Stomach Acids: Just How Important Are They?


stomach pictureStomach acids are important for many reasons, aside from protecting us from fungal yeast such as Candia albicans and the Helicobacter pylori bacteria, there are a number of reasons that stomach acids are so necessary to our health.

1. Various stomach acids actually aid in keeping the body safe from a number of pathogens which otherwise would be able to enter and survive in our digestive system. When an alkaline environment exists in the intestines, many of the pathogenic bacteria (i.e. E. coli, H. pylori, and others) and yeast or fungal yeast (i.e. Candida albicans) are be able to survive easily and therefore multiply their numbers quickly in the intestines and stomach. An alkaline environment is the very cause of the existence of H. pylori, E. coli, and Candida albicans in the intestines. This environment is also the reason that Candida albicans and H. pylori are both capable of secreting ammonia which neutralizes the stomach acids and therefore protects these pathogens from an otherwise dangerous environment. By reducing the stomach acids it makes it much easier for H. pylori, yeast, and Candida albicans as well as other pathogens to survive safely in the intestines. It is estimated that at least 30 to 40% of the United States and the United Kingdome’s population is carrying the H-pylori bacteria at any given time.

2. Stomach acids allow the absorption of beneficial nutrients such as non-chelated minerals and certain vitamins which are more easily absorbed when with stomach acids are available. These allow the nutrients and minerals to react with stomach acids which are then converted into salts that are more easily absorbed.

3. Acids actually reduce the problem of acid reflux which, believe it or not, results from the lack of stomach acid instead of too much acid. Low stomach acid can cause fermentation and therefore a yeast overgrowth in the stomach and intestines as well as the fermentation of foods which are not digested properly. Of course the outcome of this is bloating and gas which can build up in the stomach. This gas is unrestricted, therefore it escapes upward through the esophagus carrying with it traces of acids which result in acid reflux. As explained, this is the result of a low amount of stomach acid and not too much. Betaine Hydrochloride (HCL) taken after each meal actually adds acid to the stomach which generally will repair the problem. Stomach acids will permit a more proper digestion of both animal and vegetable proteins.

The digestive enzyme called pepsin is incapable of working properly if there is not a sufficient level of hydrochloric acid available in the stomach at the time food enters the stomach. If proteins which are ingested are not broken down properly then larger pieces of the proteins can often enter the bloodstream. These are equivalent to foreign objects entering the bloodstream which are then viewed as antigens by the immune system and can lead to experiencing allergic reactions.

4. Some of the B vitamins, namely vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), B12 (cobalamin), and folate are especially dependant on acids in the stomach for their absorption into the bloodstream and tissues of the body. Normally, with aging the stomach acid levels begin to decline; this is the reason that so many of the elderly are deficient in the above named B vitamins.

5. Silica, which is an essential mineral and is used in the formation of elastin, chondroitin, and collagen, is converted into orthosilicic acid. The orthosilicic acid protects against the loss of bone density therefore preventing conditions such as osteoarthritis which as we know is quite common as we age. Orthosilicic acid has also been used in treating both Alzheimer’s disease and arthritis.

Without silica, humans would develop serious conditions such heart disease, osteoporosis, emphysema, diverticulitis, and osteoarthritis; and since silica is used in the formation of collagen and elastin, cellulite and wrinkles could occur during a deficiency of this valuable mineral.

As stated, silica must be converted into orthosilicic acid before it can be absorbed and then utilized in the various traditions described above. Although a reaction of water and silica causes the formation of orthosilicic acid, the formation can only occur when stomach acid is readily available.

As already explained, the amounts of our stomach acids normally start to decline as we age which leads to a lower conversion rate of silica’s formation into orthosilicic acid which in turn leads to lower amounts of and therefore a loss of chondroitin, collagen, and elastin.

Compare the symptoms named above caused by the loss of these three structural proteins, and you’ll realize how much the symptoms mimic the normal symptoms of aging. Imagine that many of the symptoms of aging could be corrected if only the correct amounts of f stomach acid were available.

Since a deficiency of stomach acids is the cause of so many of our age related symptoms, then it seems that if one’s goal is to speed up the process of aging, taking anti-acid medications is the perfect recipe for accomplishing this.

The bottom line in aging is; many of the nutrients that are necessary to prevent age-related symptoms and diseases depend on stomach acids for proper absorption. It’s really a vicious circle of lacking stomach acid, leading to larger declines in stomach acid, leading to a lower absorption rate of stomach acids forming the necessary nutrients which in turn leads to lower stomach acid formation.

So in conclusion, one of the leading causes of age-related diseases is any substance that is capable of reducing the stomach acids, namely; the high intake of acid blockers (proton pump inhibitors), alkaline waters, antacids, calcium carbonate manufactured from oyster shell, coral, and dolomite, magnesium oxide-hydroxide, and calcium oxide or hydroxide which is lime.

Photo Credit Daniel X. O’Neil @ Creative Commons – http://www.flickr.com/photos/juggernautco/

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