Acid reflux is one of the most common conditions in adults. Even if it’s not chronic, you’ve probably experienced it. Despite being so common, it’s also fairly misunderstood. For instance, many people haven’t heard about hypochlorhydria. So, what is hypochlorhydria?
I’ve already spoken extensively about acid reflux. I touched on GERD and your gut biome, worst foods, and bad habits. But, I’m yet even to mention hypochlorhydria, or low gut bile levels. Still, it’s a crucial factor in most acid reflux cases.
So, what’s going on here? Let’s answer that question.
Explaining what is hypochlorhydria for beginners
Essentially, hypochlorhydria is a low amount of stomach acid. The name comes from hydrochloric acid, or HCL. That’s because it’s the strongest acid our stomachs can produce. Its absence takes away the majority of our stomach bile.
HCL is responsible for breaking down protein and nutrient absorption. It also helps control bacteria and viruses. So, deficiency may result in malnutrition and infections.
Low amounts of HCL tend to cause acid reflux. Gas tends to fill up the empty space, pushing bile upward. Weirdly enough, antacids—commonly used to treat GERD—can cause HCL deficiency.
How to know if you have hypochlorhydria
Now, you know what is hypochlorhydria. Now, how can you tell if you are going through it? Well, you’re in luck. There are several signs you can spot. Plus, they’re fairly easy to notice. So, let’s summarize them below:
- Heartburn is the most common sign. Low acid levels give room for gas accumulation. And, that leads to heartburn.
- Digestive difficulties are also another sign. You may have issues digesting meat. Or, you might notice undigested food in your stools. Likewise, constipation or diarrhea could also be signs.
- Due to digestive problems, nutritional deficiencies are also possible signs. The same goes for intolerance to certain foods. In the same vein, watch out for gas or bloating after meals.
- Other signs include leaky gut syndrome and skin problems. In women, hair loss may also take place consequentially.
What is hypochlorhydria’s treatment like?
As WebMD explains, HCL deficiency has several treatments. Naturally, it depends on the cause.
Firstly, there’s antibiotic treatment. H. pylori can cause hypochlorhydria. In those cases, a doctor may prescribe antibiotics. In other cases, HCL supplements and enzymes are staples. They tend to make up the majority of non-infectious treatments.
Of course, diet and medication changes are also fairly common. For your diet, your doctor may recommend easily digestible foods. For your medication, proton pump inhibitors (PPI) and antacids are usually goners. Iron, calcium, zinc, and vitamin B complex are common, too.
Can you increase stomach acid on your own?
So, can you deal with HCL deficiency by yourself? Thankfully, you can. Not only that, but it’s also pretty simple. You just have to do the following:
- Chew your food thoroughly before swallowing. Your saliva actually houses digestive enzymes.
- Regarding what you eat, avoid processed foods. Instead, you want to eat more fruits and vegetables. Processed foods can cause stomach inflammation and acid reflux.
- Speaking of vegetables, add more fermented vegetables to your diet. Pickles and kimchi. These foods improve your stomach acid levels naturally.
- Apple cider vinegar can also improve your stomach acid levels. Plus, its acidic properties add acid to your digestion.
- Lastly, ginger can be another great addition. It has nothing to do with stomach acid, though. Instead, its benefit is preventing inflammation resulting from low acid.
The holistic takeaway
So, what is hypochlorhydria? It’s just poor stomach acid levels. However, most people think GERD comes from too much acid. Instead, it’s its lack that tends to complicate matters. As such, HCL is your best friend against heartburn and GERD.
That’s why I recommend HCL Breakthrough. It’s my favorite HCL supplement so far. And, it’s a purely natural formula. It tackles HCL deficiency, the heart of GERD. So, it’s an approach not many use.