Did you know that the majority of people actually struggle with LOW stomach acid (also called hypochlorhydria)? When you have this, your body’s unable to breakdown proteins into amino acids and nutrients. Having low stomach acid is correlated with a lower nutrient and vitamin status such as vitamin B12, iron, magnesium, calcium, folate, vitamin c, and zinc. We actually need stomach acid to digest our food and kill any bad bacteria being consumed from our food and environment. Because the pH of our stomach needs to be between 1.5 to 3.5 to kill off any harmful bacteria, it can be a problem when there isn’t enough acidity.
What many people think is that stomach acid is bad and causing a lot of their health issues, which is actually false. We need stomach acid in order to break down our food. We are still being told by doctors that when you have acid reflux, you need an antacid or a proton pump inhibitor. However, if you already have low stomach acid, these medications can cause more issues because they decrease it even more. These symptoms may also be correlated with low stomach acid rather than an increase in stomach acid.
Signs of low stomach acid include:
Gas, bloating, diarrhea
Heartburn, acid reflux, and GERD
Acne or eczema
Unable to digest meat
Iron and B12 deficiency
How can you naturally increase stomach acid?
You can supplement with HCl to test the pH of your stomach if you think you may have this issue (this is something I do with my clients who have low stomach acid).
You can also increase it by eating bitter herbs, such as caraway, fennel, ginger, arugula, milk thistle, peppermint, dandelion, and hops (however these are not going to be as effective as HCl supplementation).
You can also have a tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar daily. I love drinking this in the morning on an empty stomach with warm water, the juice of half a lemon, and pink salt for electrolytes.
Avoid water while eating your food because this can actually dilute your stomach acid and therefore hinder both your digestion and nutrient absorption.
Lastly, it is important to heal and protect your gut lining to protect the stomach from its own acid.
If you think you have low stomach acid or any of these symptoms listed above, fill out my contact form so we can figure it out together. Leave any questions or comments below!