Low Stomach Acid: The Risks, the Symptoms, and the Solutions
The multi-billion dollar antacid industry has you believing that stomach acid is bad for you.
Assist Dairy and Protein supports your digestion with plenty of HCL, which your stomach desperately needs in order to properly break down foods and assimilate nutrients.
While you may use antacids for heartburn relief or indigestion, they are not a cure for what causes these problems in the first place. Contrary to popular belief, indigestion is usually caused by low stomach acid — also called hypochlorhydria — and it affects up to half of our population.1
Treatment that further neutralizes stomach acid can make your digestion worse.
Why Stomach Acid is Good For You
Stomach acid or hydrochloric acid (HCl), is a very powerful digestive agent, and much more important than you realize.
HCl’s important functions include:
- Breaking down proteins into the essential amino acids and nutrients your body needs in order to stay healthy.
- Stimulating your pancreas and small intestines to produce the digestive enzymes and bile necessary to further breakdown the carbohydrates, proteins and fats you eat.
- Preventing disease by killing pathogenic bacteria and yeast normally present in food.
As you age, your stomach acid tends to decrease anyway. Add a poor diet of processed foods and you may find that you have both digestive and immune problems.
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Low Stomach Acid: A Vicious Cycle
There are two main consequences of low stomach acid:
- You become protein malnourished. When your stomach acid is low, you are not able to digest protein.
- Improper digestion of protein creates toxins in your intestines that can set the stage for illness and disease.
- Improper digestion of protein also creates acidic blood, since protein is by nature acidic.
- You become mineral deficient. As your blood becomes more acidic, it will look for minerals from anywhere in your body, in order to get your blood to its more ideal alkaline state. Acidic blood robs your body of minerals, even taking minerals from your bones (which is important to know if you want to prevent osteoporosis).
Low stomach acid eventually creates a vicious cycle: low stomach acid = low minerals = acidic blood. This cycle continues because acidic blood further creates low minerals and low stomach acid.
Once this vicious cycle has started, there is a cascade of consequences:
- You could eat plenty of protein and still be protein malnourished. This raises cortisol levels (stress or death hormone), thereby raising your blood glucose (blood sugar levels). Elevated cortisol adversely affects your behavior and temperment.
- Eventually, your adrenals become depleted (adrenal fatigue), and DHEA, the youth hormone, is suppressed, leading to premature aging.
Low DHEA and high cortisol affect your brain and behavior, but that’s not all. The vicious cycle of low stomach acid affects your inner ecosystem too. Low stomach acid can lead to more bad guys (pathogenic bacteria, candida and viruses) than good guys (healthy microflora), thus lowering your immunity.
What you eat can equip your body for healing. Learn more about The Body Ecology Diet.
Symptoms of Low Stomach Acid
Here are some of the common symptoms and disorders caused by low stomach acid:1,3
- Bloating, belching, and flatulence immediately after meals
- Heartburn (often thought to be caused by too much stomach acid)
- Indigestion, diarrhea, or constipation
- Undigested food in stools
- Rectal itching
- Chronic Candida
- Hair loss in women
- Multiple food allergies
- Iron deficiency
- Weak, peeling, or cracked fingernails
- Chronic fatigue
- Adrenal fatigue
- Dry skin
- Various autoimmune diseases
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Increase Your Stomach Acid, Heal Your Digestion
Here are the 3 key ways to increase your stomach acid:
- Reduce or eliminate sugar. Replace mineral-depleting sugar and sweeteners with Stevia.
- Add fermented foods and drinks to your diet. Fermented foods and drinks keep you looking and feeling healthy from the inside out. Some of our favorite fermented foods and drinks are:
- Cultured vegetables – A delicious, vitamin, mineral and probiotic-rich, raw, fermented food.
- Young coconut kefir – Full of minerals and probiotics, this is a fermented drink you can easily make at home.
- Super Spirulina Plus – Thought of as one of the “world’s healthiest foods,” the fermented spirulina in Super Spirulina Plus is a perfect protein and an almost immediate energizer anyone suffering with adrenal fatigue.
- Eliminate processed foods. Follow the 7 healthy eating principles of the Body Ecology Program. Taking digestive enzymes at each meal, like Assist SI or Assist Dairy and Protein specifically designed to help you digest proteins from all animal and vegetable sources, can make digestion much easier.
As you eat a healthy Body Ecology Diet, you will find your digestion improving. You may notice that you experience heartburn relief, less indigestion and improved energy. Or perhaps, if you have had long-standing digestive problems, your journey to health may take a bit longer. Be patient as you go step by step towards true health.
What To Remember Most About This Article:
Did you know that indigestion could be caused by low stomach acid, which affects over 50 percent of the population?
Using over-the-counter antacids can neutralize stomach acid and actually make your digestion worse, leaving you at risk for malnutrition and mineral deficiencies. The key to improving your digestion is in increasing your stomach acid by reducing sugar in your diet (using zero-calorie natural sweeteners instead), eating healthy fermented foods and beverages (plus an energizing fermented green drink like Super Spirulina Plus), and cutting out processed foods. When you couple that with Body Ecology’s digestive enzymes, you’ll be able to kick indigestion to the curb and finally have the health and energy you have been hoping for!
- Saltzman JR, Kemp JA, Golner BB, et al. Effect of hypochlorhydria due to omeprazole treatment or atrophic gastritis on protein bound vitamin B12 absorption. J Amer Coll Nutr 1994;13:584-591.
- Bajaj JS, Khardori R, Deo MG, Bansal DD. Adrenocortical function in experimental protein malnutrition. Metabolism. 1979 May;28(5):594-8.
- Kennedy M.D., Ron. “Hypochlorhydria.” Doctor’s Medical Library.