We all know someone, perhaps ourselves, who struggle with acid burning and discomfort. The Western approach to this problem is thinking we have too much stomach acid. What does stomach acid really do for you and how do you know if you have too much?
Let me walk you through the digestive process and how stomach acid is involved:
1- Digestion starts in your mouth:
- Enzymes from saliva predigest foods
- Chewing stimulates the body to begin to produce stomach acid (also know as Hydrochloric acid- HCL for short)
2- HCL is released in the stomach:
- Causes cells to burst, releasing nutrients
- Releases enzymes to digest proteins
- Prepares minerals for absorption
- Sterilizes food and protects the body from infection
3- Food is released into the intestines (through the pyloric valve):
- The pyloric valve won't open if there isn't enough bicarbonate solution (by product from HCL)
- If the pyloric valve doesn't open, it causes food to move up the esophagus creating burning
If you are struggling with difficulty swallowing, chronic chest pain, burning in your throat, difficulty digesting protein, poor immunity or digestive discomfort, these are all signs of low stomach acid.
What happens if you have low stomach acid?
- Food isn't absorbed or digested
- Food begins to ferment creating gases
What do anti-acids do?
- Cause the stomach to produce less acid
- Interferes with mineral and protein absorption
- Weakens bones and muscles
What can increase stomach acid and ease burning?
- Chewing slower and more mindfully
- Taking 1 tsp of Apple Cider Vinegar before meals
- Digestive Bitters
- Managing stress