You know what I’m talking about. You’re stomach is so bloated you look like you are carrying a food baby and have to unbutton your pants for relief. Or maybe you finished dinner well over an hour ago yet you keep burping it up. This was my problem for years. My family never understood why i was ALWAYS burping.
Whether you are struggling with acid reflux (also known as astroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), heartburn, bloating or some other form of digestion issue, it is important that you do something about it and not ignore your unnecessary suffering.
Introducing…. *drumroll*… Stomach Acid!
You might have heard that the cause of acid reflux and digestive issues are the result of too much stomach acid. It seems like a logical assumption. Burping and the tingling of a heartburn feels like the byproduct of acidity. However, this scientific claim has now been shown to be incorrect.
After you chew your meal thoroughly and it passes down your esophagus, it enters the highly acidic environment of your stomach. Your stomach is highly acidic due to the stomach acids secreted by cells in your gastric glands found in the lining of your stomach. The stomach acids I will be discussing in this article are hydrochloric acid (HCL) and pepsin.
Why Is Stomach Acid So Important?
Stomach acid is vitally important for your health and well being. It plays an important role in defending the body from harmful pathogens that might still be present in your (now chewed) food.
Stomach acid is the prerequisite for healthy optimal digestion. If your stomach acid is too low, the chemical reactions required for nutrient absorption are impaired and could lead to nutrient deficiencies longterm.
The stomach acid HCL is especially important for the proper digestion of proteins. The secretion of HCL activates the production of the enzyme pepsin which is responsible for breaking down the bonds of amino acids in protein.
If your stomach acid is too low, your body will be unable to properly digest protein and could lead to essential amino acid deficiencies.
What is the Cause of Acid Reflux?
There are over 16,oo0 articles in the medical literature that prove that low stomach acid is not the cure for acid reflux. Remember, stomach acid is incredibly necessary to kill harmful pathogens.
In fact, in the early 80s, Australian physician named Dr. Barry Marshall made a ground breaking discovery regarding what he believed to be largely the cause of acid reflux. He discovered an organism called Helicobacter pylori (initially called campylobacter) which causes a chronic low-level inflammation of your stomach lining.
He believes this pathogen is responsible, or at least contributes to acid reflux.Therefore, low stomach acid inhibits the body’s ability to kill the Helicobacter pylori bacteria, thus aggravating acid reflux.
Another common cause of acid reflux is thought to be related to the medical condition hiatal hernia. This medical condition is where stomach acid leaks into the esophagus when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) fails to close correctly. Thus Gastroesophageal reflux occurs and stomach acids reflux back up into your esophagus.
Okay? Now what?
Now that you know how important stomach acid for digestion and assimilation of nutrients from your food, you will just have to hang tight for part 2 of this article. Until then, what digestive issues do you struggle with? Did you find any of the information in this article surprising? We would love to hear from you!
Digestion of Proteins Image By OpenStax College [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
PICTURE OF HUMAN ANATOMY BY KELLOGG, JOHN HARVEY, 1852-1943 [NO RESTRICTIONS], VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS