How often have we heard someone or the other complaining about stomach pain, indigestion and similar other problems? People generally do not realize that all these problems are stomach acid issues caused by the imbalance of acid levels in the stomach.
Let us look at how stomach acid affects food digestion.
The acid present in stomach is actually responsible for the breaking down and digestion of proteins present in our food. There is a level of acid required for proper food digestion, and when the level is either higher or lower, it creates a lot of stomach acid problems.
Although the stomach acid problems are varied, they can be broadly divided into two categories:
1. Problems because of low stomach acid: The stomach is supposed to be acidic in nature and it is this very nature that allows it proper digestion of proteins. In the case of the levels of acid in the stomach becoming low, the normal processes of digestion cannot take place.
Some of the resultant problems arising out of not enough stomach acid are:
- dry skin
- bad breath
- early satiety
- rectal itching
- iron deficiency
- abdominal pain
- nausea, vomiting
- inexplicable hunger
- abdominal distension
- diarrhea & constipation
- undigested food in stools
- malabsorption problems
- bacterial, fungal overgrowth
Some of the health conditions that may have an associative cause or indirectly trigger a flare up due low stomach acid involve:
- chronic hives
- thyroid issues
- adrenal fatigue
- chronic hepatitis
- gallbladder disease
- rheumatoid arthritis
- autoimmune diseases
- night vision problems
- chronic fatigue syndrome
- food sensitivities, food allergies
- gastroenteritis ~ parasites, bacteria (H. pylori), yeast (chlamydia)
2. Problems arising due to too much stomach acid: Although the presence of acid assists proper food digestion, too much of acid in the stomach also brings a lot of digestive problems with it. Some of the stomach acid problems resulting due to increased levels of acid are enumerated below:
- acid reflux
- heartburn & indigestion
- gastric ulcers ~ an ulcer found in the lower stomach
- peptic ulcers ~ an ulcer formed in the upper part of the intestinal tract
- gastritis ~ stomach inflammation usually accompanied by abdominal pain
The levels of acid in the stomach can be maintained in a lot of ways. The relief remedy for low stomach acid, you need to increase your food intake and eat spicy foods because it directly aggravates the production of acid in the stomach. A lot of natural drinks like lemon juice also increase stomach acid for a remedy to relief.
Intake of harmful substances like alcohol also affects the digestive tract and creates problems in food digestion. In extreme cases, where the levels of the acid become very low, you may be advised to take hydrochloric acid supplements as a relief remedy. Also, ample amounts of liquids should be taken in regularly.
As for the cases where your stomach acid problems pertain to high levels of acid, the best solution is to maintain the diet in accordance to your digestive history. And foods which are tough to digest, like meat, should be avoided.
Alternatively, your too much stomach acid relief remedy is via consuming light, easily digestible foods. Additionally, having many small meals throughout the day instead of three big ones will help control the level as well. If your excess stomach acid is an extreme case, then an antacid is an instant remedy to provide relief from your pain and discomfort.