Digestive Issues? 9 Signs You Have Hypochlorhydria
Updated: Apr 26, 2022
Heartburn, acid reflux, indigestion, or gas after meals? Digestive symptoms could be a sign you have hypochlorhydria, a condition where your stomach doesn't produce enough hydrochloric acid (HCL) aka stomach acid.
HCL is needed to kill harmful bacteria and parasites found in food, and provides the high acidity needed to break down, digest, and absorb the proteins and minerals into your body.
You know the saying, "you are what you eat"? It should be, "you are what you digest and absorb!"
Fact: low stomach acid causes more digestive problems than too much stomach acid.
That might be hard to believe, especially with all the ballyhoo of antacids, acid-blockers, and PPIs (proton pump inhibitors) for heartburn, acid reflux, GERD relief available. But, every time you take these medications you are actually contributing more to the problem.
If people with persistent digestive symptoms actually had their stomach acid levels tested, it would be extremely rare for the results to show too much stomach acid.
Signs of hypochlorhydria include:
Heartburn and indigestion
Trouble digesting meat, and/or a loss of taste for meat
Gas, burping, and bloating after eating
Food allergies and intolerances
Vitamin and mineral deficiencies, including iron deficiency
Skin problems such as acne eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea
Undigested food in stools
Brittle nails and hair
Feel like skipping breakfast (and you do!)
Because hypochlorhydria’s direct impact on digestion, and because 70-80% of our immune system is housed in our gut (part of our digestive system), hypochlorhydria has been associated with chronic health issues including:
Skin issues such as acne, psoriasis, eczema
Common causes of hypochlorhydria:
High stress levels
High sugar diet
Vitamin deficiency, specifically zinc and B vitamins. These deficiencies may be caused by poor diet or nutrient loss from stress, smoking, alcohol, or leaky gut
Overuse of antacids and other medications for digestive issues
Stomach surgery such as gastric bypass
Aging, especially those over 65
Fortunately, there are several things you can do to naturally help your body produce enough HCL to aid digestion.
3 mindful mealtime tips to improve stomach acid:
Eat mindfully at the table (no scrolling, no eating on the couch watching Netflix, no eating standing at the counter, and certainly no eating while driving!)
Chew your food thoroughly (put your fork down between bites)
Drink a cup of water with 1 Tbsp of raw apple cider vinegar about 15 minutes before meals
WHEN STRESS IS ON, DIGESTION IS OFF.
With increased mindfulness and when you practice ways to tap into that relaxed, parasympathetic "rest and digest" state around mealtime, you are setting yourself up for a happy tummy, better digestion, lower inflammation, and a healthier you.
If you're looking for personalized support with digestion, mindfulness, and anti-inflammatory living, let’s talk.
Email me to set up a free exploratory coaching call.
Love, Your Wellness Coach,
December 1, 2020
P.S. Watch the replays of “A Taste of Nourish Till You Flourish” my series of 4 Hot Topic Wellness Workshops:
How to Boost Immunity through Nutrition
Setting & Keeping Goals During Uncertainty
Do You Have Leaky Gut? Gut Health 101