Did you know that most disease begins in our gut? That’s why gut health is so very critical. Whether you’re dealing with autoimmunity or food allergies or food sensitivities or Hashimoto’s or pretty much anything else, it starts in the gut. That’s why it’s so important to understand what is really going on when we talk about acid reflux, heartburn, or GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease).
Most of the common treatments for acid reflux, heartburn, or GERD work by reducing the production of stomach acid. That’s based on the belief that excess stomach acid is the root cause of the problem. What I’ve learned in my studies is that it is extremely rare for someone to have too much stomach acid. Sounds crazy, right?
It’s true, though. What has usually happened is that, due to excess sugar, caffeine, and processed foods, the stomach is producing less acid than it should.
So what happens as a result of less stomach acid?
- The lining around the stomach is reduced. That lining functions to protect the rest of the body from the stomach acid. With less acid, there’s less need for that plush lining. But, get this: without that lining our bodies can’t properly assimilate Vitamin B12.
- The lower esophageal sphincter becomes weaker. That’s the sphincter between the esophagus and the stomach. Since it’s weaker, stomach acid goes back up through the sphincter resulting in acid reflux.
- Iron deficiency can result since stomach acid is critical for iron assimilation.
- Pathogens live on beyond the stomach. That’s one function of stomach acid – our first line of defense against pathogens.
- Proteins are only partially digested.
- As a result of the partial digestion of proteins, our gut gets leaky to the partially digested foods.
- And so begins the leaky gut which can often result in food allergies and food sensitivities.
If your problem truly is too much stomach acid, then treating your condition with acid reducing medication may be the right approach. On the other hand, if your problem is a result of too little stomach acid, then reducing the amount of stomach acid will simply make the problem worse.
Our understanding and knowledge of how the human body works is ever-changing. As we learn more, it’s important to re-evaluate how we treat our symptoms. If you’re taking medication for acid reflux, heartburn, or GERD, you may want to work with your health professional to figure out what is really going on in there. Healing the gut might be a better long term solution.
What do you think? Are you currently being treated for acid reflux? Are your prescribed medications making a difference?
- Where Am I Now? - March 9, 2016
- Of Cantaloupes and Cucumbers - April 28, 2015
- Antiperspirants Vs. Deodorants - March 31, 2015
4 thoughts on “Too Much Stomach Acid?”
Thank you for the reminder on this issue, Barbara. You once mentioned to me a simple home test for determining whether you have too much or too little natural acid in your stomach, but I can’t find it now. Could I ask you for that again?
Certainly, Lisa. Thanks for asking. Here’s the test:
1. Do this test on an empty stomach – first thing in the morning is ideal
2. Take a glass of water – 8-10 ounces – and stir in one teaspoon of baking soda.
3. Then, think hard about what you are going to eat for breakfast. Thinking about or smelling activates the cephalic (head) reflex and therefore will increase acid secretion.
4. Drink the entire contents of your glass of water.
5. Wait 10 – 15 minutes.
6. If acid is present in your stomach, as it should be, that acid will react with the baking soda to produce carbon dioxide, and this will result in burping.
7. If there is little or no burping, then there’s likely low stomach acid.
Let me know if you have any questions.
Thank you, Barbara.
Would you recommend avoiding antacids for a day or two before attempting this?
Good thinking, Lisa. Hadn’t ever thought of it, but yes, that would be a good idea.