Happy Wednesday! Today we will be discussing the third and last topic area on hypochlorhydria – that pesky condition commonly referred to as low stomach acid. What can you do if you think you are suffering from it?
It would be beneficial to diagnose the condition officially, in case you require medical support. There are a couple of tests that might help identify it. The Heidelberg stomach acid test uses a small capsule with a radio transmitter that records a person’s Ph at regular intervals after drinking a solution of sodium bicarbonate. The other test is the baking soda stomach acid test, which basically consists on drinking baking soda and timing how long it takes you to burp. A healthy amount of stomach acid would make you burp within two to three minutes. Anything longer than that might signal low acid levels. However, it is difficult to control variables with this test.
If the results indicate your stomach acid levels are low, luckily there are few things you can do to increase your acidity levels naturally. For example, you could try drinking apple cider vinegar before meals, to stimulate the digestive process and encourage your stomach lining to secrete acid. A tablespoon should be enough. Secondly, slow down! Make a conscious effort to chew food thoroughly and be in a relaxed state of mind when you eat, as high stress levels can affect your digestion capabilities even further. Thirdly, space out your meals and have dinner at least 3 hours before bed, so you give your stomach the chance to digest your food properly before lying down. In the worst case scenario, you could supplement hydrochloric acid (HCI), but it needs to be done under doctor supervision.
Let us know if you have any questions or would like further nutritional advice on how to manage this condition, as there are few more easy ways to aid your digestion and help you feel better. Stay healthy!
Gropper, S.S., Smith, J.L. and Groff, J.L. (2009) Advanced nutrition and human metabolism. 5th edn. Belmont: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
Sult, T (2010). Clinical approaches to gastrointestinal imbalance, in: Jones, D.S & Quinn, M. eds. Textbook of functional medicine. 3rd edn. Gig Harbor, WA: Institute for Functional Medicine. pp 435-479.