Acidity or excess stomach acid is what we think as the reason for indigestion and all digestion related issues.
However in most cases it is just the opposite. Before we reach out for over the counter medications for acidity we should understand the problem first.
It could be low (or insufficient) stomach acid that is actually causing these uncomfortable symptoms.
What is stomach acid and why do you need it?
Acid in the stomach (HCl, to be precise) is responsible for digesting the food that we consume. It plays a crucial role in converting the food we eat into essential nutrients and energy required for the body.
It also plays a role is eliminating the waste, toxins and pathogenic bacteria from your stomach.
First, it helps digest the food that we consume. In particular, it breaks down the protein into amino acids and essential nutrients that we need.
Not just that – it stimulates other organs like your small intestine and pancreas to secrete bile and digestive enzymes so that the food is further broken down (fully digested).
Both before and after digestion, the stomach acid helps kill the pathogenic bacteria that is present in the food. This way, stomach acid helps maintain the health of digestive system and hence, your overall health!
What are the symptoms of low stomach acid?
Having said the duties of stomach acid, it is easy to guess what happens when you have insufficient or low stomach acid.
First, you will run into digestion issues. Indigestion and the accompanied symptoms are actually low stomach acid symptoms.
You could have undigested food in your stool. And, this leads to malnutrition.
Your inner health and digestive tract health will take a hit because you don’t have sufficient stomach acid to fight the pathogenic bacteria and yeast.
This results in a lot of stomach related issues like bloating, nausea, flatulence, diarrhoea, upset stomach, constipation, belching and much more.
Prolonged, unattended low stomach acid issues can even lead to gastric cancer!
So, I say this again – before you reach out for an antacid the next time you have an indigestion or acid reflux symptom, check out for low stomach acid first.
It is because, if low stomach acid is the root cause of the symptoms you have, taking antacids will only make the situation worse.
Remedies for low stomach acid
Disclaimer: I am no doctor, so don’t assume that the symptoms you have are due to low stomach acid and treat yourself. If problems (symptoms) persist you should consult your doctor immediately.
Apple cider vinegar
Consume this mixture just before a meal. And you should see a good improvement.
With low stomach acid, you will have problems digesting and breaking down your food. And if you don’t chew your food properly, you are making the situation worse.
You should assist your digestive system by properly chewing your foods.
Also instead of eating three big meals, try to eat frequent small portions so your digestive system isn’t overloaded.
In addition, when you eat, you should only eat and not do anything else like checking on the phone, watching TV, reading book etc.
You have to be mindful of what you put in your mouth, chew it carefully and this also helps control portion size.
Eat Manuka honey
This is a special kind of honey that comes from the bees pollinating the Manuka tree. This honey is rich in peroxide (that occurs naturally).
It helps eradicating the pathogenic bacteria and heal the lining of your stomach.
Eat raw vegetables
Raw vegetables have digestive enzymes and this will increase your stomach acid production.
You could include a salad with raw vegetables with each meal.
Cabbage is especially highly useful in this case because of the healing enzyme it has (called as Vitamin U).
It helps heal your stomach lining and helps with increasing your stomach acid.
It also helps cure stomach ulcer pretty fast.
You could add raw cabbage in a salad or juice a cabbage raw and have it!