Low Stomach Acid Symptoms and Signs to Watch out for

Acid reflux is thought to be a sign of too much stomach acid. However, it could be one of the many low stomach acid symptoms. Read on to learn if you are suffering from low stomach acid.

X-ray image of pink stomach with words "low stomach acid symptoms" | Root Nutrition & Education

Did you know that if you have low stomach acid you may not metabolize protein properly?

This can result in low energy levels and tiredness.

How do you know if you are suffering from low stomach acid? Here are a few signs:

Acid Reflux Reflects Low Stomach Acid

  • Acid reflux or heartburn after meals
  • Bad breath even though you brush well
  • You are not hungry for breakfast
  • Feel tired or nauseous after eating meat
  • Belching, bloating, or gas after a meal
  • You are or were a vegetarian. Often vegetarians are not eating meat so their stomach acid production slows down
  • Indigestion, diarrhea, constipation
  • Undigested food in stools
  • Acne
  • Hair loss in women
  • Get sleepy after meals
  • Iron deficiency
  • Anemia that does not respond to iron supplements
  • Your sweat is stinky- can also be other issues but also occurs when bacteria and yeast feed on the undigested protein-producing toxins that will create a stinky odor
  • Weak, peeling, or cracked fingernails
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Dry skin or rashes
  • Adrenal fatigue
  • Asthma
  • Food Allergies and sensitivities
  • Autoimmune diseases (eczema, thyroid conditions, rheumatoid arthritis, etc)
  • Hunger even after eating or an abnormal sense of fullness
  • Big Belly or increase weight gain around the upper and mid abdomen.
  • Childhood asthma
  • Diabetes
  • Low blood sugar
  • Yeast infections or candida

Low Stomach Acid Prevents Nutrient Absorption

This is a serious issue since low stomach acid can prevent important nutrients from being properly absorbed (B12, amino acid deficiencies, magnesium, iron, zinc, niacin, b6, thiamine)

Low Stomach Acid Symptoms Can be Detected by Blood Tests

Have the above symptoms? You want to make sure you get a blood test and look at the following levels

Low Chloride Levels: One of the main components of hydrochloric acid is chloride. When we see low chloride levels in the blood under 100 (101-106 is functionally normal) than it is a sign of low HCL.

Abnormal Serum Protein and Serum Globulin Levels: Since HCL is needed for protein digestion, when these levels are abnormal such as a serum protein under 6.9 or over 7.4 g/dL and globulin level under 2.4 or over 2.8 g/dL than it could be a sign of low HCL. Especially if liver enzymes are relatively normal.

Low Phosphorus Levels: If phosphorus levels are low, with a vitamin D deficiency and/or hyperparathyroidism than it may be a sign of low HCL production.

High BUN Levels: A lack of stomach acid may result in a high amount of nitrogenic waste (from poor protein digestion) in the bloodstream. This can be seen as a BUN (blood urea nitrogen) level of 20 or more.

Abnormal MCV//MCH/MCHC: This has to do with the size of the red blood cell (RBC). Methylation with B12 is a critical part of the RBC maturation process in the bone marrow. Inadequate B12 will result in immature RBC’s that will be larger and less effective at carrying oxygen to cells.

HCL is also necessary for iron absorption, so if these numbers are below normal along with low Hct, Hbg, etc. it could be an iron deficiency related to low HCL.

Normal MCV should be between 85-92

Normal MCH should be between 27.7-32%

Normal MCHC should be between 32-36%

High Homocysteine Levels: Stomach acid is critical for B12 absorption (4). B12 is one of the key components of methylation which keeps homocysteine levels between 4-7 umol/L. If B12 levels are low, than homocysteine will be elevated.

Low B12 Levels: Intrinsic factor is a glycoprotein in the stomach that is necessary for B12 absorption. With inadequate HCL production, intrinsic factor will be unable to work effectively and the individual will develop a B12 deficiency (5).

Things To Combat Low Stomach Acid Symptoms

This is a serious issue, but there are things you can do with your diet to improve your stomach acid production.

– Eat more whole unprocessed foods and cut down on your sugar consumption – You want to make sure you are correcting any nutrient deficiencies with a whole food diet. If some levels are really depleted you may need to supplement
– Pair foods together – protein with low starch veggies – high starch and refined carbs can decrease stomach acid production
– Be relaxed and do not rush through a meal
– Add fermented veggies to your diet (make sure they are do not have preservatives if buying from a store)
– Stop eating processed salt
– Add foods with zinc to your meals this will increase acid production (pumpkin seeds, sweet potatoes, grass fed organic beef, grass fed organic lamb, crabmeat, turkey, chicken, lobster, clams and salmon, grass fed organic kefir
– Watch your starch/carb intake – these foods can impair production of acid
– Don’t eat 3 hours before bed

Chew slowly be sure to break down your food as much as possible

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