Updated: Jan 18
The Importance of Stomach Acid
Hippocrates stated nearly 2500 years ago, “All disease starts in the gut”
A sugar craving might be something that should concern you. Science and the media, quick to instill the same old belief that sugar is sugar is sugar, has many of us running from the healing benefits of real foods, mostly fruits, and vegetables. The difference between the sugar that comes naturally from a banana and processed sugar in the form of a package of Twizzlers bears no resemblance. “When sugary treats are so readily available, we are addicted and hardwired by the chemicals and additives. We are a society of fast, cheap, quick, and convenience. This lack of awareness comes with a price tag. Down the road, the damage may cost more than what a trip down your produce aisle costs right now.” Processed sugars may also be thriving on pathogens or bacteria in your body. The craving may be coming from the need to keep feeding; it's similar to an addiction. The more you provide, the more damage and inflammation you contribute to your precious body. (2) There was a time when sugarcane came to America. It was so widespread and exciting that we packed it into everything we could. Companies then started to manufacture cereals, colas, and snacks. Then it wasn't enough to get our sugar naturally, so we processed the sugar from corn in the form of high fructose corn syrup. This is added sugar. Too much-added sugars in our diets make it challenging to achieve healthful eating patterns. Too many calories and no vital, essential nutrients. (1) The fact is real fruit feeds our cells. Processed sugars or refined sugars are quick to get into our bloodstreams, raise blood sugar levels, and creates fat storages that will eventually clog up arteries in the form of cholesterol. Think of the high addicting drugs deliver. Sugar, in the form of processed sugars, gives pleasure in large, rapid does. The more we eat, the more we want. Let's say you ate a bag of potato chips. Who hasn't? How many of us are still hungry or sick to our stomachs afterward? Now try eating the same 4-5 potatoes it takes to make a big bag of chips. Instead of frying them in cheap hydrogenated oil and drowning them in salt, additives, and preservatives, try roasting these potatoes cut like steak fries with a little oil and fresh herbs. You will be full, satiated, and ultimately reaping the benefits of proper nutrition and healing foods for hours. Now think about that 1/2 pound of gummy bears you mindlessly inhaled watching a movie. I could eat more, couldn't you? I use to feel that way, but after the damage the sugar did to my intestinal lining and the food intolerances I developed over the years, thinking I had it all figured out, I changed my mindset. Do you feel sick to your stomach after eating a nutritious piece of fruit loaded with fiber, nutrients, and sustenance? If the number of bananas, mango, papayas, and berries I eat in a week were processed sugar, my A1C and insulin would be through the roof. Throw in the extra weight in the form of inflammation, bloating, gas, constipation, and overall shame I feel every time I let that craving get out of control. The continual sugar addiction process tricks the brain into thinking it is starving because you are not physically nourishing your body. Cravings come from many warning signs your body is trying to give you. Most likely, a lack of nutrients. Similarly, an addict needs more pleasurable drugs; a sugar addict never truly nourishes their body. Pathogens and bacteria love processed inflammatory foods. If you keep this feeding frenzy going, chronic illness, diabetes, heart disease, and expanding waistlines are your future. Educate yourself and break the vicious cycle. (1)https://health.gov/sites/default/files/2019-10/DGA_Cut-Down-
As we age, our microbiome (gut flora) changes. Other factors contributing to low stomach acid are meds, namely acid blockers being one of the biggest offenders. Autoimmune disease also affects the cells that produce acid, and diet, specifically the standard American diet, contributes to deficiencies like B-12 and zinc. (5)
Variety with food is vital, as your microbiome (your overall good gut flora) needs the diversity to tolerate food. Beyond tired and feeling horrible? Food sensitives, leaky gut, autoimmune, hormonal issues, chronic illness, and a fragile immune system are what becomes of your stomach when there is not enough acid.
What causes low stomach acid? To name a few;
prescription (just a week of meds can throw off our gut flora) and anti-acid drugs (PPI's)
eating too quickly
excessive exercise (3)
Gerd, indigestion, and acid reflux happen when there isn't enough stomach acid to break down food; therefore, the food rots and creates an over-acidic environment. The perfect setting for this harmful bacteria to thrive. The rest of your body becomes compromised. Over-the-counter PPIs are only a band-aid. The root cause needs your attention and dedication. (4)
Protein intake (and the conversion of essential amino acids) and its breakdown happen in the stomach. Without proper hydrochloric acid, reflux occurs. Most people have inadequate stomach acid because of stressors, both physical and environmental.
So, how do we do this? How do we get enough stomach acid and digestive enzymes to break down food? How do we build up the lack of vital hydrochloric acid so desperately by most? Eat real food and support the body's microbiome. Think of your microbiome as the army of soldiers defending your precious gut lining and keeping harmony within. It must become a well-oiled machine to work correctly.
eat real food
chew your food
warm lemon water in the morning
celery juice on an empty stomach (one of the best ways to replenish mineral salts supporting hydrochloric acid production) (6)
HCL (Betaine Hydrochloride) therapy (functional medical practitioner)
eliminate or cut down on processed foods
pay attention to sensitivity reactions
no stress (2)
When you achieve a better balance of stomach acid, absorbing real food's proper nutrients is possible. The importance of stomach acid, good gut flora, PH levels, blood sugar, and insulin orchestrate our precious hormones. A physician or functional medical professional and regular blood work to evaluate blood marker levels will help monitor how much better absorption becomes appropriate for balance and harmony.
(7) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23259758/ https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0306987712001703