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:

Malnutrition
• 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.

Food Intolerances
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.

Colon Toxicity
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)

Addison’s disease
Anemia-Iron Deficiency
Asthma
Magnesium, avoiding food allergens and addressing low gastric acid.
Celiac disease – Wheat gluten sensitivity
Chronic autoimmune disorders
Chronic hives
Cognitive Dysfunction and Dementia from B12 deficiency
Dermatitis herpetiformis (herpes)-typical for wheat gluten sensitivity
Depression- Leaky Gut with LPS
Diabetes – Autoimmune type one
Eczema
Gall bladder disease – associated with hypochlorhydia
Graves disease-Autoimmune-Elevated TSH receptor ab-Yersinia molecular Mimciry with TSH receptor
Hepatitis
Iron deficiency-Low Iron and Low ferritin
Hyper and hypothyroidism- Autoimmune-Hashimotos Thyroiditis
Lupus erythematosus -autoimmune
Myasthenia gravis
Neuropathy and Neuro Psychiatric Disorder from B12 deficiency
Osteoporosis-from Calcium Malabsorption
Pernicious anemia – Parietal Cell Antibodies-B12 deficiency-gastric atrophy
Psoriasis-autoimmune
Rheumatoid arthritis-autoimmune
Rosacea
Sjögren’s syndrome – Autoimmune
Thyrotoxicosis-three types: Graves, Hashitoxicosis, and Txic Nodular Goiter
Vitiligo
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.

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Tanning & Natural Health News is a publication of Tan Plus /Essentials Of Life, Barclay Square, 350 Route 108, Somersworth, NH. This publication is designed for educational purposes only and is not intended to be presented as medical advice. Product statements made have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration.

Copyright © 2015 • Ray Allard • All Rights Reserved

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