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Why stomach acid is crucial for good gut health

Do you often experience any of the following…

· Excessive fullness after eating?

· Burping, bloating or gas within 30 – 60 mins of eating?

· Heartburn or reflux?

· Find it hard to digest a protein-rich meal? (e.g. meat, fish)

· Low in iron, B12, zinc or calcium?

· Undigested food in stool?

· Diarrhoea

· Constipation

· History of taking PPIs?

The above are all signs that you could have low stomach acid.

Stomach acid plays multiple important roles in digestion. In response to eating, the stomach releases hydrochloric acid (HCL) to help digest the food, particularly protein. It also plays a signalling role to support the rest of the digestive process, including stimulating digestive enzymes from the pancreas and the secretion of bile from the gallbladder. Furthermore, it can sterilize the small intestine to prevent bacterial overgrowth and other gut pathogens. As you can see it’s pretty important for gut health!

Factors impacting stomach acid include age, stress, chronic inflammation, medications, nutrient deficiencies as well as brain-related disorders.

If you experience any of the above symptoms an initial simple and quick way to see if low stomach acid could be a cause is trying the apple cider vinegar challenge. Try having two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar diluted in 50-75ml of water just before meals to see if it helps. Ideally, pick an organic brand that states that it contains the ‘mother’ on the bottle. My favourites include Biona, Braggs, Raw, Aspall and Willy’s.

There are also supplements you can take, but as always it is best to speak to a practitioner to guide you through this process. For long-term results, it is always best to work out why you may have low stomach acid and work on addressing these imbalances.


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