As is known, gastric acid is important for neutralizing bacteria and for perfecting protein digestion in the body. When the body cannot produce a sufficient amount of gastric acid, it causes insufficient digestion and excessive microbial proliferation, especially in the intestines.
Most importantly, even if you notice the problem, it takes a lot of time to improve your stomach acid levels, so you need to make significant changes to your diet and lifestyle to improve the situation!
The normal volume of gastric acid fluid is 200 – 100 ml, and the pH value is between 1.5 – 3.5. Because of the logarithmic structure of the PH scale, the PH value for healthy protein digestion should be in the range of 1.5 – 2.2.
Therefore, even small changes in gastric acid strength for good digestion will seriously alter the result!
6 Important Tasks of Gastric Acid
Foods contain bacteria and microorganisms, even when pasteurized and cooked. There is a stomach acid waiting inside to address missed problems, even though you think you can clean freshly consumed vegetables.
In this process, unwanted bacteria and microorganisms will become ineffective and will make the foundations of good digestion strong.
Protein Digestion; Gastric acid is essential to begin the process of protein degradation. If your stomach acid is weak, the proteins you consume can cause indigestion.
Pepsin is an enzyme required to effectively digest the protein of our body. Stomach acid activates and converts pepsinogen to pepsin.
Intrinsic Factor Activation
Gastric acid helps to function correctly the intrinsic factor (B12-bearing medium), a protein produced in the stomach and essential for the absorption of vitamin B12.
Stimulation of Bile and Enzyme Release
Gastric acid provides the release of bile from the liver and stimulates the gallbladder and digestive enzymes from the pancreas, which is one of the important elements that directly improve the digestive system.
Closing the Esophageal Valve by Stomach Acid and Opening the Pyloric Valve
The pyloric valve is a lid that consists of circular muscles between the stomach and duodenum and prevents the residues inside the intestine from going back to the stomach. The task of gastric acid here is to activate the pyloric valve and allow food to pass from the stomach to the small intestine.
The esophagus valve at the end of the esophagus is triggered by gastric acid to protect the soft tissue of the esophagus. All these processes are essential for a healthy digestion.
Looking at all these substances, even the slightest problem in your digestive system can be an indication of a problem with your stomach acid. How do you know if your stomach acid is weak? Let’s examine it!
Weak stomach acid problem!
When the body cannot produce enough stomach acid, it cannot digest protein molecules and essential nutrients. The partially digested protein molecules enter the small intestine and exert significant pressure on the pancreas to effectively digest the protein and produce sufficient enzymes.
If repression occurs over time, the pancreas will wear down the enzyme store and cause irritation of the intestinal membrane.
Furthermore, if protein molecules cannot be digested efficiently, the absorption of amino acids required for many vital functions of the body does not occur. This may lead to amino acid deficiency, delayed recovery and deterioration of important bodily functions.
Large protein molecules and incomplete digestion irritate the intestinal membrane and cause leaking bowel syndrome. Incomplete digestion can over-stimulate the immune system. It also creates an environment suitable for excessive bacterial growth (SIBO) in the small intestine, overgrowth of candida fungus and development of parasitic infections.
When we are unable to digest the food we eat, it causes an increase in the inflammatory activity that consumes the key minerals and antioxidants in the body. Mineral depletion causes gastric acid deficiency, inadequate digestion and chronic inflammation. If you think you have a weak stomach acid problem, it is a good idea to look at the following items.
12 Signs That You Have Poor Stomach Acid
Weak stomach acid causes insufficient digestion and does not activate the pyloric valve, which we mentioned at the beginning of the article. When the valves are not activated, the food settles in the stomach and is digested by the surviving bacteria due to a lack of gastric acid, this bacterial fermentation will cause bloating, stomach cramping and belching.
The most common signs of stomach acid production are weak:
Belching: It is possible that you will have weak stomach acid with a belching that occurs shortly after a meal (in about 60 minutes).
Reflux: Gastric acid and food from the stomach esophagus (esophagus) back to the state. As I mentioned at the beginning of the article, the most important reason of reflux is the lack of stomach acid production and the origin of the pyloric valve is not opened.
Bloating and squeezing sensation: Gas from the bacterial fermentation in the stomach causes bloating and squeezing. This feeling, which usually occurs within one hour after a meal, is one of the greatest symptoms of weak stomach acid.
Bad breath odor: One reason for bad breath is due to toxic metabolites produced by bacterial fermentation in the stomach.
Bad body odor: Insufficient stomach acid production causes microbial growth in the body in general. More microbes produce more waste.
Undigested foods appearing in feces: If your stomach acid is weak, you cannot activate or release other digestive enzymes. This disrupts all digestion and causes you to see undigested food in your faeces.
Red Meat Consumption: Many people with weak stomach acid avoid eating meat and have digestive problems while eating. If you feel bloating and indigestion, especially after consuming red meat, your stomach acid may be weak.
After-meal fatigue: If you do not have any post-meal activity, but if you have a feeling of fatigue, your digestive system may be the result of more work than usual due to this missing stomach acid.
Anemia Problem: Anemia is a condition where there is not enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen to the body’s tissues. If you experience extreme fatigue, slimming, pale skin, irregular heartbeats, difficulty breathing, dizziness, you may be anemic. In fact, many people who have weak stomach acid take iron supplements, but they cannot fill their iron stores. This is another indicator of bad stomach acid.
Weak Nails: If your nails show signs of protein, mineral and B12 deficiency, such as breakage or peeling, it is helpful to monitor your stomach acid level. If minerals and vitamins you receive through nutrients or supplements to your body do not show you positive results, this may be a sign of a weak stomach acid.
In addition, the less you produce stomach acid, the less it will be to sterilize nutrients in the stomach. Therefore, you may be more susceptible to food poisoning. The most obvious example of this is; Although two people eat the same food, one is ill and the other is not affected.
10 Ways to Improve Stomach Acid Levels
If you suffer from the conditions I mentioned above, if you have weak stomach acid, I would like to give you a few tips to help improve your digestion.
By following these substances, you can reduce stress in your digestive system and absorb nutrients more effectively. These substances will help your body have enough resources to produce enough stomach acid in the future. When your stomach acid level returns to normal, you will see a big difference in your overall health and quality of life!
Liquid Nutrient Intake: You should take care to consume liquid nutrients throughout the day, you should take at least half of your meals in liquid form. Bone juice with high protein and collagen content is easy to digest and does not need much to break up.
Ginger Consumption: Ginger is one of the most useful sources that can be used to improve digestion. Drinking 2 or 3 cups of ginger tea every day or consuming 2-3 drops of ginger (essential) oil into water will activate your stomach acid.
Water Consumption: If your stomach acid is weak, water consumption will activate the intestinal motility and reduce microbial fermentation and toxicity in the body.
Water consumption in meat or meat dishes: When you eat meat, you must stop drinking water for at least 60 minutes in advance. Not drinking water with meat dishes will facilitate digestion and keep your stomach acid ph level at normal levels.
Water consumption after a meal: In order to make digestion perfect, you should start consuming fluid at the earliest 60 minutes after a meal.
Lemon: The use of lemon juice in meat and vegetable dishes is an important aid for digestion and absorption of food.
Consumption of protein, primarily in the stomach: The stomach secretes stomach acid, especially when protein foods are consumed. In general, people prefer to eat salads before protein-containing foods, but this is not suitable for gastric acid production. Consume protein along with salad or vegetable dishes would be a more accurate choice.
Use fermented vegetables: All fermented foods, such as pickled cabbage, ginger pickle, contain organic acids, enzymes, and probiotics to help improve digestion secretions. I recommend you to use one of these fermented foods for protein meals.
But make sure your bowels are healthy when consuming fermented products. Otherwise, you may damage your intestines.
Relaxation before meals: Your body needs to activate the parasympathetic nervous system to produce adequate gastric acid. Pre-meal relaxation is one of the best ways to improve stomach acid production!