The Effects of Low vs. High Stomach Acid
Why is Stomach Acid Important?
Stomach acid is a very crucial digestive agent also known as Hydrochloric acid (HCl). Aside from solely breaking down food particles, stomach acid plays a much greater role in the body than you may be aware of.
Functions of HCl:
- Activates pancreatic juices, hormones and bile in the digestive process
- Breaks down proteins into amino acids & nutrients
- HCl kills bacteria and harmful organisms found in food
- Ionize vital minerals
- Stimulates digestive enzyme production
Low Stomach Acid (Hypochlorhydria)
When a person has low stomach acid food stays in the stomach longer than it should causing improper digestive function. What makes it tough to diagnose is the fact that some of the symptoms of low acid are very similar to high acid levels. Although symptoms may be similar, it is extremely important proper treatment for the specific condition is followed. For example, when a person with low stomach acid takes an over the counter medication for heartburn or other issues related to high HCl, the problem will worsen and create a vicious cycle of digestion problems. For proper diagnosis it is recommended to consult a doctor to best determine the results.
- Aging from malabsorption
- Extreme fullness after meals
Low stomach acid is most often onset from excess stress although there are a variety of other factors:
- Eating too quickly
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Pylori infection
- Hiatal hernia
- Over eating
- Relaxation of esophageal sphincter
High Stomach Acid (Hyperchlorhydria)
When the pH is lower than normal or when the volume of stomach acid is higher than the normal level a more HCl is produced. This results in what is know as an “acidic stomach” with symptoms related to heartburn.
High stomach acid is most commonly caused by one of two factors: H. pylori infection and use of NSAIDS. So what do these terms mean? H. pylori are the healthy bacteria found in the stomach/ stomach lining. The main purpose of these organisms is to neutralize the stomach acid. When there is an infection the bacteria are unable to function appropriately causing a heightened acid level. NSAIDS are also known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. They are among some of the most common pain relievers used.
- Acid reflux
- GERD (Gastrointestinal Reflux Disease)
- Peptic Ulcer
Acidic Stomach Treatment
If high acid levels are not regulated very serious damage can be caused to the stomach and esophageal tract. Dietary management is one way to help regulate these levels although this treatment is not sufficient enough on its’ own. Lifestyle changes are also a great way to help manage the harmful effects of high acid on the body and health.
Lifestyle Changes to Keep in Mind:
- Avoid food irritants- Alcohol, caffeine, carbonated beverages, chocolate, Tomato products, spicy foods, fatty foods, greasy foods
- Avoid lying down directly after a meal
- Avoid chewing gum
- Eat small meals throughout the day
- Exercise at a moderate intensity after meal time *avoid vigorous exercise after eating*
Colon Hydrotherapy for Acid Reflux
For anyone who suffers from acid reflux, chronic heartburn or GERD, giving colonics a try can be a huge benefit. Colon hydrotherapy is a safe and effective way to help reduce and eliminate acid reflux without medication. Of course it is important to keep in mind to also follow an acid reflux friendly diet and lifestyle. If a person is not avoiding acid promoting foods and not making lifestyle changes colonics will not be enough to reduce your symptoms.
Colon hydrotherapy fully cleanses and detoxifies the GI tract promoting healthy digestive function. Once your body has been cleansed of harmful toxins the immune system and other organ systems are able to function more efficiently. Colon cleansing is one of the first steps in achieving overall optimal health.
Posted by Meaghan LaFranca, M.Sc, Nutritionist, Colon Therapist
February 02, 2016 by Clear Living Clinic