Stomach acid needs to be strong. Don’t weaken it. Rethink your Tums.

First, it’s important to understand that strong (very acidic) stomach acid is absolutely key to healthy digestion.  The strength of your stomach acid, aka hydrochloric acid (HCl), determines how well you digest your food, absorb vitamins and minerals, breakdown fat and protein, and more.  Read on.

As we age our stomach acid weakens and becomes less acidic.  When food hits the stomach and the HCl in the stomach is not strong enough to digest it, that food stays in the stomach longer than it should – fermenting and causing upset.  That’s when you experience heartburn, reflux, GERD or uncomfortable gas and bloating right after a meal.

Studies show that 80% of people who suffer from heartburn-like symptoms have too little stomach acid, not too much.

But what do most people do when they experience heartburn, reflux or GERD?  They take acid blockers like Tums, Nexium, Prilosec, etc. thereby weakening their stomach acid even more than it already is.  They may get temporary relief but the long-term problem still exists – which is, due to weak stomach acid they are not digesting their food completely nor are they getting essential vitamins and minerals.

Weak stomach acid can also be a cause of unwanted weight gain because you aren’t able to breakdown fat very well and end up storing it – particularly around the middle.  Further, strong stomach acid kills bad bugs, weak stomach acid can’t do that so you end up getting sick more often.   Weak stomach acid may also be behind rosacea and black circles under the eyes.

So how strong or weak is your stomach acid?

There is an inexpensive, self test you can try.  I’ve included a link to an article that explains how.  It involves supplementing with store-bought HCl (cheap, at your health food store).   Basically, you take one HCl pill right before a meal.  If you feel a burning or warming sensation then you don’t need HCl – your stomach acid is already strong enough.  But if you take the HCl pill and feel nothing, there is a good chance you have weak stomach acid.  Follow the directions in the linked article.  It has you increasing your dosage until you do feel the burning, warming sensation.  Then you back off by one pill and continue taking the HCl for a couple of months.

Your stomach acid is strong for a reason.   Read this article – it explains it well and gives further info on what to look for in an HCl supplement.

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