Do you have “too much stomach acid” or have “acid reflux” after meals?
You might think this is a cause of too much acid in the stomach, however, contrary to this common misconception. heartburn is actually a cause of too little stomach acid.
“But I feel a burning sensation in my chest and up my esophagus! Isn’t that because there’s too much stomach acid?”
Reverse Psychology? Ditch Your Antacids!
Why You Need More Stomach Acid and Less Antacids to Reduce Heartburn.
Without enough Hydrochloric acid (HCl), aka stomach acid, food cannot be digested properly.
When food stays in the stomach for prolonged periods, it starts to ferment and produce increased amounts of gas.
What an antacid (eg. TUMS) does is alkalizes the stomach contents, causing the chyme to release into the small intestine. There, the food continues to ferment and produce even more gas. The situation hasn’t gotten any better. If anything it’s gotten worse, exchanging stomach gas for intestinal gas.
Digestion is further deterred because the small intestines require a certain degree of acidity to trigger the release of bile and pancreatic enzymes. However, antacids reduce the acidity of the chyme, which inhibits the sufficient amount of these crucial enzymes to break down food molecules.
What happens when you have Low Stomach Acid?
With low HCl, stomach emptying is delayed for so long that the bile is regurgitated backwards from the duodenum (upper portion of small intestine) into the stomach. Bile is very irritating to the stomach lining which causes a reflex secretion of stomach acid to neutralize it. At this point, you are likely to experience that burning sensation.
If you have enough HCl to begin with, which would avoid the prolonged digestion time of food in the stomach, bile would not be regurgitated back into the stomach which causes the reflex secretion of stomach acid.
Chronic Use of Antacids
- Antacids encourage bacterial growth in the stomach and small intestine
- Reduces acidity
- Weakens an already underactive stomach
- Makes proteins and minerals increasingly difficult to break down and absorb
- Can contribute to degenerative disease
Natural Alternatives for Heartburn Relief
Apple Cider Vineger
1 tsp with 8 tsp of water, gradually increase amount of vinegar until you get desired effect. I recommend using Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar.
Bitter herbs were used thousands of years ago to help stimulate stomach acid, bile, and pancreatic juices.
Some great bitters are: dandelion root, gentian root, oregan grape, angelica root.
You will easily find bitter formulas in pill form or tincture form at the Health Food Store. I’m using a bitter tincture from Finlandia.
Take Betaine Hydrochloric Acid (1000mg per capsule)
Betaine Hydrochloric Acid is a more bioavailable form of HCl.
I take 2 x 1000mg capsules before meals. I find this especially effective for heavier meals with lots of meat and fats.
Caution: Do not take HCl when you have an ulcer or lesion in the stomach lining.
Don’t know if you have an ulcer?
When you take an HCl pill with the presence of an ulcer, you will notice a burning sensation behind the tip of the breastbone within minutes of taking the product. If this happens, taking a little baking soda will neutralize the excess acid and provide relief within a few minutes.
Take protein-splitting enzymes with bomelain, papain, mixed protease enzymes also called proteolytic enzymes)
I take Super Enzymes from Now Foods that covers a variety of enzymes plus a bit of Betaine Hydrochloric Acid additional digestive support. Just taking this is enough most of the time. If you continue to experience heartburn, take additional HCl supplements in addition to this.
Ginger for digestion
A digestive herbal remedy for over 2,000 years. Ginger is widely known for it’s carminative properties to help soothe and relax the stomach lining, reduce gastrointestinal distress, relieves indigestion, and calms the stomach. Recommended dose of ginger is one to four capsules daily, containing 250mg per capsule.
or make Honey Ginger Tea to drink throughout the day for digestive support.
- 3 cups of water
- 2 tbsp ginger root powder
- 1 tsp honey
- Add ginger root powder to water and bring to a bowl.
- Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Strain, add honey, and serve.