We all have times in our lives when we get unexplained symptoms that come on either gradually or suddenly and many of us choose to ignore them in the hope they’ll just get better, or self-medicate to make them go away. While this can get rid of many short-term ailments, it puts us in the danger of failing to find out the real cause of our health problems.
Getting to the bottom of our health problems is the key to long-term well-being and quality of life. While we may just dismiss symptoms, self-diagnose and tide ourselves over with medicinal cures, there is one common underlying cause to many health problems which is often overlooked and that is having low stomach acid or alkalosis.
Many symptoms can stem from having alkalosis. Treating this source can potentially clear up many health issues someone may have but are not sure the reasons why they have them.
The Common Misconceptions about Stomach Acid
Stomach acid gets a bad reputation because we are often led to think too much acid in the body is bad. While this is true in many ways, the acid in our stomachs is vital for maintaining healthy digestive systems, breaking down our foods and passing the nutrients into our bodies as well as killing unwanted bacteria and yeast found naturally in the foods we eat. Therefore, it’s crucial for the acid levels to be just right in order to allow ourselves to be at optimal health and this is usually a pH range of approximately 1.5 to 3.0.
Low Stomach Acid Leads to Indigestion and Heart Burn
Low stomach acid is a phenomenon of the developed world with nearly 90% of Americans producing too little stomach acid for optimal digestion. When alkalosis starts occurring, the hydrogen needed for stomach acid (or hydrochloric acid) starts to become depleted which, in turn, lowers the stomach acid further. Problems such as indigestion or heartburn can be a result of too little stomach acid rather than the common misconception that it’s caused by too much. Alkaline solutions are then used such as popular antacid or heartburn medicine that only adds to the high alkaline levels in the stomach and are a surefire way to continually cause problems for our bodies in maintaining the right pH levels.
Stomach Acid Affects How Well You Can Get Nutrients from Foods
Many people with a nutrient deficiency will understandably assume that they eat insufficient amounts of a certain food group or consume the wrong foods but the true reason could well be they are unable to digest foods properly and get the needed nutrients because of low stomach acid. HCL’s function is to break down the proteins and the essential amino acids and nutrients that the body needs so it makes sense that when the stomach is low on acid it means less nutrient efficiency.
If You Don’t Maintain Your Stomach Acid At A Healthy Level, These Health Issues May Appear…
There are many health issues that come from the stomach’s inability to process food properly and can cause a domino effect for other areas of the body. These can translate to digestive problems, mental health problems such as depression and feelings of lethargy to other issues such as acne, hair loss in women, osteoporosis, diarrhea, constipation, chronic fatigue, bloating and dry skin.
The Causes of Low Stomach Acid
Apart from over-consumption of antacid or acid blockers as mentioned before, one of the main causes of low stomach acid is high amounts of sugar in the diet. High sugar intake depletes minerals and promotes bad bacteria growth that blocks absorption of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.
Eating a poor diet full of processed foods also puts a strain on your stomach acid production, lack of proper vitamins and minerals, stress, drinking too much liquid with meals and candida (high levels of yeast in the digestive tract) can cause low stomach acid in your body.
How Do I Maintain A Good Stomach Acid Level?
Making sure you stick to a good eating routine and following a consistently healthy diet will help support your body in its stomach acid production. Here are some suggestions that you can incorporate into your daily routine that will promote a healthy pH level in the stomach. It’s important to consult a doctor before you drastically change a diet but try following some of these to see if it makes a difference to your health issues.
- Eliminate refined sugars: these put a strain on the production of acid.
- Eat unprocessed, organic foods: this allows the body to work with natural foods it can deal with.
- Avoid drinking too much liquid at meals: this can dilute the stomach acid and make it hard for your food to digest properly.
- Take a multivitamin: this will go towards helping stomach acid production.
- Make sure you chew food properly: this helps the digestive enzymes in the mouth to combine with the food and make it digestible-friendly.
- Avoid overeating and eat smaller meals: this stops the stomach becoming too inundated and putting stress on the stomach acid to do its job.
- Eat unpasteurised probiotic foods: this promotes good gut bacteria.
- Add apple cider vinegar to your diet: ACV has a naturally low pH level and will help with acid levels, just don’t go overboard with it!
- Increase zinc intake: zinc is critical for the production of stomach acid and, to give your body a better chance, consuming more vitamin C, E, B6, and minerals such as magnesium can increase zinc absorption.
- Avoid snacking in between meals: this allows adequate time for your food to be digested without added stress of more food.