If our vehicle’s fuel tank were leaking enough fuel to inhibit us from making it all the way to work each day, should we pay a mechanic to run diagnostics as well as begin repairing any issues? Or would it make more sense to take care of the fuel situation first?
Without fuel, the vehicle’s engine cannot function, which means everything else on the vehicle either has no reason to function, or has no power to function. Why even bother looking at these other components when we’re out of fuel?
Our stomach acid is as important as our vehicle’s fuel tank
Without proper stomach acid, some of the substances we consume will not be broken down into their proper forms. This is a major issue and is essentially the same thing as the fuel leaking out of the fuel tank in our vehicle.
Proper stomach acid is required to separate vitamin B12 from the protein its attached to in food. 1
Proper stomach acid is also required to activate pepsin which is the main enzyme used to break down protein. 2
Symptoms of B12 deficiency
- Developmental delays
- Weakness, tiredness, or lightheadedness
- Heart palpitations and shortness of breath
- Pale skin
- A smooth tongue
- Constipation, diarrhea, loss of appetite, or gas
- Nerve problems like numbness or tingling, muscle weakness, and problems walking
- Vision loss
- Mental problems like depression, memory loss, or behavioral changes
Symptoms of protein deficiency
- Fatty liver
- Dry skin, thinning hair and nail problems
- Loss of muscle mass
- Increased risk of bone fractures
- Stunted growth
- Increased severity of infections
- Increased calorie intake and hunger
- Belly fat
- Craving sugar and other carbs
- Constantly tired
- Sick more often
Symptoms of low stomach acid
- Cramping, Heartburn, Nausea, Acid Reflux
- Undigested food in stool
- Skin issues
- Food allergies/intolerance
- Nutritional Deficiencies
Symptoms of poor fat digestion
- Diarrhea on a regular basis
- Smelly poop
- Light-colored poop
- Floating poop
- Sticky poop
- Skin rashes
- Weight loss
- Queasy feeling after meals
- Kidney stones
These is much more too this though, which is why stomach acid is so important to focus on very early in our healing journey. Because without protein, b12, magnesium and other nutrients, we can’t run our methylation system, which is the first step in about everything our body wants to do for health. My page about birth control has symptoms of only a portion of the nutrients our methylation system uses. And my page about magnesium gets into a lot of issues we run into when we can’t utilize magnesium in our methylation cycle or the tons of other various important places it’s used.
What’s causing stomach acid issues?
Most people think stomach acid issues are from elevated stomach acid. But the issue is more commonly related to low stomach acid. When the acid is not strong enough, the flap at the top of our stomach does not remain closed which allows acid to make its way into our throat. It’s still very acidic though and capable of burning our throat which is likely why people assume it’s due to elevated acid levels.
Out of all the topics I’ve researched related to health and digesting nutrients, the process of building stomach acid is the most complex. Long story short, just about every system in our body is involved in proper stomach acid generation, which means a ton of nutrients are involved. But as our stomach acid is incorrect, we cannot digest our nutrients properly, which inhibits our ability to create proper stomach acid. So not only can this issue contribute to itself, it can be difficult to restore at times.
But, the biggest issue we can run into, is ignoring this stomach acid situation all together. We will chase ourselves in circles forever if we do not have proper stomach acid levels.
How do we resolve low stomach acid?
This can be a complex issue depending on our nutritional balances, toxic load and microbial imbalances. Without limiting our exposure to toxicity as much as possible, eating a clean diet and figuring out which nutrients our body needs, it’s going to be very difficult to restore proper stomach acid. This issue exists because we live in a toxic world and just about all diets are void of proper nutrition. Then as we go without proper stomach acid, there are several parasites that can setup shop in our stomach and gut lining. These parasites will do anything they can to offset our systems further so they can thrive.
If we can’t seem to resolve stomach acid and related issues, there is a good chance we have a parasite working hard trying to keep our system out of balance. This is good to keep in mind as we focus on stomach acid. If our attempts to resolve stomach acid seem to backfire in odd ways, parasites are most likely the culprit.
Supplementing stomach acid directly
There is a method of supplementing stomach acid directly by using HCl, which is Hydrochloric Acid, which is the same substance our stomach acid is made of. But this works a little differently than supplementing regular nutrients.
There are supplement blends with very small amounts of HCl, but this is mainly to help give us a minor boost in an attempt to better absorb the nutrients included in that blend. But if our stomach acid is in bad enough shape we might require a lot more HCl for a while till our body is able to generate its own stomach acid properly again.
There is a method called The Stomach Acid Challenge which helps us figure out how much HCl we may need in order to temporarily support our stomach acid. I’m going to explain how it works, but this is something that you will want to do more of your own research on. I have already covered and will get into more common issues we can run into as we begin supplementing HCl, but improper stomach acid can get us into some serious imbalances, which leaves us open to a handful of potential issues. If this is situation is overwhelming, look for a naturopath practitioner that can help resolve this situation.
Some of the more frustrating issues we can run into while supplementing HCl is our stomach becoming irritated right away when trying this. This can potentially be due to the pepsin that is commonly included with HCl. Sometimes we can find an HCl without pepsin and be able to move forward, but sometimes this can be a warning signal that we have an H. Pylori infection.
Some people do not ever feel any ‘heat’ from the HCl. This can be confusing because there are some people that require a rather large number of these pills before they feel it, but some people just never feel the heat and need to pay attention to their digestion in order to judge if the HCl is helping or not. This is done by monitoring the toilet bowl and looking for changes in color and consistency. There is no exact science to this and I will not get into the specifics of what we can learn from the appearance of our poop. There are a good bit of resources on the internet to help us become poop-diagnostic masters.
The Stomach Acid Challenge
What I’ve mentioned above about this process is to help understand some of the important aspects. Now I will explain how I’ve used this process to judge my stomach acid.
One of the main substances our stomach acid is breaking down for us, is protein. So if we perform this process while consuming a high protein meal, it helps us judge how much acid our stomach might need help with.
When I first attempted this, I treated myself to a bacon cheeseburger from a fast food restaurant called Five Guys. Although a meal like this may sound counterintuitive to healing, if you follow more of my info, you may understand why I am not against something like this.
We don’t want to take the HCl pills before we eat, but we want them to be in our stomach just about right away as we consume a high protein meal. I waited till I was almost halfway done with my burger before I swallowed one HCl pill.
Because we’re tryin to gain an idea how many of these pills we require, it’s important to start with one and wait till the next day to try more. If we take one and can’t tell if our stomach generated heat, we can try only one again the next day, or increase to two. We want to attempt to increase the number we take each day till we finally notice the heat feeling.
It’s possible we’ll notice digestive changes as we start or increase these pills. This is most likely a good thing, but this requires good judgement. I have gone through a lot of digestive changes that are commonly considered a negative reaction, but they continually help me move forward. Sometimes our trillions of cells rapidly push stuff out of our body when we finally provide the right building blocks, and detox is able to work quickly. This is similar to a person vomiting when they drink too much alcohol too quickly. Our body knows processing that much alcohol will be too difficult, so it removes it. When we support our digestion and allow rapid detox, our body might cause defecation to happen well before it spends the time removing the water from our stool. And sometimes we are getting rid of some potent nasty stuff which can cause various levels of discomfort. We tend to feel much better once this is over though.
Once we take enough HCl pills and notice the feeling of heat, we want to continue taking that number of pills with high protein meals each day. If at any point the heat becomes stronger or uncomfortable, we may want to try reducing the number of pills by one, or pausing the pills for a few days, or stopping the pills and doing more research and locating a professional that can help us.
Taking a few HCl pills and assuming we’re giving our stomach acid a little boost is not the correct way to handle this, or it would not be called The Stomach Acid Challenge, it would be called supplementing HCl. An example to help put this into perspective is when we want to cook food that requires bringing water to a boil, we can’t just add a little heat, we have to add enough heat to cause the water to boil. This stomach acid situation is very similar, if we only add a little HCl, but not enough to break down our food properly, it’s as if we never bring our water to a boil which causes the food to turn out improperly. But this is part of where this process becomes confusing as some of us do not feel the heat that indicates whether we now have enough acid or not. I have seen a few people claim they tried somewhere around 10 pills and did not feel any heat but their digestion was changing and improving. I have a feeling the amount of people that are not able to feel this heat is very low and most people just need more, but I also understand it’s rather weird to swallow a handful of hydrochloric acid..
Helping our body build its own acid
It’s a good idea to attempt getting any nutrients that might help us build our stomach acid naturally. Because stomach acid is so integral, just about any nutrient has an influence on this process at some point. But there are a few nutrients or foods that are known to be a bit more important or potent in this process.
A lot of people notice benefits from Apple Cider Vinegar(ACV) whether they realize its due to mainly supporting their digestion or not. ACV is acidic, so by consuming it before meals or adding it to meals we’re doing something similar to adding HCl pills to our meals. ACV can be helpful give our acid a boost, but it’s a bit like just adding heat without ever bringing water to a boil like I mentioned above.
Lemon water can be very beneficial as well, but it’s best to blend “whole” organic lemons. We want to consume wholefoods when possible, so we want all the pieces of the lemon. It’s difficult to consume the strength of this at first though so we need to blend a “whole” slice or so and work our way up. I tend to forget about doing this and always have to start by throwing a slice of lemon and a little spring/distilled/filtered water to the blender for a sec.
Another way to help support stomach acid is by stimulating our system with something called Digestive Bitters which are a blend of things Dandelion Root and Leaf, Angelica Root, Burdock Root, Orange Peel, Fennel Seed, Yellow Dock Root, Gentian Root, Ginger Root and a few other things.
There are a good bit of food and supplements that can help us naturally increase our stomach acid. But a huge part of this issue is due to a lot of our foods being loaded with various substances our body does not want to process. As we continue to eat these, they just bog the system down more and cause a lot more than stomach acid issues. So part of this is removing the incorrect substances we might be consuming or somehow absorbing daily. I wrote about a book I found years ago that helped me learn which foods my body does not handle well whyiodine.com/clean-diet
I may add a little more about stomach acid someday but that’s it for now.
Once we have stomach acid in decent shape. The next step is working on fat digestion via bile and bile salts, but I still have to write that.
- Role of taurine on acid secretion in the rat stomach - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3042912/