The Reality Of Stomach Acid Deficiency

What Is Stomach Acid Deficiency?

Whenever we digest a meal that contains protein, the stomach secretes an acid. This is a natural and essential part of the digestive process.

The usual concern with digestion is excess acid production and antacids in their millions are taken daily to deal with symptoms including burping and indigestion.

How do you know if your stomach isn’t making enough acid to digest your food properly? A heavy feeling of fullness after eating or a feeling that the food is slow to move from the stomach can suggest low stomach acid. Other symptoms include:

  • Upper abdominal pain after eating

  • Nausea

  • Bad breath

  • Heartburn

  • Flatulence

  • Bloating

  • Diarrhoea

  • Constipation

  • Undigested food in stools

The symptoms are more pronounced after meals that are rich in protein such as eggs, dairy, meat or fish.

In a healthy person, once stomach acid has been released, proper digestion and absorption can take place. However, when acid production falls short, the process of digestion is not quite so smooth. It also compromises vitamin and mineral absorption (Vitamin B12, calcium, magnesium, zinc and iron) as well as affecting enzyme secretion.

What are the key factors in low stomach acid?

Research shows that acid production slows down as we age, declining from the age of 50 onwards. Stress is a major factor which is why we should always relax before eating – bolting down our food and over-eating will reduce acid secretion too.

This is why younger people in their 30s are starting to experience digestive issues which shouldn’t be happening until much older and are at risk of nutrient deficiency.

If our adrenal glands are exhausted from a stressful lifestyle, we cannot digest food properly and absorb nutrients.

Genetic predisposition can also play a role and people infected with Helicobacter pylori, the bacteria linked to ulcers, may also have low stomach acid.

Conditions associated with low stomach acid?

  • IBS

  • Acne

  • Fatigue

  • Food Intolerances

  • Gut Dysbiosis

  • Gall Bladder Disease

  • Osteoporosis

  • Pernicious Anaemia

Tips to restore stomach acid

  1. Avoid eating when stressed and chew food properly.

  2. Avoid excessive drinking of fluids with meals because this will dilute stomach acid.

  3. Take a supplement at meal times of betaine hydrochloride which provides a natural source of HCL.

  4. If you are feeling stressed, reduce caffeine as it will cause blood sugar imbalances and increase cortisol putting further pressure on your digestive system.

  5. Consider taking supporting herbs such as Rhodiola or holy basil and a key mineral for digestion – magnesium.

Check out Solgar Betain Hydrochloride with Pepsin for natural digestive support as well as Solgar Rhodiola Root Extract to help optimise adrenal function for better stress management.

Davina Dowling

This blog was written by Davina Dowling. Davina is a Registered Nutritional Therapist, Dip. NT, mNTOI and Health Educator. You will find her in our Wexford store if you have any questions and also you can check out her website here.