Stomach acid aka hydrochloric acid (HCL) plays an important role in digestion. Stomach acid is required to activate the enzyme pepsin to break down protein, increase absorption of nutrients, create proper pH levels, bacterial balance and a healthy microbiome. Stomach acid helps to digest food and inhibit and destroy harmful bacteria. Stomach acid is also required for the assimilation of B12, folate, vitamin C, beta carotene, magnesium, and many other important nutrients.
Good health depends on good digestion. From a nutritional point of view, the level or quality of health can be traced to an individual’s digestive functioning.
The stomach produces a variety of substances that promote digestion and assimilation; gastric juice contains hydrochloric acid and pepsinogens (precursors of the family of proteolytic enzymes called pepsins). Parietal cells produce both stomach acid and intrinsic factor, a protein required to bind vitamin B12 prior to its absorption in the small intestine. Not to solely single out vitamin B12, inadequate production of hydrochloric acid can result in impaired uptake or deficiency of all B-vitamins, potentially leading to muscle weakness and neurological deficit.
Hydrochloric acid (HCl) is a strong mineral acid that functions to maintain gastric pH between 1.5 and 2.5. This acidity serves three important roles; low pH kills microorganisms in food, it activates pepsinogen, and it denatures proteins, making them more accessible to proteolytic degradation.
Hydrochloric acid is our body’s first line of defense against disease-causing microbes and infections. The secretion of hydrochloric acid by the stomach protects the body from pathogens and reduces risk of infections such as yeast, Candida overgrowth, parasites, e. coli, H. pylori, UTIs, SIBO and other bacterial infections. On the other hand, acid-blocking drugs aka proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs) shut down production of stomach acid. These drugs have an endless list of detrimental side effects.
Those with low stomach acid (hypochlorhydria) or no stomach acid (achlorhydria) often complain of bloating, belching, a feeling of heaviness in the stomach after eating, or feeling full after eating only a small amount of food. Then, there are those with little or no stomach acid who experience absolutely no symptoms at all.
More often than not, those with leaky gut, digestion problems, acid reflux, GERD and heartburn have LOW levels of hydrochloric acid (HCL). They also tend to have several nutrient deficiencies (amino acids, vitamin and mineral deficiencies).
Low stomach acid inhibits the breakdown and digestion of the food you eat creating an environment for protein to putrify and carbohydrates to ferment leading to malnourishment, digestive dysfunction, multiple nutrient deficiencies, and endless health problems and disease.
Approximately 90% of Americans produce too little stomach acid. When organs get older, they usually don’t work as well as they did when they were younger; we don’t run as fast at age 47 as we did at 27—why would our stomachs be any different?” —Jonathan Wright, MD
Advertising suggests that heartburn and indigestion are caused by too much stomach acid.
This is seldom, if ever the case. Actually, it is just the opposite—not enough stomach acid. It is unfortunate that many in the medical community fail to recognize how serious a health problem hypochlorhydria and achlorhydria are.
Long-term use of acid-blocking drugs and PPIs increase the risk of esophageal cancer by 340%!
Clostridium (bacterial infection) is common with antacid use.
OTC antacids, proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs) and commonly prescribed drugs for heartburn set the stage for later degenerative diseases by interfering with digestion and absorption of minerals, proteins and vitamins.
Many commercial antacids contain toxic ingredients such as aluminum, artificial colors and sweeteners. “These chemicals disrupt digestion and alter the structure and function of stomach lining cells and cause side effects like headache, diarrhea and abdominal pain.” –Jonathan Wright, MD author of Why Stomach Acid is Good for You
Over time, low stomach acid will lead to serious health consequences. If sub-optimal stomach acid is your problem, you can literally add years of better health to your life by reversing low stomach acid.
Good-bye Acid Reflux, Heartburn, Indigestion and GERD
You can expect improved digestion, less bloating, healthier elimination, and better assimilation and breakdown of protein, amino acids, minerals, and other important nutrients with sufficient stomach acid. As a bonus, your energy, strength, endurance, mood and sleep will also improve.
Avoid supplements with hydrochloric acid if you take OTC or Rx anti-inflammatory drugs, suspect you have an ulcer, gastritis or take PPIs. NSAIDs and corticosteroids increase the chances of ulcers in the stomach and together with hydrochloric acid can increase the risk of gastritis.
If you’re suffering from acid reflux, heartburn, GERD, indigestion or sub-optimal levels of stomach acid, you can literally add years of better health to your life by addressing low stomach acid. Healthy digestion is a fundamental requirement for optimal health.
All disease starts in the gut! —Hippocrates