Stomach Acidity could be indigestion, this could be gas for some people, and could be excessive belching or burping. It could mean stomach cramps, it could be abdominal cramps for some people, it could mean seeing undigested food on your stools every morning, it could be feeling tired after you finish every meal, for some people the symptom could be feeling this heavy feeling in your chest. When you’re eating your food and you feel full but you’re still hungry.
Why Do We Get Stomach Acidity?
Do you know everything starts in the digestive system your gut, your stomach everything in the human body? That’s like the central processing unit of your body because that’s where we put in raw material in the form of food to break it down into energy.
All that energy is the raw material that needs to go now to all of your blood and all of your organs to basically build your immunity, heal you, repair your wounds, growth of new cells, clean out sick cells from your system, detoxify everything happens in this central point of the body.
Now it’s unfortunate that a lot of people who suffer from Stomach acidity think that they have too much acid inside of them. We need to understand exactly how the digestive system works if we want to basically handle this problem. Because there are just too many people out there who pop antacids every single day for immediate relief.
Now you should take it if you have a problem, but you should also know that it is the number one cause of why you’re not getting better? And why do you end up having more digestive and gut issues?
You may have seen most problems with digestion are not caused because of excessive acid in the stomach. It’s caused because we have less acid in the stomach. Now today most people are trying to move on to this whole fat diet trying to be too alkaline and less acidic.
What Causes Stomach Acidity?
The cause of stomach acidity needs to understand that there are several parts and organs of the body that need to be alkaline and some of them need to be acidic. So if you try to make your entire body alkaline you’re going to have innumerable problems in your gut and your stomach. You may see the stomach is meant to be acidic.
If you go back to the PH school, the PH scale in your biology or chemistry books back in school. You would notice that seven is neutral. One to seven is acidic and seven and above is alkaline. Now the stomach needs to maintain an acidity PH of 1 to 3.5 which is extremely acidic. You need to have the right amount of acid in your stomach for the right reasons. We’re going to discuss that right now.
Reasons for Stomach Acidity
- Protein Overstuffing
- Deficiency of Vitamin B12
- PH Level
- Acid Reflux
- Less Stomach Acid
- Irritation in your Gut
- Improper Digestion
1. Protein Overstuffing
Most people are on this protein fan. Where they think that more protein in their system is going to give them better bodies. Absolutely true! If you have more protein you will have more muscle. If you have more muscle you will burn more fat. But the problem is people are going on overstuffing themselves with protein and they have extreme digestive issues.
The most important thing we need to understand is that it is not about how much protein you take, it’s about how your body metabolizes and breaks down protein into amino acids and then absorbs it.
You may see it’s all about absorption you could be eating all the protein in the world. All the superfoods in the world, but if you’re not assimilating and you’re not digesting and absorbing what you eat. It’s practically useless.
So first of all you need the right amount of stomach acid to basically stimulate the digestion and breakdown of protein. That is why a lot of people who start overstuffing themselves with protein have a lot of gas, they have a lot of bloating, and they have a lot of indigestion.
This is your system telling you that you are not breaking down protein the right way. So either you cut down your protein intake or you improve your digestion.
Now we’re talking about, you need the right amount of stomach acid to basically stimulate effective breakdown assimilation and absorption of protein. We have an enzyme you see everything revolves around enzymes and cells in the human body. You need the right enzyme to break down and metabolize protein that’s called pepsin.
Pepsin is present in your stomach in your digestive system and the right amount of stomach acid will stimulate the enzyme pepsin which is a proteolytic enzyme to be produced. When you produce that enzyme you will break down protein into amino acids in the human body.
So if you have less stomach acid because you’re constantly popping antacids. You’re not going to be generating this proteolytic enzyme that will further help you break down protein the right way. We have something called an intrinsic factor in your stomach in your digestive system. This is a kind of glycoprotein that is essential for the absorption of vitamin B12 in the body.
2. Deficiency of Vitamin B12
One in two to three people today have a deficiency of B12 and that’s dangerous because we don’t understand that having a deficiency of B12 over the years. It can lead to many issues like Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s, it’s not the only reason, but it plays a huge role in your mental health and in your nervous health. So basically your nerves need B12 in your brain.
Your memory, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s dementia, it is critical to maintaining your b12 levels over the years. Once you get this and then if you try upping your levels, it’s a very very slow healing process. So we need to make sure that we have the intrinsic factor.
A lot of people go on taking vitamin B12 shots and popping B12 supplements. But again their levels fall why because they don’t have the intrinsic factor in their digestive system because you have less stomach acid. So when you have the right amount of stomach acid it stimulates the intrinsic factor which in turn helps you with the absorption of vitamin b12 in your system.
It doesn’t matter if you’re vegan, it doesn’t matter if you’re vegetarian, it doesn’t matter if you’re non-vegetarian as well. It is a myth that only vegetarians and vegans have a deficiency of B12 we see the same deficiency in non-vegetarians as well. It all comes down to your intrinsic factor and how well your digestive system is working.
3. PH Level
One of the most important points of the right amount of stomach acid and PH level in your stomach is it sterilizes your food. You need an acidic medium to break down bacteria from the food that you eat. Germs are things that cause extreme stomach pain like pylori bacteria.
That’s found in a lot of people and it messes up the entire digestive system. Then you get bugs that lodge themselves in the mucosal lining of your stomach and we get cramps and abdominal pain and we need to take severe medication.
4. Acid Reflux
Now acid reflux we need to understand that acid reflux is a serious problem. Because why I’m saying it’s serious is because your oesophagus is where you have your acid reflux.
It’s a very thin tissue and if you keep having acid reflux this acid is going to destroy the tissue and membrane of your oesophagus. Leading to a lot of problems including oesophagal cancer. So we need to make sure that we don’t have this kind of reflux.
Now how do we do it not by popping more antacids? By popping more antacids you’re reducing the amount of stomach acid. We need stomach acid when you have the right levels of stomach acid in your stomach it basically contracts your oesophagal sphincter.
This is a muscle that closes the gap between your stomach and your oesophagus. So when it contracts it doesn’t allow acid to be thrown up your oesophagus. Now if you have less stomach acid guess what that sphincter opens and that’s why we have acid reflux.
So if you have the right amount of stomach acid it contracts that sphincter and it doesn’t allow the reflux to happen. Now right below that, you have a pyloric sphincter and your stomach acid when you have it in the right quantity it will open this to allow food to pass from your stomach into your intestine.
5. Less Stomach Acid
Now, for most people who don’t have the right amount of stomach acid the pyloric value or the sphincter doesn’t open up. And that’s that heavy feeling that you have the food is slowly fermenting in your stomach and it is unable to push through into your intestines.
It does it at its own pace by then you’re producing acidity, you’re producing gas and it further reaches your intestine in an undigested manner. So this is exactly what happens in your stomach. Now what happens is related to the health of your gut. Everyone’s looking for solutions to their gut.
They pop probiotics, prebiotics thinking that their guts going to get fine. But it doesn’t get fined because it’s a whole series of problems interconnected with each other. Now if you have less stomach acid and your body’s not gone through the proper breakdown of protein.
6. Irritation in your Gut
You have undigested protein molecules that force themselves into your intestine. You have your gut wall these acidic pieces of undigested protein irritate your gut lining. Because it irritates your gut lining it flames your gut lining. You start producing small little holes in your gut and these protein molecules enter your blood.
It’s not supposed to be there, it’s supposed to be in your gut assimilated and passed out of your system. Because it enters your gut, your immune system wakes up and starts attacking it. To protect the natural defence mechanism of your body and that’s what we call autoimmune.
That is what autoimmune is so when you find TPO your antibody count and your blood on the higher side you know you have a gut issue and your solution is your digestive system. Because you’ve got to reduce the number of antibodies in your stomach and then you bring your immune system automatically back to what it should be.
Now furthermore that’s not the only issue because you have undigested protein molecules in your intestine. You make your pancreas work in overtime. You stress out your pancreas to produce more enzymes to do a job that should have been done in the stomach. So you see it all starts in your stomach and it goes right down into your gut.
Now you have a bigger problem you have malabsorption of vitamins, minerals B12 nutrients from the food that you ate. Because you have an inflamed gut so you have malabs option you may be eating the best food in the world. But like I said it’s all about how your body absorbs food and because you have an inflamed gut caused by the irritation of these acidic protein molecules.
7. Improper Digestion
You’re not even absorbing food the right way, what we call that it’s called a leaky gut syndrome. Now in your gut, you have a colony of bacteria you have good bacteria and bad bacteria. We need both of them, but when you have an inflamed gut and all of this acidic protein in your gut the bad bacteria start growing more than the good bacteria.
That’s a condition called sibo which is basically your small bacterial intestinal growth. These are the bad bacteria that are overgrowing in your gut. Now, these bacteria poke more holes in your gut lining allowing more flow of protein molecules in your blood. It makes you gassy that bloated feeling that you have is all of this bacteria.
Which is an overgrowth trapping in air, trapping protein molecules. Now you have an imbalance of bacteria in your system. So you have bad breath. You have body odour, you have flatulence, you have excessive belching and because your gut is completely out of whack you have low immunity.
Because what happens is poor digestion we have inflammation. With more inflammation in the body, you deplete your body’s natural store of antioxidants. If we deplete antioxidants that are meant to protect us, we decrease our immune system. So you see immunity is not just about eating pumpkin seeds and Moringa powder and sipping on coconut oil.
It’s about getting your gut in place because you have the right gut health you have the right immunity. Your immunity starts in your gut. There’s no other way to look at it you look at your gut, you look at your digestive system, you look at all of these symptoms and that’s how you heal your gut.
Treatment for stomach acid level
Now let’s get straight to how to improve your stomach acid level in your system.
- Lemon Water
- Fermented Foods
- The way you eat
1. Lemon Water
So basically lemon water, when you have like lemon water 30 minutes before your meal. You stimulate the production of stomach acid.
Now if you’re a non-vegetarian or you see in western countries where they eat meat they have this habit of marinating the meat in a vinegar medium. They could use apple cider vinegar, you could use rice vinegar, you could use any kind of vinegar. Why, because vinegar helps you break down protein into a more digestible form. So when you marinate your meat it cooks better and you digest it better.
Now, you can have lemon water or you can have apple cider vinegar mixed in a glass of water 30 minutes before your meal. So you can have apple cider vinegar or you can have lemon water 30 minutes before your meal.
Fresh ginger is fantastic for you to generate good stomach acid levels in your body as well. So you could finely chop ginger now you can make it into a tea.
My favourite digestive tea would be a little bit of ginger you mash it, boil it in the water you put a little bit of cardamom, which is lychee and a little bit of anise that’s called bishop’s wheat. They’re like small cumin seeds with a slightly pungent taste.
You boil this together, it stimulates acid in your stomach and you have this about 30 minutes before your meal.
So if you’re not doing apple cider vinegar you can do ginger you can do cardamom, which is lychee or you can do any seed as well. You can make it into a concoction or you can even chew the seeds raw to stimulate your digestive system.
Coriander is fantastic cilantro it is fantastic again. So when you look at the traditional Indian wisdom and food you have chutneys which have coriander in them. And is served with your meals to stimulate the digestive acids in your stomach, which is why you look at the synergy of food.
You look at what accompanies different foods because when you have the right synergy of food it is automatically built to basically stimulate the right acids that you need in your stomach.
The water rule does not drink water during your meals because you dilute the amount of acid and if you already have less acid in your stomach you are further diluting your stomach acid by drinking more water.
So the rule of thumb is to have your water and take 30 minutes before your meal and then right up to until you finish your meal 30 minutes later is when you have your water intake post that during your meals.
You do not want to sip on water if the food is spicy maybe a little bit of water because you need to understand that your food is also cooked in water. So it does have water as a medium already going into your system.
6. Fermented Foods
We have fermented foods. You have fermented foods if you are not vegan and you eat dairy you have your yoghurts which help you to stimulate your digestive enzymes.
You have your pickles your fermented foods, your fermented cabbage, your kimchi, your sakura , your kombuchas, whatever your fermented foods are fermented foods also help you stimulate the right amount of stomach acid that helps you with digestion.
Then there are certain lifestyles, eat your largest meal when you are relaxed. That’s the parasympathetic nervous system that is rested and digesting you are able to produce more stomach acid automatically. If you’re in the sympathetic nervous system where that is fighting and flight your stress mode, you cannot produce the right amount of stomach acid.
7. The way you eat
1. Never eat when you’re stressed if you’re having the largest meal, eat it when you’re the happiest. When you’re most relaxed when you’re with friends when you’re with family eat but don’t overeat. Because again when you overeat and you have less stomach acid due to math you understand what problems you’re going to create.
2. Secondly, stay away from overeating. Overeating is not necessary for us to eat whatever we want sensible but not overeat food. Finally, we have the biggest cause of this problem is antacids.
3. Now a few people have to be on antacids when they’re going through heavy medication because the side effect of many medications causes acidity. So you may have to take antacids, but make sure there are natural remedies.
Like what we discussed that can also get you off those antacids. But if you have a bad lifestyle and you think that you can get away by constantly popping antacids, to compensate for your overeating, you’re the gaps between your meals, the odd eating hours, eating junk food and stuff like that.
You are going to mess up your digestive system and by now you understand how extremely important it is. To maintain your stomach your intestines your gut and everything because everything in the human body including the way you feel.
4. In your mind, your anxiety, your stress levels, your emotions it is all controlled mainly by the gut. That’s called your enteric nervous system, it is the second brain of the human body.
5. Remember one more point the more you chew your food digestion starts in the mouth. So you send pre-digested food to your stomach. So if you have less stomach acid right now, for example, you can start making that change right now by chewing your food longer and longer.
Because you chew your food, your body may be able to manage that little stomach acid you have. But if you send out undigested pieces of food because you’re not chewing and you’re eating too fast your body is going to need more acid, which it doesn’t have right now and you’re going to have all the problems which are mentioned above.
Some General FAQ
Why do we get gastric problems during Acidity?
We get gastric issues because we don’t have the right amount of stomach acid you don’t basically protect ourselves from the number of bacteria and pathogens and germs that come into our system through the food that we eat.
When you have the right amount of acid you will kill all of these bacterias pathogens and germs. The right amount of stomach acid also stimulates your liver and your gallbladder to produce bile. Bile is what helps us to break down fat.
So sometimes when you find yourself overeating junk food, sugary foods and foods that are rich in oil or deep-fried foods you get this nausea, you get this tight feeling in your chest, you get acid reflux and all of these problems. Because your stomach acid was not able to generate the right amount of bile, which would in turn help you break down the fat in your system.
The science behind how vinegar works
Half the world thinks that apple cider vinegar helps them to lose weight. Is apple cider vinegar helping to lose weight? It’s not true apple cider vinegar improves your stomach acid, which in turn improves your digestion, which in turn improves your gut health and because of that you lose weight. It’s as simple as that.
So you invest all of your efforts in keeping a healthy gut. There are no shortcuts you can’t just take out the gut and say I’m going to do probiotics. It starts right from the time you chew your food goes down, your stomach it starts in your stomach.
So if you have a gut problem you start healing your stomach and you move all the way down to your gut. That’s how you look at the human body holistically. It’s not a car end. It’s not a car, it’s not a machine where you take out one part, replace it with another part or just look at that part and repair it.
You have to see that everything in the human body is interconnected with each other. That pretty much covers everything to do with your digestive system gut health whatever you’re going through in terms of the symptoms that we mentioned in these notes.
Simple lifestyle changes and believe me if you’re on antacids for a long time the first thing you want to do is work very hard to get off antacids. Because if you’re an antacid you’re in this vicious cycle of producing less stomach acid and these are all the problems you’re going to have.