Many people experience low stomach acid, but they confuse it for high stomach acid because it can cause heartburn. Many people take antacids for this which causes more problems! Are you experiencing bloating, gassiness, undigested food in stool, allergies and bad breath? It could be low stomach acid.
Low stomach acid: what it means
Low stomach acid means that the stomach is not producing enough hydrogen cholride (HCl). If there is not enough HCl, pepsin, which is important for digestion of protein, will not be activated, and pancreatin and bile will not be released in adequate amounts. This means that protein and fat will not be properly digested and the body will not absorb the nutrients and minerals!
Why does low stomach acid get confused for high stomach acid?
When there is not enough HCl to break down the food products, food gets digested through fermentation. The fermentation process creates acid byproducts and this is what causes the symptoms of excess acid. Usually, if HCl is present the acid is balanced out with the release of pancreatin and bile, but this does not occur if HCl is not present, leaving products acidic.
What causes low stomach acid?
A big cause of low stomach acid is dehydration, which we talk about in more detail here, drinking too much coffee, nicotine, using antacids, diets high in meat, dairy and processed foods and drinking carbonated drinks.
Quick way to see if you have low or high stomach acid.
You can either take a digestive enzyme or a small amount of apple cider vinegar on an empty stomach. If you start feeling discomfort within 15 minutes you have high stomach acid, but if nothing happens you likely have low stomach acid and could benefit from some lifestyle changes!
How to improve your stomach acid
- Eat small meals more often
- Avoild red meat, dairy and junk food
- Do not drink cold or carbonated drinks with food
- Do not drink coffee or smoke before meals as it makes stomach empty prematurely
- Do not eat if agitated. Emotions and our state of mind affect our body and digestion!
- Avoid antacids
- Take a digestive enyme if you are eating large, fat and protein-heavy meals.
- Drink lemon water in the morning. We talk more about the benefits of lemon water here.
Feel free to comment or e-mail us if you have any questions!
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