✛ low stomach acid can wreck your health, beauty and hair


If your digestion isn't working b e a u t i f u l l y ,there is a chance you are suffering from low stomach acid. It is one of these very common but rarely detected problems.

Low stomach acid is a digestive disorder in which there is a low level of hydrochloric acid in the stomach. Also known as hypochlorhydria, gastric acidity reduced, hypohydrochloria, and achlorhydria.
Most people I know actually do often suffer from digestive discomfort, but are quick to label it as normal. A little mur mur is nothing right?

Ideally, you should not even know you are digesting (!). Your should not get bloated, there should be no discomfort, bubbling, cramping etc. You should be able to use the bathroom without any problems, passing normal stool.

If that is NOT the case, something is wrong and you should look into it. Digestive problems are a really, really serious issue. If your digestion isn't running well, your body isn't either. That, on the long run leads to a host of health issues as well as affecting your good looks.



Here is a list of symptoms (x are the symptoms I experienced):
  • Bacterial/fungal overgrowth x
  • Bad breath
  • Belching 
  • Bloating x
  • Diarrhea and constipation
  • Distension x
  • Fatigue x
  • Food sensitivities x
  • A feeling of fullness x
  • Gas x
  • Headaches x
  • Heartburn x
  • Increased incidence of parasitic infections x
  • Indigestion x
  • Malabsorption problems x
  • Nausea x
  • Nutritional deficiency x
  • Rectal itching
  • Stomach pain and distress x
  • Unexplained hunger
  • Vomiting
  • Weakened hair, nails, and skin x
  • yeast infections, and a host of other ailments x
Since our entire digestive process depends upon food being doused with a healthy amount of hydrochloric acid (HCL) when it gets to the stomach, it is difficult to exaggerate the potentially catastrophic results of a condition marked by an abnormally small amount of stomach acid.

Without HCL, the digestion of protein, carbohydrates, and fat cannot be properly completed. The stomach needs hydrochloric acid in order to protect the stomach from bacterial and fungal overgrowth (bacteria and fungus cannot thrive in an acidic environment). Hydrochloric acid also helps the body to properly absorb essential vitamins and minerals.

The presence of undigested food in the small intestine and colon can wreak digestive havoc by causing an overgrowth of harmful bacteria, which in turn produces toxins that are absorbed by the liver. This internal warfare puts a terrible strain on one of our most vital organs, forcing the liver to work twice as hard in order to detoxify itself.

There is often a long transit time with low stomach acid, and we know that the longer bacteria sits inside us, the more rapidly they reproduce. Toxins are produced and then absorbed by the liver.
Regardless of how well you eat, poor digestion and malabsorption of nutrients is the end result of low stomach acid. Without adequate nourishment, you will be a target for infectious and degenerative diseases.
In addition, a toxic condition known as dysbiosis can result, leaving the sufferer with fatigue, gas, headaches, hypertension, insomnia, irritation, muscle aches and pain, personality changes, and many other problems.


Diseases associated with Low Stomach Acid

A lot of what we eat contains bacteria. Normally, stomach acid kills harmful bacteria, working to keep diseases at bay. People with low stomach acid have a higher than average incidence of illness because harmful bacteria ends up in their small intestine, rather than being killed off by HCL in their stomachs.

Often, without knowing why, people with low stomach acid simply never feel good. This is hardly surprising since many health problems are associated with low stomach acid.

Conditions Linked to Low Stomach Acid include (again I marked what I had, related to low stomach acid or not):
  • Acne
  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Autoimmune diseases x
  • Chronic candida x
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)
  • Chronic hepatitis
  • Chronic hives
  • Deficiencies 
  • Dry skin 
  • Eczema
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Gastrointestinal (GI) infections and parasites x
  • Hair loss, often caused by not absorbing nutrients properly
  • Hypoglycemia x
  • Lupus
  • Osteoporosis
  • Psoriasis x
  • Reduced night vision
  • Rheumatic arthritis 
  • Rosacea or broken capillaries x
  • Thyroid disorders x
  • Type I and II diabetes
  • Vitiligo (a skin disorder characterized by white patches or spots)
  • Weakened hair, nails, and skin x


Low stomach acid has a history of not being taken seriously by the medical community. As a result, it is an often misdiagnosed and frequently under-diagnosed condition.
There are ways to get tested by a physician or at home. Read about them here.



How can you treat low stomach acid?

1. By taking Betaine HCL supplements (containing thirty or forty milligrams of pepsin). When taken with meals, betaine can help produce stomach acid, alleviating the immediate issue. Long-term use of betaine can help your stomach produce more stomach acid on its own.

(Do NOT use HCL supplements while using medication such as corticosteroids or anti-inflammatory meds like Advil, Tylenol or other NSAIDS. These meds can damage the GI lining and increase the chance of a stomach ulcer if HCL is introduced )

2. Take digestive Enzymes and/or Probiotics if needed.

3. In addition to supplements, incorporating foods containing betaine into your diet can help your body produce more stomach acid. Dietary sources of betaine include beets, broccoli, spinach and inexpensive wines, also beneficial are Manuka honey, Apple Cider Vinegar, be sure to get enough Vitamin B12. 


More food based remedies:


- Vitamin U/ Cabbage
A healing enzyme found in cabbage. It can soothe an inflamed stomach lining as well as heal it and fight ulcers. You can take it in in the form of cabbage juice or a supplement like Gastrazyme

- Sea Salt 
Sea Salt provides chloride, the building block of stomach acid (sodium chloride and hydrochloric acid). It also provides trace minerals and raises your metabolism.

- Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
The vinegar is acidic and will slightly lower the pH in the stomach. Frequent doses of raw apple cider vinegar are also effective in correcting candida overgrowth, and candida problems can contribute to low stomach acid production. 
After you wake up, drink 1/2-1 tsp. raw apple cider vinegar (it must be raw) in 1/2 cup warm water. Take this before each meal.


Avoid:
Avoid a high fiber diet with low stomach acid
Grain fiber contains large amounts of phytic acid, a compound which “locks” onto minerals like zinc, copper, iron and calcium. Processed grain products, such as bread and cereals, are not properly prepared and contain high amounts of phytic acid. Soaking and fermenting your grains, as practiced by traditional cultures reduces the phytic acid levels.

When stomach acid is optimal, the acid helps to break down the little phytic acid and mineral bundles, rendering some of those previously stolen minerals available to the body. But the body cannot reclaim these nutrients with low stomach acid. Reducing fiber and thereby reducing phytic acid intake, minerals are more efficiently absorbed.

Lots of Water/ Fluids
Drinking lots of fluids reduces your stomach acid production. Over hydrating actually slows metabolism and can cause cellular dehydration.

Regular Coffee Intake
It increases acidity and in turn lowers your stomach acid production.


How does it affect your "good looks"?

I mention the fact that it affects the way you look, because to some that will signalize the seriousness of the issue more than me just speaking about "health issues". Basically your whole well being is dependent on your digestion. Most functions in your body are.
Hypochlorhydria can inhibit you ability to digest proteins. Protein is an important nutrient that is key to every cell in your body. Your body needs protein to build and repair tissues -- and to make enzymes and hormones. Healthy bones, blood, hair, nails, skin and muscles all rely on protein and since our bodies can't store it, we must get high quality protein from our food.

Your body will also have problems absorbing key nutrients from foods, which will cause deficiencies, which lead to brittle hair, nails, bad skin. And by bad skin I don't mean you will look a bit ashy...I am talking acne, dark circles, under eye bags, broken capillaries, eczema, premature aging, thinning of skin, loss of collagen, appearance of marks, fungal infections, clogged pores -> enlarged pores. 
Deficiencies will also lead to hair loss and poor hair growth. Brittle hair that won't grow long, strong and full. 

My personal problems with digestion

I have always been a bit sensitive to digestive issues. The first time I had problems, was after the use of antibiotics at 16. For months I was unable to digest well but eventually my digestion was back on track. Until pregnancy. I was dealing with heartburn at the time and took antacids to relieve the burn. I also experienced frequent UTI's and was given antibiotics a few times, which resulted into a Vaginal Yeast infection. In pregnancy I first noticed that skin dryness that later grew into a full grown fungal infection. After pregnancy, my digestion was not working the way it used to. I gave it time because I knew hormones can affect digestion and hoped it would normalize. But my digestive issues continued to get worse. At first I only felt "digestive discomfort" and I generally felt very heavy and sleepy after a meal. But as time went on I  started having problems with certain foods. At first I actually had a huge problem with carbohydrates and fruits, then eggs...meat and eventually milk products. So there was practically nothing left to eat! I started developing deficiencies, skin problems, dealt with parasitic infections and as you know I have been losing hair on and off. 

My first guess was small intestine bacterial overgrowth, and it wasn't too far off because low stomach acid can lead to SIBO. A diet aimed at fixing a leaky gut did not help me at all though. If anything, I felt more bloated with the bone broth (!!).

Probiotics and Digestive Enzymes gave me a lot of relieve! My bloating was completely gone on most days, and the digestive discomfort was mild. But, all the (useful) supplements and health foods cost money, and so I stopped purchasing Enzymes and Probiotics. After two months, my problems gradually worsened again. 

I had been suscpecting my stomach acid for a while, but had not done anything since the probiotics and enzymes worked so well (they are a good way of fixing the problem too, but necessarily enough). When my hair was falling out again I asked to see blood work results that doctors had not given to me before because "all was great". And that is when I actually noticed my ferritin was really low. I eat meat every day, so that wasn't the problem....the problem was that I was not absorbing the nutrients thanks to my digestive problems! Any sort of animal protein causes me the worst discomfort and always gets me nauseated too, so I knew it had to be my stomach acid!

I did the self tests linked above (with ACV, baking soda and later also swallowed Betain HCL supplements) and they suggested my stomach acid was actually non-existant! Excuse my language, but I swallowed 8 fucking capsules with every meal for days and did not feel a burn!! Eventually I did and was able to reduce the dose. But by the time I got to 6 I was already out of capsules :( 

I am currently following all the advice I posted and it does better things. I had days where I was barely bloated. But I feel in order to fully get back on track I need to work with HCL, Enzymes and probiotic at some points. I will update everyone on my progress, but I decided to share this earlier since it is really great, life changing information that you won't just stumble upon.

11 comments:

  1. I find your health entries very informative. I'm looking forward to reading about your progress.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Adelina! I will update as soon as I get some results :)

      Delete
  2. I have had some digestive issues for several years and actually began taking a probiotic supplement a couple weeks ago. When you were taking probiotic supplements and noted improvements, how often were you doing so?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I started out taking them once a day and noticed a little improvement. But I was doing better with 3 to 4 a day, even better with enzymes added and it was close to perfect when I was using the HCL tablets also. Candida can also cause digestive issues that will improve with these supplements, so it is good to get checked for Candida as well.

      Delete
  3. I have had some digestive issues for several years and actually began taking a probiotic supplement a couple weeks ago. When you were taking probiotic supplements and noted improvements, how often were you doing so?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I started out taking them with ever meal and later was able to take them once a day. You can watch for symptoms and reduce it after a few weeks.

      Delete
  4. Very well said..if our digestion is not good..it will effect in whole body..

    ReplyDelete
  5. Well that's sounds real feashy to know that low stomach acid has in actual bad impact on hair and health.

    ReplyDelete

 

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Emi

Emi
34 year old mom of 2 boys from Frankfurt Germany

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