Do you experience a burning sensation right after a meal? If yes, the chances are you are suffering from acid reflux. Even though most people believe that acid reflux is harmless and can be treated with an antacid, the truth is that it may indicate something much more serious.
How Does Stomach Acid Work?
Stomach acid is basically helpful as it stimulates the digestion process, the process in which food is broken down into particles which are then absorbed or removed from the body. These particles are then used to create new cells as well as for energy.
Although other body parts are also included in this process, the stomach acid has the critical role. It is produced by the parietal cells and it is made of pepsin and hydrochloric acid.
Pepsin is an enzyme which breaks down proteins and it is activated by the hydrochloric acid. On the other hand, the hydrochloric acid has the critical role in the digestion process as it is the one which breaks down bacteria and germs. It also absorbs minerals like sodium, iron, and magnesium, all of which are of utmost importance for the overall health.
Given the fact that acid reflux is caused by high levels of stomach acid, it is not surprising that using an antacid to neutralize it is the most logical solution. However, this may be the wrong way as a recent study shows a link between antacids and dementia.
The Issue with Low Stomach Acid
Antacids are used to treat hyperacidity, despite the fact that lack of stomach acid may also cause acid reflux. When the body lacks stomach acid, the food remains trapped in the stomach, it ferments, and leads to gas. This gas eventually affects the esophagus and causes heartburn.
Factors Which Cause Low Stomach Acid
- Eating too quickly or overeating
- Consuming too much protein, especially from dairy, red meat, refined and fatty foods
In case a person has low stomach acid and takes an antacid, their defensive and digestive powers are destroyed. Moreover, if the food is not broken down in particles as it is supposed to be, the body is deprived of many nutrients, which eventually weakens the immune system and increases the risk of many diseases.
The stomach acid is the first defensive line of bacteria and viruses. For instance, H. Pylori is bacteria which his destroyed by stomach acid. If your stomach acid is very low, these bacteria will grow and lead to development of ulcers.
Hypochlorhydria is manifested by various symptoms, such as acid reflux, bloating, heartburn, and constipation.
Betaine HLC is a natural substance which is obtained from beets and is recommended by many doctors and naturopaths. Besides being used for hypochlorhydria, it helps with acne, candida, gallstones, and thyroid dysfunction as well.
This test is a very simple way to discover whether you have low or high stomach acid. Note that you should consult your doctor before doing the test! Moreover, it is worth mentioning that those who are taking ibuprofen and aspirin or suffer from ulcers and gastritis shouldn’t do this test.
- Get betaine hydrochloride from a health store, looking for a product which doesn’t contain any fillers and additives
- Take one capsule after your first meal. In case you feel pain, warmth, or discomfort in the stomach, stop the test as this indicates healthy levels of stomach acid.
- If you don’t feel anything, take another capsule at the next meal. See whether the sensations outlined above will show now.
- Continue the procedure until you notice any sensation
- The maximum number of capsules you can take is 7!
In case you consume more capsules and the sensations don’t show, this is a sign of hypochlorhydria. Needless to say, the more capsules you take, the bigger the severity of your condition.