Did you know that low stomach acid is associated with heartburn, reflux, acid indigestion, and GERD? Did you know that low stomach acid can rob your body of the nutrients it needs to function properly? Learn about it in my post “Is Low Stomach Acid causing your Heartburn?”
Now let’s learn what to do about it.
How Do You Know if You Have Low Stomach Acid?
Is your heartburn caused by low stomach acid? Just because you don’t have heartburn, reflux or GERD doesn’t mean you’re free from having low stomach acid.
There are three tests for low stomach acid; two you can do at home and one, the most accurate one, is done by a doctor.
- The Heidelberg test works by the patient swallowing a small capsule with a radio transmitter that records the pH of their stomach as they drink a solution of Sodium Bicarbonate. The result of the test is a graph showing the pH levels at regular intervals of time. This is the best test but is usually not covered by insurance and can be expensive.
- The Baking Soda test is the easiest but least accurate. It’s a good way to start, however. Here are the steps:
- Mix 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda in 4-6 ounces of cold water first thing in the morning before eating or drinking anything.
- Drink the baking soda solution. Try not to gulp down a lot of air as you drink.
- Time how long it takes you to belch. Time up to five minutes.
If you have not belched within five minutes stop timing. If your stomach is producing enough stomach acid you’ll likely belch within two to three minutes. Belching quickly and continually may be due to excessive stomach acid. Any belching after 3 minutes indicates a low acid level.
- The Betaine HCL challenge is the second best test. Here are the instructions:
- In the middle of a meal containing at least 20 grams of protein, take one 650 mg Betaine HCL (hydrochloric acid) capsule with Pepsin (available at health food stores).
- Monitor your body’s response for the next hour.
- A burning sensation in the stomach can indicate adequate HCL levels. No reaction can indicate low stomach acid.
Some cautions about taking HCL:
- People using pain medications, corticosteroids, anti-inflammatories should not use HCL.
- People with ulcers should not use HCL.
- HCL should only be taken with meals including protein.
- HCL should only be used on a regular basis under a doctor’s supervision.
What’s the Solution?
A much more sensible, but less profitable solution (for Big Pharma) is to treat the root cause of the problem, an injured or irritated LES valve. This can be accomplished by proper diagnosis, elimination of offending agents, food allergies, toxins (which may include caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol) and by taking a variety of natural supplements included stomach acid itself (HCL or hydrochloric acid).
With dietary and lifestyle modifications, digestion can be returned to normal or at least near normal, eliminating GERD, heartburn, reflux and indigestion.
In study after study, we see the wisdom of this approach to health. For example, when supplements of HCL (stomach acid) are given to people with anemia and low stomach acid, their iron absorption improves and their anemia disappears.
How to Treat Your Symptoms Naturally
From the book “Why Stomach Acid is Good For You: Natural Relief from Heartburn, Indigestion, Reflux & GERD” by Dr. Jonathan Wright, these suggestions are recommended:
- Identify the cause of irritation: food allergies, drugs, etc.
- Stimulate the stomach to work on its own by taking “bitters” (such as gentian or wormwood) before each meal.
- Swallow 1-2 tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar or Lemon Juice during the early part of a meal.
- Take digestive enzymes at mealtime.
- Have your stomach acid level tested by a doctor and check for serious conditions such as GERD and ulcers.
- Take HCL (either Betaine or Glutamic) always with Pepsin under a doctor’s supervision.
For more information about treating low stomach acid, consult Dr. Wright’s book.
Here’s your simple change for the day: Test yourself for low stomach acid and treat it with a natural solution.
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Joli Tripp and Mind Blowing Wellness are not medical doctors nor licensed medical professionals. No comment or recommendation should be construed as being a medical diagnosis. If you suffer from a medical or pathological condition, you should consult an appropriate healthcare provider.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The products mentioned are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.
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*”Why Stomach Acid Is Good For You: Natural Relief from Heartburn, Indigestion, Reflux & GERD“. by Jonathan V. Wright, MD and Lane Lenard, Ph.D.