Some believe that low stomach acid levels are the cause of heartburn and acid reflux. This thought deserves attention. Heartburn medication may contribute to acid reflux if low acid is the cause of your heartburn. This is contrary to what many of us have been taught and is counter to what the burning makes us feel like there’s too much acid.
The burning of acid reflux can occur at any acidity level of stomach acid. The esophagus wasn’t made to cope with the irritation of this acids. The cause of heartburn in this scenario would not be by high amounts of acid in the stomach but by acid of any level of acidity backing into the esophagus. This backing of acid into the esophagus is acid reflux. It can be caused by many factors. Low stomach acid is one of the causes. Normal acidity levels cause the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) to close off keeping food in its proper place.
The natural heartburn remedy of apple cider vinegar introduces acid that forces the LES to close eliminating the reflux of acid. You could test to see if you are having issues with keeping your LES closed by trying the apple cider vinegar remedy. This wouldn’t necessarily tell you that you have low stomach acid, but it might help determine if your LES isn’t closing off well.
6 Problems Caused by Low Stomach Acids that Lead to Heartburn:
- Inability to synthesize certain digestive enzymes.
- Reduced ability to break down proteins into amino acids.
- Slower digestion.
- An increased volume in your small intestine. This puts pressure on your stomach and on the LES.
- Increased levels of bad bacteria in the small intestine causing increased gas production and thusly pressure on the LES.
- Reduced ability to absorb nutrients from food that will keep your digestive system running properly.
If this thought process of low acid causing heartburn is true, we are further causing ourselves problems by suppressing acid to remedy our symptoms. Antacids may be causing a vicious cycle of heartburn problems. Instead there may be a need to focus on ways to increase acid, healthier eating, and ways to keep the LES from leaking acid into the esophagus.
You might also like to read about the reasons for low stomach acid and how to increase acid levels.