stomach acid

  1. Low stomach acid can cause malnutrition

    What's missing from your digestive system?

    Q: Would you please address the topic of low stomach acid and what to do about it naturally?

    GR: We often think of digestive problems as being caused by EXCESS acid -- but if you haven't got ENOUGH stomach acid down there, it could be just as bad as having TOO MUCH of it!

    You've got to have just the right balance of stomach acids to greet the food you eat and break it down. And if you can't digest your food properly, you're going to become "malnourished," and disease will ensue due to improper nutrition.

    That's one of the (many) reasons why taking those acid-blockers can be so troublesome!

    As well, our stomachs stop producing adequate levels of hydrochloric acid and pepsin as we get older.

    Telltale symptoms of low stomach acid (a.k.a. hypochlorhydria, or low levels of hydrochloric acid and pepsin) include bloating, belching, or burning immediately after meals, a feeling that food just sits in the stomach undigested, and an inability to eat more than a small amount of food without feeling full.

    To know for sure whether your stomach acid levels are too low, a doctor can perform a gastric analysis. You'll swallow a small, plastic capsule that contains electronic monitoring equipment that can measure the pH of your stomach and intestines.

    At my clinic, if test results confirm that a patient's stomach acid levels are low, I'll start them on "digestive replacement therapy" -- that is, replacing the "missing" hydrochloric acid and pepsin.

    By taking supplements of these elements, you can improve digestion and balance the pH of the gastrointestinal system.

    I usually recommend starting out by taking one capsule (5, 7 1/2, or 10 grains) of either betaine hydrochloride-pepsin (I recommend SpectraZyme Metagest, which is gluten-free) or glutamic-acid hydrochloride-pepsin before meals.

    After two or three days, if there are no problems, two capsules can be used in the early part of the meal. Then, several days later, the amount can be increased to three capsules. The dose is usually increased gradually until it equals 40 to 70 grains per meal.

    I should note that hydrochloric acid should never be used at the same time as aspirin, Butazolidin, Inodicin, Motrin, or any other anti-inflammatory medication because of an increased risk of stomach bleeding.

    What's more, this kind of treatment should always be carefully monitored by a physician.

    Want to ask me a question? Send it to and look for the answer in my next Q&A.

  2. PPIs in new fracture link

    If a permanent case of the runs isn't enough to keep you away from proton pump inhibitors, maybe this will do the trick: These drugs can also leave you crippled for the rest of your life.

    I've told you before how PPIs can block the absorption of both calcium and magnesium, leaving you high and dry when it comes to the two nutrients your bones need most.

    Now, a new study shows what actually happens to those bones (in case it's not already obvious). A rock-solid new study out of Harvard that used data on some 80,000 nurses tracked since 1982 found that these meds can boost the risk of hip fractures by more than a third.

    Think that's bad? The increase in risk shoots up to 50 percent in women who take these drugs for at least six years.

    Now, if you've never taken a PPI you probably think it's nuts to take them for six years. And you're right -- it's nuts to take them for even six minutes.

    But these meds are like crack for heartburn patients.

    The more you take them, the more you need them -- because every time you try to stop, the stomach acid comes back with a vengeance.

    It's called acid rebound, and it's not a return of the original problem. It's a worsening of it that's CAUSED by the drugs, leading to a vicious cycle of meds that can go on for years or even decades.

    The best way to avoid all that is to not get started on these drugs in the first place.

    I've found the simplest way to get relief from stomach acid problems is with eight ounces of freshly squeezed cabbage juice, taken as often as necessary.

    If that doesn't work, you'll need to make some bigger changes. I have everything you need to know about out-of-control stomach acid problems -- and how to stop them cold -- in the August 2009 issue of the Douglass Report.

    Not a subscriber? I've got the cure for that right here.

  3. Heartburn drugs: all harm, no good

    If you take heartburn drugs, you don't need me to tell you the odd paradox of these meds – the more take them, the more you need them.

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