organic  The normal volume of the stomach acid fluid is 20-100 mL with a pH range from 1.5-3.5. Due to the logarithmic nature of the pH scale, there is a significant difference between a pH of 1.5 and that of 3.0 or 3.5. For healthy protein digestion, the pH should be in the 1.5-2.2 range.

7 Major Functions of Stomach Acid

1) Sterilizes the Food: Whenever we consume food, bacteria and other microorganisms come in with the food (even if it was cooked or pasteurized). The stomach acid helps to neutralize the bad invaders we don’t want in our system.

2) Protein Digestion: Stomach acid is necessary to begin the process of breaking down protein. Have you ever marinated meat in vinegar? Vinegar is not nearly as acidic as what your stomach acid should be, yet, over time it degrades the meat. This is what your stomach acid should be doing in a much quicker fashion.

3) Activating Pepsin: Pepsin is a proteolytic enzyme that is necessary for our body to effectively metabolize protein. Stomach acid activates pepsin from its inactive form called pepsinogen

4) Activating Intrinsic Factor: Stomach acid helps to activate intrinsic factor which is a glycoprotein produced in the stomach that is necessary for vitamin B12 absorption.

5) Stimulating the Delivery of Bile and Enzymes: Stomach acid helps to stimulate the release of bile from the liver and gall bladder and digestive enzymes from the pancreas.

6) Closing the Esophageal Sphincter: Stomach acid is an important trigger for the contraction of the esophageal sphincter (just above the stomach) to protect the soft, delicate tissue of the esophagus from the harsh acids in the stomach.

7) Opening the Pyloric Sphincter: Stomach acid helps to active the pyloric sphincter which allows food to move from the stomach to the small intestine.

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The Problem With Low Stomach Acid:

When the body is unable to produce enough stomach acid, it is unable to digest protein molecules and key minerals. These partially digested protein molecules get into the small intestine and create significant stress on the pancreas to produce adequate enzymes to metabolize the protein effectively.

If this occurs repeatedly over time, it will wear down the pancreatic enzyme storage and cause stress and irritation to the intestinal lining. Additionally, if the protein molecules are not efficiently metabolized we are unable to absorb enough amino acids which are necessary for numerous vital functions of the body. This can lead to amino acid deficiencies, poor healing and a breakdown of various important bodily functions.

The large protein molecules and incomplete digestion irritates the gut lining, leading to leaky gut syndrome. This process can trigger the development of auto-immune activity in the body. Poor digestion also creates an environment suited for the development of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), Candida overgrowth and parasitic infections.

When we digest our food poorly it leads to increased inflammatory activity which depletes key minerals and anti-oxidants throughout the body. This mineral depletion leads to an inability to form stomach acid and the vicious cycle of poor digestion and chronic inflammation continues.

StomachAcidCycle ig

12 Signs that You Have Low Stomach Acid:

The condition of low HCL causes poor digestive motility and sphincter activity. This allows food contents to sit in the stomach and be metabolized by bacteria that are able to survive due to lack of stomach acid. The result of this bacterial fermentation is gas which can cause bloating, cramping, belching, etc.

Here are the most common signs and symptoms that you have low stomach acid production.

1) Gas and Belching: With low HCL, this usually comes on shortly after a meal, within 60 minutes.

2) Acid Reflux: This is most commonly caused by low acid (not too much acid) as explained in this article.

3) Bloating and Cramping: The gas production from the bacterial fermentation in the stomach produces this. Again, it typically comes on within an hour of eating.

4) Chronic Bad Breath: This is due to the toxic metabolites produced through bacterial fermentation in the stomach.

5) Bad Body Odor: Poor stomach acid production leads to an overall microbial overgrowth throughout the body. More microbes produce more stinky toxins.

6) Undigested Food in Stools: This is obvious, you are not able to completely metabolize the food you are consuming.

7) Aversion to Meat: Many people with low stomach acid desire to avoid meat and have digestive problems (as described above) when they eat it. Especially red meat which is usually tougher and depends upon more HCL than whiter meats for digestion.

8) Tired After Meals: If the digestive process has to work twice as hard, it will cost us a lot of energy, leaving us tired.

9) Feeling Full But Still Hungry: You are full because food isn’t leaving your stomach, but you are hungry because you are not absorbing nutrients effectively.

10) Chronic Anemia: You aren’t having excessive bleeding, you are consuming enough iron in your diet (or even in supplements), yet you still have a non-responsive anemia.

11) Weak Fingernails: If your fingernails break, chip or peel easily it is a classic sign of nutrient deficiencies, especially protein, minerals and B12.

12) Frequent Nausea: Because your stomach gets full quickly, it can often trigger a nausea reflex.

Additionally, you may be more prone to food poisoning because the less stomach acid you are producing, the less able you will be to sterilize the food stuffs in the stomach. Have you ever wondered why 2 people can eat the same dish, one gets sick and the other doesn’t. It may have had to do with stomach acid production.

Some of the other symptoms that one may experience with low stomach acid include the following.

AcidProzyme Symptoms

The Baking Soda Stomach Acid Test

Ingesting baking soda has been a natural remedy used for many years to help settle an upset stomach. Baking soda contains sodium bicarbonate which has hydroxide (OH-) ions that reduce acidity. Since reducing acidity can create more comfort in someone with acid reflux, baking soda developed this reputation.

There is a simple test you can do at your home in order to see if you have enough stomach acid. This involves drinking baking soda in order to create a unique chemical reaction within your stomach. This reaction happens when the (OH-) ions of the baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and the hydrogen (H+) ions within the hydrochloric (stomach) acid (HCL). This should naturally result in carbon dioxide gas production and a resulting burping effect.

This test is virtually free (other than the cost of a ¼ tsp of baking soda) so there is nothing to lose. I recommend doing this test because it is safe and has no cost and it can be done very easily.

 

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