For years I was plagued by irritable bowel syndrome (IBS for short) and had no idea why. I had Gas-X and antacids in my bag every day as I went to work and took them consistently from morning to night to overcome the terrible pain.
What I didn’t understand then is that one of my issues could be low stomach acid! When our stomach acid levels are low, we don’t digest our food well enough for our body to absorb key proteins and minerals as it passes through our intestines. The less well digested food can also end up fermenting in our intestines causing painful bloating.
Stomach acid is also responsible for killing harmful bacteria and viruses that we may ingest. So low stomach acid can result in impaired immune system function.
So when our stomach acid is low we can experience a number of symptoms including:
- acid reflux
- stomach upset
- SIBO (small intestinal bacteria growth)
- leaky gut syndrome
- skin issues
- hair loss
- heart burn
- constipation or diarrhea
There are a number of reasons for this to happen. Obviously if you’re taking an antacid, this will cause low stomach acid and so it’s a direct cause and effect. But chances are, if that’s you, then you suffered from low stomach acid before you experienced acid reflux.
So, what could be some common triggers leading to low stomach acid?
- food sensitivities and allergies
- eating too quickly
For me, I had a number of food sensitivities I had ignored for well over a decade, I ate way too much sugar and I had a hidden infection I wouldn’t realize until much later.
There are a number of ways to naturally increase stomach acid, like chewing your food thoroughly, having some apple cider vinegar or some lemon in water 15 minutes before eating. You could also take bitters before eating – like absinthium.
For me though, I had a such severe symptoms that I started taking Betaine HCL (Hydrochloride). But first, it’s important to test yourself to see what dosage is right for you.
- Start with one capsule with your meals containing protein. Do this for one day. So for instance, you have a salad with chicken for lunch – take one capsule. Do the same for dinner that day.
- The next day, increase it to 2 capsules with your meals containing protein.
- Keep increasing your dosage each day until it’s too much. That will feel like acid reflux to you.
When you start to test HCL, you should start to see some of your symptoms resolve. Remember that this is simply one of the tools that you can use to get some relief from symptoms but ultimately should be a part of a larger set of healthy habits to support your healing journey.
I’d love to hear if you’ve taken this supplement before and what your results were.
To learn more about ways you can balance your body, join my 5 Day Summer Detox for Beginners. This program starts on August 17th but registration closes on the 15th. Hope to see you there!