Low Stomach Acid Levels Cause Acid Reflux Symptoms
The stomach must have plenty of acid to do its job efficiently. Low stomach acid can cause acid reflux, bacterial buildup, inability to kill other unhealthy bacteria, and many more problems.
Some medical professionals believe 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 these 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.
10 Reasons for Low Stomach Acid
- Age: As we get older our stomachs have the tendency to create less acid.
- Stress reduces acid production
- Poor or improper diet
- Refined sugar. It depletes minerals and promotes bad bacteria growth that blocks absorption of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.
- Candida overgrowth. High levels of yeast in the digestive tract
- Lack of proper vitamins and minerals
- Prescription medications
- Antacids and acid blockers
- Certain illnesses
- Diluting of acids by drinking too much water at meals
There are probably more reasons for low stomach acid. Do you know of any?
6 Digestive Issues Caused by Low Stomach Acid 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 causing ourselves further problems by suppressing acid to remedy our heartburn 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.
How to Increase Stomach Acid and Stop Heartburn
- Reduce stress and try not to be stressed when eating. If you are in need of ideas for de-stressing, I have a stress management list.
- Eat unpasteurized probiotic foods and take probiotic supplements.
- Eat unprocessed, organic foods. Avoid refined grains and sugars. unnatural foods, genetically modified foods, and artificial ingredients.
- Tenderize meats in organic marinades containing lemon, lime, tomato, or other acidic fruit or vegetable juices. Their acids will help break down the meats thus making them tender and easier to digest.
- Properly chew foods to combine the digestive enzymes in the mouth, and break down food for easier digestion.
- Use a high quality sea salt for added minerals and electrolytes that send electrical signals to our digestive tracts.
- Take a multi-vitamin (women’s vitamin/men’s vitamin) to help provide the vitamins and minerals needed for proper acid production.
- Through use of a hydrochloric acid supplement like Betaine HCl. Stomach acid is hydrochloric acid (HCl)
- Avoid overeating or drinking too many liquids with your meal can dilute acid levels.
Do you know other ways to increase HCl levels? I’d love to hear them if you do.
If we will learn to treat our bodies like the amazing machines they are and stop catering to our dietary whims, we will be healthier and reduce chances of having heartburn, acid reflux and the complications that can come from them. Low acid production may not be the cause of your heartburn, but the more you learn the better understanding you’ll have about your digestive issues and how your heartburn can be eliminated or drastically reduced.