You may say, my stomach has acid! Yes, you and I are a walking chemical factory. We all have it but for some people their stomach acids (which comprises of hydrochloric acid (HCL), potassium acid and sodium chloride) do not have the proper levels of acidity or have the proper levels of HCL.
A typical human will secrete between 1.2 – 1.5 litres of stomach acid per day. The stomach acid should have a pH level between 1 – 2. We need stomach acid to:
- kill harmful bacteria
- digest protein
- absorb vitamin B12 (for brain, nervous system and blood formation)
- reduce food into small particles for the intestine to absorb nutrients
- initiate the rhythmic contractions of the intestine that crush and move food through the GI tract
Because of high stress, processed foods, antibiotic or prescription use, many people tend to have a deficient supply of stomach acid; this can result in many health implications.
Here is a simple test you can perform at home to test your stomach acid. I purchased organic baking soda that does not contain aluminium to do this test. If you have stomach ulcers do not take this test. You will need to find the source of the problem and heal the ulcer.
If your stomach acid is at the proper level, you should belch between 2 – 3 minutes. If it takes you longer than 5 minutes and you have not belched or burped, then your stomach acid is insufficient. If you have early and repeated belching this may be due to excessive stomach acid.
You can also do a stomach acid test to measure the amount of acid in the stomach. It also measures the level of acidity in the stomach.
Your stomach acid must be acidic and levels sufficient enough to breakdown proteins for absorption and perform many other functions in the body. How can you determine your needed HCL amount and maintain the proper levels of stomach acid? Here is a very informative article “Determine Your HCL Amount” which has a strategy how to increase your level of stomach acid using betaine HCL with pepsin.
A normal response to taking betaine HCL after a meal is a feeling of warmth in the stomach. If you feel nothing then you may have improper levels of stomach acid.
Note: If you are taking any sort of NSAID medication such as ibuprofen, tylenol or aspirin then do not take betaine HCL.
Here are some other ways from to improve your stomach acid pH levels to aid digestion.
If you would like to know more about the mechanics of this marvelous body organ watch this one minute video from www.britannica.com (scroll to the bottom of page).
When I did the baking soda test, it took me 2 minutes to burp. I concluded that my stomach acid was average. Can my stomach acid levels or acidity be improved? Can I improve my bile productions? Are there other things I should also know about aiding digestion? Yes. My motto is: Knowledge knows no boundaries.
My next blog will provide you with some useful information how to maintain your digestive health.
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