13 Signs you Have Hypochlorhydria

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Dinner was great, but I was uncomfortable. About 15 minutes after my last bite, the all-too-familiar feeling of a big bloating belly started to set in. I dreaded what was next: within the hour I’d have major gas cramps and I’d probably have to lie down for a while to rest until the pain peaked and started to wane while the gas “released”. Yeah, essentially I’d need to lie down and fart for an hour before I could move on with my day.

Pleasant? Not at all. Embarrassing? Completely. And very life-interrupting.

What on earth was going on? Why was something as simple as dinner throwing me into such turmoil?

It turns out I had a very common but widely misunderstood condition called “hypochlorhydria,” which is low stomach acid production. Hypo =  low; chlorhyde = hydrochloric acid (or HCl for short).

You see, the stomach needs to be very acidic – with an optimal pH of 1.5-3 – in order to activate pepsin, among other enzymes, to break down protein. If our stomachs aren’t sufficiently acidic, we don’t digest protein properly, we don’t access many of the minerals in our food, and we don’t properly trigger vitally important digestive functions further down the process. The secretion of HCl is an absolutely essential part of the digestive puzzle. Furthermore, this highly acidic environment is our body’s first line of defense against food-borne pathogens. It’s no accident that I used to be the first to succumb to any kind of food poisoning.

But wait a second, you might be thinking. What about all the heartburn and acid reflux that is absolutely rampant these days? Don’t we all suffer from too much acidity in our stomachs, not too little?

As hard as it is to believe with the heavy promotion of antacids and acid-blockers, most people with heartburn are actually hypo-chlorhydric, not hyper-chlorhydric (too much acidity). In fact, most people who are prescribed antacids by their doctors aren’t actually tested for stomach acidity levels. And when tested, it’s actually quite rare that the levels come back high.

What’s really important to know is that if you have ANY kind of digestive dysfunction you are likely also hypochlorhydric and you won’t get anywhere with your gut healing unless you address this issue. It’s at the root of many digestive issues from parasites, to food sensitivities, to SIBO, IBS, colitis, and more.

So the question is, do you have hypochlorhydria? Here are 13 signs that you may not be producing enough stomach acidity:

  13 Signs you Have Hypochlorhydria - and what to do about it. | eatnakednow.com

1. You’ve lost the taste for meat.

I see this all the time in my practice. Clients tell me they just don’t have the taste for meat like they used to. They usually assume that this is their body guiding them to a vegetarian diet. When we get into our work, 9 times out of 10 we find that they are deeply hypochlorhydric and with a little HCl support, they regain their appetite for, and ability to digest, animal protein.

2. You have a history (current or past) of a vegetarian or vegan diet.

Vegetarians don’t eat a lot of animal protein; vegans eat none. The body slows down production of HCl accordingly. This is one of the core reasons that a vegetarian diet (especially a vegan diet) can be very hard on the digestion: without that all important stomach acid, they’re not able to access the minerals from their food, properly trigger the production of pancreatic enzymes, or properly trigger the secretion of bile from the gallbladder. A whole host of trickle-down problems ensue. Remember: stomach acid has many roles above and beyond the digestion of protein, and with low stomach acidity, all of these functions will be compromised. Interestingly, it’s the secretion of HCl that triggers the release of intrinsic factor, which is essential to the absorption of vitamin B12 (yet another reason it’s so hard for vegetarians and vegans to get sufficient B12).

I was a vegetarian on and off for the better part of 12 years, so I know first hand how hard it is to introduce meat back into the diet. Without supplementing your stomach acidity, your body is going to struggle. The good news is that with a little priming, your body can produce its own HCl again.

3. You experience belching or gas about an hour after a meal.

Know anyone who immediately starts to let out some big belches after they’ve eaten? That’s often the result of hypochlorhydria. One of stomach acid’s important roles is to trigger the opening of the pyloric valve, the little valve that connects the stomach to the duodenum (the top of the small intestine). That little valve is very smart, and it knows not to open until the contents of the stomach are at the proper state of digestion. This includes a sufficiently acidic stomach environment.

If the pyloric valve is waiting and waiting for a level of stomach acidity that isn’t achievable due to low acid production, the contents of the stomach start to ferment. Fermentation, as we all know, creates gas, and gas needs to be released somehow. Whether it goes up or down depends on your constitution, but it will be released one way or the other.

4. You experience bloating or cramps within an hour after a meal.

As with #3, fermentation creates gas, and gas creates pressure. Pressure creates bloating and often significant discomfort. Your clothes don’t fit that well either. (I used to dress strategically to hide this.)

5. You get heartburn or acid reflux.

Contrary to popular opinion, acid reflux isn’t too much stomach acid. Most of the time, it’s actually too little stomach acid that leads to acid in the wrong place. Let me explain:

Your esophagus has a pH of about 7, which is very neutral. As I explained above, your stomach needs to be a pH of 1.5-3, very acidic, for optimal digestion. Now, your stomach prepares for such an acidic environment by secreting mucous to protect its lining so that you don’t literally digest yourself.

The esophagus has no such protective coating. If you’re not secreting enough acid, the pyloric valve doesn’t open, and the contents of your stomach start to ferment, this creates gas, which creates pressure. The gas has to be released one way or the other. If it goes up and leads to belching, that means the esophageal valve – the valve that connects the esophagus to the stomach – has opened and allowed that gas to travel up. Sometimes, along with the gas, a little bit of stomach juices splurge up into the esophagus. Ouch!!! The delicate lining of the esophagus is not equipped to handle such acidity.

This is why antacids work on symptoms but they actually exacerbate the root cause of the problem. Sure, an antacid will soothe that burning, but at the same time it’s lowering your stomach acid production, which was the root issue to begin with. You can see how this can spiral quickly downhill…

6. You have really bad breath even though you brush your teeth.

Ruling out poor dental hygiene, it makes perfect sense that halitosis (bad breath) would be the result of digestive dysfunction. If you’re not digesting the food in your stomach properly, it’s going to create toxic byproducts, which can quickly overload our body’s detoxification abilities. Let’s face it: we live in a very toxic world and our detoxification functions are massively overworked. Our livers have enough to do without having to handle the by-products of a malfunctioning digestive system. If you have really bad breath even with excellent oral hygiene, hypochlorhydria is probably the root of the problem.

7. Your sweat is stinky.

Sweat can be stinky for lots of reasons – it could be a sign of magnesium deficiency or often it’s a sign your liver and kidney (primary detoxification organs) need a little love. But, just like with bad breath, the more toxic the body, the more toxic the sweat. The question is: where are those toxins coming from?

The improperly digested protein resulting from hypochlorhydria is a breeding ground for bacteria and yeast to proliferate, and bacteria and yeast produce toxins. This is a condition we call bowel toxemia. It’s a case of endogenous toxicity or “toxicity from within”.

8. You’re not hungry for breakfast.

I see this pattern all the time in clients. They eat a really large dinner, usually late in the evening, and then they’re not hungry for breakfast. Hypochlorhydria is often at the root, leaving the food to sit in the stomach for a long time. They’re not hungry because it’s quite likely they’ve still got dinner in their belly when they wake up!

9. You’re hungry all the time, even when you feel full.

I know this one well. I was famous among my friends for eating massive amounts of food and being quite literally “full”, but still hungry. I can remember one particularly notable example of this from years ago. I was out to dinner at an Italian restaurant and ordered a huge dinner. It was rich and creamy and definitely “filling.” And yet, I finished it and was still hungry. Like, I’m-not-going-to-make-it-home-without-stopping-for-pizza hungry. And so, I ordered the dinner again. My friends and the waiter looked at me in disbelief. To their horror and amusement, I ate the entire thing a second time. How I never had a weight issue is beyond me.

All to say, I know what it is to be insatiable. If the body isn’t digesting protein or accessing minerals, it makes sense that you’d be hungry all the time – you’re not getting the nutrients you need from your meals, so your body is driving you to eat more. When I supported my body’s ability to produce stomach acid, my appetite dropped by at least half. It was shocking how little food I needed to feel full.

10. You get sleepy after meals.

Being sleepy after meals can mean a number of things: blood sugar dysregulation, improper macronutrient balance, or inadequate digestion, which leaves too much food in the digestive tract. It takes a lot of energy to digest, and more energy resources will be diverted there if your digestion is functioning less than optimally.

I have seen it time and again in my practice where clients who are sleepy after meals support their stomach acid levels and suddenly find they feel fabulous afterwards.

11. You have undigested food in your stools.

Low stomach acidity affects the digestion of everything you eat – not just proteins. You see, in addition to supporting the breakdown of protein, HCl triggers the release of pancreatic enzymes that essentially finish the breakdown of your dinner once it gets into the small intestine. If you don’t secrete enough pancreatic enzymes, you won’t finish breaking down your food and will see undigested food in your stool.

12. Your fingernails chip, peel, or break easily.

If you’re fingernails chip, peel, or break easily, it’s a clear sign of deficiencies in protein, minerals, and often also essential fatty acids. By now you’re well aware that deficiencies in protein and minerals are often due, at least in part, to low stomach acid production.

13. You have anemia that doesn’t respond to iron supplementation.

Here’s a very specific example of a mineral deficiency that is exacerbated by low stomach acid. If you’ve been diagnosed as anemic, given an iron supplement, and there was no change, there’s a good chance hypochlorhyria is the root of the problem. Sufficient HCl is a co-factor for iron absorption. This is an example of why it’s critical to have optimal digestion even to access the nutrients in your supplements.

Now you have a sense of whether you have hypochlorhydria or not. If you do, what next?

For some people, a few minor tweaks are all that’s needed to boost HCl levels naturally. For others, more targeted support is required. You can supplement with HCl, but I strongly recommend doing so only under the supervision of a health practitioner as it is a fine balance figuring out your specific dosage and there are some contra-indications.

Here are some starting points that you can easily do at home:

13 Signs you Have Hypochlorhydria - and what to do about it | eatnakednow.com

1. Drink a small glass of room temperature water with 1 Tbsp raw apple cider vinegar before meals. This stimulates the digestive process and encourages your stomach to secrete stomach acid.

2. Take some Swedish Bitters before meals, just like your great grandma did. This works along the same lines as the apple cider vinegar – the bitter taste stimulates the digestive process.

3. Eat sitting down, slowly, in a relaxed state. It cannot be over-emphasized how important your physical and mental state is when you eat. Digestion is a parasympathetic process, meaning that it only happens when you’re in a relaxed state. If you’re under stress, your digestion is compromised. Sit down for your meals, take 10 deep belly breaths before you start eating to switch you into a relaxed state, and eat at a leisurely pace, chewing and savoring each mouthful. Digestion actually begins in our brains, and this allows our brains to initiate many important processes, including the release of HCl in the stomach.

4. Give yourself some time to digest – don’t rush right into the next activity. It’s no accident that most cultures (North America being a notable exception) structure their days such that they have some downtime after a meal. It’s important to give your body some time to get the digestive process under way. You don’t need a whole afternoon of siesta, but what about taking a nice 15 minute walk after lunch rather than diving right back into work?

5. Eat your last meal of the day at least 3 hours before you need to go to bed for the night. This gives your body a little time to digest before lying down. If you do suffer from heartburn, you’ll find that this strategy can help you reduce symptoms that are exacerbated when lying down.

Further reading:

If this topic intrigues you or if you think I’m crazy to suggest that we suffer from low rather than high levels of stomach acidity, then I highly recommend Dr. Jonathan V. Wright’s excellent book Why Stomach Acid Is Good For You.

Header photo credit: © B-d-s | Dreamstime.com



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34 Comments

  1. jm

    May 19, 2015 at 5:36 pm

    “when tested, it’s actually quite rare that their levels come back low”, kind of discredits everything that follows. Do you mean it’s rare acid levels are HIGH?

    • Margaret Floyd

      May 20, 2015 at 5:07 am

      Jen, than you for making that catch! Yes, that’s exactly what I meant. Editing now.

  2. josh

    May 20, 2015 at 12:00 pm

    This was an eye opener! Unfortunately this is a test that I did really well on. I’m going to read up more on this condition. Thanks for posting!

  3. Debra Joy

    May 20, 2015 at 12:32 pm

    this is a great post. I only discovered this from working with you. But it’s helped so many of my issues. Thanks for the help you gave me and for sharing this with everyone.

  4. juliana

    May 20, 2015 at 10:15 pm

    Great post. Explains a lot for me… or at least how it was for me before I started working with you. It’s a amazing how much better my digestion is now that I am supplementing properly, and healing my gut issues. Thank you for helping me get to the root of some lifelong issues.

  5. Robin

    May 21, 2015 at 5:45 pm

    Good info. I do have issues but when I try the ACV or even lemon water it hurts my stomach. How does that work with the other symptoms and taking digestive enzymes?
    Thank you for any insight.

    • Margaret Floyd

      May 23, 2015 at 3:57 pm

      If you find it hurts your stomach, then you might need to do some deeper healing. At this point, it would be time to work with a practitioner… There can be many different causes and you’d want to get to the bottom of that.

  6. C

    October 10, 2015 at 7:48 pm

    Can you refer me to any studies that say low stomach acid is more common than high stomach acid? My wife has many of these symptoms in addition to audible sloshing in her stomach indicating slow digestion. She did the Betaine HCL challenge and went up to 7 pills (650mg each) with no ill effects other than the pain of having to swallow 7 large horse pills at a time. She also did the morning baking soda test and didn’t burp after 5 minutes. I told her GI doctor these things and he still insists on putting her on acid-blockers because he claims “low stomach acid is very rare.” I don’t want her to have to ride out the diagnostic merry-go-round for months just to find out she has low stomach acid and that her condition was made worse by acid-blockers.

    • Margaret Floyd

      October 14, 2015 at 10:19 am

      I’d recommend you go refer to the book: “Why Stomach Acid is Good For You” by Dr. Jonathan Wright. It’s an excellent resource and sites lots of good research.

      • Margaret Floyd

        October 14, 2015 at 10:21 am

        Also, Chris, I’d highly recommend she work with a functional practitioner rather than a GI doctor for this kind of thing. GI Docs are notorious for simply putting their patients on PPIs or other acid blockers and leaving them that way for years, doing far more damage than good. My practice is filled with examples of this and while the damange is usually (mostly) reversible, it’s ideal to avoid it in the first place. Usually it’s not possible to convince the GI doctor of something that’s outside of their paradigm, so working directly with someone who’s first priority is to restore functional balance in the body rather than to just mask symptoms is the best first step.

        • C

          October 15, 2015 at 1:36 pm

          Thank you, Margaret. That’s where we’re at right now and it’s very frustrating! We have Medicaid insurance so our choices are very limited. It certainly doesn’t cover anything outside of standard medicine. I like the idea of functional medicine and it sounds like the kind of thing that she needs. I’ve looked into it a bit and found lots of practitioners in our area (The San Francisco Bay) but I’m concerned about money. They seem to charge quite a lot and if we’re going to see one, I’d want to make sure they’re very competent and trustworthy. Can you possibly recommend any specific practitioners in our area? It’s a real shame this sort of thing isn’t covered by insurance, especially for those struggling to make ends meet. Is functional medicine only for wealthy people and the poor folks get stuck with the clueless GI docs?

          • Margaret Floyd

            October 20, 2015 at 9:21 am

            I highly recommend Alysia McDonough, NTP – http://nourishingself.com/. She’s in the Bay Area and is an excellent practitioner. I don’t believe she takes insurance… unfortunately, as you’re finding out, many functional practitioners don’t — often because the work they do isn’t covered anyway. It falls outside the traditional medical model.

  7. Jeff

    November 8, 2015 at 10:35 pm

    A lot of the time as soon as I eat I become extremely tired and need to take a nap. I have floating stools often and I can’t attain satiety even after a big meal. Does this seem like low stomach acid could be the culprit?

    I had tried the Betaine HCL in the past, but in the night I would experience horrible reflux and heartburn. So, after the night experiences I discontinued that. I don’t know if that means I don’t have low stomach acid or not.

    • Margaret Floyd

      November 13, 2015 at 9:31 am

      When working with Betaine HCL (which I strongly recommend you do only under the guidance of an experienced practitioner) any reaction that occurs within 5-10 minutes of taking the HCl usually means you’ve got too much acid. If it’s happening later, it usually means you still don’t have enough. BUT – I wouldn’t self-diagnose on this one. I’d work with a practitioner who’s got experience supporting people with this and have them look at the whole picture of your health.

      • Lisa

        June 16, 2016 at 4:17 pm

        That’s silly. It’s no big deal to experiment with hcl. Dr Wright tells you how to do this yourself if need be. And it is need be for a lot of people either because of cost or unavailability of docs like this in your area. I you just gradually increase with each meal if the previous amount didn’t bother you until you get a warm or mild burning sensation. If that happens just take a quarter tsp of baking soda which neutralizes some of the acid and you feel fine in a couple of minutes.

        There is no reason to scare folks off of this who may need it and don’t have the option of having a health practitioner to hold their hand. It’s really just not necessary.

    • Mary

      December 5, 2015 at 12:35 am

      Hi have bloating and tightness at the top of my stomache just under my rib cage after eating food. I also have diariah with food still in it every day. I have Gerd and ha e been put on tablets to stop the acid. I am deficient in B12, vitamin D, calcium and serum iron. I am not a big meat eater and only eat chicken but mostly vegetarian food. This sounds like I am lacing in stomache acid rather than have too much?? What do you think?

      • Margaret Floyd

        December 7, 2015 at 9:38 am

        Mary, this actually sounds a lot more like a gallbladder issue than low stomach acidity, but you probably are also low in stomach acid as well. I would strongly encourage you to seek out the support of a functional health practitioner to help you sort through the issues and get to the root of the problem sooner than later. You need HCl to access B12 AND iron, so you don’t want to be on those ant-acids for any longer than absolutely necessary.

  8. Michael Anderson

    January 18, 2016 at 7:12 am

    Why does that sound like a gallbladder issue? After 3 months of PPIs at high dosages (I’m no longer taking them and I been off them for about a year now) I started getting extremely foul smelling stools with undigested food and lots of stringy stuff attached to it possibly mucous ? Also 24/7 pain inflammation in my lower right intestines where if I press on it you hear tons of wet gurgling noises. Best way to describe it. Now i also have tmj where my entire body because twisted (my muscles) if that makes any sense. So I’ve been my own detective since drs are absolutly useless. I’ve had all the tests in the world and all negative. I been trying to find a dr who does the heidleberg test because that’s the best to test for low stomach acid. So either I have very minimal stomach acid from the 3 months of PPIs at high dosages or my tmj somehow caused my illeocecal valve to malfunction causing all these digestive issues I’m having. How can the gallbladder cause digestive issues and what can be done to fix it if it were gallbladder related? One more thing soon as I eat and take the first bite of anything I get rumbling and gas instantly!!! I don’t understand how just taking a bite of anything gives me gas instantly and most of the time it’s very very foul smellling

    • Margaret Floyd

      January 21, 2016 at 10:57 am

      Your gallbladder’s secretion of bile (critical to your body’s ability to digest fats and eliminate toxins) is directly affected by your HCl levels. If your gallbladder isn’t functioning properly, it will have a significant impact on your digestion overall. I’d recommend working with a functional nutritionist who can help you get to the bottom of the issue rather than trying to self-diagnose. You’re right – the medical world has little to offer you. But someone seasoned in functional nutrition can make the world of difference. Feel free to reach out if you’d like more info on working one-on-one or look for a seasoned functional nutrition practitioner in your area.

    • Homer

      July 3, 2016 at 5:36 pm

      Hi Michael,

      Have you tried getting a stool sample test? Look for “E. Histolytica” or “Dientamoeba fragilis”. These bugs can cause havoc with the GI tract & some worms can infect the gall bladder or even liver. Be aware, that low stomach acid can make you susceptible to an infection by worms or parasites. Hence, the stool test. They are difficult to identify, and may require more than one stool sample. See http://www.cdd.com.au/pages/disease_info/parasites.html.

  9. Anita

    January 26, 2016 at 1:26 pm

    Margaret,

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart! This is music to my ears (eyes lol ) Thank you for everything, I just done the lemon juice test and NO PAIN I have also been off those Acid blockers the Dr told me to take for a month now. I have booked marked this and will share with all xoxoxoxxo

  10. dd

    March 5, 2016 at 8:42 pm

    So I’m going around the internet trying to find all the places where low stomach acid is being talked about to find an answer to this problem. My wife NEEDS to take Betaine HCl pills but she has a big problem swallowing pills. I’ve gotten three different brands of pills and they are all too large for her to swallow comfortably. She will likely need to take at least five 650mg pills at first. She did the challenge and was able to take seven pills without any warmth or burning. But actually swallowing the pills was extremely difficult for her and there’s NO WAY she could do this every day. She also has a problem drinking liquids with meals which also makes taking numerous large pills very difficult. The nature of her stomach problems requires her to keep her stomach as dry as possible around the time of eating.

    So my question is, does anyone out there know which brand of Betaine HCl pills are the smallest in size and most easy to swallow? She takes a vitamin D supplement that comes in tiny pills and she’s able to handle those. Is there any form of Betaine HCl that comes in that size? I haven’t been able to find a way to figure this out and it’s driving me up the wall! There doesn’t seem to be any kind of “search engine” for Betaine HCl products where you can search by physical pill size. Her stomach problems seem to be connected to low acid so she really needs to take these pills! HELP!

  11. LS

    March 8, 2016 at 6:54 am

    If you are currently on a vegan diet would introducing animal by products (cheese, yogurt and eggs) help with low stomach acid? I cant bring myself to eat meat again but would be open to switching to a vegetarian diet. I’ve been having major problems over the past few years that I thought it was my gallbladder but I had an ultrasound and it’s super clean. My doctor wanted me to take prilosec but it just didn’t make sense to me. I’m always in fear of eating because I don’t know if I’m going to be ok or in pain afterwards so I tend to skip meals. Any insight would be really helpful. Thank you.

    • Margaret Floyd

      March 16, 2016 at 4:16 pm

      If you’re on a vegan diet, then you’ll quite likely need some digestive support to add in those animal foods. The foods alone don’t increase HCl. It’s a vicious cycle – you need HCl to break down protein into amino acids to create the HCl…

      I would highly recommend working with a practitioner on this. A medical doctor (as you’ve already seen) is just going to recommend more acid suppression and that’s only exacerbating the issue. If you’re willing to eat some animal foods, that’s a great start, but you will likely still need further support.

  12. Erbua

    March 17, 2016 at 7:55 pm

    Any recommendations for functional health practitioner in the Dallas area? Thanks!

  13. Kate jackson

    April 2, 2016 at 3:21 pm

    Hi,
    I have been taking betaine for about 2 years since being diagnosed with low stomach acid. Is there any hope of ever repairing my stomach to not need betaine? Although extremely excited my nutritionist found my problem I’m tired of trying to remember to take these pills before eating. Do you have any alternatives to betaine. I’ve used apple cider vinegar.

    Thanks Kate

    • Margaret Floyd

      April 27, 2016 at 9:53 am

      It’s important that you’re taking sufficient HCl to actually have it decrease. Sometimes it’s a case that you haven’t titrated high enough with your dose to be truly sufficient – so you are in a holding pattern, but not actually resolving the problem. This is something you need to work with your practitioner on. Also, take the Betaine mid-meal towards the end of the meal> That gives your body the greatest chance of using its own HCl before relying on the supplement.

      If you’ve done all this, then it could be that you’re low in zinc, which is an important co-factor for creating HCl. There’s a simple test for this that you can do with a practitioner to find out if that’s the case. Lastly, if you tend to be a high stress person and live in “overdrive”, that has a huge impact on the body’s ability to produce sufficient HCl.

      In most cases, you can wean down to a very low dose or even off it completely, but these factors need to be taken into consideration and for some people, unfortunately it’s just what they need to do to digest fully. All of this is stuff you can work on with your practitioner, though. I would highly recommend working with someone very experienced in this work so they can guide you and customize recommendations to your specific situation.

  14. Jenna

    April 25, 2016 at 7:39 pm

    Hi Margaret!

    I’m so happy to have stumbled upon your blog. I am serious need of advice, as my nutritionist is on maternity leave and I don’t have anyone to turn to.

    I was recently put on Betaine HCL (about a week and a half ago) alongside two heavy probiotics to treat dysbiosis, and what my nutritionist believes is Hypochloridria (I have literally every symptom and a stool test showed results that led her to believe so). I am only taking 1 pill with my larger meals once a day (twice at the most) and my acid reflux symptoms have become so much worse. I don’t feel the warmth or burning sensation upon taking the pill, but an hour or two after eating everything in side me feels like it’s on fire. I can’t find any information on this whatsoever. Do you think it’s a bad idea for me to take these supplements? I don’t want to end up burning my esophagus.

    Thanks so much!!

    • Margaret Floyd

      April 27, 2016 at 9:45 am

      Jenna, I strongly encourage you to continue working with your practitioner on this. Usually it’s a case of needing to titrate up SLOWLY, but you need to do so with the support of a practitioner, not alone. Please reach out to whomever recommended this and work with them. It sure sounds like you need it, but you want to proceed cautiously.

      • Lisa

        June 16, 2016 at 6:59 pm

        You’ve only added enough extra hcl to increase what refluxes but not enough to close off the lower esophageal sphincter. What I did was every few minutes keep adding a capsule til the reflux stopped. It works. But remember if you really did get too much baking soda works quickly to back down the amount and stop discomfort.

  15. William

    May 4, 2016 at 7:21 pm

    Thank you for this very informative article. My HCL is low, and it effects my protein digestion. I’ve been a Vegan/Veget. for 5 years. I’m now having to start eating fish again to help increase my protein intake (I cant do chicken or turkey, I just can’t). If protein can’t be digested well, would that effect ones blood sugar? Secondly, why does the body stop or significantly producing HCL, wouldnt a vegan/veget get another source of protein, perhaps like beans?

    • Margaret Floyd

      May 22, 2016 at 2:44 pm

      If you’re not digesting protein properly, it will absolutely affect your blood sugar. This is one of the first things I look at when someone has serious blood sugar handling issues – that and fat digestion. A vegan/veg diet doesn’t have nearly the same amounts of protein in it — if you do a comparison of how many chickpeas you’d have to eat to get the equivalent protein from a small serving of meat or fish, you’ll soon see what I mean. And thus the body doesn’t produce it in as high amounts – you only produce it in response to the protein present in your stomach needing to be digested. This is a catch-22 of vegan diets: not enough protein to warrant sufficient secretion of HCl, and then not enough amino acids (what proteins break down into) to create the HCl to begin with.

  16. Marcy Marcy

    May 24, 2016 at 7:44 pm

    I have always had low stomach acid, extremely low. It’s one of the reasons I have never had a cavity or any kind of tooth issue at 50 years old. About two months ago though i went completely vegan and the low acid problem is bothering me. I am looking into food combining and will try your tip on using raw apple cider, but are there any other tips for someone that refuses to ever take part in supporting the catastrophic suffering of commercial farm animals. I have found that giving up dairy was really good for me and it would seem had been masking some issues, but even though i don’t believe meat or eggs were giving me any problems I still will not eat them. I have friends that thrive on a vegan diet and I am determined to be one of them. Thanks for any advise.

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