Low Hydrochloric Acid Levels (HCI)
Some people with low stomach acid have no symptoms that are obviously related, and are led to believe they are digesting properly, when they are not.
Low stomach acid can cause a host of issues in the body and is a major contributor to chronic un-wellness. Most doctors think that reflux disease is caused by high acid content in the stomach and they try to reduce your stomach acid with acid and acid-reducing drugs like Prilosec.
The truth is that it’s really low stomach acid that causes, or at least aggravates, poor digestion, setting up for food sensitivities, toxic food, metabolites, leaky bowel syndrome, malabsorption of nutrients, and gastrointestinal reflux disease.
For many people poor digestion starts with poor dietary choices and not chewing each bite well. In many people, poor digestion is from antibiotics and other types of medicine that damage the stomach’s ability to produce enough Hydrochloric Acid (HCL).
When stomach acid is depleted, it only takes half the number of pathogenic bacteria to cause disease.
Hydrochloric acid plays an important part in the first step of digestion, which if not completed properly can result in digestive problems all the way through the digestive tract.
HCI does not digest food on its own, but creates an environment in which digestion begins. HCl is responsible for converting pepsinogen to pepsin, which begins breaking down proteins in the stomach. With limited HCl, pepsinogen is not converted to pepsin and protein digestion fails. A second action of HCL is to prevent infections, since most organisms that are ingested are destroyed by an adequately acid environment.
Conditions that indicate that you have low stomach acid or low HCL:
- Acid Reflux
- Bacterial Dysbiosis
- B12 and B6 deficiency
- Poor Skin Hair
- Adult Acne
- poor appetite
- prolonged fullness after meals
- hair loss
- autoimmune diseases
- degenerative diseases of all kinds
Low stomach acid is a major contributor to chronic unwellness that is under-appreciated.
Here’s a simple at-home test to check for low stomach acid
Testing your HCL levels is easy. The purpose of this test is to give us a rough indication as to whether your stomach is producing adequate amounts of hydrochloric acid.
Here’s what you need:
- ¼ tsp. baking soda
- 4 ounces of water
- A timer
First thing in the morning before you brush your teeth or put anything in your mouth:
- Mix the baking soda with the water.
- Set the timer for 3 minutes.
- Drink the baking soda and water mixture.
- Notice when you burp.
- Time how long it takes to belch. Time up to three minutes. If you have not belched within three minutes, stop timing.
- If your stomach is producing adequate amounts of hydrochloric acid, you will belch within two to three minutes. If you belch closer to 3 minutes or not at all, you have low stomach acid.
- Early and repeated belching may be due to excessive stomach acid.
Belching results from the acid and baking soda reacting to form carbon dioxide gas.
Hydrochloric acid is necessary for proper digestion and nutrient absorption. It also kills many organisms and helps to keep the stomach sterile.
Also, because hydrochloric acid kills many bacteria, yeasts, and parasites, its insufficiency is associated with greater incidence of dysbiosis (gastrointestinal infection). At the same time, one can develop multiple food sensitivities as abnormally large, inadequately digested food particles are absorbed, triggering an immune response.
When hydrochloric acid is lacking (a condition termed hypochlorhydria), malnutrition results. Hypochlorhydria is the very common condition of inadequate production of hydrochloric acid by the parietal cells in the stomach.
Contact me with your results from this test for an initial assessment and consultation and let’s bring your stress levels down and start you on the road to balance, healing and happiness.