The Low-Down on Low Stomach Acid
Why Should You Care About Stomach Acid?
Well, because it’s really important. It denatures the protein in the food you eat. It allows your body to digest and absorb macro and micro nutrients from food, and it helps to create crucial new cells you need to function every day.
Also called hypochlorhydria, low stomach acid is relatively common and can create lots of problems - from abdominal pain and constipation to ulcers and gastritis.
Low stomach acid can also lead to an H. pylori overgrowth. Let me be clear, everyone has h-pylori, but the problem begins when low stomach acid allows this bacteria to overgrow. Then your digestion and absorption of nutrients from the food you eat becomes impaired.
Low stomach acid is also something that as a functional medicine health coach, I find to be relatively common in my clients. And you can resolve imbalances by learning more about how your body works.
That’s why I’m here! My job is to teach you how to rebalance your body so that it works optimally. No sense in eating all of those delicious nutrient-dense foods if you’re not going to actually absorb them into your body.
Read on for an easy test and actions you can take to start feeling better soon.
At Home Tests for Low Stomach Acid
One non-invasive test is the betaine HCI challenge.
Purchase betaine HCI tablets with pepsin (here is a link to my dispensary or you can purchase on Amazon - they cost around $35 but there are many different companies).
When the supplement arrives, eat a protein containing meal (at least 6oz. of protein) which can include veggies. In the middle of the meal take the HCI with pepsin and observe what happens after the meal is done.
A normal response in a healthy person would be discomfort—basically light heartburn. If you do not feel a burning sensation, begin taking one capsule with every protein-containing meal for 2 full days (6 meals).
If you notice NO symptoms, this is likely a sign of low stomach acid, as the pill you just took functions to help break down the food you ate; in the absence of sufficient stomach acid, it's designed to improve your problematic digestion symptoms.
Note: You can repeat this test at least 2-3 times to ensure you don’t receive any false positive results. Then check with your doctor or functional medicine health coach for further support.
You could continue taking the HCI with pepsin as directed on the bottle. Caution: the coccoid form of h-pylori can hide and survive under extreme conditions. This can make the problem worse.**
Other Methods to Improve Your Low Stomach Acid
Other great ways to improve your stomach acid are:
Consume raw (unfiltered) apple cider vinegar (one teaspoon) before your meals
Chew your food more thoroughly
Eat smaller meals
Breathe and put your fork down between bites
Take Manuka honey
Work with a functional medicine health coach!
If we are trying to determine if you have an H-pylori overgrowth, we can certainly do a stool test. I can help you order a comprehensive test which may show trace amounts of bacteria if you have an overgrowth. We have many other ways to teach you how to rebalance any h-pylori overgrowth and therefore improve your stomach acid and digestion process.
When you have adequate stomach acid, you will have good absorption of all your nutrients and can then watch the rapid regeneration of health in every brain/body system.
Since everyone is different, let’s talk about what is going on in your unique body! I am here to be your partner in setting and achieving your healthy eating and lifestyle goals.
Schedule your free discovery session here, and let's have a chat.
You deserve to live as your best self!
In good health,
This communication may contain general nutrition and lifestyle advice. I am not a licensed physician. My advice is not intended, and you should not use it to attempt to diagnose, prevent or treat diseases, ailments, pain or other medical conditions. Please consult your personal licensed physician to seek advice about diagnosing, preventing or treating specific ailments.