Low Stomach Acid Causes Digestive Problems

By Doris Temple

Low stomach acid causes discomfort for many people. Yet, most don't relate their digestive problems with low hydrochloric acid.

When you eat, the food passes down into the stomach. The stomach has muscles which act to churn and gyrate your food. The stomach also has two key secretions for digestion. These are hydrochloric acid and pepsin. You need both of these in order to properly digest proteins and to absorb minerals from your food.

Your food remains in the stomach, churning and gyrating until a semi-liquid state is achieved.

So, if you have low stomach acid, the food sits there longer. One may mistake this as indigestion and reach for antacids.

Antacids neutralize the stomach acid, inhibit the absorption of nutrients and just make things worse. For most, the problem is not too much hydrochloric acid. It is too little. I found a study referencing that as many as 40% of adults have not enough stomach acid to properly digest their food.

Part of the reason is that as we age the stomach seems to release less acid.

But that doesn't explain the problem for all age groups.

The food you eat has an affect. Overeating, fried foods, soft drinks, coffee, chocolate, alcohol and tobacco smoking all have an effect on digestion.

Signs and Symptoms of Low Stomach Acid

  • bloating, belching, burning and flatulence immediately after meals
  • feeling of "fullness" after eating
  • indigestion, diarrhea or even constipation
  • various food allergies
  • a feeling of nausea after taking supplements
  • itching around the rectum
  • weak, peeling and cracked fingernails
  • dilated blood vessels in the cheek area and on the nose
  • you may see undigested food in stool
  • gas in the upper digestive tract.

Insufficiency can come from a low intake of protein, vitamin A, and the B's. It is kind of a Catch 22 situation because you need these nutrients to have enough hydrochloric acid and without enough you aren't properly absorbing the nutrients you need have enough of the acid.

What you can do:

  1. Avoid self medicating with antacids. If you have low acid this just makes the situation worse.
  2. Avoid overeating and the list of foods I mentioned above.
  3. Discuss the symptoms that you have with your physician as to the possibility of low stomach acid being the cause.
  4. Change your eating habits. Healthy eating cannot be under emphasized as to its importance.
  5. If needed, hydrochloric acid supplements with pepsin are available.


Doris Temple
Article by Doris Temple
Doris Temple created http://mom-going-organic-sensibly.com to fill the need for unbiased information. The Website provides information about organic food, products and healthy nutrition. Sign up for a free monthly email newsletter (ezine) to get the answers you need and keep updated: www.mom-going-organic-sensibly.com/ezine-signup.html.

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