Stomach Acid - Friend Or Foe?
By secreting hydrochloric acid and the hormone pepsin, the stomach plays a key role in food digestion. When our ability to make hydrochloric acid is compromised, poor digestion, poor absorption and gastrointestinal infection may result, which can lead to a host of health problems. Diagnosis of low stomach acid (Hypochlorhydria) can be obtained by performing a gastric pH analysis test. Treatment of Hypochlorhydria consists of supplementing with “stomach acid” pills in the form of Betaine HCL.
Terminology Associated With Stomach Acid Problems:
Hyperchlorhydria - the production of too much stomach acid. This can cause corrosion of the stomach lining leading to stomach and duodenal ulcers.
Hypochlorhydria - where the stomach doesn’t make enough acid to do the job of handling food intake and performs its responsibilities in an inefficient way.
Achlorhydria - when the stomach makes no acid at all, its lining cells are flat and non-functioning. This condition is called atrophic gastritis.
How Prevalent Is Hypochlorhydria?
Research conducted in the 40’s at John Hopkins University and the Mayo Clinic found low stomach acid in 30% of people by the age of 40, 60% by the age of 60 and 70-75% by ages of 70 to 75. Over the last 40 years this has been ignored and brushed aside as irrelevant by the traditional medical community. However, hypochlorhydria and achlorhydria can lead to consequences in our health that are non-optimal and deleterious.
The Adverse Effects Of Hypochlorhydria Include:
• Amino acid deficiencies due to poor digestion and assimilation of protein. Low grade amino acid deficiencies can be associated with muscle wasting, immuno-deficiency, nervous system dysfunction and reduce liver detoxification.
• Multiple mineral deficiencies particularly of calcium, iron, magnesium and possibly selenium, chromium, manganese, copper and other trace minerals. Deficiencies of these minerals can further cause ill health and increased risk to degenerative diseases.
• Vitamin B12 deficiency. This is particularly seen in achlorhydric patients where there is no production of intrinsic factor. This is a chemical compound produced by the stomach which tags onto vitamin B12 released from protein in the stomach and carries it down the intestine to allow B12 to be absorbed in the lower part of the small intestine.
When protein is poorly digested, partially digested fragments can gain access to the body and initiate an activation of the immune system causing conditions associated with food intolerance, e.g. arthritis, rhinitis, asthma, eczema, urticaria (hives) and colitis.
An increased lead of undigested protein fragments can get to the colon and feed a section of the flora there which overgrow, produce poisonous substances (like ammonia and various biogenic aminos) which are toxic to the body if allowed access to the general circulation. This is called putrefaction of the bowel.
Conditions And Diseases Associated With Hypochlorhydria (low stomach acid)
Magnesium, avoiding food allergens and addressing low gastric acid.
Celiac disease – Wheat gluten sensitivity
Chronic autoimmune disorders
Cognitive Dysfunction and Dementia from B12 deficiency
Dermatitis herpetiformis (herpes)-typical for wheat gluten sensitivity
Depression- Leaky Gut with LPS
Diabetes – Autoimmune type one
Gall bladder disease – associated with hypochlorhydia
Graves disease-Autoimmune-Elevated TSH receptor ab-Yersinia molecular Mimciry with TSH receptor
Iron deficiency-Low Iron and Low ferritin
Hyper and hypothyroidism- Autoimmune-Hashimotos Thyroiditis
Lupus erythematosus -autoimmune
Neuropathy and Neuro Psychiatric Disorder from B12 deficiency
Osteoporosis-from Calcium Malabsorption
Pernicious anemia – Parietal Cell Antibodies-B12 deficiency-gastric atrophy
Sjögren’s syndrome – Autoimmune
Thyrotoxicosis-three types: Graves, Hashitoxicosis, and Txic Nodular Goiter
Chronic intestinal parasites or abnormal flora -GI-Fx shows parasite DNA
Undigested food in stool-Demonstrated on GI-FX test
Chronic candida infections-from gut dysbiosis
Upper digestive tract gassiness-from dysbiosis
Signs And Symptoms Of Low Stomach Acid
• Belching, bloating, burning, or “acid reflux” after eating, immediately after meals.
• Sense of fullness after eating.
• Indigestion and constipation because food is not being digested properly
• Skin conditions such as Acne, Rosacea, Urticaria, Eczema
• Dilated blood vessels in the cheeks and nose (in non-alcoholics), this is called “Rosacea Acne
• Vertical ridging on the nails because of inability to absorb nutrients from food, Weak, peeling, and cracked fingernails.
• Leg and foot cramps from mineral deficiencies because you are not absorbing minerals.
• Chronic injuries due poor amino acid status and inability to restore tissue, muscle atrophy and wasting.
• Multiple Food allergies, which may be associate d with asthma.
• Gallstones. You may have already had a cholecystectomy.
• Poor cognitive function and the onset of dementia.
• Low bone mineral density and osteoporosis.
• Itching around the rectum from parasites.
• Hair loss in women. One also sees this in women who are pregnant, on oral contraceptive pills or estrogen replacement therapy and in folic acid deficient individuals.
• Abdominal bloating, in the upper part with consumption if animal protein, especially beef, when food just “sits there like a rock” and doesn’t “digest” well.
Diagnosis is done by performing the Heidelberg gastric pH analysis test. This involves swallowing a capsule the size of a large multi-vitamin and mineral which has within it a pH electrode and a radio transmitter. The signal given off is sent to an antenna which the patient wears around the stomach in the form of a belt and the result is shown on a large machine which visualizes pH readings.
When safely swallowed and in place, resting stomach pH is measured. Except in severely achlorhydric patients, it is usually acid (pH of 1.8 to 2.3). The stomach is then made to work by the patient swallowing a known amount of sodium bicarbonate. When this is done, the stomach becomes alkaline and then acid is made to bring down the pH to the baseline.
In abnormal stomach this occurs within 20 minutes after 4 or 5 challenges. The reacidification time is delayed in these individuals with hypochlorhydria. This procedure is very reliable in diagnosing sub-optimal gastric acidity states and confirms the clinical diagnosis.
Digestin Digestive Enzymes from Progressive Laboratories
Enzymes are complex protein molecules that are manufactured by all plant and animal cells. Enzymes are very important because they break up large food molecules into smaller units that are absorbed into the cells. They help the body digest food and assimilate nutrients from proteins, carbohydrates, fats, and plant fibers. In addition, enzymes assist in all chemical reactions taking place in our body; including the regeneration of cells/tissues and the elimination of waste products/toxins as well as supporting our immune system.
Digestin... Digestive Aid For Protein, Fat And Starch
Digestin™ is a two-phase digestive enzyme capsule that works in both the upper and lower digestive tract. Its exclusive enteric matrix formulation allows part of its enzymes to be released in the gastric phase and part in the enteric phase of digestion.
Contains Bile Powder - Supports fat digestion in the small intestine. Useful for people who have had their gall bladder removed. Supports the pancreas, gall bladder and liver in producing bile salts and helps digest fats.
Acida-Zyme HCI w/Pepsin from Progressive Laboratories
Stomach acid is a crucial step in the digestive process. Responsible for breaking down proteins, producing bile, stimulating the pancreas to produce digestive enzyme, and killing harmful bacteria, stomach acid is crucial for healthy digestion and assimilation of food. Without optimal stomach acid, we are vulnerable to poor digestion and all of its manifestations, gas, bloating, eczema, allergies, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, vitamin deficiencies and many chronic degenerative diseases.
Acida-Zyme Betaine HCI ... Digestive Aid With Pepsin
Acida-Zyme is a digestive aid containing betaine HCl for patients with insufficient stomach acid.
Taken with meals, Acida-Zyme particularly supports digestion of protein and fats.
Comfort Zone Digestive Complex Vegetable Capsules
Solgar® Comfort Zone is an advanced digestive complex that helps to encourage more efficient and thorough digestion…so you can feel better about the foods you eat and worry less about having the foods you enjoy. With 11 naturally derived enzymes, Solgar® Comfort Zone helps to support the body’s natural digestive process…so you can turn what you eat… into what you need.* Stop avoiding – with Solgar® Comfort Zone you can put your favorite foods back on the menu.
Suitable for Lacto-Vegetarians.
Super Papaya Enzyme Plus
Chewable Super Papaya Enzyme Plus...The After Meal Supplement
An advanced, more powerful digestive aid, this 100% natural "after meal" supplement may be especially helpful when looking for a higher level of support. Each serving contains 15mg of delicious papaya fruit fortified with well-known enzymes, including papain, protease, amylase, and bromelain, which may help improve the absorption of food and protein digestion. Peppermint and chlorophyll have been added to refresh taste and sweeten breath.
Free Of: yeast, wheat, milk or milk derivatives, lactose, sugar, preservatives, soy, artificail color, artificial flavor.
contains sodium (less than 5mg per serving).
Directions: Adults, chew 3 tablets following meals, or dissolve 1 or 2 tablets in mouth when needed. Warning: If you are pregnant, nursing or taking medications, consult with your doctor before use.
Probiotic CD from American Health
Probiotic CD™ is a proprietary blend of 12 billion bio-active microorganismsÅ» from 10 naturally-derived strains. This comprehensive probiotic blend is enhanced through the advanced controlled delivery of Bio-tract®. Bio-tract® shields active organisms from stomach gastric acids, which may destroy sensitive bacteria before they reach the intestinal tract - reducing the number of active organisms, lowering product effectiveness and impacting nutrient absorption.
Bio-tract®'s exclusive gel matrix technology allows for a gel protective layer to continuously form and erode around the tablet; releasing probiotic organisms as it travels through the digestive tract providing controlled delivery and ensuring the organisms remain active at consistent levels throughout the day. You can count on Probiotic CD™ to deliver the highest level of all day digestive, intestinal and immune support essential for healthy digestion, natural regularity, intestinal function and immune health.
Ray Allard (owner/founder)
Essentials Of Life was created in 1995 to contribute to a healthy lifestyle through education and by offering services and products that to make a positive difference in our customers lives and help them put their health on track. Our main purpose is to help our clients by giving them the tools to help them take charge of their own health.