What can I do to support my digestion?
You may have been prescribed or bought antacids over the counter and this could be causing you great harm and not actually treating your dis-ease...
There are special cells in the stomach lining which produce Hydrochloric Acid (HCL). This acid is very strong and it could dissolve the stomach if it was not lined by a protective layer of mucous.
Betaine Hydrochloric Acid (Betaine HCL) is a natural amino acid found in beetroot, shrimp, beef and spinach. Betaine HCL increases the acid in the stomach, this actually means lowering the PH.
Acid and alkali are measured on the pH scale. The pH scales measures from 0 to 14. Acid is from 0 to 6, neutral is 7 and 8 to 14 is alkaline. The stomach’s pH should be between 1 to 3 - very low on the pH scale and very acidic in nature. An acidic stomach will increase the break down of food and absorption of vitamins, minerals and protein from it, as well as preventing pathogens from going from the stomach into the small intestine.
As we get older, the amount of hydrochloric acid in the stomach and its potency decreases. There can become a point where we do not produce enough stomach acid and we cannot properly digest our food. This can come on earlier if we eat a lot of processed and sugary foods. It can also be caused by stress. It can cause discomforting symptoms such as indigestion, constipation, bloating, acid reflux, diarrhoea, gas and much more.
A low level of stomach acid can lead to undigested food passing through the gastro-intestinal tract, which causes the body to see it as a foreign object and therefore defends itself against it. This is a reason why people develop food allergies and insensitivities. Another possibility is that nutrients from food are not properly absorbed by the body, which can cause a myriad of issues. Another symptom would be bacterial infection, such as Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO).
Low stomach acid is known as hypochlorhydria. It is a huge problem which affects millions of people. As hypochlorhydria can cause indigestion a typical response is to buy or be prescribed antacids, such as Rennie, Gavisgon or Omeprazole. Therefore, people are taking alkaline medication which will further decrease acid in the stomach for symptoms caused by low stomach acid. This may alleviate some symptoms temporarily but exacerbates the root cause.
Antacids may give temporary relief to the symptoms but do not address the cause. Antacids can also cause a range of side effects such as, bacterial infection, osteoporosis, B12 deficiency, magnesium deficiency, allergies, heart attacks, gas, nausea, kidney stones, constipation, decreased libido, insomnia, muscle pain and achlorhydria (a more severe version of hypochlorhydria,) to name a few. Symptoms of achlorhydria include gastro-esophageal reflux disease, acid reflux, heartburn, constipation, decreased B12, decreased magnesium and decreased zinc. So by taking medication to alleviate symptoms that people are lead to believe are from over acid, in the long run you will end up with the same symptoms, and quite possibly even worse symptoms.
As the acidity of the stomach is between 1 to 3, you cannot really get too much acid in the stomach. Acid reflux, heartburn and gastro-esophageal reflux disease is actually caused by acid from the stomach going up into the oesophagus because of the a problem with the lower oesophageal sphincter (the valve from the oesophagus to the stomach,) this causes a burning sensation. The valve is controlled by the autonomic nervous system. Therefore, people are treating autonomic nervous system disorders with antacids which goes on to cause the symptoms people initially wanted to treat.
Another reason for low stomach acid is H-Pylori, a microbe which depletes the stomach of acid. It may be caused by zinc deficiency (zinc is a great natural remedy for ulcers and gastritis.) It could be due to potassium and sodium deficiency which are vital for nervous system function. It could be chloride deficiency, needed for hydrochloric acid. It could be Iodine deficiency, and therefore hypothyroidism. It could also be B12 deficiency. People are taking antacids (for symptoms) when they should be increasing their nutrients (treating the root cause), furthermore the antacids cause low stomach acid (hypochlordria) or no stomach acid (achlorhdria.) This will make you more dependent on antacid medication.
A better solution would be to add more acid into the system through apple cider vinegar or supplement with Betaine HCL. There is also a relationship with the valve between the stomach and oesophagus whereby when the stomach has the correct pH then the valve between the organs will stay tight and not leak.
In addition, if you have these symptoms, it would be essential to add zinc, potassium, sodium (sea salt, not table salt,) iodine (seaweed, kelp) and chloride as deficiencies in these can also lower stomach acid.
The symptoms of excess hydrochloric acid and Hydrochloric Acid deficiency are the same. You will not know which you are suffering from from symptoms alone. Too much HCL is usually gastritis. Too little HCL is far more common in people over 35. So if you are taking antacid medication you are probably treating your low stomach acid by decreasing it further and making things worse, as explained in this article.
The best solution to your problems would be to get tested with a Systematic Kinesiologist. It is more likely that you will need to take a supplement like Betaine HCL which will provide the building blocks for your body to start creating its own hydrochloric acid. Over time, you will be able to break down your food better and absorb the nutrients from it efficiently, as well as kill pathogens. This will also relieve your indigestion, gas, fullness, bloating, and other symptoms. You will feel better because you will be able to assimilate vitamins and minerals.
There are many other supplements that may be beneficial to you which can be found through muscle testing. In addition Systematic Kinesiology will treat you holistically by examining and treating the mind, structure and energy of your body rather than just nutritionally. All together, the effects are remarkable.