Although you probably don’t often think about your stomach acid unless, of course, your stomach is upset, it’s something that is truly important to both consider and educate yourself about.
Stomach acid also called gastric acid, exists in your stomach to provide what is probably the most important and necessary function of the digestive system. And, because people can experience stomach discomfort, what many fail to realize is that when it feels like their stomach is malfunctioning, they are typically going through a stomach acid problem that education can help them avoid.
The problem is, most people experience the discomfort, and then feel relatively fine a day or two later, forget about that episode—until, of course, it happens again.
This ongoing cycle often limits people’s capabilities and activity level, which is depressing since there are relatively easy ways to avoid these troubles with some knowledge and preventative steps.
If you are one of these people, you are obviously not alone in the world. Just know, though, while your stomach may temporarily feel OK, the problems and discomfort, unless you address them, will continue to reoccur.
And when you have this discomfort, you probably miss out on work or family activities. Why allow the continuation of this when you can avoid it?
Don’t let yourself miss out on a moment of meaningful work, family time, or time for yourself.
If you are interested in learning about stomach acid and what’s behind it, as well as some tips and tricks to handle low stomach acid and high stomach acid, read on. You’ll get a helpful overview, keep yourself healthy and happy, and never have to miss another important minute of your life due to a sour stomach.
What Is Stomach Acid?
Stomach acid develops automatically in your body as you start eating. The parietal cells lining the interior of your stomach begin to make the acid aid in digestion as you taste whatever delicious dish you decided to consume.
By utilizing minerals present in your stomach, including hydrochloric acid, potassium, and sodium, the parietal cells generate the acid, which usually has a pH of 1.35 to 3.5.
The major goal of the parietal cells while making the acid needed for digestion is to minimize pH levels, and they get assistance from digestive cells located in the stomach that produce bicarbonate, to aid in leveling out acid complications.
To further help the stomach lining and the parietal cells themselves from the acid, mucus is generated to buffer the lining and level out exposure to acidity.
How Does Stomach Acid Benefit You?
The major benefits of stomach acid are the ability to absorb food while protecting the stomach lining from the necessary acid generated in the process.
Gastric acid is what handles the absorption of food, allowing for minerals and protein to be digested and absorbed into the body. The essential nutrients necessary for healthy living are thus processed by the body for use through the breakdown process stimulated by gastric acid.
While allowing for the absorption of healthy minerals into the body, stomach acid also protects an individual’s health by killing off any bacteria present in the food.
What Happens When Stomach Acid is Too Low?
When a person’s stomach acid content is too low, the lower level functioning of neurotransmitters results, which carry signals between cells like messengers. This fact means the body’s activity and communication ability deteriorate, and health cannot be optimal.
Furthermore, minerals and nutrients needed for health cannot be broken down to stimulate more productive activity levels in the person.
Suffering from low levels of gastric acid can be incredibly uncomfortable. Some people suffer from diarrhea as a result of low stomach acid’s result of incomplete digestion. Others wind up experiencing inflammatory bowel disease if the situation continues over time.
Some that suffer from low stomach acid also find that they grow intolerant to digesting milk products. Many cases of lactose intolerance can link to low levels of stomach acid. Once the stomach acid is balanced out through treatment, often any and all symptoms—diarrhea, inflammatory bowel disease, and lactose intolerance—begin to disappear.
One very natural way to help balance out low levels of stomach acid is to drink apple cider vinegar at least once a day. Other natural products that can ease the problem of low stomach acid include Kefir and Manuka honey. All three products will go a long way in assisting with re-creating a proper balance so that you digest your food better and feel healthier overall.
What Happens When Stomach Acid is Too High?
Stomach acid volume in a person, just as it can become too small, can also become too high. When it raises to above normal volume, gastric secretion itself becomes more acidic, an issue known as hyperchlorhydria. In some cases, a person never notices the increase in stomach acid volume.
This result happens when the stomach, as well as the duodenum and esophagus, can adapt to the higher levels of acid secretion and function without any difficulty. However, this is not common, and what usually happens is the development of an uncomfortable acidic stomach.
When people experience the issues of an acidic stomach, they can get nauseous, throw up, feel a burning sensation in their chest, and also become heavily bloated. In more grave and ongoing cases, the person can develop acid reflux, gastritis, or a peptic ulcer, and permanent damage can be done to the stomach if one ignores the warning signs.
A few things can cause excess stomach acid. The Pylori infection can cause the stomach disruption in its ability to regulate the correct production of stomach acid. Some people that use NSAIDs may find that the medication can damage the stomach lining and the stomach’s ability to control acid production.
On other occasions, the lower esophageal sphincter begins to malfunction. In this case, the acid may come back up through the esophagus, known as acid reflux.
To remedy the problem of too much stomach acid, focusing on diet and lifestyle, as well as taking antacids, can all help to re-create a proper balance in the stomach. Stay away from fatty foods and other items that can upset the stomach, like caffeine, alcohol, sodas, and spicy foods.
Avoid tobacco as well as gum and tobacco chewing, as the nicotine is an irritant and the act of chewing can increase stomach acid. Try eating smaller meals more often and ditch the larger meals. Also, antacids can be helpful to bring down the acid content in a person’s stomach.
You may also be able to get a proton pump inhibitor or H2 blocker to bring down gastric said secretion.
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