Do You Have Low Stomach Acid?

As we age, we lose much of our stomach acid, & it may be the reason why so people get the symptoms of indigestion, which could be burping, belching, acid re flux, gas, bloating & then start to take antacids thinking that they have too much stomach acid & as a result may develop other health issues.

None of these symptoms are saying that you absolutely have low stomach acid, however these are all possible signs of low stomach acid, and if you are dealing with one or more of these digestive symptoms, then it may be worth checking it out.

The ph of hydrochloric acid (HCL) should be between .8 to 3 which is very acidic. The enzyme pepsin is activated by the HCL to help digest protein in the stomach. Our body makes 2 liters of HCL every day. The body makes the HCL from the salt (NaCl) you consume & also from other things like potassium, vitamin C & zinc.

Why Do We Need Hydrochloric Acid?

  • It helps to break down the protein from the food you ate into smaller protein particles called amino- acids. So insufficient HCL will cause incomplete protein digestion causing the food to rot & ferment producing toxins & gasses which creates discomfort & pressure.
  • It helps to kill bacteria, fungi, yeast, viruses, which prevent them from moving down into the small intestines & causing SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth) or SIFO (small intestine fungal overgrowth)
  • It helps with the absorption of minerals. So to get the minerals out of the protein structure ( like meat, fish, cheese) that it’s bound to, HCL is needed. Low stomach acid will prevent you from separating the minerals from the protein structure & absorbing these minerals.

What is the solution?

Providing that you don’t have an ulcer or the lining of your stomach isn’t inflamed (gastritis) there is a very simple solution & that is taking Betaine hydrochloride, which you can get as a supplement at a health food store.

Here’s the caveat to taking Betaine hydrochloride. If you don’t take the right steps before you start supplementing with betaine hydrochloride, it can create some significant health issues. Here’s how. Our stomach makes HCL which is very acidic but that is necessary to break down the food that we eat. So if you aren’t making enough stomach acid, you can take the betaine HCL while you are eating your food & the ph of the stomach will turn acidic which will allow you to digest your food well. So what’s the problem? Once that food is acidified, it goes into the first 10 inches of the small intestine (duodenum) That’s when the bile (which is alkaline) is dropped down from the gall bladder into the duodenum & starts to neutralize those acids.

When an acid (stomach acid) & a base (alkaline bile) come together, it causes a reaction to take place which helps to break down the nutrients out of the partially digested food & also neutralizes the acid. The bile also helps to emulsify the fat in the food & absorb the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, & K. If these acids aren’t neutralized, the food will pass through the digestive system & will continue to digest the intestinal lining which is made up of protein!

The body doesn’t want this to happen, so it collects all the water from other parts of the body to the intestinal tract to dilute those acids resulting in diarrhea.

What we need to realize is, that if the acid is not being neutralized, you can get diarrhea & it can also irritate the duodenum & cause a duodenal ulcer over time.

So if you are going to supplement with betaine HCL, make sure that your bile is thin and flowing easily. The bile in the gall bladder is concentrated & if it sits there too long without a demand being put on it to release bile, it gets too thick & sticky to flow & can even turn into gall stones in the gall bladder.

What causes the gallbladder to release bile?

It’s the acid that comes down from the stomach into the duodenum that triggers the gallbladder to release bile. So if you don’t have enough stomach acid, that bile won’t be released to neutralize that acid & the bile continues to concentrate & become into sludge & can’t flow properly.

So before you take betaine HCL to fix the low stomach acid issue you need to ensure that the bile is thin & flowing correctly so that you don’t experience the consequences of having loose stools, diarrhea or a duodenal ulcer.

Lastly, you don’t want to supplement with betaine HCL if you have loose stools if it’s being caused by a lack of bile flow b/c the symptoms will get worse.

Remember that at your core you are magnificent, powerful and awesome!

Brenda Blindenbach
Certified Emotion Code Practitioner
Health and Wellness Coach