Acid reflux, also commonly referred to as GERD, is a common problem faced by millions of men and women across the country. It is a medical condition where the foods and the stomach acids produced inside the stomach find their way back into the esophagus of the victims, causing grat distress to them in the form of heartburn, a burning sensation in their chest, and other related symptoms like coughing, wheezing, and belching. Till now, the popular thinking was that this heartburn was a result of excessive acid produced inside the stomach of an individual. Millions of men and women gulp down antacid tablets and syrups daily in a bid to keep under control the symptoms of heartburn. But now, experts say that GERD may be caused by not because of excessive acid produced inside the stomach but because of low acid produced in the stomach.
Pharmaceutical companies sand doctors have made antacid industry a huge one
Imagine the situation where doctors are prescribing prescriptions of antacid medications and H-2-blockers to their patients complaining of heartburn and other symptoms of acid reflux whereas many of these patients are actually suffering from not excessive acid but low stomach acid. The antacid industry has become a multibillion dollar pharmaceutical industry with millions of tablets being gulped down by men and women around the country on a daily basis. If you are like other fellow citizens watching string of commercials showing how effective antacid tablets and syrups are in combating indigestion, bloating, and heartburn, you must be convinced by now that all your problems are because of production of too much acid inside your stomach. You must be under the impressing that consuming such tablets or syrups is a wonderful way to keep the production of acid in your stomach down to a minimum.
Acid production inside stomach is totally natural
Most people are not aware of the fact that production of acid inside the stomach is a natural process that is carried out by the body to help in digestion of the food items that are gulped down by the people. It is never more or excessive as suggested by the notion that one should keep this acid under check to solve the problem of GERD. The truth is that one need not fear the stomach produced inside his stomach at all. Before going into the amount of stomach acids, let us first find out why this hydrochloric acid is so important. It is through secretion of this acid by cells of the stomach that the pH value of the environment is kept between 1.5 and 3.0. This acidic environment is enough to digest all sorts of food items that we tend to eat in our daily lives. The stomach itself is protected from this strong acid with the help of lining made up of epithelial cells that keep producing an alkaline solution all the time.
Low stomach acid can cause a lot of problems
What happens when this stomach acid goes down in quantity? It is not just your digestion that is affected because of low acid but you also become protein malnourished. With low amount of stomach acid, the protein consumed by you is not able to break down into amino acids and other nutrients. Your body also becomes mineral deficient when there is low amount of acid in your stomach. This means you remain protein malnourished even though you eat protein rich food items. Slowly but gradually, your adrenals become dry and your youth hormone, also called DHEA, becomes depressed.
However, it is not that these serious effects of low stomach acid are seen in a month or so. The more immediate symptoms of low stomach acid are as follows.
• Feelings of flatulence, belching, and bloating
• Poor digestion
• Stool consisting of undigested food items
• Itching around the rectum
• Dry skin
• Cracked fingernails
There are many more symptoms of low stomach acid but the ones that are similar to those experienced because of too much acid inside the stomach are surprising for many people. In fact, it is an eye opener for all those who continue to gulp down antacids for a long period of time thinking they are getting relief from their indigestion, bloating, and flatulence. These antacids actually work to deplete the acid produced inside the stomach that could be detrimental for your digestion. In fact, low stomach acid creates symptoms of heartburn.
What to do when stomach acid goes down
It is indeed problematical for all those who are diagnosed with low levels of stomach acid. It is referred to as hypochlorhydria. It should not be ignored if one has started to experience poor digestion, bloating, and heartburn. One should immediately stop consuming antacid tablets and syrups that work to suppress the production of acid inside the stomach. You think that you can get over your poor indigestion, burping, belching, farting etc by eating antacids. But these medications actually further deplete your stomach acid. Take follow steps to make sure that are able to restore the normal levels of acid inside your stomach.
• Eliminate all processed foods from your diet
• Include drinks that are fermented
• Cut down on the intake of sugar
• Stop eating antacids at once
Now that you know what is causing you heartburn, it is time to take the corrective action.