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Importance of Stomach Acid – What Lies Beyond Digestion

Aug 14, 2023Food & Nutrition0 comments

I’d go as far as to say that stomach acid is one of our most important elements. Though, it gets a very bad reputation. Oftentimes, acid reflux keeps us from eating our favorite foods. So, it might be hard to see the importance of stomach acid.

However, acid reflux actually comes from low acid levels most of the time. Instead, stomach acid is a vital part of digestion and nutrition. Understanding how it works can be crucial against GERD.

But, did you know its role goes beyond digestion? Let’s see.

The importance of stomach acid in neutralizing harmful pathogens

The first benefit comes beyond digestion even begins. Stomach acid is, well, acidic. So, it does wonders in killing yeast and bacteria. Gastric fluid is fatal for many types of pathogens. So, think again before taking that antacid.

As you can expect, GERD treatment might get in the way. And, some bacteria can already circumvent the acidity. As such, it’s not foolproof insurance against spoiled food. Therefore, try not to make it worse with antacids.

Stomach acid as the backbone of our digestive system

Of course, we can’t talk about the importance of stomach acid without digestion. After all, it’s responsible for most of the work. Stomach acid, or HCL, breaks down proteins and polysaccharides. That way, they can make their way through the intestinal tract.

In other words, stomach acid allows the entire digestive process to occur. Without it, food wouldn’t even move past the stomach. Moreover, our bodies wouldn’t be able to absorb nutrients. That leads us to our next point.

Stomach acid and nutrient absorption into the bloodstream

As you might expect, we can’t absorb food as is. Digestion is responsible for breaking down foods into smaller molecules. That way, our bloodstream can absorb the nutrients in our meals.

As you can expect, it’s our stomach acid’s role to make that happen. Nutrients need to cross our intestinal lining. From there, special cells move them to our bloodstream and into our organs. Without stomach acid, this couldn’t happen.

The importance of stomach acid in vitamin B12 levels

Vitamin B12 is among the most important nutrients for anyone. It impacts our memory, cognition, energy, mood, and more. However, vitamin B12 doesn’t come “loose” in our food. Instead, it’s bound to protein. We need to separate it.

Luckily, we have stomach acid for that. HCL unbinds vitamin B12 from protein. Then, our bodies can absorb the nutrient. Vitamin B12 supplements contain these vitamins in free form. But, that’s not the case for most foods—barring fortified products.

GERD and the importance of stomach acid, a surprising reveal

I briefly teased this in the intro. Thus, let’s dive into it at last. Acid reflux comes from too much stomach acid. That explanation would make sense, right? Well, it’s actually the opposite.

In most cases, GERD comes from hypochlorhydria, or low stomach acid levels. Additionally, hypochlorhydria can cause bacterial overgrowth. Thus, it can worsen acid reflux symptoms. As such, don’t always assume our digestive problems come from too much acid.

The holistic takeaway

importance of stomach acid - man holding his stomach up

So, what’s the importance of stomach acid? Anyone can say it’s digestion and call it a day. However, it goes beyond that. Stomach acid is responsible for nutrient absorption, healthy gut biomes, and even GERD.

Thus, maintaining healthy bile levels should be a priority. That’s why HCL Breakthrough is one of my favorite digestive supplements. It improves stomach acid levels. Thus, you can enjoy better nutrient absorption and stomach health.


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