Heal Low Stomach Acid Naturally

Low stomach acid causes a cascade of digestive issues like bloating, hair loss and constipation. Learn how to heal low stomach acid naturally!

Heal Low Stomach Acid Naturally

Did you know that 90% of Americans have low stomach acid, called hypochlorhydria? Low stomach acid leads to a cascade of digestive problems further south in the digestion process, such as bloating, gas and constipation. Fortunately, it is an option to heal low stomach acid naturally and ameliorate the chain affect of digestive problems.

Why is it so important to heal low stomach acid? Let’s start with the all-to-common consequences of low stomach acid.

Consequences of Low Stomach Acid

  • Low stomach acid cannot properly break down proteins into amino acids. Lack of amino acids in the bloodstream means less available neurotransmitters which can mean mood disorders like depression. Additionally, protein maldigestion leads to hair loss and brittle nails.
  • Low stomach acid fosters imbalanced gut flora. Pathogenic and food borne bacteria, usually killed by the low stomach pH, can make their way into the intestines. Further, lack of acidity in the stomach makes it more hospitable to bacterial growth (and the stomach should be relatively sterile).
  • Low stomach acid leads to nutrient malabsorption. Specifically, when proteins aren’t fully broken down, B12 absorption is disrupted. Folate and nonheme iron absorption are also affected by low stomach acid.
  • Low stomach acid leads to heartburn/GERD/reflux. I discuss the details below.
  • Low stomach acid often means constipation, bloating, gas and belching. With inadequate acid, food sits in the stomach and putrefies instead of being properly digested.
  • Low stomach acid may cause a leaky gut and therefore create food allergies. Improperly digested starches little “holes” between the cells of the intestinal lining. These starches also feed pathogenic bacteria that create these leaky spaces. Then, undigested proteins and other food particles leak into the bloodstream and the body reacts by creating antibodies to these foreign particles in the blood.

Low Stomach Acid and Heartburn/GERD

  • The Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES) separates the esophagus and the stomach. Proper stomach acid levels signal the LES to close tightly. With low stomach acid levels, the LES loosens and acidic stomach fluid escapes into the lower part of the esophagus causing a burning sensation.  LES malfunction is also influenced by other variables like food allergies, overeating, and certain drugs.
  • The pyloric sphincter separates the stomach from the small intestine. The body resists opening this sphincter, however, when the contents of the stomach are not properly acidified. The body innately knows the undigested food will cause problems further south. As a result, food sits in the stomach and putrefies, producing gas and pressure which makes the LES leak open (causing heartburn as discussed above).

Also, antacids and heartburn medications can further exacerbate nutrient malabsorption– that’s why it is important to correct stomach acid rather than using pharmaceuticals for heartburn.

Now that we understand the cascade of detrimental digestive woes that can occur due to low stomach acid, let’s look at how to heal low stomach acid naturally and effectively!

Supplements to Heal Low Stomach Acid Naturally

Honey for Low Stomach Acid

We all have the bacteria H. pylori in our digestive tract, but this species becomes a problem when it overgrows. In a vicious cycle, H. pylori reproduces in the stomach in the presence of low stomach acid and then suppresses stomach acid production. 

Manuka honey is produced in New Zealand and Australia from bees pollinating the manuka tree. It has a naturally occurring peroxide content which makes it a potent anti-bacterial agent. This therapeutic honey has been widely used to heal stomach lining and to help address h. pylori overgrowth. I took 1 tsp. of this honey twice a day when I was first healing my stomach lining.

Recently, I read from one source manuka honey should not be used internally because it has a naturally occurring genotoxin. I don’t know what to think about this, however, since so many people take manuka honey and experience only vastly positive results. You can weight the pros and cons for yourself.

Yemen Sidr honey also has the potent antibacterial properties of manuka honey without the genotoxic component. Also, regular RAW honey is less antibacterial than these two famous “powerhouse” honeys but it is still very useful in healing the stomach lining. Only purchase raw honey, preferably from a local beekeeper– never purchase regular supermarket honey.

Vitamin U for Low Stomach Acid

Low stomach acid causes a cascade of digestive issues like bloating, hair loss and constipation. Learn how to heal low stomach acid naturally! “Vitamin U?” You may be thinking, “I’ve heard of A, B, C, D, E, and K… but not U!” That’s because it’s not a real vitamin, just a label for a powerful healing enzyme found in cabbage. It is applauded for it’s anti-ulcer abilities and quickly cures stomach ulcers and heals the stomach lining. When stomach acid has been chronically low for years, the stomach lining may be inflamed and unable to tolerate acid supplementation.  In this case, vitamin U is useful in soothing an inflamed stomach lining and correcting low stomach acid. 

Many studies have been conducted where the participants drank raw cabbage juice and experienced quick ulcer healing. Large amounts of cabbage juice, however, can suppress thyroid activity due to the high amounts of goitrogens. So while a daily dose of raw cabbage juice may be a great option for some folks, others may find it both more suitable and more convenient to take a vitamin u supplement. I have had great success with Gastrazyme and I highly recommend it. 5 tablets before bed and 5 upon rising is a good place to start for a potent, short-term therapy.

Sea Salt for Low Stomach Acid

Eat plenty of unrefined sea salt with meals, such as Real Salt. This provides chloride, the building block of stomach acid (sodium chloride and hydrochloric acid).

Raw Apple Cider Vinegar for Low Stomach Acid

Low stomach acid causes a cascade of digestive issues like bloating, hair loss and constipation. Learn how to heal low stomach acid naturally!There are a few theories regarding just why apple cider vinegar improves digestion and low stomach acid. First, the vinegar is acidic and will slightly lower the pH in the stomach. Frequent doses of raw apple cider vinegar is also purportedly effective in correcting candida overgrowth, and candida problems can contribute to low stomach acid production. It is very effective as a quick solution when one is experiencing heartburn, perhaps because the acidity signals the LES to close tightly.

Upon waking, drink 1/2-1 tsp. raw apple cider vinegar (it must be raw) in 1/2 cup warm water. Take this concoction before each meal and, if needed, after meals to stop heartburn. 

HCL for Low Stomach Acid

Hydrochloric Acid with Pepsin supplements are an important tool in treating low stomach acid. It is only part of the solution in healing low stomach acid naturally and is a temporary step.

Do NOT use HCL supplements while using medication such as corticosteroids or anti-inflammatory meds like Advil, Tylenol or other NSAIDS. These meds can damage the GI lining and increase the chance of a stomach ulcer if HCL is introduced. Do NOT use HCL if you have stomach ulcers. In that case, heal the stomach lining completely with Gastrazyme, manuka honey the other suggestions here before HCL supplementation.

 To find your HCL dosage, try this “loading” process. Only take HCL with a meal containing protein (you will not need HCL if you are eating an apple for a snack, for example). Take one HCL supplement after a few bites of your breakfast. Continue to eat slowly. If you have no warming sensation in your stomach, repeat the process at lunch and take 2 HCL pills. Again, if there is no warming sensation, take 3 pills with dinner. Repeat until you feel a warming sensation and your dose is the number of pills before you got the warming. For example, if you felt the warming at 6 pills, take 5 pills with each protein meal.

As you continue to heal your stomach lining, you will be able to gradually reduce and eventually eliminate need for HCL supplements.

Often, when stomach acid is chronically low for a long period of time, even the minimal dose of HCL will cause a burning sensation in the stomach. In this case, focus on healing the stomach lining with the steps above first, then try to re-introduce the HCL after 2-4 weeks of intensive healing.

Lifestyle Changes to Heal Low Stomach Acid Naturally

Perhaps the most important change is not to eat while stressed. as the body does not produce gastric juices when under stress. That means sitting down for your meals, chewing well, and eating mindfully.

Eliminate food allergens

As I discussed above, low stomach acid perpetuates food allergies. Consuming foods that you are sensitive or allergic to causes inflammation in the body and aggravates the entire digestive tract. Eliminate these foods until the digestive tract seals, stomach acid secretion is normalized and the food allergies are reversed. I recommend the Gut and Psychology Syndrome Diet for healing  a leaky gut.

Avoid a high fiber diet with low stomach acid

Low stomach acid causes a cascade of digestive issues like bloating, hair loss and constipation. Learn how to heal low stomach acid naturally!Grain fiber contains large amounts of phytic acid, a compound which “locks” onto minerals like zinc, copper, iron and calcium. Processed grain products, such as bread and cereals, are not properly prepared and contain high amounts of phytic acid. Soaking and fermenting your grains, as practiced by traditional cultures and explained in Nourishing Traditions, reduces the phytic acid levels.

When stomach acid is optimal, the acid helps to break down the little phytic acid and mineral bundles, rendering some of those previously stolen minerals available to the body.  But the body cannot reclaim these nutrients with low stomach acid. Reducing fiber and thereby reducing phytic acid intake, minerals are more efficiently absorbed. Read more here: Is a high fiber diet a health hazard? Worried about constipation if you reduce fiber? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered with 5 healthy steps to cure constipation naturally.

Don’t over-hydrate

Mainstream health dogma hounds us to drink 8+ glasses of water per day for “hydration” and to “flush toxins.” Actually, over hydrating does neither of things things and actually slows metabolism and can cause cellular dehydration (I discuss the topic in more detail HERE). In addition, drinking large amounts of water before or during meals waters down stomach acid and therefore inhibits digestion.

If desired, drink a cup of warm, homemade bone broth to stimulate digestive juices desired during meals. You may also find it helpful to drink 1/2 cup of water with 1 tsp. raw apple cider vinegar before or after meals. I also suggesting drinking a small amount of raw, homemade yogurt with meals to provide probiotics and enzymes to support digestion.

Are you on a journey to heal low stomach acid and correct digestion issues? Have you used any of these tips or supplements before?

is low stomach acid causing your symptoms? Here's how to fix it!

Sources:

Books: Why Stomach Acid is Good for You by Dr. Wrightthe Gut and Psychology Syndrome Diet by Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride, Eat for Heat by Matt Stone

http://www.manukahoneyblog.co.uk/activehoney/umf-manuka-honey-treatment-for-h-pylori/

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/07/08/water-works-better-than-ulcer-pills-to-decrease-stomach-acid.aspx

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1521464/

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Comments

  1. Trish says

    Great article. Thx! Finally some interesting tips. The internet is full on what to do if you have too much stomach acid. I have the opposite. I discovered last week the HCL supplements. But even after one pill I got this burning feeling. Now I know why :-) So tomorrow I’ll go the pharmacist in search of vitamin U.

    • says

      I’m glad this was helpful, and I hope you find the vitamin U beneficial! Interestingly, I’ve found that many articles that discuss “too much stomach acid” really have no grasp on the topic. Very few people have too much stomach acid, but they believe they do because of heartburn or ulcers. These result from a stressful lifestyle, poor diet and inadequate stomach acid… not too much stomach acid.

      • Caitlin says

        How long do you recommend taking the gastrazyme until the stomach ia healed? I have healed my stomach before, using slippery elm, Mastic gum, marshmallow root, l-glutamine, DGL, and then gastrazyme. This took a month, I didn’t add in the gastrazyme until the last two weeks. This got me to where I could take six acid with each meal, but I ran into trouble when I started cutting back, I know now I didn’t need to do that. I started getting weaker and I thought I didn’t need to be on my thyroid anymore, but when I went off of it that’s when my stomach stopped being able to tolerate any acid. I realized that you need thyroid to help keep your lining intact, so now I am back on it, because a week into my healing proves I still can’t take even one acid pill.

  2. Jessica says

    I think more digging should be done about the conclusion of methylgloxal being dangerous. A quick search on pubmed showed that gastric secretions render the methylglyoxal concentrations: “MGO concentration decreases because it reacts with digestive enzymes by carbonylating their free amino groups”
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23406199
    And unfortunately the source page you listed does not have any links to where the studies they referenced about the genotoxin properties of methylglyoxal. When I searched online on pubmed and google I could not find anything validating this. But, I would love to know more because I use Manuka Honey quite a bit.
    Perhaps they decided mgo was dangerous because they dug something up that showed it was a genotoxin in vitro studies, and not in a study that was in vivo or included the synergistic effect that other enzymes naturally present in the honey? I have read that there is a lot of competition between honey companies, and perhaps between manuka honey and Yemini Sidr honey? It is pretty substantial to make the claim about mgo being a potential cancer component so I hope to find more science to back up the claim..

    • says

      Yes, I would certainly be interested in more research about the Manuka honey. I think the info should be taken with a grain of salt because so many folks consume it and they have absolutely no issues with it. Still, I would prefer to be safe than sorry… especially when there are alternatives with no potential issues.

      • Alex Martinez says

        Hi, my name is Alex and ever since these stupid doctors told me take prolosec, nexium, it.messed up my stomach. Constipation, fatigue, depression, anxiety, GERD. I never had GERD until I took these drugs. I had gas problems from a poor diet but never GERD until I tried Proton Pump Inhibitors. Help me please!!!!!!

  3. says

    A great article with some super advice and explanation, so simple to understand! I too take manuka honey and I have to agree with Jessica I have read that it isn’t believed to cause a problem in normal doses. Here is an article I found amongst others.

    I am happy to continue to use manuka honey as I have been doing for ten years, I don’t consume more than 2 teaspoons a day. However, I do appreciate your concerns. I have also considered apple cider vinegar but I’m a bit concerned it may damage my teeth though I’ve read and heard very good reports about it.

    I didn’t know about sea salt, that’s a great bit of information, thank you! Due to a thyroid problem I don’t think cabbage juice is a good idea for me but I will look up the supplement you posted AND I have never heard about vitamin U – you are such a great source of information!!

    Loved reading this, so informative.

    • says

      Hi Vicki! Yes, I think that we should take the info about manuka honey with a grain of salt. So many folks consume it and they have absolutely no issues with it. I am personally comfortable taking it for a short amount of time. Also, I always rinse with water after taking the vinegar, because I have also heard it can wear away teeth enamel.

      • Nancy in Alberta says

        Old post, I know, but new issue for me. Do you happen to know if the juice from sauerkraut is as beneficial as raw cabbage juice in terms of the vitamin U content? I know it’s recommended in the GAPS diet, but how does it affect a low T3?

  4. says

    This is really great info! I’ve worked with Chris Kresser to heal my IBS and I now follow a modified paleo diet, drink probiotics (kombucha and the like) and take HCL with big meals that contain starches and protein. The HCL really helps but not always.

    And since I still haven’t completely healed my gut (it might never be prefect, who knows) I like the ideas you’ve presented here. I like cabbage, so perhaps I’ll start eating it a bit more. Though it sometimes gives me gas. Same with honey. Since I’m also trying to follow a FODMAP diet (to reduce my IBS symptoms), honey might not be the best idea for me. But I’ve never tried raw honey, so maybe a little will actually benefit me.

    And the over-hydrating I’ve totally noticed! One day I realized why I was getting a sudden intense heartburn & bloating an hour after breakfast and it was because I’d been drinking too much water and tea before and during breakfast.

    • Sue says

      Proper food combining is something to pay attention to also. We really should avoid eating protein with carbs. I eat veggies with either, but don’t eat them together. If you eat protein with carbs, then either the carbs stay back in your stomach with the protein for too long and start to ferment or the protein leaves the stomach too soon and isn’t digested enough.

      Proper hydration is about not just water but sea salt also. If you drink more water, you also need to eat more sea salt. 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt for every quart of water.

  5. Soymoon says

    Lots of interesting info.
    My health issues started with anemia, followed by low B12, edema, and massive weight loss. One of the integrative physicians I saw guessed I had malabsorption due to low stomach acid, (which led to leaky gut, which led to RA.) She put me on Betaine HCL w/ pepsin. I started with one pill per meal for 2 days, then 2 per meals for 2 days, and on and on. I got up to 15 HCL per meal before I ever felt any warming. That was last fall, I have dropped down to 10 pills per meal, where I still am today. Even after doing all this HCL, I still haven’t been able to regain any of the weight I lost.
    I am now following an anti-inflammation diet, hoping to heal my gut and reverse the RA. If anyone has any insight in this area I would appreciate the input.

    • says

      It sounds like you are making some progress, and I hope the stomach acid continues to improve for you. I think a grain-free diet is extremely helpful in reducing inflammation with RA.

    • Dolores Claesson says

      Many with RA have an underlying infections. I would check out the roadback foundation and get tested for bacterial and parasitical infections. I am at 813-235-9542 if you want to chat. Best, Dolores

    • Trish says

      Hi, sounds like the story of my life the last 10 years. Although one big difference. I gain wait and apparantly not able to loose anything, no matter how hard I try… Gonna have me tested for gluten intolerance tomorrow…

      • Danae says

        I totally agree – a big step forward for me was as well food combining as presented by Ann Wigmore and Natalia Rose in their books (especially Detox for Women) helped me to slowly adjust to detox lifestyle and recognise that candida was a major cause of all sorts of seemingly unrelated issues. This alone finally helped me to balance my body and my weight – I had to work out 3-4 times a week just to stay on a normal weight as my metabolism was just on halt with all the side issues thereof (fatigue, heavy, foggy mind, pms and the list went on with doctor’s commenting it is ‘just psychological’ or ‘it is not dangerous’). I really only got better when I took the descision to be totally responsible for my health and learning, observing and trying. Looking back (now 4 years) it is a total empowerment to heal just through food! I never was as healthy since my early teens. It is amazing when one learns to assist natures own healing and to learn how forgiving she is I never thought that this healing would be possible. At first I was afraid I might make mistakes (and I did a lot – but far less then medical advise did before! However, now I am able to learn from my mistakes rather – suffer from other peoples mistakes!). It helped me a lot go take some of Natalia Roses guided cleanses as I could stop stressing about the ‘healing crisis’ one will go through and recognise that this is really normal – and that once I am on this road I am more sensitive to transgressions not less. But I would for nothing trade the way I can live now without weight fluctuations, fatigue and surving on a litre of coffee a day just to stay awake. Thanks for this great info Lauren (this article makes perfect sense) and Trish check out food combining it is simple but very effective – especiall during detox and healing the gut and weight loss.

    • Dean says

      Hi, I was just randomly reading through forums and read yours. I had the exact same symptoms as you and it turned out I have Celiac. You may be suffering the same and if your eating gluten you will never heal your gut. Just trying to help

  6. Anna says

    Tanks for à very informative post!
    I have Severe bloating, as in i can’t see my feet….
    Do you think gastrazyme would help or would hydrazyme be better? I eat similarily to Denise minger i.e. Raw fruits, raw fish, bone broths, vegetables etc. Tried many different diets but allways been bloated….
    I Will try anything….

    • says

      Gastrazyme is for healing the stomach, and Hydrazyme contains HCL so it used for raising the stomach acid. In many cases, they can be used together. Are you working with a naturopath or practitioner? That may be very helpful.

      • Anna says

        Ok, thanks. Just ordered gastrazyme but thought that ways for inresande stomach acid so should have ordered hydrazyme…. Not seing anyone as i have nerver come across one i trust. There are not that many here in Sweden.
        Thanks for your advice

  7. says

    Hi
    This post is very informative. I have major stomach issues and have been trying to heal it naturally. I started taking acv daily and now am starting to see some improvement with my heartburn and bloating.
    I still take nexium in the morning because I am so afraid of feeling bad if I don’t. I had ulcers and now they are much better, but I still have some stomach polyps. Would you say I should stop the nexium? I hate taking this medicine because I feel like it is actually causing me much more problems than helping me out. But I had such horrible stomach issues and only after the medication I was able to eat better again and stop loosing weight.
    Cabbage juice is wonderful! I have tried that, used to take 1/2 cup fresh cabbage juice every day and my stomach felt immensely better after a couple of weeks on it. However I have hypothyroid and as you stated it is not the best to take so much of it. I still add cabbage to my green juices here and there though.
    Also, which one of the salts would you recommend the best? I want to order on amazon but I was torn on which one to try.
    I am extremely health oriented, am a nutritionist and love eating and cooking a variety of real food that is good for us in many ways.
    Love your blog!
    Thanks!
    Ana

    • says

      I can’t give anyone advice to stop or start medication. But I can tell you that, like all acid-suppressing drugs, there are a lot of far-reaching side effects from the low stomach acid induced by the pills. If you would like to stop the Nexium, it is important to heal the stomach lining first before taking HCL pills. As for the salt, I switch between the Celtic and Real Salt. Both are great. I think Real Salt is a bit cheaper, so that is what I usually buy.

  8. says

    I just wanted to mention, that anyone buying local raw honey should ask the bee keeper what they feed their bees. A lot of the bee keepers are feeding their bees the commercial bee food. It is made with GMO high fructose corn syrup. A good bee keeper will feed their bees REAL homemade sugar syrup, if the hive doesn’t have enough honey stored away for the cold weather.

    • says

      That is very interesting, Kimberly! I always get my honey from a local beekeeper and I know that the bees are out pollinating wildflowers and organic crops. I don’t know if they receive supplemental food but I will ask. Thanks for sharing that!

  9. maren says

    this is great info and something my husband badly needs. would you suggest just going one of these or several? I don’t want to overload his yummy and create more problems!

  10. Leanne de Groot says

    Thank you Lauren for an interesting article. I have low thyroid & am currently on medication. I have all the symptoms of Hashimotos disease. I am eating clean & have recently started eating orgain sauerkraut. Is this a strong source of vitamin U & if so is it the wrong thing for me to be eating given my thyroid condition? thank you Lauren, all advice is welcome.

  11. says

    It’s my understanding that the optimal honey is made from bees drinking flower nectar, not sugar syrup. Sugar syrup produces more sugar in the form of honey. When bees drink and process flower nectar it’s loaded with enzymes and nutrients. In fact there is a company which makes specific combinations of flowers and herbs for bees to make specific honey remedies. It’s called Zuf Globus, an Israeli company. The website is in Hebrew but you can use Google translate or Google one of the products and you should get a site with English.

    • says

      Ha ha, that’s okay! Thanks for the insight about the honey. I agree– bees should be eating what they naturally would eat… nectar, not sugar syrup.

  12. Pamela says

    Thank you so much for this great article! I’ve struggled with poor digestion and GI discomfort for most of my life and have realized, in the past few years, that it’s just NOT normal or okay. Nobody needs to feel sick for half of their life! So, I have started the healing journey and these are some great resources. My question is about food allergens: I believe I am lactose intolerant, but when I totally gave up dairy for a few months, I had the worse stretch of stomach discomfort/symptoms I’d had in a long time (more than a month). When I started eating dairy again (with the aid of “lactaid” pills), I felt better. Thoughts on this?? I want to heal naturally, but that was kind of a curve ball….

    • Lan says

      Hi Tessa, would you mind if I asked what ACV helped you cure? I’m not sure if I have low stomach acid or a peptic ulcer (my naturopath is sure it’s low acid, but since he based that conclusion on the baking soda test alone I honestly don’t feel 100% convinced. I do have symptoms of low stomach acid but it looks like I may have symptoms of (the beginning of – since I’m not in pain) peptic ulcers as well. :-/) therefore I’m not sure if ACV would be safe for me. Thanks!

    • Livli says

      Hei. How do you drink it? Mmy stomach doesn’t like. Get kind of painful and burn a bit my hals when I burp after drinking the aple cider.

  13. Zoe says

    My naturopath told me that I have low stomach acid and gave me supplements as well as much of the information you have listed here. But then I spoke with a family friend who used to be a naturopathic doctor but then got his degree in conventional medicine, and he told me that there is no scientific evidence backing up the low stomach acidity/reflux claims of the naturopathic community. Since he knows a lot about both sides of medicine, I feel very confused about what to believe! Do you have peer reviewed articles that you’ve referenced or something like that? Thanks!!

    • says

      I would recommend reading the book “Why Stomach Acid is Good For You.” This is a generalization, but doctors who study conventional medicine are taught/influenced by pharmaceutical companies that make a huge profit by telling people to lower their stomach acid further with acid suppressing drugs.

      • Mari says

        I could not agree more with Lauren’s comment >> but doctors who study conventional medicine are taught/influenced by pharmaceutical companies that make a huge profit by telling people to lower their stomach acid further with acid suppressing drugs.<< PPI's and other over the counter medicines are NOT the way to go for those who have GERD/Acidosis/Acid Reflux. These symptoms can be cured with the right supplements and changing ones diet, unless symptoms are more serious.

        • Nancy in Alberta says

          Just read at a GI tract forum (so sorry, can’t recall site) of a doc in the US who has done many, many stomach acid level testing in his patients, and 98% of the time, they are LOW, and he is very down on all the antacid meds being ordered for people. I was so impressed to read this, but, alas, cannot give you a proper reference! If I find it, I’ll get back to you…

  14. Agarzilla says

    Interesting read, I’d like to try that Vitamin U, maybe it will help me with my gastritis. The ACV works, I’ve tried it, but I can’t get past the nasty taste! I have moderately stressful job (bike cop in a bar district) so unfortunately for me, my gastritis flare ups happen more often than I’d ever expect. can’t wait to try the Gastrozyme for sure.

  15. Jenna says

    Hey Lauren

    Thanks for this great article. My husband and I started a paleo based diet four months ago and felt great. However after giving into temptation, he has had some biscuits/cakes at work for birthdays etc and he has felt terrible for the past week. His stomach bloats out, he has a lot of trapped wind/gas and has been sick/feels sick sometimes after eating. He has restricted his diet to homemade chicken broth, chicken, scrambled eggs and kefir along with lemon and ginger tea and sipping hot water. He did start to feel better but tonight he had fried potato, fried eggs and bacon for tea and looked awful; his stomach bloated and he had a lot of wind trapped. Do you think he has low stomach acid? I know you aren’t a doctor but I would really value your opinion as I am really worried about him. Thank you so much, Jenna

    • says

      I’m sorry, but I don’t think I can make accurate assumptions with only this information. Low stomach acid may be part of the issue, but there are probably other things going on here, like food allergies. Potatoes are inflammatory and hard to digest, so probably eliminate those for a while. I would suggest working with a practitioner who can gather more information and offer more suggestions.

      • Jenna says

        Thanks Lauren, I live on a small island without access to “natural healing practitioner”. Potatoes haven’t been a problem in the past we will cut them for the meantime anyway, thank you for the suggestion :o)

        • Jamie says

          Jenna. Check out the first few chapters of the Body Ecology Diet. Potatoes require a different type of digestion process that gets complicated when other foods are present at the same meal. Never pair meat with potatoes, to summarize.

    • Caren HH says

      Jenna,
      Eggs are also a big allergen. Although a diet high in healthy fat is good your husband might benefit from trying a larger veggie to meat/protein ratio and backing off on the eggs/chicken for a while. Try fish & veggies, & coconut oil as his fat source. These are the same symptoms I had when I was not properly digesting either protein or fat and eliminating eggs, eating many more veggies, sticking to coconut oil and adding HCI supplements has really helped.

  16. says

    Thank you for this informative article! I hear you on the over-hydration (specifically drinking a lot WITH a meal), but I have to put in one thought: seriously, how many people are over-hydrated? Think back over your day or week(especially if you’re a busy mom) and try to recall the last glass of water you drank. Most people “hydrate” with pasteurized milk, sodas (many of which are diuretics) or other things that don’t really contribute to the body’s clean water supply. Drinking a glass of water instead of snacking between meals is SO good for digestion.
    Tasting bitter stimulates gall production and is SO good for digestion as well.
    Gratitude is super powerful — taking the time to pause and feel the joy this food was created to give you!

    • Trish says

      Not sure if you received an answer since you posted, but this might be one thing to consider….
      Probiotics.
      I read an article about a small child with reflux and the child was given the powder form of probiotics and it was helpful to the child’s condition. Talk with a Doctor/M.D. and either a Functionsl Medical Specialist, Naturopathic Practitioner and/or an Wholistic Chiropractor. Best to you and your family.

  17. Jo says

    Great article, though one thing confused me about the CAUSE of low stomach acid. Earlier this week there was a fantastic article circulating FB about the importance of bacteria in the human body. The author had been interviewing several microbiologists studying them. One thing he mentioned was that the H Pylori bacteria RAISE stomach acid and cause stomach ulcers, and that the reason westerners sufferer from low stomach acid is that it has been almost completely wiped out by antibiotics given to control it. Whereas in traditional tribal populations, they have healthy stomach acid maintained by this bacteria. The article said that this bacteria can cause health problems in later life though and he even found one microbiologist who suggested it might be wise to innoculate (ie infect) children with H Pylori to ensure they have good stomach acid, and then kill it off with antibiotics when they hit 40! I wonder which information is correct? Could it be a different species that causes low stomach acid?

    • says

      Everybody has h. pylori, it is only a problem when it overgrows. Mass antibiotic usage can certainly underly low stomach acid, because the good bacteria that is supposed to keep pathogenic bacteria and h. pylori overgrowth under control is wiped out. I would love to read this article–do you know where I could find it?

  18. Lauren says

    When you say protein meal do you count nuts as protein? Say, if i had half a cup of almonds and an apple; would I need to take the HCL with this meal?

  19. moet says

    I’ve had ulcers since I was 7 & have been on & off different medications since then. I’m 32 now & for tje past 2-3 yrs I’ve been taking omeprazole 40mg daily (generic prilosec) I hate taking medicine &.am always looking for natural remedies so I’m happy i stumbled upon this blog. Which one/ones should I try first tobegin the healing process?

    • says

      It is often best to work with a natural practitioner when transitioning off the meds. I recommend starting with the Gastrazyme, taking 3 every evening and morning. Also take the raw honey. Gradually reduce the pills, taking 1 pill every other day for a week and just slowly reducing the dose from there.

      • moet says

        Great thanks for the advice. Should I also be taking a probiotic supplement along with gastrazyme? I’m going to be starting a 5 day juice cleanse to hopefully get rid of some toxins so maybe that will help too. I looked into a naturopath & I definitely would like to see one.soon but $250 a visit is just not in my budget at the moment. Thanks again

  20. ray says

    i have low stomach acid. and been using bitters to help it. bitters seem to be really helping increase acid production. ibut i have a question on when exactly to take probiotics/yogurt and dont even really know when to take bitters. but i like to have a little before and after meals. Apple cider vinegar really doesnt agree with me too. but i’m healing and i dont and doubt i ever will use meds to heal MY disease. substance free, my screw up, my lesson if you catch me. if anyone has any suggestions on bitters helping them or when to take probiotics or if enzyme suplements help them and of course which ones and types. i’d like to know thakkkksksksks.

  21. tammy says

    Would your suggestions above work for people with GERD or Esophagitis which was diagnosed as too much.acid in the stomach? What tests should I be asking the doctor to do to determine my acid levels?

    • avis says

      Acv is alkalizing “in” your body after u consume it
      but it helps with low stomach acid… same as lemons n limes…alkalizing meaning it won’t cause acidity in blood

  22. Valerie Boutwell says

    Thanks for this invaluable information. I have suffered with acid reflux and IBS almost everyday for the last 40 years. I was taking Prilosec daily and still getting reflux and swigging down Maalox or Gaviscon to cut the burn in my throat. After my sister was diagnosed with Celiac, I decided to try a gluten-free diet and within days my acid-reflux and IBS was gone. After 2 years on gluten-free, with acid reflux only 1 or 2 days a month, I started having it 1 or 2 days a week again. I now understand how bad the pharmaceuticals are for me, so trying to avoid them. I had acid reflux last night, and I put 1 tsp of bragg’s apple cider vinegar and 1 tsp of raw honey in about 1/4 cup of warm water and drank it, then rinsed my mouth with clear water. I am so happy to say, that it worked amazingly well, better than maalox, I will follow your other tips and hopefully solve a lifelong problem that has really impacted my sleep.

  23. danielle says

    I was surprised by your comments on water. I have researched and it seems that a large problem with stomach problems (low acid, not high) and other digestive issues may be that we as a society are dehydrated most of the time due to the beverages we do drink (sugary, diurectic caffeine) instead of water. Many have a custom of drinking iced drinks, mainly soda, with meals. It has been recommended by some that we should drink water 20 mins prior, or 2 hours after, not during a meal so as not to dilute the acid we do have. How many with low acid are either dehydrated (=smaller amount of acid) or drink during meals and dilute the acid they have? What are your thoughs on this information. Thanks

    • says

      Great question! People have different schools of thought on this point. I do think we are extremely dehydrated as a culture, but I think the key to restoring hydration encompasses many factors and not just gulping down water. For example, I think it requires balancing minerals with adequate mineral supplementation. And it is also important to avoid/reduce diuretics like processed foods, alcohol, and sugary beverages. I also think it is a good practice to drink a small amount of water, with a pinch of sea salt, 30 minutes before meals. This can help prime the mucous membranes of the stomach and aid in the production of digestive juices.

  24. Julie says

    Hi Lauren. I am so glad to have found this website! I have discovered I was not digesting my food properly and as I take Methotrexate for Rheumatoid Arthritis, this could be the cause. I was recommended by a friend who does colonic hydrotherapy, to take HCL. But it looked to me like I shouldn’t take this because of the Methotrexate! I am going to try the apple cider vinegar and the Gastrazyme. Do you think this is ok?

    • says

      I would recommend checking with your medical practitioner. I don’t know if there would be any drug interactions with the ACV, but the Gastrazyme would almost certainly be safe.

  25. Lauren says

    Hi Lauren,

    I was having a lot pain that the DR could not diagnose for a very long time. It was a low burning pain that I initially thought was gynaecological. After numerous tests, cat scan, colonoscopy, labrosectomy and ton of useless antibiotics it was discovered that I suffer from acid low down in my body. It doesn’t give me heart burn but if I eat chilly or very fatty, sugary or preservative food then I have pain in my pelvis area. This problem has lead me to my food journey, reading these types of blogs and changing my habits. This hlc supplement sounds interesting. Anyone who read this and is suffering from a similar condition, something else that has helped me is going to a physio that specialises in helping people with digestive issues. Its not commonly know that these specialist exist and doctors don’t know enough to recommend them. Thank you.

    • Trish says

      Hi,
      What type of doctor or practitioner is a physio? Meaning how do you search for the type of specialist? Under what title or medical or holistic label please? Thank you :)

  26. Sandra says

    I did the HCL loading protocol and got up to 10 a meal with still no burning.

    I knew I was low because I had done a zinc taste test with liquid zinc and tasted nothing.

    I backed off the HCL and started drinking the ACV before each meal plus taking a zinc supplement every day.

    I am not sure I can tell any difference to date.

  27. says

    These programs are supposed to deter crimes and yet they invade everybody’s privacy. Equally vivid is this 2007 chart from Privacy International, a group largely made up of about 10 people. This practice, if more widely adopted, keylogger could render police spotter guides less helpful. Okay Terence Yap Yeah. Last year, the Division of Mine Reclamation and Enforcement to purchase the full version should be keylogger irrelevant. They include efforts to access cameras used to monitor traffic.

  28. Alvin Leung says

    Hi, I luckily stumbled across this post while looking into the possibility I actually have low stomach acid. I have symptoms of constant belching (deep burping), pressure around my throat, and feeling of air trapped. When I used to the symptoms really bad, it made me a little nauseous and distracted me, it made breathing harder too.

    I have cut all the stomach irritating food out, caffeine, chocolate, alcohol, soda etc. I am only 22 years old and very healthy. Note, I used to drink alot of work during meals and after meals, and I ate very BIG MEALS because of my work schedule. I no longer do this at all.

    My symptoms started the day after my massive super bowl meal, with symptoms of constant belching, pressure, and constipation. The constipation lasted 3 days, and went away, but not the belching. I am still struggling with constant belching. I had an endoscopy, there was a little gastritis pointed out by my GI doctor. He gave me some sucralfate to help heal the inflammation. I have done every single test possible, everything is A OK, H pylori negative. I haven’t done checked my stomach acid levels yet though. My 2nd GI Doctor believes I have high acid levels and prescribed me PPIs and told me to take it and see how I feel in a month. I took it for 2 days and decided to stop.

    My symptoms sometimes seem worse at night with an empty stomach and in between meals. I dont belch while I eat, but I belch before I eat and right after I eat.

    Does my case point towards low stomach acid? Could this be causing my symptoms? Thank you for any help you can provide. I really want to get well.

    • says

      I would first go and get the stomach acid test done, “gastrin levels” is a fasting test. I paid for this myself since I was told that the test would not be paid for by my insurance. My mainstream MD wanted to give me the “purple pill” crap. The symptoms for Hi and Low stomach acid are very much alike. It was $79 at a local lab here in Pensacola, FL where you can order your own tests, without a Rx. The range was 15-125 and I tested 26. My MD when shown the info said,” Well, somebody has to be at the low end of the Bell curve!” So that was my start, to use a bitter herb, then HCL/pepsin and now I use digestive enzymes(my company) + the HCL/pepsin type product. I only use this with protein. If I eat my fruit or raw veggies as a snack, I don’t need anything except long chewing. CMN

      • Ellen says

        Love this article! Okay, so I’m on my second GI doc, I’ve done endoscopy, colonoscopy, and a small bowel series. The only thing I know after all that is that I have gastritis and acid reflux. When I told my doctor (last week) that I thought I had low stomach acid, he told me how uncommon that was. I shouldn’t be surprised as he is a mainstream MD…guess what…he then prescribed me Pepcid to reduce acid! So annoying, I have been taking them for a few days, but feel worse. Okay – just to be clear on the test that you took and were able to bring to your MD….it’s a Gastrin test? Okay, so I found one that I can buy online (http://www.personalabs.com/panels.aspx?PanelID=37955&PanelGroupID=35) –> is that what you are talking about? If so, how do I do it? Thanks!!

      • Lan says

        Really, there are tests for low stomach acid you can order yourself?? No offense but are those to be trusted? (Don’t get me wrong I’d be in HEAVEN if I could find one like that which I could order from here in Canada.)

    • Trish says

      Hi,

      I can’t believe someone else has my exact same symptoms. ” I have symptoms of constant belching (deep burping), pressure around my throat, and feeling of air trapped. When I used to {have} the symptoms really bad, it made me a little nauseous and distracted me, it made breathing harder too.”

      Did you feel like once some of the gas moved that the throat pressure relieved a bit? I am thinking of doing home enemas to get the gas moving out more frequently. Gas, I have read, is a sign of inflammation, but I still don’t know the source. A lot of my symptoms point to gallbladder disease, but the testing on the GB revealed nothing. So that leaves me with what is probably gastritis due to possible Celiac (the gene is finally showing active on blood tests, though I have been gluten free for almost a year). I want to work on cleansing the liver and being gentle to my stomach.

    • Nancy in Alberta says

      You might consider investigating esophageal spasms with your doctor or practitioner. The symptoms sound like it, but I’m no doctor.

  29. Kristie says

    What have you heard about using Licorice for healing ulcers and the stomach lining? Also, do you think there are any contraindications to using gastrazyme?

    • Lan says

      I’m not Lauren :) but in the book Why Stomach Acid Is Good For You by Dr. Jonathan Wright licorice is said to help a lot however there are concerns about its effect on blood pressure, so a specific form is recommended over the original stuff.

  30. Laura says

    Apple Cider Vinegar (has to say “with mother” on the bottle) has been amazing at getting rid of my acid reflux!!!! I was having a terrible time with symptoms and after my first glass of water and vinegar, it was almost gone!!!!

  31. louise says

    Hey Lauren….

    Im busy healing my gut at the moment from a candida diet and I know that Candida is gone but still need to heal the gut lining…I’ve been getting red blotches on my cheeks and my skin on my face looks rough in general, do you think this can be from having to little hydrochloric acid?

  32. Emily says

    Hey Lauren! I just started taking HCl as one of the many things in a long line that I have tried to help with my constipation. So far so good! I’m wondering, though, how long one needs to take HCl? You said in the post that it was a temporary supplement, but how do you know when you’ve taken it for long enough?
    Thanks!
    Emily

  33. Mary Kay says

    There are natural health professionals who recommend 1/2 one’s body weight in ounces of water per day to replenish what we excrete and give off in respiration and perspiration. Bottled water is slightly acidic and does not develop algae because of this. Tap water is legally 7 pH (or neutral) but is ‘dead water’ due to lack of minerals. Our bodies do not hydrate well unless the water has minerals such as those in the salt you mentioned or from something we use, sango coral calcium, a pristine ocean source with over 72+ trace ionic minerals with 5 electrolytes.
    Water infused with these minerals allow the body to hydrate on a cellular level instead of waiting for the water to essentially digest in the stomach. We are experiencing many improvements in digestion and other stomach problems due to proper hydration. “You’re Not Sick, You’re Thirsty” Dr. F. Batmanghelidj. Great and informative website, keep up the good work!

    • jasmine says

      Can you please share what water you use. I usually use filtered water from Pur. Since mid june is when my issue with my sinuses and eustachian tube started. Then a week later I started having trouble taking deep breaths. Called an ambulance went to the hospital where they did every test (normal). I suffer from Gerd and prior to all the problems I was eating a lot I mean a lot.(And things that were bad). My ent gave me meds for Gerd he says sometimes the acid (though rarely) travels up and affects the sinuses. But I dont want any pills. Yesterday I had my upper endoscopy done (finally after months of begging my G.I) and it showed erosive gastritis. Biopsy was done but will take 2-4 weeks for results. (Im wondering can this be the reason why I have trouble taking deep breaths which is a horrible feeling). But I have bought distilled water just to see how my body reacts to it. Theres so many information out there Ive read that I dont know which water is the best one to drink.

  34. jasmine says

    Thanks LAuren for the article. Never heard of vitamin U myself. I suffer from low thyroid so I guess cabbage wouldnt be good for me ? I might have to invest in those pills after reading 1st what ingredients are in them :)

  35. jasmine says

    Oh yeah please if you cant do a an article about water Im driving myself crazy with ingredients from things we use on our outer body (sls, parabens etc) And things that shouldnt go in the body grains (mainly wheat) and a bunch of other stuff. I think back when I was a kid up to my early 30’s how all this stuff I didnt know and had no worries. NOw I drive myself up the wall with all this health stuff seriously. Mind you I just started learning about dangers of this and that maybe its been a yr now or a little bit longer since time flies so fast. Sighs how I wish life were ideal. TOO many things to worry about outside of eating right, now I have to worry about what I put in my body because it really does play an overall role in health

  36. Crystal says

    How do I know if I have enough stomah acid or have chronically low stomach acid from the HCL warming sensation if felt on the minimum dosage. Couldn’t feeling I tight away mean I have enough stomah acid? I’ve been struggling with acne since 14 and it’s gotten better but then I got keratosis pilaris too.

  37. Kevin says

    Hey Lauren, I’m new to your site and first want to thank you for what you do. I caused myself digestive problems this past summer and possible low stomach acid due to drinking excess alkaline water. I have done some research and my digestion problems and possible low stomach acid seem to have almost completely gone away. I was just wondering if you knew of any negative side effects with these 4 simple changes I’ve made (I can’t find any online):

    1. I don’t drink water with meals anymore. I usually drink 30 minutes before meals and an hour or 2 hours after meals. I might drink 2-4 ounces of something with a meal at most. This has done me wonders with my digestion. Is this too extreme?

    2. I now chew my food extremely thoroughly. I’ve always chewed more thoroughly than the average person but now I really chew especially with proteins and meat. Actually I annoy some friends and family because they down their food and I take a while to eat lol. This sounds obvious, but I couldn’t overwork my digestive enzymes in my mouth and stomach by doing this, right? It makes me feel great after eating and again I can’t find any side effects online.

    3. When I wake up I always drink a cup of Yogi Tea or a glass of water mixed with a half a lemon, a lime, or 1 tablespoon ACV. I do always rinse my mouth out after this. All of these seem to flush me out great and I figure moderation is key so I switch up between all four.

    4. I probly use 2 tea spoons of Real Salt on food twice a day

    I greatly appreciate any knowlege or input.

    Thanks
    Kevin

    • says

      Congrats on making such great changes! I agree that it isn’t best to drink a ton with meals but I suggest drinking a cup of homemade broth with meals, when you can. It supports digestion and has beneficial minerals. You could start with just 4 oz of broth with each meal and see how that feels.

  38. Yogesh says

    Lauren,

    Please help me if you can in my below situation:
    I am 30 old years and i have acid problem since last 7 years. I am tired of all tries now:

    Last year i have endoscopy done and according to report i have “Moderately Severe esophagitis seen in the GE junction” and “Moderately severe erosive gastritis in antrum”.Before copule months i had frequent burp after lunch and dinner but now i have not. I also feel my stomach full in morning and after dinner eventhough i eat very litte.Sometimes i feel Also, Since last 4-5 months i have throat pain (like lump in throat).Because of that sometime i have difficltly in talk with others. Doctor asked me continue Omeperazol 40 mg every day in the mornig before breakfast but still it does not give me relief. I also had h.Pylory test and it was normal. I went to different gastronogist doctor to get the second opinion and he also says the same thing. But the reason, I feel that my food is not digested properly. I do not feel energy in regular activity. I feel very tierd. Since last 2 week, i started taking aloe vera gel 2 tbl spoon before 20 mins before lunch and dinner because i read somewhere that it heals internally. I take regular honey one table spoon before bed so that it can heal my esophagus and throat. Since today i have started taking “Cabbage juice” Hope it helps! Do you think that my situation is due to low acid in stomach and which cause indiegstion? Also, please advice me that what remedies/medicine should i take in my condition. Also, can you pelase tell me do i have to cont. to take cabbage juice daily? If yes then when and how many time? On empty stomach? I tried different different home remedies but nothing works to me. I also quit tea since last two week.

    Thanks,
    Yogesh

  39. Dyson says

    Hi,

    I have the same problem over secretion of HCL. How much day will take to cure if i start taking cabbage or honey. This is the ulcer when over secretion of HCL. Kindly advice.

  40. Halil says

    First off, thank you for the helpful info.
    ok you say “drinking large amounts of water before or during meals waters down stomach acid and therefore inhibits digestion”

    How can I get the Betaine HCl pills into my tummy without water, I do need to take a glass of water to make sure it’s gone down.

    • says

      8 oz of water with meals is great, but gulping a huge glass with meals isn’t. Homemade bone broth is one of the best liquids to accompany meals because it aids digestion.

  41. Jan W says

    You write: “Take one HCL supplement after a few bites of your breakfast. Continue to eat slowly. If you have warming sensation in your stomach, repeat the process at lunch and take 2 HCL pills. Again, if there is no warming sensation, take 3 pills with dinner.” Am I reading this incorrectly, or is there an error in these directions?

    • says

      Yes, I’m sorry, there is a typo. It should be “If you have NO warming sensation in your stomach, repeat the process at lunch and take 2 HCL pills.” I’ve updated the post!

  42. Timmy Jose says

    Thanks for your wonderful article, Lauren! After years of suffering from “silent” GERD, and getting prescribed PPIs that simply worsened the situation, I started taking some lemon juice before each meal. Now I don’t have any of the symptoms that used to plague me – bloating, lump in the throat, flatulence et al. I don’t say that it has all been cured completely, but it has improved tremendously! Thanks again for this lifesaver.

    Regards,

    Timmy.

  43. Coale says

    Great article. I’m belching all the time. When I take gastrozyme I notice that I purp more and often feels like a bit of stuff trying to come up.

    Is this a good sign that I should move through. Or are the pills too strong.

  44. says

    I’ve had reflux/GERD for all my life and just these last two years have been free. My health has improved vastly in the last two years as I’ve addressed improving my gut/digestion.

    I’ve noticed that as my stomach improved I was able to drink a lot more water than before without having reflux issues. At this point, I can drink as much water as I like, enjoy spicy foods and eat regularly without having to pop Pepsin HCL or swig ACV.

    Here’s a simple method I use to help people get off Nexium etc. and restore stomach health:

    1) Eat Paleo or SCD or GAP
    – eat fermented food daily and a red or green apple
    – drink water with lemon squeezed into it
    – Use himalayan sea salt
    2) Mastic Gum in the morning on an empty stomach.
    3) Licorice (DGL) before a meal
    4) Mastic Gum again later in the day on an empty stomach.
    5) Drink ACV diluted in water when heartburn and discomfort occur.

    Try this out for about 6-8 weeks. You can then probably drop the Gum & DGL/Licorice as long as you stick to the diet mentioned in #1.

    Apples can help reduce reflux symptoms in a lot of people. Mastic Gum can cure stomach ulcers and repair the stomach lining. DGL/Licorice help to improve stomach acid production.

    I used to go through my Braggs ACV very quickly because my reflux (even on a Paleo diet) was manageable but not really being cured.

    Mastic Gum & DGL did the job.

  45. katrina says

    Hi, I’m glad I found an article like this cause I’m so confused with what to do with my low stomach acid problems. I can’t swallow pills so HCL betaine wouldn’t be right for me.. Otherwise I would definitely take it! Would apple cider vinegar help the same? I’ve tried Manuka honey and now I’m trying Himalayan salt and a product called lepicol with HCl betaine, husk, protease and probiotics in but I’m not sure if it will help with my stomach acid at all. What other ways are there to increase stomach acid?

  46. Alicia Carmona says

    About three months ago I was h pylori positive, went on antibiotics got rid of it. had endoscopy biopsy results were mild chronic gastritis. Now I am suffering from acid reflux have been on prescriptions, protonix and reglan – no help. Been on a strict diet of veggies and grilled chicken and fish, lost a lot of weight, I am presently taking aloe vera juice, probiotics, digestive enzymes and yesterday I started with HCL with pepsin, hopefully it helps me. Also I just came from a chiropractor, she made adjustments – don’t know hopefully I get better soon. My problem is right after I eat I get the bitterness in my mouth and while sleeping, wakes up with a bitter taste in my mouth also. Anyone with something similar?? Thank you

  47. Rams says

    Lauren,

    It’s great article. I have a stomach bloating, burping and feels some kind of pulling. I went to a Dr and did all test haven’t seen any problem. Dr. said I might have a more acid production and prescribed with pantoprazole. I am not sure it might be related to low acid in stomach. Is there anything you can suggest for me on this scenario?

    Thanks,
    Rams

  48. Veronica says

    Thank you for the post. I have gastritis, inflammation of the stomach lining due to low acid. About 6 years ago when I was initially diagnosed, I changed my diet completely to whole foods, good proteins, nuts, fruits, vegetables, good fats (i.e., butter and avocado), lost 125-lbs, gained incredible clarity, energy and stamina. My doctor advised me to eat an orange or a pineapple; something acidic, when I was having a gastric attack. I was amazed how eating acid helped me. I now use two doTerra essential oils (one for pain and the other for the inflammation) and it helps me more rapidly than the acidic fruit, but sometimes I need to add the fruit depending on the severity/length of the pain.

    I’ve since gained 50-lbs back after tasting sugar again, losing a job, losing a mother and moving. I am eating healthier and now have a job exchange at a yoga place here in town and considering hiring a trainer again.

    Anyway, just sharing my experience with this.

    Veronica

    • lauren says

      Hi Veronica,

      What oils do you use? I have not had an orange in a long time. I felt the acid would be too much. If it helps…..that would be great! I use YL oils, but things in my body seem to be off balance, so some of them do not work well with me.
      Just curious!
      Thanks,
      Lauren

    • Veronica says

      Hi Veronica, my name is Veronica too! I was diagnosed with gastritis in July 2014 as well, I’m getting much better now, through natural remedies and trial and error. What a journey its been, I learned alot about myslf and and the strength I posses along the way, I’m humbled, will never again take my health for granted. My husband was a great help and support for me as well. . How ironic, I also lost my Mom, brother, and dog, went though a very stressful period win the last 3 years. I really Do believe that stress also played an important role in my diagnosis, that’s when gastrits reared it’s ugly head. I’m glad that you are doing well. We are stronger than we give ourselves credit for. A lot of prayer has gotten me thought the rough patches. My only concern now is getting up enough courage to try the ACV for heartburn as I don’t want it to become a bigger issue, I actually only get it from anxiety which isa major symptom of these digestive disorders or any illness for that matter, we produce more acid during stress, usually exercise, meditatin and just staying busy helps me tremendously. Wishing you peace, continued good health and blessings. Thanks for listening.

  49. Lisa says

    Yes! This is excellent, and thank you for your citations, as well. I have healed a lot of my ailments by dealing with stomach acid. Unfortunately this has made me heavily dependent upon digestive enzyme, HCl, and proteolytic enzymes. While they work wonders for my health, I would like to wean off them but really can’t figure out how to. It seems I am unable to digest anything without them. Perhaps my gut is damaged beyond repair. However, I am so grateful and I feel I owe my life to my enzyme supplements and a good diet.

    • Renee says

      Hey Lisa, this probably won’t help your comment but I’m in the same boat! All my acid reflux/IBS symptoms have been reduced greatly but I am taking so many digestive enzymes and probiotics supplements everyday, I too am wondering if I can ever come off them…

      Does anyone have any thoughts? Thanks!

      Renee

  50. says

    Have you ever used Bitters? I tried HCL with Pepsin for a long time, but it didn’t help me. Recently I started taking Urban Moonshine Bitters and wonder if you or anybody you know used them successfully.

  51. Suzanne says

    Hi Lauren,

    I realize you’re busy, so super quick question. I’ve started having gas since I’ve begun taking the enzyme supplements. I can’t find any info. on this, is this something that will go away as healing continues.

    Thanks so much for your blog. I’ve learned so much for you and you’ve helped me a lot so far!

    Suzanne

  52. Bill G says

    Thanks for the post. I am struggling on how to deal with a long term cough – a conventional doctor finally alerted me to the fact that it is related to acid and I realize that the sensation is with the esophageal sphincter. I feel heat in the sphincter and I try to clear it with coughing. The doctor prescribed me antacids – I already had seen an acupuncturist – she did cups and needles and gave me some herbs. That helped at the time, but it is expensive. I went to the doctor after I had recovered some – tried the antacids – but it seemed to increase the discomfort so I stopped. However, I think drinking some coffee two days in a row brought the problem back. I want to heal this naturally – may go back to the acupuncturist and may even try the antacid routine – but I think I have low stomach acid and that process would not be a good one. I tend to eat a lot of brown rice – good quality rice – but I am thinking that I need to reduce carbs generally and just eat meat broths right now. I was trying various things yesterday and I just increased the amount of heat that I feel in the sphincter. I do have a large amount of chicken broth on the stove – did make it with leeks, carrot and celery – wonder about eating something with a leak in it – anyway will eat only that tomorrow cooked with parsley. Before the meal will use a t of apple cider. I may make boil an Asian pear with cabbage and drink the broth from that. I am trying to remain patient and calm, and I have my meditation and like techniques – but it is easy to freak out. Do you have any thoughts regarding? – Bill

  53. Maggie says

    What I don’t understand is why articles helping you LOWER your stomach acid use the same things to cure the problem as this one for RAISING it: cabbage, apple cider vinegar, honey and the like. Can you explain?

    • says

      I haven’t come across those articles but they are recommending these solutions that work to improve heartburn, even though they don’t understand that heartburn is caused by a lack of stomach acid. This is a common misconception, but none the less inaccurate.

  54. Charla Shamhart says

    Lugol’s iodine liquid or Iodoral, the pill form, is another remedy for low stomach acid that often goes to the ROOT of the problem. Learn about iodine-iodide BEFORE you just start taking it, as you need selenium and certain B vitamins to utilize it properly, as well as natural, real unrefined SALT taken in water to detox bromine-bromide in the body, as this toxin which is so prevalent in our society PREVENTS iodine absorption. There are several Facebook groups that have information about how to use this.

  55. Victoria M says

    Thank you for these tips! I’m 19 and as long as I can remember I’ve had low stomach acid and have suffered from it. I definitely agree about the hydration, whenever I drink water with a meal (ANY meal), my stomach starts hurting. I will be using these tips. Thank you once again! God bless :)

  56. Jamie says

    Thank you! Exactly what I was looking for! I was treating yeast like mad, when low stomach acid provided the environment for yeast to thrive. I add fresh lemon to the apple cider drink, as I am too Acidic ph wise. Vitamin U en route. Hopefully this will be the key for 6 years yeast.

  57. Julie says

    hello

    after reading your suggestions I have been taking gastrazyme for 3 months now , has made a huge comforting change to my stomach . I would like to know how long I take it for ? Is it a supplement I will always take ?

    Julie

  58. Tara says

    I’m trying to get off Nexium as well, I get severe heartburn and pain and the only thing that takes care of it is the purple pill. I really want to try the Gastrazyme but my mother has a problem with her thyroid; does the pill have a lower chance of affecting the thyroid than the straight cabbage juice? I’m feeling rather desperate at this point!

  59. says

    Thanks for sharing. Ive been battling candida and having trouble since I was tested as a youngster and have low levels of HCL. Raw apple cider vinegar helps allot. I will try to find some of the Manuka Honey. And eat more cabbage. A word of caution for people with the candida problem and low stomach acid. I read that drinking a glass of sodium Bicarbonate aka baking soda helps to kill the candida overgrowth. This is highly not recommended for low acid levels as it is an antacid and will cause Diahhrea and flush the whole system out

  60. Egle says

    I have many problems with my gut. I have bloating and cramps. At times I have diarrhea. I have also had lots of problems with allergies since a long time ago. I cannot tolerate milk at all and neither too much of protein or fat. Grain usually make me feel unwell. I have serious problems with my digestion but my doctor keeps telling me that I am alright because my blood-work is normal and they do not see anything wrong using endoscopy.
    Anyway I can suspect that the main cause of my problems is low stomach acid though I do not feel anything wrong with my stomach directly. But how can I be sure that I have low stomach acid? I have been questioning this for a long time but my doctors tells me that they do not measure the acidity of the stomach these days. She tells that this is an old-fashioned method that had been used a long time ago. Is there anyhow to make sure I really have low stomach acid?

  61. Jill says

    Hello there, I’m 21. and having a series of severe gut and skin symptoms since 2011. An illness that affects me in every aspect and discourages me from having a half-way decent life.

    After a long odyssey I came across the GAPS intro diet which I began 4 months ago. Not a huge success story so far although some severe symptoms weakened or died away. I still react to almost any food.

    But I came to realize, especially after reading Dr. Natasha’s GAPS book and your article that beside my gut there is something wrong with my stomach too.
    Like this:
    I ate salmon last week and I noticed that it remained in my stomach for at least 20 hours. No movement whatsoever. I couldn’t sleep and became kinda dizzy. It seems that the salmon began to putrefy in my stomach…
    So I tried Sauerkraut that I fermented for 6 weeks to stimlate stomach acid as GAPS intro recommends. Unfortunately I reacted to this as well. I became demoralized. Even more so when I realized that Betain HCL with pepsin without any allergens is next to impossible to get in Germany. But I finally found one on ebay^^.
    Thanks to your article I will also try out Gastrazyme. Not sure if I will react to this though because it’s somehow derived from cabbage (right?). What do you think ?

  62. Sarah Edwards says

    In your article you indicate the cabbage is high oxalate. This is not accurate. According to the most recent food testing data from the international scibridge VZW foundation (which has been researching and testing the affects of oxalate in autism and chronic illness) white/green cabbage is actually very low.

  63. Joyce says

    Hi Lauren,
    I just have a few questions for you. I am vegetarian. Sometimes I do eat meat but only fish. I try to get my proteins also from a vegetable protein drink that contains 25 g of vegetable protein. I was wondering should I take the HCL with my vegetable protein drink? To my understanding I would not take the HCl if I’m just eating a meal that contains no protein? Also does the HCl and Apple cider vinegar offer the same benefits for low acid? Would I be better off taking the HCl supplements or apple cider vinegar to digest proteins?

    Thanks Lauren

    • Jay says

      I have the exact same question, also another concern with Apple Cider Vinegar is erosion of tooth enamel, I had considered Apple Cider Vinegar tablets, but am not sure how effective those are or which brand is best.

  64. Alyssa says

    This may have already been asked, but is low stomach acid a factor in gastritis? Also, do you recommend/have you tried DGL to heal the stomach lining?
    Thanks!

  65. jen says

    Good Morning!
    Great article! I had my first classroom workshop this weekend and went over this information! I mentioned that your site inspired me to start this journey of NTP and Caroline said “Oh Empowered Sustenance? That’s Lauren!”. Thank you for all the work you put into this site, being up beat and inspirational! You are a blessing to so many!

  66. Sohpie says

    Hi Lauren, thank you for this informative post. I am 22 years old and have never had digestive issues until recently. I have always eaten a clean diet and live a healthy active lifestyle. However, one day, while drinking a smoothie, I had intense pain in my gut, which was heartburn, and ended up vomiting everything I ate. Every since, I have had constant heartburn regardless what I ate. I have tried including more fermented cabbage like kimchi into my diet. However, my symptoms would not disappear and I was taken to the doctor which resulted in me coming home with Proselic, probiotics, and antibiotics (I also had an infection on my arm which also came out of nowhere). After a week, my symptoms got worse and they started happening pretty much every day after almost every meal. After having read your article, I tried apple cider vinegar (raw) and it helped the first time, but not much after that. I have even taken it up to four times after a heartburn (every 5-10 min as you suggested) and nada. I am DESPERATE for help… literally. I cannot afford much at the moment and I am fearful of my health because I know that your digestive system is the most important part of your body. It fuels everything and when it is weak, you are prone to cancer and many more diseases and illnesses (like the infection I got out of nowhere for no reason on my arm). My bowel movements have been irregular (but everyday, just irregularly difficult) and my energy levels are low. I do not know what to do… Ginger tea does not even help me anymore. There aren’t any naturopathic doctors near me that I can afford or drive to on my own. Please let me know if you could help… Thank you…

    • Danae says

      Dear Sophie, Just read through this amazing article and have been inspired to continue this route. Reading your request for help I just thought to pass on some ideas which helped me – especially when being on a budget. I am sure Lauren will come up with some ideas too:
      1. Try Aloe – depending in what climate you live this might be good to restore the mucus membrane and has antibacterial properties. It is very calming – even though not very tasty so best to blend it into some other drink.
      2. Go with soups – lowly carrot is best to cleanse the colon and very calming – in Europe of the 1900 it was successfully used to heal gut issues. You can prepare it fresh as juice mixed with ginger/avocado pumpkin spices or as hot soup – both will work. Check the web there are fanatstic recipes.
      3. Beets – baked, juice with carrot and spinache – any form is extremely healing for the colon.
      4. Anything to support your liver – liver is as well our bacterial filter and governs the skin – so from doing liver detox yoga to beet juice, spinache juice to any herbal combination to support the liver (Schizandra, Turmeric are my favorits and fresh turmeric is very low cost and effective – check Yogi Bhajan’s recipes – you have to combine it with either black pepper or ginger to make it more bioavailabe or use a brand which combines it).
      5. I am at the moment using a lot of Ayurvedic knowledge – and there are some liver and detox formulars form Maharishi which I like – they work slowly (you have to at least give it 3 months but – quiet well).
      6. An Ayurvedi receipe which I have been working with to bring up fire/stomach acid is: lemon juice of 1/2 a lemon , mixed with rock salt/himalayan or similar, fresh ginger juice about 4 tsp. and a 1/2 tsp. of honey. 20 mins before a meal. I have been doing this for 1/2 a months which feel good but not a major breakthrough. After reading this article (explaining the importance of salt etc.) I decided to bring up the salt and ginger – and now it had a slightly warming effect on the stomach – which felt way better. So experiment with the amounts until you get a comfortable feeling.
      7. Check out bacterial balance – and support it with oil pulling, or a candida approach – food combining – and something like candex in combination with a probiotic (or if low cost: Ann Wigmore’s Rejuvelac is effective and can taste good if combined with lemon and fresh ginger juice and a drop of stevia as well – it will support the flora – but only in context with the above. If too much sugars are in the diet this still could feed the bacteria which is off and so read read and check where you are intuitively attracted (I enjoyed: Norman Walker, Natalia Rose and Ann Wigmore – Karen Calarbrese’s video on youtube). Ann Wigmore is the Wheatgrass pioneer and that might be something too – as it is a blood cleanser and brings oxygen to the blood (as fresh beets do by the way) that itself is extremely powerful to restore bacterial balance – as bacteria which are not supposed to be in the blood can not survive with oxygen. Wheatgrass is a perfect cleanser from colong to blood. And observe how you feel the next day make some mental notes which could be the healing or upsetting factor. I am sure you will make it.
      8. And topically check if you can make turmeric, neem applications or try coconut oil (cooling and antibacterial).
      I am amazed of the sheer knowledge which everyone has gathered – far better then an medical office for me.
      9. What smoothie did you drink which caused the upset – make sure to remember and check what it might have been… this in itself might be an indicator.
      Hope this helps & blessings to you all which come to their healing journey.

  67. Steven says

    Great article! I have one question hopefully you could help me with…..

    Can i supplement HCL with a vegan meal instead of with meat? Something like rice and beans? Or could you recommend vegan foods that would be ok to take HCL with? Everywhere i look on the net it says take the capsules with meat!

    Thank you
    Steven

  68. Rachel says

    I had been struggling with acid reflux so severe that it was causing ear pain, sinus burning, throat damage, horrendous belching, and a 30 pound weight loss. I ended up in the hospital with severe abdominal pain and acid reflux and underwent an upper endoscopy. The culprit to my sudden onset of acid reflux was a hiatal hernia. Unfortunately they say they don’t do many surgeries for this anymore as it is tends to only be helpful for a few years if even that. I am so desperate for relief that I am taking Zantac and Carafate daily just so I can get something down, although that isn’t even helping keep the acid down. My question is if you have a hernia, whether it is low acid or high acid you are dealing with, it is going to come back up. Your valve isn’t closed so acid is going to come up through the esophagus. Anyone with a hiatal hernia been able to get their life back? I am a desperate, busy mom who is barely getting by. Thank you so much!

  69. Jess says

    Can you tell me if we should be taking HCL if we have H. Pylori? I heard that H.Pylori using HCL to buffer itself and steals it from us. Should I wait until the HP is eradicated before starting HCL supps?
    thank you

  70. Nancy says

    I’ve had heartburn problems on and off for a number if years. A few years ago a dr put me in aloe. Dgl. Probiotics. Cabbage. This year heartburn got worse and Pepcid wasn’t helping. Just had endoscopy. I have Barrett’s esophagus. Gastro dr wants me on Prilosec for life. The Prilosec has cleared up my heartburn. And also my post nasal drip

    Don’t know what to do now. Will the things I was taking before aggravate my problem. Example. I took acv the other day and it really burned

  71. Rachel says

    Hi Nancy!

    Sorry to hear about your diagnosis. I am finding with all the research I am doing that it just doesn’t seem to matter if you take ppi’s or try to treat naturally as either one can cause you to get worse. I am just as confused as you are as to why taking a medication would make it worse and why trying to help with natural remedies does not. I would stay clear of anything for a while and just let the Prilosec do it’s job and settle things down. You did the best you could in trying to treat it naturally before turning to the medication and with a diagnosis like yours I would just follow the doctors orders for now. Good luck to you and all of us struggling with this horrible acid issue.

  72. Danae says

    Is there a reason why you recommend Gastrazyme 5 x before bed and upon rising. Some say before food which is what I assumed – but I trust your experience…. could you explain why you took this route. Thanks so much.

  73. john says

    My doc said that stress is one of the leading causes of ulcers. If you dont have low acid and reflux from the h pylori infection its is most likely your stress and diet. I changed my diet and cut back and stress. I noticed relief within 1-3 days from cutting bad foods and changing stress. and it seems to be getting okayish. But i still have low acid. So i am going to try these options to slowly heal my stomach.

    Change your stress. Just take things slowly.

    Change your diet. avoid all acidic food. google what to eat. avoid chocolate.and strawberries.

    If you are taking famotidine or Prilosec. you should look up acid rebound. there are a lot of storys about people taking them for years.

    good luck all happy and healthy living to you. hope this helps

  74. john says

    does ACV heal low stomach acid?

    can you take ACV and Betaine HCL at the same time?

    Doesn’t AVC neutralize acid and Betaine adds acid??

    Thanks for anyone who can answer this. I am thinking of taking both daily but not sure how?

  75. Jeannie says

    How long does your nutritional therapist recommend taking the Gastrazyme for healing? I was given some by a chiropractor last year and she told me to just take it until my poop turned green and that would mean I was healed. ??? It was green after one day! And that was just with 6 pills per day, 2 an hour before each meal. So I’m curious what another professional says about that as I ended up leaving this particular person as she was just too far out there for me. When you say short term….what do you consider short term? Thanks – great post!!

  76. Maria says

    I wouldn’t be carefull take anything acid, like apple cider vinegar , HCL, lemon if you have irritated the oesophagus, stomach or erosion! The first you have to heal and restore the lining.
    I would like to see more advices for restore lining of stomach and oesophagus before starting taking more stronger and acid things.

  77. Paul says

    Hello. I am very interested in your comments, as I am a heartburn sufferer. Please could you tell me your reference for your comment above “Proper stomach acid levels signal the LES to close tightly.” And please explain further? What do you mean by “proper”? Are there studies showing the LES closing tightly with proper acid levels?

  78. Samantha says

    I read that you feel apple cider vinegar is acidifying. An alternative vie is:

    “We know that Apple Cider Vinegar is initially very acidic, but the real question is what does it do to the body after digestion. My reading indicates that the mineral burn tests show that Apple Cider Vinegar leaves behind an alkaline ash, due to its calcium and potassium content. This is true only for Apple Cider Vinegar. Other vinegars shift the body into being more acidic”

  79. connie curtis says

    Great information. I am dealing with low stomach acid . I am looking at other ways beside the HCL and pepsin. The only source is porcine source in most of these products even my doctors. Do you know if they have one made from horse or something besides pig? I am going to check on the vitamin U. Its sounds good and I am already using ACV & lemon to aid my stomach acid since I cant take a HCL. I am allergic to pork. I will look more that some other things too.

  80. Jacqueline says

    Dr Eric Berg has a video in which he explains in a very easy to understand the nature of
    acid VS alkaline and which symptoms apply to each. His video is called
    Understanding acid, alkaline and the many myths on pH. In this 20 minute youtube video you can ‘start’ to learn a lot about your symptoms. He gives some ideas as to what to do about the acid condition….. such as drinking mineral water before meals. Here is the link in case you can’t find it …. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dqFGhA0hz3o
    Good luck to everyone in search of ‘the truth’ ….. your intuition will tell you when you find
    it.

  81. Tendai says

    about 3 yrs ago I had a heartburn problem and went to see my GP who prescribed Omerprazole. I took it for just over a year when I realized my heartburn stopped but there was a problem digesting food – i noticed that I was unable to move my bowels. I spoke to my doctor about this but was told that I have to learn to live with this problem and try to change lifestyle (what food to eat etc). I have a feeling I was not well advised on how long to use Omerprazole which i think interfered with my digestive system. Are there any remedies, that you know, to help me alleviate this problem?

    Thank you.

  82. susan angrisani says

    I was diagnosed with GERD in 2006 and was on PPIs ever since. I don’t suffer from the typical symptoms. Rarely ever have heartburn or any pain. But I get a feeling of flem in my throat shortly after eating, within 5 to 10 minutes and sometimes a cough. These symptoms go away within a 1/2 hr. I took myself off the PPIs when I recently had a baseline bonescan for osteoporosis and it came back positive! I have always eaten very healthy, exercise regularly including doing lots of weights at the gym. So when this test showed Osteoporosis I decided it was time to get off those horrible PPIs. My doctor of course, doesn’t believe their is a connection, but with all the research I have done, their is no doubt that they have contributed to the problem. My low stomach acid will continue to prevent me from absorbing the calcium and other supplements I take.
    I have been off since May, and have been researching a lot. I have been using the ACV before meals, it seems to help somewhat but not always. In my case, because I don’t suffer so much, it’s easier to continue eating some things that aren’t good for me. I can live with the symptoms I have, but I know they can still be damaging to my system. I believe I have more of a “silent gerd” Should it be treated the same way? Getting my symptoms 5 to 10 minutes after beginning a meal seems too fast to be acid reflux? Could it be food allergies? I just started taking HCL, up to 3 and no effect yet.

  83. susan says

    I posted on Sept 16th. I have been taking the HCL for 4 days. Increasing the dose. Up to 8 pills and did feel slight burning, but I also feel my acid reflux symptoms are worse than ever. 5 minutes after I begin to eat, I start feeling the mucus in my throat and coughing. I don’t know if I should continue taking the HCL, it seems to have caused my symptoms to be worse. I always feel the mucus right away, but haven’t had that cough since before I went on the PPIs (8 years ago!) Why would I feel worse?? I also started Extrazyme 10 to 20 min. before I eat.

  84. Christine says

    I started taking hcl and eating a higher protein diet as well as taking manuka honey and acv when i have symptoms of heartburn. How will I know when my stomach is healed? How long does it usually take?

  85. Erin says

    Low stomach acid and constant tiredness. How long do I take ACV?

    When I eat beets, I urinate red, which I understand is a symptom of low stomach acid. Further research leads me to think that there may be hypothyroidism, but I may just be getting paranoid (I am often tired, am cold if temps are under 75 degrees F, sometimes cold at 80 degrees, but that’s in the evening when I am tired). I have read to drink apple cider vinegar (ACV) before meals, which I did for about a week. But really, its terrible (I drink it as a shot so I don’t have to suffer an entire glass in diluted form) and I don’t want to have to keep this up indefinitely. Any ideas on how long I should keep up the regiment or how/when I will know that acid levels can be maintained without my intervention?

    Further, does anyone know if it is safe/how to tamper materials beneficial to thyroid without first ‘knowing’ that my thyroid is compromised? (I intend to look up diets/foods that benefit thyroid after logging off here :) )

    Thank you so much for any insight!

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