you drink water in the morning?
Do you feel like you cannot eat meat as you can’t digest it properly?

Our health is very dependent on how our stomach and our guts are feeling or performing. And if there are any imbalances or we do not have enough stomach acid (also known as gastric acid or gastric juice), it can cause us problems and discomfort.

stomachAcid

How It Works

When we eat, the stomach acid activate enzymes and together they break down the food. The enzyme pepsin help to break down protein to amino acids. If we do not have enough stomach acid, the pepsin doesn’t activate as it should and we get a harder time to digest protein and other foods. This goes for other digestive enzymes.
Ever heard people say they cannot eat or digest protein? A low level of stomach acid might be the reason for that.
The acid also kills off bad bacteria and other bugs before they pass through to the small intestines.

Not enough stomach acid also makes it harder for us to absorb important vitamins and minerals like vitamin B12, folic acid, amino acids, iron, copper, zink and calcium.

Symptoms

Unfortunately, a lot of people do not have enough stomach acid, and perhaps suffer from things like:

  • heart burn / acid reflux
  • nausea when drinking water on an empty stomach
  • nausea after eating
  • bloated tummy after food intake
  • bad breath
  • burping
  • gas
  • constipation or diarrhea
  • chronic candida infections
  • undigested food in your stools

Imagine this scenario:
You’ve had a meal of steak, sweet potatoes, a salad and ailoi. You feel bloated after the meal despite not having had any grains or dairy with the meal. You burp a bit after the meal and it smells of the food you just had. Even after several hours of eating.

In this scenario, it’s likely that you have low stomach acid levels and the bacteria which the acid would normally kill off, still live and thrive in your stomach. The food which was supposed to have been digested and move down to the small intestines, stays in your stomach because the acid level is too low which means that the pH levels aren’t low enough to take care of the food and move it down to the intestines.
Bloating, burping and farting after a meal could be because there’s too much bad bacteria in the stomach as the stomach acid hasn’t killed it off and the food is just staying there, fermenting, feeling heavy in your tummy.

Acid reflux is not caused by too MUCH stomach acid as many might believe.
This is what Chris Kresser writes on his website about acid reflux:
”…heartburn and GERD are not caused by too much stomach acid. They are caused by too little stomach acid and bacterial overgrowth in the stomach and intestines. Therefore successful treatment is based on restoring adequate stomach acid production and eliminating bacterial overgrowth.

Since the low levels of stomach acid doesn’t kill off enough bacteria and germs when you eat, they live on in your stomach and are a cause for acid reflux among other things.

AcidReflux

The Baking Soda Stomach Acid Test

So how do you know if you have low levels of stomach acid?
Well, the symptoms above is a good indication. But there’s also a simple test you can do!

Mix 1 tsp of baking soda in half a glass of water.
Drink it in the morning, before you have anything else to eat or drink.

The baking soda reacts with the stomach acid.
If you notice nothing after drinking it, your stomach acid level is too low to cause, or notice, a reaction.
If you start burping after drinking it, the baking soda has started to react with the stomach acid and that’s a sign that you have a good level of stomach acid.

The Solution

Contrary to popular belief and the information we are fed from pharmaceutical companies, we need acid in order to produce more acid!
So start your day with glass of water and juice from half a lemon. Drink this before every meal as well to aid the stomach acid production.

You can also have apple cider vinegar in a glass of water, eat grapefruit or endive and rocket salad.

To aid digestion, it’s important that we have enough enzymes in our stomach as well. Remember to eat plenty of raw vegetables as heated food destroys a lot of the enzymes.

Stress and not enough sleep can also cause disruption and prevent the production of stomach acid and enzymes. If you stress a lot after eating, or a lot during the whole day for that matter, your body have other functions to take care of to keep you going, and it doesn’t really prioritize digesting the food. So take it easy, slow down. Let your stomach work.

Get enough sleep, stress down, chew your food properly, make sure you get plenty of raw vegetables with your protein, and have a splash of lemon juice with your water to aid your stomach acid.

Good Luck!

 

Read more about stomach acid here:

 

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