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The Importance of Stomach Acid (HCL)

by | Jul 13, 2022 | Resources

The Role of Stomach Acid

Hydrochloric acid is a key component of the digestive system, and it plays an important role in the digestion of food. The stomach produces hydrochloric acid, which helps to break down food and make nutrients available for absorption. Hydrochloric acid also helps to protect the stomach from harmful bacteria. Without hydrochloric acid, the stomach would be unable to properly digest food and absorb nutrients.

Heartburn and Indigestion

If you’re one of the millions of people worldwide who regularly experiences heartburn, you’re familiar with that burning sensation in the chest, often after eating. In most cases, heartburn is caused by acid reflux, which occurs when stomach acid flows back up into the esophagus. This can happen due to a number of reasons, including a relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter muscle, pregnancy, or certain foods and beverages. It can be uncomfortable and inconvenient. There are a number of simple lifestyle changes that can help to reduce symptoms, such as avoiding trigger foods and eating smaller meals more frequently. If heartburn persists or becomes severe, it is important to seek support as it may be a sign of a more serious condition.

Big Business, Big Problems

When it was first introduced, the proton pump inhibitor (PPI) medication was hailed as a breakthrough treatment for heartburn and acid reflux. However, recent years have seen a surge in reports of severe side effects associated with PPIs, leading to a number of lawsuits. Some of the most serious side effects linked to PPIs include kidney damage, bone fractures, and chronic diarrhea. In addition, there is some evidence that PPIs may increase the risk of heart attacks and dementia. Acid-blockers, or PPIs, are the third most prescribed drug in the US. They may temporarily relieve symptoms, but they also wreak havoc on our gut. PPIs reduce gut bacteria diversity – a hallmark of health – and grow bad bugs. If you take PPIs, clean up your diet and remove caffeine, alcohol, fried, spicy, and fast food. Take digestive enzymes before you eat a meal and take a magnesium supplement. Many experts now believe that PPIs should only be used as a last resort for treating heartburn and acid reflux. If you choose to stop your medication this is a conversation to have with your doctor, as a reducing schedule would need to be put in place. 

Low Stomach Acid

What most people don’t realize is that heartburn is a result of too little stomach acid. Stomach acid is an important part of the digestive process. It helps to break down food, kill bacteria, and absorb nutrients. Low stomach acid can also make it more difficult to digest food properly, leading to fermentation and the production of gas. In some cases, low stomach acid can even lead to regurgitation, where stomach contents are brought back up into the esophagus. Over time, this can cause damage to the esophagus and lead to other problems. Therefore, it is important to maintain a healthy balance of stomach acidity.

Natural Solutions

The good news is, there are many natural alternatives to chronically relying on PPI’s. An anti-inflammatory diet will help improve stomach acid levels, as well as reducing stress, improving sleep, and other solutions I offer in my coaching programs. You can learn more by booking a free 30 minute discovery call to kick heartburn to the curb once and for all.

Jockers, D., N. C., says:, J. A. (2021, May 20). When Heartburn Medications Can Be Dangerous. DrJockers.com. Retrieved July 1, 2022, from https://drjockers.com/heartburn-medications/

Christi Buck, RDN, LD, CLT
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
Certified LEAP Therapist

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