Stomach Acid

The stomach normally produces hydrochloric acid which lowers the pH to 3 or less, so that when the stomach walls activate pepsin (an enzyme which digests protein) it is able to do its job properly. This means that when there is not enough acid in the stomach proteins are not digested properly, the most troublesome of these being gluten and casein which are only part-digested because of the low-level of acid and cross the blood barrier in the form of casomorphines and gliadomorphines to reach the brain, blocking normal brain activity and development as a result.

Stomach acidity is responsible for regulating the ability of the liver and pancreas to deal with the arrival of food. This is because it is important that the duodenum has a pH lower than 2 before food reaches it in order for its walls to produce the hormones secretin and cholecystokinin. These hormones are absorbed into the blood and taken to the liver, pancreas and stomach as well as other organs. Secretin stops the stomach producing juice which stimulates the production of bile in the liver so that the intestinal lining knows food is on its way. The latter then produces mucus to protect itself and stimulates the production of alkalising bicarbonate in the pancreas in order to neutralise the acid in the food coming from the stomach, preparing it for the digestive enzymes on their way from the pancreas. This alkaline pH is necessary for pancreatic enzymes to digest carbohydrates, fats and proteins. The second hormone, cholecystokinin is the one which commands the production of these digestive enzymes. When it is not made by the duodenum walls (because not enough acid is sent from the stomach with the food) the pancreas will not produce the digestive enzymes needed for that food.

Cholecystokinin also gets the stomach to stop working so that the gallbladder empties its bile into the duodenum so that fat can be digested, inducing the pancreas to release juices and start digesting the food. Without the hormones secretin and cholecystokinin, digestion cannot take place. When stomach acid is low, this is what happens. Food is thus maldigisted and mal-absorbed leading to nutritional deficiencies. Particles of mal-digested food such as casomorphins and gliadomorphins are absorbed through the leaky gut wall causing trouble in the brain. Others provoke allergies and autoimmune reactions damaging the weak immune system even more.

Carbohydrates which are not digested properly become food for abnormal gut flora click here to read about the havoc that these go on to cause. Undigested food is left to rot in the digestive tract, poisoning the entire body further. The body does its best to seal these toxins and prevent them from poisoning us further, by combining them with cholesterol and storing them as stones in our liver and kidneys.

Antacids are prescribed for indigestion; further reducing the stomach’s ability to produce acid and aggravating the situation even more. Dr Natasha Campbell suggests supplementing stomach acid with Betaine HC1 with added Pepsin before each meal. This is not to be taken with probiotic powder as the latter will be destroyed; it is better to take the probiotic first thing in the morning and with or after food as acid will be at its lowest. These are only to be taken until the gut starts healing.

I think I will try the natural alternative to Betaine: sauerkraut and sauerkraut juice before food to prepare the stomach for food. Meat stock is also recommended to do this.

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5 thoughts on “Stomach Acid

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