Telling Signs You Could Have Low Stomach Acid
You probably know that your skin would get burned if you poured stomach acid on it, yet we need stomach acid to maintain a healthy digestive system. In fact, low stomach acid levels can hinder nutrient absorption and cause digestive problems.
Stomach acid helps break down proteins and minerals so that theyre easily absorbed into the body. It also kills harmful bacteria and parasites in the food we eat.
Surprisingly, you have a higher risk of low stomach acid than you may know. Its estimated that 22 percent of the US population suffers from low stomach acid, also known as hypochlorhydria.
More surprising is the fact that low stomach acid causes more digestive problems than too much stomach acid, especially in adults, according to research.
Symptoms Of Acid Reflux
02-14-20 – Esophageal Issues
Most people have experienced the symptoms of heartburn at one time or another. Perhaps you ate too much just before bed and awoke to a burning sensation in your chest. You may have even had some regurgitation of stomach acid into your throat and mouth. While unpleasant, these symptoms are easily treated with antacids or home remedies for most. Its only an occasional occurrence and is given little thought after the discomfort passes. However, for sufferers of acid reflux disease, these symptoms and others can become a regular occurrence.
When heartburn becomes more persistent, occurring two or more times a week, or if it is resistant to medications, its time to see a specialist. Additionally, there are several other symptoms that may suggest acid reflux disease, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease . While these symptoms may not be as disruptive as heartburn, they also point to this chronic digestive disorder and should be addressed.
Acid Reflux Heartburn And Bacterial Gastric Ulcer Infections Are All Conditions Related To The Digestive System And Its Secretion Of Stomach Acid
If this is your first time reading about the secretion of stomach acid and how critical its role is- in digestion and overall health, find out more below…
Contrary to mainstream belief where which assumes that the cause of acid reflux is due to the secretion of too much stomach acid, we may look at the opposite to give us an alternate point of view. The popularity and use of mainstream medications such as antacids and PPI’s are all too common and are based on the idea that certain digestive conditions are caused by overactive or high stomach acid levels.In reality, much of the origin of these types of acid-related issues are actually caused by low stomach acid levels.
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Can Low Acid In Stomach Really Cause Heartburn
The fact is that what causes heartburn and other signs of poor digestion may be the common age-related problem of low stomach acid. Another research study published in 2012 concluded there was a direct association between indigestion symptoms and low stomach acid, especially in the female patients who participated in the study.
Foods That Reduce Stomach Acid
If stomach acid is too high, there are certain foods that can act as replacements to any of the highly acidic foods described above.
University Hospitals advises the following as beneficial foods for excess stomach acid:
- Chicken breast: Never eat chicken breast fried instead opt for boiled, baked or grilled. Removing the skin will also reduce the fatty content and therefore reduce acid in the body’s digestive system.
- Brown rice: This whole grain is an inoffensive staple of any diet just make sure it isn’t fried.
- Melons: Melons are an example of a healthy fruit that is low in acidity.
- Ginger: Stew in caffeine-free tea to soothe the stomach.
Read more:Foods to Reduce Stomach Acid
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Controlling Excess Stomach Acid
Too much stomach acid can be uncomfortable and lead to many other unpleasant symptoms, but it isn’t something that must be lived with. It isn’t just the reduction of acidic foods in the diet that can help prevent too much acid in the stomach, but also the way that they are eaten.
The Cleveland Clinic advises that overproduction of acid in the stomach can be controlled by:
- Maintaining a healthy weight: Being overweight can exacerbate stomach acid and pressure on the stomach muscles.
- Eating small, frequent meals: A large intake of food at any one time fills the stomach and may stress the esophageal sphincter. Space out meals and have smaller portions to ease the pressure on the stomach muscles.
- Watching your posture while eating: Sitting upright when consuming food allows for a more streamlined digestive process as it straightens out where the esophagus and stomach meet, and this can ease pressure on the stomach that can result in acid reflux.
Don’t Lie Down Too Soon After Eating
Lying down with a full stomach can cause stomach contents to press harder against the lower esophageal sphincter , increasing the chances of refluxed food. Try these tips:
- Wait at least two to three hours after eating to go to bed.
- Avoid late-night snacking.
- If one of your meals ends up being larger than the others, aim to eat that meal for lunch instead of supper.
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Can Gerd Cause Asthma
We dont know the exact relationship between GERD and asthma. More than 75% of people with asthma have GERD. They are twice as likely to have GERD as people without asthma. GERD may make asthma symptoms worse, and asthma drugs may make GERD worse. But treating GERD often helps to relieve asthma symptoms.
The symptoms of GERD can injure the lining of the throat, airways and lungs, making breathing difficult and causing a persistent cough, which may suggest a link. Doctors mostly look at GERD as a cause of asthma if:
- Asthma begins in adulthood.
- Asthma symptoms get worse after a meal, exercise, at night and after lying down.
- Asthma doesnt get better with standard asthma treatments.
If you have asthma and GERD, your healthcare provider can help you find the best ways to handles both conditions the right medications and treatments that wont aggravate symptoms of either disease.
How Do Carbohydrates Harm Our Autonomic Nervous System
Excessive dietary carbohydrates can lead to an increase in metabolic inflammation in the brain through a process known as overnutrition. A variety of studies are demonstrating that metabolic inflammation can directly impair the functionality of the autonomic nervous system.
The negative autonomic impact of excessive carbohydrates helps explain why carbohydrate reduction improves many physical symptoms of autonomic dysfunction such as urinary frequency, heartburn, bloating and lightheadedness. Many researchers now believe that the high levels of carbohydrates in the typical American diet are in excess of a threshold that our modern brains can tolerate.
Another example of a food item that can cause toxic effects when consumed in excess is alcohol. Many studies have shown that drink 1-2 alcoholic beverages such as wine per day is seemingly harmless to our health. But its common known that drinking 1-2 bottles of wine per day more than likely leads to poor brain health, damage to the liver known as cirrhosis as well as damage to our heart muscle .
Also, people falsely believe they neednt worry about eating too many carbohydrates if they exercise regularly. They will simply burn them off. The toxicity of excessive carbohydrates is not due to the excessive calories they may provide but more due to the toxic effect.
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How Many Carbohydrates Should We Eat
To answer this question we need to look at the evolution of our Stone Age ancestors and the amount of carbohydrates they consumed. Scientific evidence suggests that our primitive ancestors ate a diet that consisted predominantly of animal tissue and plants known as browsing foliage .
During the Stone Age, carbohydrates were very uncommon in the wild and consisted of occasional roots, wild fruit or honey. Overall, the availability of carbohydrates was uncommon. Other than being on a tropical island, when was the last time you saw some fruit such as an apple or orange when walking in the woods? These foods do not grow commonly in the wild. They are cultivated plants that became more readily available after the agricultural revolution.
Many Americans consume more carbohydrates per day than our Stone Age ancestors consumed in a year. The amounts of carbohydrates available for human consumption didnt begin to increase until the agricultural revolution when man learned to grow grains such as wheat, barley and millet. The domestication of livestock and the consumption of livestock milk became an additional source of carbohydrates as well.
The point of this is to help you understand that we were designed through evolution to adapt to eating predominantly animal tissue and low amounts of carbohydrates. We did not develop the metabolic ability to handle such large quantities of carbohydrates in our diet and our bodies are suffering because of it.
What Causes Acid Reflux
Acid reflux is caused by weakness or relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter . Normally this valve closes tightly after food enters your stomach. If it relaxes when it shouldnt, your stomach contents rise back up into the esophagus.
Stomach acids flow back up into the esophagus, causing reflux.
Factors that can lead to this include:
- Too much pressure on the abdomen. Some pregnant women experience heartburn almost daily because of this increased pressure.
- Particular types of food and eating habits.
- Medications that include medicines for asthma, high blood pressure and allergies as well as painkillers, sedatives and anti-depressants.
- A hiatal hernia. The upper part of the stomach bulges into the diaphragm, getting in the way of normal intake of food.
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Whats The Difference Between Dyspepsia And Heartburn
Heartburn occurs when the esophagus is exposed to stomach acid. The valve between the esophagus and the stomach is designed to allow food and liquid to pass downward from the esophagus into the stomach as well as to prevent the backwash of acid into the esophagus.
Occasionally, the valve relaxes and allows stomach acid to reflux backwards into the esophagus. The acid stimulates nerve endings in the esophagus and causes the symptoms commonly referred to as heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease . GERD can be associated with a burning sensation in the chest, belching, a bitter taste in our mouth, coughing and wheezing. Strangely, sometimes the refluxing acid will not cause any pain and can cause exacerbation of asthma after eating and trigger recurrent sinus and middle ear infections.
Dyspepsia is a term reserved for the symptoms we might think of as a sour stomach, slight nausea or an upset stomach. These symptoms dont result from acid splashing back into the esophagus as in heartburn. The symptoms of dyspepsia are from an abnormal accumulation of acid in the stomach. The acid accumulates because it is not being emptied normally, not because our stomach is producing too much.
To review, the symptoms of GERD are from stomach acid splashing backwards into the esophagus and dyspepsia is from too much acid accumulating in the stomach.
What Are The Main Symptoms Of Gerd
The main symptoms are persistent heartburn and acid regurgitation. Some people have GERD without heartburn. Instead, they experience pain in the chest, hoarseness in the morning or trouble swallowing. You may feel like you have food stuck in your throat, or like you are choking or your throat is tight. GERD can also cause a dry cough and bad breath.
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Gut Bacteria And Heartburn
Your intestinal bacteria should be concentrated in the lower colon with very few bacteria in the upper small intestine where most nutrients are digested and absorbed. For every 1 bacteria in the upper small intestine there is 100 million bacteria in the lower colon!
Unfortunately, some of these colon bacteria will find their way up into the upper small intestine and can trigger heartburn. This form of heartburn is often triggered by a particular type of food. Common examples are spicy food, tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, bell peppers and certain fruit or nuts. Some estimates are that SIBO may affect 50-75% of the U.S. population.
If someone has abnormal bacteria in the upper intestine that are activated by nutrients found in spices, the active bacteria are capable of sending a signal up the vagus nerve and tell the brain to slow down the intestinal track and not to empty the stomach. This happens with any kind of nutrient the bacteria are activated by.
If the stomach isnt emptying while you are eating, the food contents and accompanying digestive enzymes and acids overfill. This will make you very bloated and cause the reflux of the overfilled stomach contents into the esophagus giving you heartburn. The slowing of the intestinal tract is also responsible for your intestinal cramping, constipation and if the overgrowth is bad enough, you developed diarrhea with particular foods.
Signs Of Excess Stomach Acid
1. Mild Symptoms
Excessive acid production encourages the production of gas that will accumulate in your stomach, causing issues such as flatulence and stomach pain. These symptoms may be mild but are usually serious enough to keep you uncomfortable all the time. Some other mild symptoms include belching, bloating, and heartburn.
2. Acid Reflux
Also called gastrointestinal reflux disease , acid reflux refers to a condition in which the stomach acid moves up the esophagus. You are more likely to experience acid reflux when you have more acid and food content in your stomach. Symptoms include flatulence, bloating, abdominal pain, etc.
Be sure to seek medical attention because the acid can cause corrosion of the esophagus, which increases your risk of ulceration.
Too much acid in stomach can cause gastric ulcers. You get these ulcers when too much acid damages the lining of the stomach. If left untreated, these ulcers can lead to bleeding and perforation of the stomach. You may have to deal with life-threatening complications when the stomach content starts leaking into your abdominal cavity. Immediate medical attention is necessary in this case.
Note: Be sure to talk to your doctor if you have any of the aforementioned symptoms and signs. Timely medical attention can help prevent serious complications.
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Ways To Relieve Acid Reflux Without Medication
A few lifestyle changes are worth trying before resorting to drugs for controlling gastroesophageal reflux.
If you are sounding a little hoarse and have a sore throat, you may be bracing for a cold or a bout of the flu. But if you’ve had these symptoms for a while, they might be caused not by a virus but by a valveyour lower esophageal sphincter. That’s the muscle that controls the passage between the esophagus and stomach, and when it doesn’t close completely, stomach acid and food flow back into the esophagus. The medical term for this process is gastroesophageal reflux the backward flow of acid is called acid reflux.
Acid reflux can cause sore throats and hoarseness and may literally leave a bad taste in your mouth. When acid reflux produces chronic symptoms, it is known as gastroesophageal reflux disorder, or GERD. The most common symptom of GERD is heartburnpain in the upper abdomen and chest that sometimes feel like youre having a heart attack.
Three conditionspoor clearance of food or acid from the esophagus, too much acid in the stomach, and delayed stomach emptyingcontribute to acid reflux, says Dr. Jacqueline Wolf, a gastroenterologist and associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and author of A Woman’s Guide to a Healthy Stomach: Taking Control of Your Digestive Health.
If you’ve been having repeated episodes of heartburnor any other symptoms of acid refluxyou might try the following:
Diagnosing H Pylori Infection
If your GP thinks that your symptoms may be due to an infection with H pylori bacteria, you may need to have a test for it, such as:
- a stool antigen test a pea-sized stool sample will be tested for H pylori bacteria
- a breath test
- a blood test a blood sample will be tested for antibodies to H pylori bacteria
Antibiotics and PPIs can affect the results of a urea breath test or a stool antigen test. Therefore, these tests may need to be delayed until two weeks after you last used a PPI, and four weeks after you last used an antibiotic.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Indigestion
Each persons symptoms may vary. Symptoms may include:
- Feeling full too soon while eating
- Feeling pain, burning, and discomfort in your upper belly or abdomen
- Feeling bloated
- Burping and loud stomach gurgling
- Having an upset stomach or vomiting
- Having diarrhea
- Having gas
The symptoms of indigestion may look like other health problems. Always see your healthcare provider to be sure.
What Are The Complications Of Acidity
When acidity is not treated properly or at the right time, the excessive acid in the stomach can weaken the defense mechanism of the stomach lining. Ulcers can be formed in the esophagus, stomach and duodenum. GERD is another complication of chronic acidity.
Stomach ulcers are formed when the highly acidic medium of the stomach disturbs its protective mucus lining and exposes the lining tissues to the acid. When the acid is not neutralized by the bicarbonates of the duodenum, ulcers are formed in the duodenal lining also.
Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease :
Also known as acid reflux, it is a chronic condition in which the contents of the stomach regurgitate into the esophagus. This happens when the esophageal sphincter fails to block the contents of the stomach from going back to the esophagus.
GERD can be caused by various other factors, but can also be one of the complications of poorly treated prolonged gastric acidity.
The taste of acid is felt in the mouth along with bad breath. Other symptoms include chest pain, breathing problems, wearing away of the teeth and vomiting.
Acidity can be prevented by changing certain food items, patterns and eating habits. Some of the ways to prevent acidity are as follows:
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