05 Apr STOMACH ACID IS GOOD FOR YOU
Do you suffer from any of these symptoms?
- Stomach bloating
- Nausea when taking supplements
- Flatulence (smelly)
- Weak, cracked or peeling nails
- Iron deficiency
- Other minerals deficiencies
- B12, folate deficiencies
- Dilated capillaries in cheeks and nose
- Chronic intestinal (small) infections
- Depression, anxiety due to low neurotransmitters
If you do, there is a good chance that you are not producing enough stomach acid. Many people mistake reflux or heartburn for hyperacidity when the opposite is more likely.
They are frequently prescribed stomach acid blocking medications, the most common of which are proton pump inhibitors, which give them short-term relief but if taken for too long, makes matters worse.
Why is having enough stomach acid important?
It is vital to your digestion, especially protein foods in the stomach. If you have low stomach acid proteins putrefy and carbohydrates start to ferment leading to gas (often smelly), bloating, belching and ends up pushing acid upwards.
Interestingly, the valve (lower oesophageal sphincter) at the top of the stomach needs enough stomach acid to close. It has sensors that detect the acidity of the stomach content.
More stomach acid increases the closing pressure of the valve. When the acidity does not reach a certain level, the valve remains open and acid refluxes into the oesophagus. When protein digestion is poor, you risk developing depression, anxiety, hormonal issues including hypothyroidism as you would lack the amino acids for your body to make enough neurotransmitters and hormones.
Sufficient stomach acid is needed to trigger digestive enzymes e,g, for fat digestion. Poor fat digestion leads to deficiencies in essential fatty acids (EFAs). EFAs protect us from inflammatory conditions. Our absorption of minerals and vitamins such as calcium, iron, zinc, vitamin B12 and folate depends on sufficient stomach acid. Deficiencies in these nutrients lead to osteoporosis, anaemia, poor immunity and skin disorders.
Stomach acid is one of our defenses against infections from parasitic, bacteria, viruses and yeasts. These infections may lead to constipation, diarrhoea, bloating, irritable bowel, inflammatory bowel diseases and gut permeability or leaky gut. Gut permeability is linked to allergies, food sensitivities and autoimmune conditions.
If you are suffering from one of the mentioned health conditions and are unsure whether your stomach acid level plays a part, working with a functional medicine practitioner can help you uncover the underlying causes which may be more complicated than just stomach acid.