Could You Have Low Stomach Acid?

Why do we need stomach acid?

Hydrochloric acid (HCl), is made in the stomach and is primarily used to break down our food and the proteins that we eat. It also aids in mineral and vitamin absorption. Stomach acid acts as the first line of defense against bacteria and parasites. If levels are low, it may cause imbalances in GI bacteria, nutritional deficiencies, and general digestive discomfort.

Heartburn means too much acid, right?

Not necessarily. Many times heartburn, reflux and indigestion are signs of low stomach acid. Food does not get broken down resulting in fermentation and gas production.

What are the other symptoms of low HCl?

Low  acid can cause a feeling of fullness, bloating and discomfort, and even lower your appetite. You may have irregular bowel movements and an imbalance in gut bacteria. These can lead to new food sensitivities or allergies. Anemia and nutrient deficiencies can also be a result. These issues lead to chronic fatigue and mood imbalances. Acne or other skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, hives, or rosacea can be a result, as can autoimmune conditions like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or celiac disease.

Where does the acid go?

As you age, stomach acid declines. It can also lower with stress, gum chewing, nail biting, and other oral habits that track your body into thinking you are eating. Chronic use of antacids ultimately make symptoms worse by depleting stomach acid.

How can I find out if my HCI is low?

There is no easy way to measure acid levels. Usually, diagnosis is based on symptoms. One idea, however, is called the “beet test.” Literally, eat a beat. If, within one day of eating the beet your urine or feces turns pink or magenta,

your stomach acid levels may be low. Stomach acid plays a major role in breaking down the pigments in foods, so if there are still pigments left at the end of digestion, you may not have enough HCI.

That’s me, what should I do?

Try boosting your acid naturally. Apple Cider Vinegar and betaine HCl supplements can stimulate HCl production.