Do You Produce Enough Stomach Acid?
Many people think of stomach acid as a bad thing. It is often blamed for symptoms such as heartburn, reflux and general indigestion. Stomach acid blocking drugs are some of the most popular medications used today. This highlights how many people have a problem in this area.
The truth is, stomach acid is very important. It performs several vital functions in your body and your health will suffer if you don’t produce enough. The symptoms usually attributed to excess stomach acid, such as heartburn and reflux are usually not caused by too much stomach acid at all. Most people with those symptoms don’t make enough stomach acid. They just have other digestive problems that produce discomfort.
Often increasing stomach acid fixes indigestion and improves overall health.
The lining of the stomach produces pepsin and rennin, as well as hydrochloric acid, which provides the correct acidity for the digestive enzymes to work. Deficiency of stomach hydrochloric acid is common in those over 50 years of age, and can lead to weakened digestion and multiple nutritional deficiencies, especially a deficiency of vitamin B 12.
In such cases it is desirable to increase stomach acidity during meals, and this can be done with tablets of Betaine Hydrochloride. Once dissolved in the stomach, Betaine Hydrochloride yields 25% of its weight as hydrochloric acid. Another tablet to increase hydrochloric acid is glutamic acid hydrochloride, which is slightly less potent and requires a dose of 600 to 1800 mg during meals.
Another useful technique to increase stomach acidity during a meal is to sip a glass of water containing 2 tablespoons of good quality organic apple cider vinegar with the juice of half a lemon or lime added. Some people find that this practise really improves their digestion and reduces flatulence and abdominal bloating.
Those with a severe deficiency of stomach hydrochloric acid, (known as achlorhydria), may have an increased risk of stomach cancer and for this reason antioxidants such as vitamin C, E and selenium should be part of the daily supplementation program.
Aloe Vera juice can soothe the lining of the stomach and intestines and is useful for those with acid reflux, and stomach or duodenal ulcers. It is alkalinizing and can reduce the symptoms of excess stomach acid and reflux of stomach acid. Aloe Vera can be consumed as often as needed and is safe and harmless, unless of course, you are allergic to it. Do not take Aloe Vera juice with meals, as you need the stomach contents to be acidic to properly digest food. Take the Aloe Vera in between meals or if you have an acid reflux attack. Grow some aloe vera plants in your garden and you will have a fresh supply.
Antacid medications are often used by those with heartburn and/or reflux. Avoid the long-term use of antacids containing aluminium. Some simple and harmless antacids are sodium and potassium bicarbonate, magnesium carbonate, magnesium hydroxide and calcium carbonate. A brand worth mentioning, that is free of aluminium, is Andrew’s Tums.
Natural Supplements to reduce reflux:
- Magnesium Ultra Potent Powder in a dose of ½ teaspoon twice daily in water or vegetable juices to strengthen the muscular valve between the esophagus and stomach.
- Slippery elm powder mixed in vegetable juice or coconut, rice or almond milk, can reduce acidity; take it in between meals.
- Selenium is an essential daily supplement for those with chronic reflux because it is a powerful antioxidant that helps to prevent cancerous changes in the esophagus.
- The Ultimate Gut Health Powder, providing nourishing and healing amino acids, fibres and a live probiotic. This formula was designed to repair and strengthen the gut and improve gut bacteria.
The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.