Fixing the stomach requires a balanced acid PH. Stomach acid known as Hydrochloric acid is secreted to breakdown and absorb B12, proteins and minerals. A diet high in excess carbohydrates, bad oils/fats, or excessive alcohol consumption contribute and lead to poor gut function called hypochlorhydria which means insufficient stomach acid. When this occurs protein will putrefy and carbs will ferment in the gut causing organic acids to backup into the esophagus resulting in heartburn and/or acid reflux.
Over a period of time the tissue within the esophagus becomes tender triggering sensitivities to foods that irritate the area making acid reflux or heartburn to occur more frequent. Acid stopping/blocking medication shut down digestion further leading to nutrient deficiency and malabsorption.
So the question is - is it too much acid or not enough?
It's been my experience that not enough stomach acid is generally the contributing factor setup by stress and poor food choices.
Here are some common related problems resulting from hypochlorhydria (insufficient stomach acid):
- B12 deficiency
- Bad breath
- Bacterial infections
What to do?
A quick fix is a supplement you can buy over the counter called DGL. It is licorice based and can be taken before or after a flare-up. You can also avoid any foods that trigger acid reflux for at least a month, allowing stomach tissue to heal. Reintroduce them thereafter into your diet to see if you're still sensitive. If so, repeat the process.
You can also start taking HCL (hydrochloric acid) a supplement available over the counter but it can be tricky. Depending on your level of stomach sensitivity, nutritional guidance is best to determine dosage and frequency.
An herbal formula I often use is GI Care. It's great for acid reflux, heartburn and has a gastroprotective effect to restore normal digestion and gastrointestinal function. Also think about acupuncture, it directly effects organ function and is very effective in building a weakened digestive system.
If stress is undermining your gastric health, I always think about all I am grateful for. Sometimes its 5 minutes in the morning as I begin my day or end my day. And sometimes its moment to moment. We have no control when stress comes knocking on our door but we do have a choice on what we focus on even if its for a few minutes.