low stomach acid symptoms (hypochlorhydria):Causes, Treatment


Acid indigestion? Little-known truths you need to know.
low stomach acid symptoms (hypochlorhydria):Causes, Treatment

This can be very upsetting, especially to the person who is doing all the “right things.”

The hidden digestive issues underneath a health problem.

Improper digestion is actually a serious problem that needs to be investigated and solved. Last week’s post on leaky gut discussed the role of bacteria and other probiotic micro-organisms. Read that post for important details; key points are:

  1. eat foods that foster a healthy living climate for the probiotics who help digest your food;
  2. remove toxic food additives and other drugs and chemicals that destroy digestive health;
  3. treat intestinal pathogens such as Candida and parasites in as safe and natural way as possible.

If you’ve done all these things and still have acid reflux, heartburn, burping, gas, bloating, or nausea after eating, then it’s very likely that you have a stomach acid issue. If you’ve made several diet and lifestyle changes but you’re still not seeing the results you want, low stomach acid might be holding you back.

Wait a second! Did you say low stomach acid??

Yes, and this is very importantlow—not high—stomach acid commonly causes acid indigestion, gastrointestinal issues, inflammatory bowel diseases, Celiac disease and other problems and symptoms. This is an underlying core situation and one of the first if not the first to fix. Hypochlorhydria, or low stomach acid, is a commonly overlooked problem that is linked to other diseases like stomach cancer, asthma and rheumatoid arthritis.

How low stomach acid causes problems:

  1. Stomach acid is a crucial part of your gut barrier and immune system. The acid barrier of the stomach quickly kills unwanted bacteria and other bugs that enter your body. Correct stomach acid levels also prevent intestinal bacteria from migrating up and colonizing the stomach.
  2. Proper stomach acid levels are also needed to release many nutrients from food including minerals like iron, copper, zinc and vitamins like B12 and folic acid, as well as break down complicated proteins into a more digestible form. In fact, cases of depression have been linked back to low levels of certain amino acids—especially tryptophan and tyrosine—due to low stomach acid.

Appropriate stomach acid levels are crucial for our immune system and for adequate nutrient status both of which support total health.

How do you know if you have low stomach acid (hypochlorhydria)?

Knowing about and addressing low stomach acid is so important that in my office, we check it at every visit using Nutrition Response Testing. Here are some key clues:

  1. Bloating, gas, or belching after meals.
  2. Feel full for quite some time after meals, or like food just sits in your stomach.
  3. Don’t digest food well; feel uncomfortable or unwell after eating.
  4. Bad breath – halitosis
  5. Premature aging, even though you eat well, exercise, avoid sun exposure.
  6. Have a strong appetite.
  7. Have constipation and/or diarrhea.
  8. Iron deficiency, anemia or have been anemic in the past.
  9. Weak fingernails (brittle, peeling, ridges).
  10. Thin, brittle, weak hair.
  11. Dry or weak skin.
  12. A history of one or more of the following conditions: acne, eczema, rosacea, psoriasis, vitiligo, autoimmune disease, rheumatoid arthritis, osteporosis, adrenal fatigue, bacteria overgrowth, candida yeast infection, food allergies

Why would you have acid indigestion or other problems after eating food that is good for you?

This can be a two part problem. First is the physiological low stomach acid problem. The second is a misguided belief system created to cope with the low stomach acid.

People truly feel bad, sluggish or nauseous when they eat a large portion of food and it just sits in their stomach. Fermenting food creates brain fog and body aches, belching and acid reflux. The reason is because that person doesn’t have the ability to digest that food. This is particularly common with meat and/or starchy foods—two foods we tend to combine which makes matters even worse. The problem is that the body needs more stomach acid to properly breakdown the meat protein structures.

But what do we do next?
Take Tums™ or other heartburn “solution”?

Food sits in the stomach until the stomach until it reaches a pH of below 2.0—very acidic. Unfortunately, while it sits there you feel full, the food can begin to ferment, and the stomach acid contents can move back up into the sensitive esophagus, causing burning pain. Yes, taking an antacid helps the pain go away. It is simply untrue that high stomach acid levels cause heartburn or GERD. This is nothing more than propaganda from drug marketing companies who make money on the 110 million prescriptions and who knows how many over-the–counter antacids if they can get you (or your doctor) to believe their message.

Suppressing stomach acid production with acid-suppressing drugs, especially of the proton pump inhibitor sort, creates a broad spectrum of nutritional deficiencies, higher frequency of H. Pylori and parasite infections, higher frequency of certain cancers.
—L. Laine MD, UCLA

It’s not acid indigestion? It’s errr burps, farts, or bloating?

This is a strong indicator that the food is still in your stomach when it should be in your small intestine. Stomach acid levels have not produced a low enough pH to begin dumping the food into your intestines. The food just sits in your stomach and ferments.

If you now believe that incomplete digestion may be due to low stomach acid production, you may just be on your way back to health.

Whether or not you are on my Designed Clinical Nutrition program—but especially if you are—consider taking as many of these steps as you can:

  1. Eat breakfast like a queen lunch like a princess and dinner like a pauper
  2. Prepare your food slowly. Smells and the sensation of food preparation can enhance gastric secretions before your food is consumed.
  3. Calm down before all meals, don’t be in a hurry.
  4. Chew, enjoy a lengthy relaxed meal and chew food very thoroughly. If you can, do the Rejuveo Cleanse as it is designed to first rebalance and heal digestion.
  5. Drink the juice of an entire fresh-squeezed lemon or one Tablespoon unfiltered, unpasteurized Apple Cider Vinegar 20 minutes before each meal to stimulate gastric acids and tonify your digestive tract.
  6. Don’t drink any fluids with your meal (unless it is soup broth). Water and other beverages close to your meal will dilute your stomach acid.
  7. Simplify your meals, use fewer ingredients and follow the principles of food combining—eat proteins first, never, ever combine starch with meat; eat fruit alone or never.
  8. Don’t overeat. The adult stomach can hold 1.5L but it stretches if over-filled.

Importantly, if this has been going on for some time then you have other nutritional issues and likely a good bunch of secondary symptoms. Please give yourself enough time. Nutrition Response Testing can help find the priorities that now need help. The more you can do to heal digestion on your own, the faster and more completely this will clear up. Please to be patient with yourself.

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