Low Stomach Acid: one of the causes of many health conditions, including the development of autoimmune diseases.
Why is it important to know if you have low stomach acid? What are the symptoms?
The most common symptom of low stomach acid that people report is GERD, or heartburn.
Other symptoms that are less common but also associated with low stomach acid include:
- bloating, burping, a sense of fullness without eating much
- chronic iron deficiency
- nausea after taking supplements
- dilated blood vessels in the face
- undigested food in the stool
- cracked and weak fingernails
People often think that this related to TOO MUCH stomach acid, but in fact, it is most often the opposite. When the stomach is not producing enough acid, the pH will be too high, and this is what can cause the reflux symptoms. Furthermore, the stomach cannot break down the foods at a pH that is too high, and therefore cannot absorb many key minerals properly. Calcium, zinc, iron, vitamin B12, and magnesium are a few of the key minerals that need an acidic environment for absorption to take place. Proteins will also not be broken down properly, which are a key component to our energy-producing cycle in the body.
What causes low stomach acid?
As we age, our digestive enzymes gradually decline, as well as stomach acid levels. Sometimes our genetics do not allow our bodies to produce enough stomach acid, as well as other digestive enzymes, to optimize digestion. Stress can also cause the stomach pH to lower, affecting stomach acid levels. Bacterial infections, parasites, H.Pylori, can all cause a lowering of stomach acids. People often have no idea that they may have a parasite, or other bacterial infection going on in the gut, as the symptoms can be subtle, or even non-existent. Antacid medications cause low stomach acid, so even though these are often used to alleviate symptoms of heartburn/ reflux, indigestion, etc., they will end up lowering stomach acids both short and long-term, and can cause many health conditions to start to develop.
How does this affect our Health?
Certain health conditions can develop over time, when key nutrients are not being absorbed by the gut, for daily use.
Common conditions that can develop in relation to low stomach acids are:
- Hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s disease
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome/ Disease
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Celiac’s Disease
If you have any symptoms of low stomach acid or have a disease/ chronic condition that could be related to low stomach acid, there is a way to help correct for this! This is often a factor when discovering the root cause of your condition/disease, or symptoms. The first step is working with a Health Care Professional that understands this condition, as well as how common it is, so that it can be screened for through a very specific history taking, and often, detailed lab testing. Treatment can then be followed through on, and this is often a very important component to discovering the root cause of your ill health, and how to improve on it, both short and long term!
For a free 45-minute consult to learn more about this condition, and how it could be affecting your overall health, as well as a consult on your specific health concerns, and how to address them, and please contact me. I look forward to seeing how I can assist you with improving on your overall health and wellness!