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Vibrant health means you can live life to the fullest. Empower yourself with the steps I used to free my life of chronic disease and medications.

Reader Interactions

60 Comments

  1. My naturopath has me on an HCL test right now to determine if low stomach acid is causing my digestive issues. I actually take my first pill today, so I don’t know how mu stomach will like it. I didn’t know a lot of this before! Thanks for the info.

  2. Is it possible to have to much stomach acid though? I have had SEVERE acid reflux and stomach pain for the past couple years and it’s getting worse. I haven’t had the proton inhibitors yet because I am either nursing or pregnant all the time lol….I actually tried the GAPS diet and because of the kraut and broths I would want to kill over from the acid. I had to stop because it was actually getting worse from eating those. I had h pylori twice and my gallbladder removed. So I am wondering if I actually do have to much acid. I am pregnant (haha told you) and am almost gonna give in to Zantac because I just want to be able to eat and drink w/ out suffering and the stomach pain is unbearable! Just wanted your opinion 🙂 thanks

  3. My eldest son suggested a website I had already read after many years of acid reflux and taking Prilosec AD. The article said to eat apples so I started by eating half an apple each morn then more during the day. that was two years ago and I have not had anymore acid reflux problems. I even eat a couple slices just before bedtime. Great relief!

  4. To Julie B: Sounds like the problem lies in needing to heal your stomach lining First.
    Its still a case of weak stomach acid, but with so much inflammation in there, you need to put out the fires first with things like fresh raw cabbage juice (heals ulcers) and unsweetened aloe vera pulp. There’s a great product called Repairvite also if you have a holistic doc to order it for you. Then after you’ve healed the lining, you have A fair chance at increasing your hcl with fermented foods to stimulate production and bitters. I’d be Cautious going right to betaine Hcl too fast and would start it very minimally and ONLY taken with a meal containing animal protein. Maybe some of this an help. I feel your pain!

    • That is excellent advice! Thank you for sharing this information with all of us. I am currently trying to heal my stomach lining so I can tolerate HCL betine supplements, too. I’m using L Glutamine 3 times a day, since I’m limited by the GAPS diet to what other things I can take for this issue. DGL licorice is also supposed to help (but I can’t take that).

      Also, Raia’s advice below about taking apple cider vinegar is great. I’ve found that very effective for immediate heartburn relief. Try a teaspoon or so in water.

    • Thanks for this article, Lauren, and for the comment, Gypsy.

      I had one of those tests done where they put the scope down into your stomach and upper intestinal tract. They found gastritis (inflammation of the stomach lining) that was in the process of HEALING!! Yep… I started drinking raw milk kefir every morning and by then I was 6 weeks into it.

      I got off Prilosec and started eating healthier. I am now even eating fermented veggies a few times a week. (I tried eating them daily but it is just too hard). I also am trying to drink more homemade bone broth as well 🙂

      I wish my father could see this article, as he is on Prilosec as a result of LES issues. He was diagnosed as having GERD. I worry about his health!

        • I have been having problems with gastritis for years, but since 2013 its GERD too. Had endoscopy then and LES is malfunctioning. 2014,2015 were good. And at the beginning of this year it started again, viciously and it wont stop. I’m trying a lot of different things. At the moment calcium-citrate and glutamine. Have had about three round of PPI, no help.
          But in 2013, as well as this year the sudden on rise of symptoms were triggered by homemade kefir. I have no idea WHY. Just wanted to share that with you. I suspect it could be coincidence. This year I tried a LOT of different things, but I’m just now stumbling onto this that it is the LOW acid and to strong. And was in shock, but it does make sense. I do have irritable bowls, from forever.

          • I started consuming kefir for 2 months before I developed problems. The symptoms started slow with stomach pain, then becoming acute within 3 weeks from the onset of the original pain. I asked many doctors and wasn’t finding an answer. The symptoms were consistent with gall stones or pancreatitis. An ultrasound and upper endoscopy revealed the only problem was an irritation to the lining of my stomach and an increased production of stomach acid.
            I now believe the stomach pain stemmed from a combination of two things, 1) Benadryl, that I had used for an extended period of time and 2) consuming kefir. I have had two people in the medical field tell me a potential side effect of kefir is that it relaxes the muscle closing the stomach off from the esophagus. As that muscle relaxes it allows stomach acid to travel up the esophagus more easily. I am finally healing, slowly, now that I have removed those two items from my diet. Just pulling one out or the other didn’t not have the same effect as eliminating both sources to the problem.
            I have now suffered for 4 months as I have tried to decipher the root of the acid reflux.
            I hope my experience helps others identify a stomach problem that may be caused by kefir. It was particularly hard to identify because the symptom development was gradual.
            I believe after I am well I could tolerate an occasional kefir consumption. Best of luck!

            • Hey Michelle, I started a kefir regimen a few months ago and im noticing that I have LPR symptoms, mostly a non-painful but hoarseness -causing feel of acid bubbling up in my throst and mouth. How long after quitting kefir did you get improvement?

  5. I had heartburn and GERD 40 years, did the antacids,prilosec etc. Didn’t go away.GAPS diet…it’s gone, also my arthritis. DID YOU KNOW a study was done with Prilosec where there were 2 groups of people.One had never had heartburn, the other did. Both groups were put on Prilosec. And the end of the study, those who had never had heartburn …had to keep taking the Prilosec, or else they had it…. That is pretty sick.

    • that is sick, but its ok to kill people or make them sick in America because the doctor bullcrap of do no harm is a joke. Doctors and Lawyers are the two most dishonest professions in America. New doctors are emerging, those that are sick of making people sick. The internet helps too. Keep up the info, and publice “doctors are greedy and dishonest”. My last doctor was seriously killing me, new doctors are saving me.

  6. This is a very interesting article and one that I’m going to share with my husband. He suffers greatly from this and takes a pill every day. Can’t wait to help him start healing and get off the medication! Thank you for sharing this, Lauren!

  7. Help! I’ve been on prilosec for a year.3 mo ago it stopped working to the point where my esophagus constricts and food gets stuck going down..I’ve had to be on a mushy liquid diet consisting of fruit smoothies, soft eggs, and liquid soups and yogurt for 3. Mo. And. I’m. 96 lbs. ..reg food gets stuck. I also can’t even lean back for over 5 hrs after eating anything. Even water causes me reflux, and when I tried apple cider vinegar it made it. Sooo much worse. Its very scary to feel like your esophagus is shutting down on you, it makes experiments hard when food and pills get stuck. I am due to have a scope done soon. They want me on nexium or prevacid instead, but I’m afraid to take those. Is it low stomach acid if even water causes my esophagus to constrict and my heartburn to flare?

    • I’m so sorry to hear about this! I’m not qualified or experienced to give you medical advice, though. All I can suggest is finding a good naturopath who is qualified to help with this. I would also suggest finding an experienced acupuncture practitioner and looking into a grain-free, healing diet such as the GAPS diet.

    • I have exactly that. You have “Hiatal Hernia” research it. It can be deadly and give high blood pressure and a stroke, cuz it happened to me. Good luck and take this very seriously. Doctors and Chiropractors and Massage therapists (only some) can help.
      hint: drink water 25 ounces, then immediately get on tippy toes and slam your feet down. Massage stomach, look on Youtube exercises for hiatal hernia cure. downward strokes from solar plexus. do these things for weeks or months, please dont be lazy.

      • Hi Kevin,
        Yes, you are right! Hiatal Hernia causes heartburn and acid reflux. With leaky gut it gets worst.
        I healed mine with the same method as yours. Pushing down the protruding hernia every morning before food.
        The bone broths and meat and offal soups are nutritionally healing to my digestive system repairing cells and muscles inside. Eggs are good too. Don’t consume liquid foods or drinks and do vigorous exercise or bend down or lifting heavy objects.
        Sleep with higher pillows and take half a cup of raw Aloe Vera pulp before bedtime.
        I live in tropical south east Asia and being Asian Chinese so rice is my staple meal. As such I still consume this safe grain but I would add lots of (3-4 tablespoons) different kinds of good quality oils into my rice before eating to counteract the anti-nutrients and blood sugar spike problems.
        So far so good although I am a little underweight.
        Hope I have been of help.

  8. My son has Rubinstein-Taybi syndrome and as a result his muscles and soft tissues are significantly affected. They are lax and stretching out. He truly has severe GERD. His diet is as holistic and organic as a diet can be. He has never even eaten a french fry, potato chip or had a soft drink in his life. PPI’s are critical for him. Gastric acid eroded the backs of his molar teeth. His esophagus has suffered damage, became stenotic at the mid range and he can only tolerate foods that have been pureed. It continues to deteriorate.

    I share this only to encourage you to include a caveat. Not everyone who takes meds like a PPI can stop. To do so would cause more harm. We are aware of the issues that may arise from taking the PPI’s, but we are informed.

    • We JUST found out that our 5 year old has Rubinstein-Taybi, and are searching for a diet that may be conducive to his health. But is that vegan? Vegetarian? Paleo? I have checked so many options…can you email me with resources? I’d appreciate it more than you can ever know.

    • I don’t know the scientific answer to that. Generally, acidic fruits can be mildly irritating. Also, the acid in the fruit is different than stomach acid. I am now curious to know the scientific answer to this question!

  9. Lauren,

    thetastyalternative.com had a link to your blog and this is how I came here. I clicked on the link because it said you had SCD recipes and I wanted to check them out 🙂

    I was pleasantly surprised to find your post about this topic as I also posted one a few days ago on my blog:

    http://nutritiongang.com/low-stomach-acidity-hypochlorhydria/
    (you can delete that link if you think it’s not appropriate)

    You covered the most important points, however I would like to add that while taking HCL is very important, something more important is to work on getting your stomach produce more acid naturally.

    I have been able to go from 9 pills per meal (650mg per pill) down to 2 in about 3 months. For this you need to find the reason why your stomach is not producing enough acid. In my case the main reason was a candida overgrowth – candida is very good at lowering stomach acid.

    Take care,
    Charles W. James
    Author of the “Superfoods Power Collection”.

  10. I took HCL for 3 weeks under the direction of a nutritional therapist. I had not been tested for low stomach acid, but she said that other issues I was having could be helped by raising stomach acid. Unfortunately, I began experiencing heartburn only after starting HCL. Eventually the pain in my chest got better (after many months), but for 2 years, I have had pain in my stomach on a daily basis when cooking or after eating. I had an endoscopy, biopsies, and blood tests, and it turns out I burned my stomach lining taking HCL unnecessarily and now I’m on PPIs to allow it to heal.

    Just wanted to add a word of caution that this is a serious choice and you really need to know what you’re doing, or it could cause even further problems. I would make sure you absolutely know you have low stomach acid, and try natural ways to increase it before directly supplementing with HCL.

    • Yes! Astute advice, Melanie. In many cases, it is necessary to strengthen the stomach lining before taking HCL when you have had low stomach acid for a long period of time. I spoke to Charles, from the comment above, who is an expert on this subject. He said zinc, vitamin A from liver, and raw honey are excellent in strengthening the stomach lining. I’m following his suggested protocol at the moment!

  11. I used to have heartburn so bad if I skipped a pill, I’d have heart attack-like symptoms. Last year I switched my family to a low-processed, organic diet. A few months later I noticed that I didn’t need to take Tums throughout the day. I decided to be brave and cut my medicine dose to every other day. After two weeks I noticed that I hadn’t had heartburn or an asthma attack once. When I ran out of pills, I didn’t get more. I noticed that I only have a slight burn now if I eat tomato-based sauces, but recently, my son’s OT suggested that I put 1 Tbsp of baking soda in my sauce. I did and no problems! Thanks for this post. I’ve been raving about my success for about six months now and people keep telling me it’s a fluke or that something had to change with my last pregnancy (I didn’t mention that I changed my diet while I was pregnant, with my doctor’s blessing; also my heartburn always worsened with pregnancy – I have four boys – and this time it went away). Yeah, I’ve had reflux my whole life. I don’t think things like that just go away on their own.

  12. Lauren,
    My body had the same reaction to taking an acid reducer prescription, in fact, I couldn’t keep anything down and was nauseous. AND after losing 7 lbs in 10 days from this, I was THEN told to take 2 instead of 1 pill!!
    I cried all the way to the health food store where I found the book that saved me “The Gut Solution”. I read up on what a hiatel hernia looks like in diagram form and learned how to meditate. I learned about the lack of stomach acid and started an eating plan that worked for me. I went off of caffeine and alcohol for 6 weeks. Started my day with plenty of fruit. Drank lots of water throughout the day. Had no carbs at lunch, only protein and veggies. Had no protein for dinner, only veggies and carbs. Ate NOTHING after 7pm. Raised the head of my bed 6″ and tried to sleep on my left side. I drank aloe, took probiotics, ginger, apple cider vinegar tablets as well.
    I lost 25 pounds over the 6 weeks and most of my GERD and hiatel hernia issues were nearly gone.
    I LOVE your site. Can’t wait to try the strawberry/ginger sorbet, cauliflower wraps, and want to buy some of the Tulsi tea for my mood issues. Thank you Thank you Thank you!!!

  13. Hi Lauren,
    First I’d like to start by saying I’ve recently (today.. lol) come across your blog and I LOVE it! But I just wanted to point out something that you might be mistaken about.. Or I might have misunderstood you. Heartburn medications such as proton pump inhibitors and antacids are meant to INCREASE your stomach pH (ie. making it more alkaline and less acidic), not decrease. Is that what you meant? The problems caused by heart burn medications that you listed eg. malabsorption of nutrients/ failure to break down amino acids/ increased risk of infection are actually caused by a high stomach pH, and not that other way around. Just thought I’d point that out. No hard feelings okay!

    • I’m glad to hear that you are enjoying my blog! But you are wrong about this point. Heartburn meds reduce acid. Malabsorption is indeed due to low stomach acid. More that 90% of Americans have low stomach acid. Read the book “Why Stomach Acid is Good for You” or read my recent post, “Heal Low Stomach Acid Naturally.”

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  17. I have to say, I don’t necessarily agree with this post. I am very wary of conventional medicine, so I went to a naturopath for my acid reflux (which did not cause heartburn, but did cause constant nausea). He insisted I had low stomach acid and kept using supplements to increase it. Under his treatment, I developed heartburn and burning pain in my stomach and throat, along with continued nausea. Finally I dropped him as a doctor and was just put on Prilosec. I’m hoping that once my esophagus heals I will be able to maintain stomach health through a healthy diet, but I certainly wasn’t able to heal myself with it.
    Lastly, I would really appreciate you adding a source to your claim that 90% of people with heartburn actually have low stomach acid. I’ve discussed this with my doctor (who used to be a naturopath before switching to conventional medicine) and he said he is unaware of any study that supports that statistic.

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  19. Do you want to improve your acid reflux, aka heart burn, try Slippy Elm Bark powder. Edger Casey who has long since passed on recommended it and I did not research. After years taking prescription medications like Prilosec, Zantac, Pepcid I began to have serious debilitating back problems. I ordered on-line from an organic company and started in small amount (1/8 teaspoon), and not everyday. The result was no indigestion, reflux and controlled heart burn. Doing your research is a must before start this all natural solution but it work. There are NO SIDE effects, but start slow. Good luck!!!

  20. A REWRITE TO CORRECT typos and errors! Do you want to improve your acid reflux, aka heart burn, you may want to try Slippery Elm Bark powder. Edger Casey, http://www.edgarcayce.org/are/holistic_health/data/disease_overview.html (look under Indigestion and Gastritis), he has long since passed away but his teachings and recommendations are being kept alive. Do your research! After years of taking prescription medications like Prilosec, Zantac, Pepcid… I began to have serious debilitating back problems. Over time, these medications eat away at the spine. I ordered on-line (http://www.mountainroseherbs.com/bulkherb/s.php), from an organic company, Slippy Elm Bark powder, and started in small amounts (1/8 teaspoon), and not every day. Powder is better than pill. The result was, no indigestion or reflux and controlled heart burn. Oh, and no more back problems. Doing your research is a must before starting this all natural solution, but it works. There are NO SIDE effects, but start slow. I am currently a little less than 1/4 teaspoon after 1 1/2 years. When I recommended this to a nurse in the Emergency Waiting Room, she took it down and said, when it works you save time and money. Good luck!!!

  21. How long before your reflux went away on Gaps? I’m on day three and I am still getting mucus in my throat. My stomach has an ulcer as well. My throat has been damaged too… Also, I’m skinny anyway and this just soup thing in the intro diet is killing me… When will the reflux go away so I can start the rest of the diet??

  22. Interesting read! I’ve had digestive issues for the last few years. was diagnosed wuth GERD, put on prilosec. Didn’t seem to help, had swallow manometry study. found very low baseline LES and insufficent swallows. My question is can prilosec cause the low LES? I was taking 60 or 80 mg at the time of the studay. Maybe not that morning but weeks leading up to it.

  23. In the last decades I had heartburn often. It was more than an annoyance, but not strong enough to talk to the doctor about it. In very bad cases I reached for over the counter pharma products. What finally helped me and 100% resolved my heartburns, was going onto a high carb vegan diet. I have not had any heartburn since two years (since I turned high carb vegan). If I had not found the starch solution, I would have probably opted for your “Instant, All Natural Heartburn Remedy”. I understand that a vegan, high carb diet might sound too extreme for most people, and therefore natural medicine is probably the next best choice.

  24. I have to take aspirin to prevent strokes and to protect my stomach I also have to take omeprazole which has given me problems so that has been substituted with ranitidine. My question is are there natural products available that do the same job as these drugs I have to take. What are they and are they safe,reliable,expensive etc.

    Many thanks
    Rosetta

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Lauren Geertsen, NTP

I’m an author, entrepreneur, and nutritional therapy practitioner (NTP). I began this website at 19, to share the steps that freed my life of chronic disease and medication. Now, Empowered Sustenance has reached 30 million readers with healthy recipes and holistic resources.

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