Hypochlorhydria (not enough acid in the stomach) can occur naturally as we age, or because of unknown genetic reasons peculiar to the individual – so digestive enzymes can help.Hypochlorhydria can also be induced by substances such as H2 Blockers, Prescription Protein Pump Inhibitors such as Omeprazole, or an over-use of OTC Antacids and Acid Reducers- just the thing that doctors prescribe when people complain of acid reflux! So what’s going on?
Here’s how hypochlorhydria hurts you:
- Proper levels of stomach acid are needed to adequately absorb many nutrients including minerals (iron, copper, zinc and calcium), vitamin B12, folic acid and proteins.If you don’t have enough acid, digestive enzymes can help.
- Stomach acid is also a crucial part of the immune system. The acid barrier of the stomach during normal states of health easily and quickly kills bacteria and other bugs that enter the body. It also prevents bacteria in the intestines from migrating up and colonizing the stomach.
As I mentioned in my last post, I decided to undergo the Heidelberg Gastrogram to determine if my stomach was not producing enough acid. Indeed, it wasn’t! I wasn’t digesting my food and my stomach was emptying too quickly, which means I wasn’t absorbing minerals and nutrients AND my food wasn’t being digested, leading to the reflux symptoms. After 5 months of taking Betaine/Pepsin w/ meals which helps with digestion, I think I’m on the right track.
Here’s a recap of my first steps of my journey, before determining to do this test.