Do you have too much stomach acid?
Don’t immediately think that a blog about the shortage of stomach acid does not apply to you if you have too much stomach acid! Read on with an open mind.
Pretend you don’t ‘know’ you have too much stomach acid. It might surprise you! And you might even solve your heartburn problem for good.
Lack of stomach acid
Do you know if you have enough stomach acid? Take a look at the list below, if you recognize yourself in one or more symptoms/complaints, there is certainly a chance that you have a shortage of stomach acid.
Digestive problems with a shortage of stomach acid
- Burning sensation in the stomach/esophagus area (this is often mistakenly seen as an excess of stomach acid!)
- Indigestion (poor digestion)
- Nausea after taking supplements
- Constipation (not being able to defecate)
- Bloated feeling
- Excessive gas in the upper part of the intestine
- Feeling excessively full after a meal (as if your food is sitting in your stomach and not being digested)
- food allergies
- Flatulence immediately after meals
The above complaints are almost all complaints that are directly related to your digestion. Difficult and annoying. However, the consequences of these problems are much more annoying, which only arise in the longer term and which are often not (directly) linked to digestion. For example, you can develop nutrient deficiencies and your intestinal flora can be undermined.
Complaint: nutrient deficiencies
If there are already some problems at the beginning of the digestion, such as in your stomach, you can be sure that things will not go smoothly later in the digestion. Put very simply: problems in your digestion ensure, among other things, that the absorption of nutrients is not optimal.
Over time, this leads to deficiencies of all kinds of nutrients. And from this, a whole range of annoying and chronic complaints can arise.
If your digestion is not working properly, you can still eat healthy food every day and take expensive supplements; your symptoms do not disappear. Because if your body cannot properly absorb the substances, the result is expensive poop full of nutrients. You do not absorb the nutrients sufficiently in your intestines and they come out just as hard. That is why it is usually not enough to just take in more of a certain nutrient when there is a deficiency.
Complaint: imbalance in intestinal flora
As if a lack of nutrients wasn’t bad enough, a lack of stomach acid also has other unwanted effects.
One of the functions of sufficient stomach acid is to kill unwanted guests that have made their way in through your mouth. The creeps.
They do not survive a nice acidic environment in your stomach. If there is insufficient stomach acid, they get the chance to penetrate further into your digestive system, where it is naturally less acidic. And guess who will be bothered by that? Correct! your gut flora: the good bacteria. They have to fight for space and nutrients with these bad bacteria, which really shouldn’t be there at all because they are normally already cleared by the stomach acid.
Too little stomach acid, therefore, has a direct influence on the quality of your intestinal flora. The less stomach acid, the worse the quality of your flora. And that flora plays a major role in your overall health. For example, a healthy flora is extremely important for your immune system, you can read more about that here.
Causes of a deficiency of stomach acid
There are many causes of a deficiency of stomach acid. If you look at this list, it probably won’t surprise you that so many people have the (digestive) problems mentioned above.
Causes of a shortage of stomach acid include:
- Antibiotic use
- Caffeine use (caffeine is not only in coffee but also in black tea)
- Hypothyroidism (slow thyroid function)
- Nicotine use (not only through smoking but also, for example, if you use nicotine pills or patches)
- Imbalance in your intestinal flora (which is also a result of a shortage of stomach acid)
- Stress (especially chronic)
Do causes from this list play a role for you?
Most likely you can tick 1 or 2 of the causes from this list. If so then you probably have a shortage of stomach acid, with you a lot of people. It’s not for nothing that antacids are the best-selling drugs in the world! But isn’t that contradictory? A shortage of stomach acid and then take gastric acid inhibitors. Yes, you are absolutely right. And that’s exactly where the problem lies. Many people think that their complaints are caused by an excess of stomach acid and start taking over-the-counter antacids.
Why a shortage of stomach acid is like an excess of stomach acid
Due to a shortage of stomach acid, the food stays in your stomach for too long. Some stomach acid has been added, but not enough to send the food mush to the next stop down: your intestines. Sometimes that food comes back up through your esophagus. Then you feel such a burning sensation: heartburn.
As a result, many people think that there is too much stomach acid. If you now take an antacid, the food in your stomach will become less acidic. Then when it comes up through your esophagus, you don’t feel it or it burns less.
That is symptom control and can be quite pleasant for a while. The cause of your problems remains. In the long run, you’re more likely to perpetuate your problem or make it worse. You make the deficit even bigger.
Solutions for your complaints
What can you do yourself to tackle a shortage of stomach acid? Eliminate the causes. Yep, it doesn’t get any easier than that! Except for the slow thyroid of course. You shouldn’t take it away and you can’t just solve that inertia either. But all other causes are easy to address.
My solutions for a shortage of stomach acid
I always have a stomach acid deficiency. Partly because I love coffee. So I regularly schedule a coffee detox. And stress, I am also sensitive to that as a highly sensitive stimulus seeker. I can continue with my bad habits and ease the complaints by, for example, using herbs that support my digestion. However, this does not address the cause and my problem persists.
These are the good habits that help me well:
- Drink herbal tea instead of black tea or coffee.
- Only drink my 2 tastiest cups of coffee a day (there were about 7 before!).
- Alcohol only on weekends and only if I really like it, drink it.
- Limit antibiotic use. That is of course not always possible, but I always talk to my doctor about whether the treatment is already necessary or whether I can, for example, see it for a few more days and see if my body resolves it on its own.
- Eating kimchi daily to replenish my gut flora with good bacteria.
- Drinking Kombucha to replenish my flora with good bacteria. Kombucha is a nice fresh fermented tea drink. Super hot among the foodies, but actually very old-fashioned. And you can just make it yourself. So I do. It’s also a great thirst quencher.
- Limiting stress: I’ve been doing Yin yoga for a while, it makes me really happy and relaxed, and flexible.
These are things that work well for me. Very different things may work for you. It’s about replacing the bad habits that cause stomach acid deficiency with good ones. You will be surprised how quickly your heartburn and related complaints improve.