Have you ever noticed how young people in good health never seem to have indigestion? It is because their stomachs make enough acid to digest their food. But as we age, our stomachs make less and less acid. By the time we are 60 years old, our stomach acid has dropped off up to 75 percent less from when we were 20.
Okay, now think this through. If we are making significantly less stomach acid, then what’s up with the billions of bucks we spend on antacids to treat our “acid reflux”, GERD and etc.? Maybe, just maybe, it isn’t an overproduction of acid in our tummies but rather a lack of it. Millions of dollars go into advertising to convince us that we need the latest and greatest antacid when in fact we usually need more hydrochloric acid.
How the stomach works
At the top of our stomach is a flap known as the hiatal valve which has a one-way action that allows food and liquids into the stomach. With sufficient pressure in the stomach, the hiatal valve remains closed and everything stays in the stomach and out of the esophagus. As we age and our stomach acid levels decline, the flap begins to leak without sufficient pressure to keep it closed, especially when we lay down. The result is a nasty acid burp, acid reflux, heartburn, GERD and esophageal eroding. Because this tastes, smells, feels and burns like acid, we have been schooled (erroneously) to reach for the antacid for relief.
Acid reflux is usually a symptom of too little stomach acid that results in poor digestion, gas, boating and elimination problems. Without enough digestive acid in the stomach, proteins and minerals are not properly broken down, pathogenic bacteria that is normally burned up by hydrochloric acid slips past the stomach and into the bowels while fungus that normally resides in the intestines overgrows the stomach, esophagus and mouth. To make matters worse, without enough stomach acid, the pancreas and gall bladder are also inhibited, bringing on a real health crisis.
The role of stomach acid
The stomach’s hydrochloric acid (HCL) is made by the parietal cells in the stomach. The body takes sodium chloride (salt) and breaks it down into HCL and sodium bicarbonate. HCL sterilizes food, ionizes minerals and makes pepsin to break down proteins in the food while the sodium bicarbonate flushes acids out of the connective tissues. With too little HCL comes septic processes in the tissues such as: pyorrhea, dyspepsia, nephritis, appendicitis, boils, abscesses, pneumonia and even gall bladder and pancreas trouble, leading to diabetes and gallstones.
Since HCL and sodium bicarbonate are made from salt, low salt diets and processed-demineralized table salts drive the body into acidosis while starving the stomach of what it needs. Consuming a premium mineral salt, like Himalayan or Celtic Sea Salt, is very important for digestive health.
Simple solutions for heartburn
Next time you feel the acid rising, try sucking on a lemon wedge or drinking 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar right after a meal. If the acid problem goes away, this means that you don’t have enough stomach acid to do the job. If the acid problem worsens, there may be an ulcer or other inflammatory process going on that needs attention.
Taking an HCL supplement like Betaine HCL with the morning and noon meals will help provide the stomach with the acids necessary to break down nutrients and also help lower the body’s pH. Don’t take it though if the HCL gives you heartburn. Taking ? to 1 teaspoon of aluminum free baking soda in the late afternoon will also stimulate the production of more hydrochloric acid.
Sources for this article:
Dr. Jonathan Wright, M.D., and Lane Lenard, Ph.D: Why Stomach Acid Is Good for You: Natural Relief from Heartburn, Indigestion, Reflux and Gerd. M. Evans & Company (2001)
About the author:
Craig Stellpflug is a Cancer Nutrition Specialist, Lifestyle Coach and Neuro Development Consultant at Healing Pathways Medical Clinic, Scottsdale, AZ. http://www.healingpathwayscancerclinic.com/ With 17 years of clinical experience working with both brain disorders and cancer, Craig has seen first-hand the devastating effects of vaccines and pharmaceuticals on the human body and has come to the conclusion that a natural lifestyle and natural remedies are the true answers to health and vibrant living. You can find his daily health blog at www.blog.realhealthtalk.com and his articles and radio show archives at www.realhealthtalk.com