We hear from so many people that suffer from heartburn, indigestion, burping, and acid reflux. Avoiding trigger foods and reaching for the Rennie’s or Gaviscon every time you let your hair down is not fun for anyone, so we’re here to explain what’s really going on.
The most common misconception is that indigestion, heartburn and acid reflux is caused by too much stomach acid.
Indigestion and acid reflux is an indicator of low stomach acid (mind blowing… we know).
When the stomach isn’t producing enough acid, foods take much longer to break down and digest, they ferment causing pressure, bloating and gas.
This pressure in the stomach forces the esophageal valve (the valve that allows food to pass through into the stomach) to open a fraction.
Just the tiniest amount of stomach acid passing upwards from all the pressure will cause intense discomfort.
But ‘why’ is this happening?
10 causes of low stomach acid:
1. Poor Diet (excess) processed foods, caffeine, sugar and alcohol
3. Stress and anxiety
4. Eating too fast, and not chewing properly
5. Excessive Exercise
7. H-Pylori infection
8. Magnesium deficiency
10. Food allergies or sensitivities
Taking over the counter antacid medications and PPI’s such as Omeprazole, Gaviscon, Tums and Rennie’s provide immediate relief, but they also block the stomach from producing more stomach acid worsening the problem in the long term.
These medications are designed to mask the symptoms short term, and don’t address the underlying cause. They also come with many unwanted side effects such as diarrhea, constipation, upset stomach, headaches, iron deficiency and palpitations to name a few.
If you have low stomach acid, you’re also not benefiting from the nutrients in your food, as your stomach will find it hard to absorb these. You’re most likely feeling tired, lacking concentration, have recurring hiccups, burping, flatulence, bad breath, abdominal discomfort, loud stomach noises, discomfort when lying down and just not feeling your best self.
Can low stomach acid be addressed?
Addressing low stomach acid as early as possible will prevent further health issues such as B12 deficiency, SIBO (small intestinal bacteria overgrowth) IBS, Ulcers, Asthma, GERD, Hiatus Hernia, Inflammatory Bowel conditions and in extreme cases, cancer.
Some simple tweaks to your diet and lifestyle will make a world of difference. Supplementing with digestive enzymes, and replacing antacids with natural remedies will also be effective and short term. In some cases intolerance testing can be useful, and an assessment of any underlying issues that might be driving this condition such as H-Pylori bacteria in the gut.
If you’re experiencing the painful symptoms of low stomach acid and would like to make an appointment to discuss a simple and sustainable nutrition plan, send us a message or email us at [email protected]