Everything we hear about stomach acid is that it is bad for you. Medicines abound that help sop it up or stop the body, as much as possible, from producing it. But what if we are wrong? What if what we are doing to control it is the exact OPPOSITE of what we should be doing? What if we allow the burning to just go on?
Let’s handle the last question first. Don’t do that. Chronic heartburn is nothing to mess with. The long-term ramifications could be serious and it cannot be ignored. Serious, not only from the possibility of developing Barrett’s Esophagus or cancer, but serious because of the nutritional deficiencies that are causing a slow degradation of function in your body. This is due to the inability to breakdown and absorb nutrients that are critical to the repair and growth of tissue, and are needed to make hormones, enzymes, cells and other important physiological components in the body. Further, every organ in the body has a mineral that it is dependent upon for function, and in the absence of it, cannot perform up to par. It’s like putting cheap gas in your car. Your car will still run, howbeit that it may sputter, chug and lurch and just not perform with the efficiency expected. Why would we expect the body, when nutrients are not available for function, to perform any differently?
Our bodies NEED acid in the stomach. But not all acid is the same. One of the main digestive enzymes in our stomach is hydrochloric acid. Just by the title, you probably guessed — it is an acid! On a pH scale, 0 is battery acid, 14 is lye (also caustic) and water is a neutral 7. Hydrochloric Acid (HCL) has a pH of 0.8-1.0 (1.2 when food is in the stomach). Holy cow! That’s almost like pouring battery acid down your stomach! Why then, does it not eat your stomach? Because the ‘Divine Maker’ of our incredible bodies had a plan. That plan includes a complicated process of the release of buffering agents, like potassium and chloride, to whisk in and out of specialized cells in our gut to keep the body from eating itself. Quite remarkable, actually. The gut microbiome (healthy bacteria), and a mucus substance released are also important in this process.
But what then causes the burn? Well, a deficiency in hydrochloric acid! HCL is needed to be acidic because the gut has a few other functions other than just digesting food. When a person has a deficiency in their stomach enzymes, it affects other jobs the stomach needs to do.
In Part II of “Is Stomach Acid GOOD for You?” we will explore these different functions and how the body copes — many times to its detriment. We will also discuss what we can do about it.
Meanwhile, sign up for our upcoming health class, Beyond Tums: Drug Free Solutions for Heartburn, Reflux, Indigestion & Upset Stomach, at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 23 at Vital Health in Coeur d’Alene. Fee: $10. RSVP: 208-765-1994 or register here: http://bit.ly/DigestionClassOct2019
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Holly Carling is a Doctor of Oriental Medicine, Licensed Acupuncturist, Doctor of Naturopathy, Clinical Nutritionist and Master Herbologist with nearly four decades of experience. Carling is a “Health Detective.” She looks beyond your symptom picture and investigates WHY you are experiencing your symptoms in the first place. Carling is currently accepting new patients and offers natural health care services and whole food nutritional supplements in her Coeur d’Alene clinic. Visit Carling’s website at www.vitalhealthcda.com to learn more about Carling, view a list of upcoming health classes and read other informative articles. Carling can be reached at 208-765-1994 and would be happy to answer any questions regarding this topic.