The stomach is functioning properly only when the gastric juices are very acidic (pH 1-3). Mucosa produces pepsin (protein digesting enzyme) and strong hydrochloric acid, which is essential for proper digestion, therefore high pH 7 occurs only where the gastric juices come in contact with the gastric mucosa; wherein the acidity is continuously neutralized.
When the acidity is above pH 2.5 (other sources quote the limit as pH 3) the digestive function of the stomach is impaired, resulting in reduced absorbency of many substances, such as vitamins, as well as the absorbency of undesirable substances. At a pH of 5 proteins are not digested (pepsin is not produced) and bacteria growth occurs, eg. helicobacter pylori (associated with the formation of gastric and duodenal ulcers) and at pH 6-7 the stomach practically does not work (neutral pH 7 is for example found in water).
A correct stomach acidity ensures complete digestion of nutrients. At low stomach acidity, the main problem occurs with the digestion of proteins (meat, fish, vegetables, legumes, nuts, dairy products, eg. Milk, cheese), but a long-term disorder in the acidity may consequently also reduce the digestion of fats and carbohydrates.
The purpose of the stomach is the fragmentation of proteins into individual amino acids so that the intestines can complete the digestion process and extract the necessary nutrients. Problems arise when the stomach acid is too weak (high pH) or if there istoo little of it – undigested proteinsstart rotting in the small intestine. The worst case scenario is the passage of undigested proteins into the bloodstream – the immune system sees the foreign body and aims to destroy it, which results in many disease symptoms.
Another issue is the incomplete sterilization of food in a poorly acidified stomach, which fails to destroy bacteria, viruses and parasites eggs. Another theory states that a poorly acidified stomach prevents the neutralization of hazardous chemical additives used in foods and allows excessive growth of bacteria, which causes the formation of cancerous nitrosamines.
Direct symptoms of a poorly acidified stomach include: indigestion, bloating, excessive gas, growl and heaviness in the stomach following a meal.
How to check the acidity of the stomach?
Current acidity of the stomach can be checked using a solution of baking soda: drink 1/2 (up to 3/4) cup of water with 1/2 (up to 1) teaspoon of baking soda in the morning on an empty stomach after getting out of bed. (Children 1/2 teaspoon baking soda).
The test result are determined by the time it takes for you to burp following drinking the mixture. The sodium carbonate solution following a contact with the hydrochloric acid reacts by secreting carbon dioxide (CO2), which leads to burping.
GASTRIC HYPERACIDITY = burping while in the process of drinking the mixture or right after drinking it up to 40 seconds after (the closer to this limit, the less hyperacidity)
CORRECTLY ACIDIFIED STOMACH= burping after 40s, but before the end of the 90 seconds
WEAKENING ACIDIFICATTION OF THE STOMACH = burping after 90 seconds but before 180 seconds (the closer to this limit, the lower the acidity)
POORLY ACIDIFIED STOMACH = burping after 3 minutes are up.
This test is simplified, but reliable reportedly at 99.5%. The most reliable studies are:
- Gastroscopy, which is the measurement of pH directly after sampling probe from the stomach samples of gastric juices.
- Elemental analysis of hair- if the level of calcium, zinc and iron is low it, it may be caused by a deficiency of hydrochloric acid, as there elements very poorly absorbed in a poorly acidified stomach
- Laboratory stool testing for undigested proteins
- A glass of water with soda can be drank every day, but only between meals – due to fully neutralize gastric juices, you have to wait at least 1 hour before the start of the next meal.
- Make sure the soda isn’t old or stale, or the test will fail to give correct results. To check whether the soda is fresh, add a few drops of white vinegar to a teaspoon of soda- if its fizzing, it means the soda is ok to use; if it isn’t, and there is no foam, you will need fresh soda to carry out the above test.
Groups in which acidification of the stomach is desirable:
- Children. Many new-borns are born with, or acquire a poorly acidified stomach dysfunction in early childhood. Therefore, all children rashes may be provoked by improper pH of gastric juice.
- Elderly. The older you are, the lower the acidity of your stomach, simply decreasing with age.
- Genetics. The innate tendency to a deficiency of hydrochloric acid in the stomach.
The main causes of low stomach acidity:
- Antacids, antibiotics
- Junk food, vegetarianism, high intake of grains / cereal / sugary, strongly alkalized diet
- Drugs: alcohol, cigarettes (smoking passive and active), drugs
- Chronic stress
- Drinking excessive amounts of fluids during and after the meal.
Acidification of the stomach
Symptoms and diseases that may indicate low acidity of the stomach, and therefore indicate a need for carrying out the acidification procedure.
Heartburn, reflux. The esophagus is connected to the stomach, followed by the diaphragm – a powerful muscle= sphincter with a hole through which the esophagus enters the stomach muscle (lower esophageal sphincter, esophageal hiatus of the diaphragm). The diaphragm isolates the acidic gastric juices from the delicate esophageal mucosa via cramping.
During heartburn, the gastric juices penetrate into the esophagus and throat, resulting in unpleasant burning, and even vomiting. Traditional treatments mistakenly offer medicines containing antacids for heartburn, resulting in a reduction of acidity of the stomach, which is undesirable in terms of digestion, acid neutralization to pH 6-7. This is beneficial only temporarily to mitigate the burning sensation, but in fact it exacerbates the problem, since the correct operation of the esophageal sphincter is contingent on the degree of gastric acidity – the higher the acidity of the sphincter, the tighter it is clamped and vice versa. The explanation for this phenomenon is simple: when the acidity of gastric juice is not sufficient, the food stays in the stomach for too long and the sphincter allows it to pass through. In other words, antacids eliminate burning, but the juices will continue to penetrate into the esophagus and throat.
This begs the simple conclusion: the cause of heartburn may be low acidity / amount of gastric juices, which provokes sphincter to loosen up, as a consequence, stomach acid moves up. In the context of such a clarification of the mechanism of heartburn, its proper treatment should consist of acidification of gastric juices, and not their neutralization! The use of antacids with proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), or blockers of H2 completely disables digestion even for 24 hours, causing a loss of 130 to 300mg of calcium from the bones (frequent use may induce osteoporosis) and a significant reduction in levels of vitamin B12. In addition, these medicines contain aluminum, which accumulates in the body, mainly in the brain and kidney, causing for example- Alzheimer’s. Another problem are the different effects of a discontinuation of PPI drugs – usually there occurs an increased production of gastric juices, but also a complete cessation of the acid production. Sometimes the use of these drugs is justified, eg. in the case of bleeding gastric ulcers, but their use concerning reflux is often incorrect.
If the cud with low acidity gets into the intestine, pancreatic enzymes are not properly discharged, resulting also in an incomplete digestion of carbohydrates. The result of this is an excessive production of gases that push the food, which causes reflux and heartburn.
In conclusion, proper treatment of heartburn, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD / GORD) should be based on acidification of the stomach, the use of probiotics (eg. Lactobacillus acidophilus) and the digestive enzymes (eg. Hydrochloric acid betaine and pepsin, see below).
Circulatory diseases – coronary heart disease, atherosclerosis, heart attack and stroke. One of the main causes of cardiovascular disease is an excess of homocysteine vitamin B12, B6 and folic acid (B9, B11). In other words, the absence of one of these vitamins will increase homocysteine levels. In a poorly acidified stomach. the gastric absorption of vitamin for example, B12 is strongly reduced, which results in increased levels of homocysteine and said consequences – from atherosclerosis, to coronary heart disease, myocardial infarction and stroke.
Diseases and symptoms occuring due to incomplete digestion of the protein. Proteins are made up of specific amino acids that the organism isolates to form different substances. One of these amino acids is tryptophan. An absence of tryptophan is the lack of a component for the construction of a number of hormones and neurotransmitters. There are 300 different amino acids, many of which are absolutely necessary! But that’s not all – undigested protein is a protein that has not been broken down into amino acids. In its full, not broken up form, it starts rotting in the gastrointestinal tract (change of the bacterial flora in favor of pathogenic bacteria) and before passing through the duodenum, the small intestine and large intestine and be excreted from the body, it can reach the bloodstream. In that case, the immune system identifies the protein as a foreign body (as well as allergens) and starts a war which’s effects may vary from:
- Bloating, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, vomiting, irritable bowel syndrome
- Insomnia (unrelated to stress): melatonin required for proper sleep, (sleep hormone), which is a derivative of tryptophan which is an amino acid; lack of tryptophan is a lack of melatonin and sleep problems
- Depression: undigested protein is a lack of such amino acids as phenylalanine, tyrosine, tryptophan, resulting in a lack of hormones responsible for psychomotor: serotonin, dopamine, adrenaline, thyroxine etc.
- Asthma, allergy: the body undigested proteins are allergens
- Dermatological conditions, often allergic as eczema (atopic dermatitis, atopic dermatitis), psoriasis, rashes, spots etc.
- Rheumatoid arthritis, knee pain
- Severe cough, headache
- Obesity and malnutrition
- Chronic thyroiditis (Hashimoto)
- Premature aging of the organism, despite the high protein consumption, occurrence of malnutrition, which raises levels of the stress hormone cortisol; followed by fatigue, adrenal glands, which in addition to cortisol also produce Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), a hormone of youth, slowing down its synthesis so that aging of the body accelerates
- Body demineralization: whereby the undigested protein acidify the blood, which in order to neutralize the acid uses the stored in the body minerals
- Chronic deficiency of amino acids, but consequently also of the fat, vitamins and minerals, which induces a number of other diseases and/or contribute to these; as low levels of hydrochloric acid interfere with the secretion of bile salts, that are necessary for fat digestion. Then – the reduced absorption of fats hinders the absorption of vitamins that dilute in the fats.
Reduced immunity. At an incomplete sterilization of food, an overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria, fungi and viruses occurs. while reducing a healthy gut microflora, which significantly reduces the possibility of the immune system. There chronic inflammation and infections.
Other diseases: night blindness, squinting eyes, splitting and breaking nails with longitudinal lines.
Many naturopaths begin the treatment of new patient by checking the degree of stomach acidity!
How to acidify the stomach?
Acidification of the stomach should be preceded by the appropriate hydration of the body. According to research a human can produce up to 2.5 litres of gastric juices every day, therefore the high demand for liquids is obvious. It is important to remember however to not take liquids during a meal or just after eating, otherwise they may thin out the gastric juices.
Hydration is designed to produce a suitably thick gastric mucosa, which you should know that your body dehydrated protecting water wisely manages, among others, brain, lungs, heart, liver and kidneys – the rest of the organs survive without fluids. Therefore, in the course of irrigation to supplement the gastric mucosa will not happen in the first place. Irrigation can be carried out bottled water (not for the bypass food in plastic packaging due to the presence of harmful Bisphenol A, BPA – on the packaging symbol PC7 or 7 in the triangle) or filtered tap water with salt (preferably a crude example. Kłodawa or Himalayan – 1 5g per liter of water), optionally with the addition of honey and lemon juice. Rehydrate can last from a week to up to 6 months. Optimal hydration is a light straw-colored urine. The darker, the weaker. In determining the hydration your body is helpful urine color scale comparative HydraColor and individual hydration calculator – both tools are available on this page.
The lack of hydration which ensures a strong stomach mucosa before acidification can result in pain during the acidification procedure!
Liquids not recommended during the treatment of acidifying the stomach:
- Coffee causes a strong increase in gastric acid secretion, but … its pH is around 5, so despite the rapid production of acid, the pH will be too weak. For this reason, drinking coffee in the morning on an empty stomach is bad for everyone, because then breakfast falls into the gastric juice of low acidity, making it more difficult and prolonging the digestion of a meal.
- Coke despite pH 2.5 induces an unfavourable relaxation of the sphincter and generally is a poison with a high content of deadly sugar.
The methods of stomach acidification can be combined depending on the needs, but it’s worth starting with one method and observing the effects. In general, stomach acidifies bitter, sour and salty food. Stomach acidification needs to be carried out before a meal, especially before eating high-protein foods. This order is not accidental, that is, from easiest to most difficult to digest foods:
Note: Acidification of the stomach is not recommended in patients with peptic ulcer or damaged mucosa of the stomach! The first step is to cure these diseases.
- Even the thought of something bitter or sourstimulates the secretion of gastric acid. Just imagine cutting in half a lemon and its juice squirting out of it – salivary glands start producing saliva straight away.
- Vitamin Ctaken during meals, releases iron that acidifies the stomach. Vitamin C can be used permanently.
- Apple cider vinegar.If purchased in the store you must ensure it is ecological (organic, organic, very cloudy!). The second solution is to prepare your own apple cider vinegar, preferably with organic apples, but the wait time is almost two months! Do not use white spirit vinegar, which is harmful for the stomach and kidneys.
How to use apple vinegar: Mix 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with 1/4, 1/3, or 1/2 cup of water and drink the mixture 15-20 minutes before a meal – 3 times a day, before breakfast, lunch and dinner. It’s a good idea to begin the therapy by using 1 tablespoon per half cup and gradually increasing the concentration to avoid possible stomach pain. After about 15-20 minutes the acidity of gastric juices should be adequate and you it is fine to begin eating. Several weeks of treatment should stabilize the functions of the stomach. Children: 1 teaspoon in half a glass of water.
- Lemon juiceinstead of vinegar: half a cup of lemon juice without water, 3 times a day before meals. Lemon juice has a pH of 2-2.5, which is the same as the pH of gastric jicees.
- Saltkitchen, stone, preferably unpurified, non-iodinated, such as Himalayan salt: take a pinch of salt and dissolve it in water and drink or dissolve directly in your mouth and swallow before or after heavy meals or during the day. Simple, inexpensive and effective way to supplement hydrochloric acid.
- Ayurvedic mix: mix 1 lemon, 2-3cm of ginger, and 1/2 teaspoons of salt, preferably Himalayan. Take 1/2 teaspoon of pulp 15 minutes before eating.
- Spices and herbs. Add about 1.5 g of the mix to each meal. Spices stimulating the production of gastric juices and improving the functions of the entire digestive system include fenugreek, anise, basil, savory, cumin, corianderand black cumin. An additional advantage of the use of spices is a clearly improved absorption of vitamins.
- Cabbage water or pickles
- Stomach drops: take 2-3 drops and swallow. The bitter taste provokes the secretion of hydrochloric acid in the stomach.
- Wormwood: a 10 day treatment with tincture of wormwood. Every morning drink hemlock mixed with water. Wormwood is also anti-parasitic, but long use is prohibited, as it negatively affects the eyes and so it is inadvisable for children.
- Hydrochloric acid betaine (betaine hydrochloride, betaine HCL) and pepsincapsules (tablets cause a burning sensation right after being inserted into the mouth) consumed at the beginning of the meal is the final method, to be used if the previous methods did not yield results. Treatment should start with 1 capsule with a meal and after 1-2 weeks it is necessary to carry out the soda test. If the test results are still poor, you increase the dose to 2 capsules, and after a week repeat the test. The whole process can be repeated reaching up to 4-5 capsules. After reaching this maximum, if you still see no effects, you should consult your doctor. If the treatment is effective, after some time, you can reduce the dose (eg. 1 capsule with each meal). As a result of an overdose of betaine a warm feeling in your stomach may occur. This symptom is an indication that the dose is too high and should be reduced. If after taking 5 capsules there is no feeling of warmth, do not increase the dose. Careful use of betaine is important in patients with urinary tract infections as the drug can irritate the bladder. Medical consultation is essential if you are taking any medication, especially anti-inflammatory as corticosteroids, aspirin, ibuprofen and other NSAIDs.
Contraindications to the use of betaine:
- people with weakened mucosa, including ulcers
A method for gastric acidity for those with a sensitive mucosa:
If after some time the above treatments cause a burning sensation, stomach pain, epigastric stinging or burning of the esophagus and throat, you should approach the problem from another side. In people with sensitive mucosa, acid introduced from the outside can break down the structure of the tissue and mechanically irritate the stomach lining leading to its damage.
The solution to this issue is an alkaline water or a water ionizer for its production. The costs of both are relatively high, but in my opinion, for short-term courses, it is cheaper to buy a ready-alkalized, while for long-term treatments, as a permanent part of a healthy diet, it is more economical to purchase the ionizer.
Drink the water 30minutes to 1 hour before eating. The body always strives to achieving homeostasis (biochemical balance) through strong mechanisms of self-regulation. Flooding the acidic stomach with a non-acidic water will cause it to produce its own acid to achieve the original balance. The procedure can be regarded as a form of stomach exercise, which gradually raises the production of strong acids.
To sum up
An effective stomach acidification may cause sudden disappearance of many tedious and chronic diseases and ailments, so the procedure is unquestionably worth carrying out. A big advantage is the fact that most of these methods are available for virtually anyone and show no harmful side effects. Additionally, stomach acidification removes the causes of a diseases, rather than healing the symptoms, which the so-called academic medicine, or ‘Big pharmie’ are often alleged of.
On the internet there are often comments and inconsistent information about acidification of the body and stomach. You should know, that acidification is harmful and results from long-term use of bad diet and drugs. In contrast, the right acidity of the stomach is essential for its proper functioning, ie. Digestion, and absorption of proteins and vitamins.