Does Low Stomach Acid Promote Bacteria, Parasites, Yeast and Viruses?

By: Dr. St Jean

Low stomach acid is a commonly overlooked problem.  This is unfortunate, because it can become a very serious problem in certain situations.  Although this doesn’t happen often, it has been linked to severe disease such as stomach cancer and rheumatoid arthritis.

Symptoms of Low Stomach Acid

As a patient reading this article or watching the video above, it would be helpful to know if low stomach acid is a problem for you.  Below is a list of common symptoms associated with

  • Abdominal pain and/or tightness
  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Gas that occurs after eating
  • Heartburn and/or indigestion
  • Undigested food in the stool
  • Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth
  • Parasites

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Obviously just because you may suffer from some of these symptoms, that does not mean you 100% of low stomach acid.  Symptoms are tricky and can often be misleading.  This is why if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms now or in the past, its best to consult with a trained functional medicine physician.

The good news is if you have low stomach acid levels, its quite easy to fix.  There are many safe, natural ways you can implement to effectively recover your stomach acid to an optimal level.  Best of all, most of them are affordable and easy to access.

If you want to know more about low stomach acid and its potential implications on your health book your FREE intro consult today with Dr. St Jean by clicking here.

Causes of Low Stomach Acid

When working with a well trained functional medicine doctor, you will be able to accomplish more than simply reducing your symptoms.  To really get the best results, you’ll want to identify and eliminate the potential hidden, root causes of your low stomach acid.   There are endless possibilities, but some of the more common ones include:

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  • Allergies
  • Drinking alkaline water
  • Excess carbohydrate consumption
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Stress
  • Excess alcohol consumption
  • Using acid neutralizers or proton pump inhibitors

Think about it like this.  If there is a fire, and you are just putting out the smoke, does that really do anything for you in the long run?  It’s the same with symptoms, you can mask them all you want, but the fire or the “root cause” of your symptoms will keep burning.

Why Is Stomach Acid So Important?

Like anything in the body, balance is everything.  It’s no different when we speak of stomach acid (HCL).  Too much is a bad thing, and not enough is also a bad thing.  Clinically speaking, it is much more common for us to observe low stomach acid levels.  This is not good for many reasons, but two very important ones are listed below:

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1. First line of defense against bacteria, parasites, viruses, and yeast.
Stomach acid triggers the release of the pepsin. This is protein digestive enzyme. Bacteria, parasite, virus, and yeast are also made up of proteins. When the pH of the stomach is at its correct level, pepsin will also digest these pathogens. However, if the pH is alkaline, the pathogens will thrive and create issues in the gastrointestinal tract.

If the stomach pH is high, the ascaris worm (parasite) migrates from the small intestine to the stomach. Furthermore, this occurrence causes nausea and vomiting.

2. Promotes digestion and absorption of important nutrients.
Many people are nutrient deficient and low stomach acid is the reason. They are also eating a healthy diet but are unable to digest and absorb the food their eating. If stomach acid is low, the carbohydrates, fats, and proteins are not properly digested and absorb. Stomach contents will not pass through the duodenum if there is no proper acidity level. As a result, food sits in the stomach longer. This also causes bloating, burping, and pain.

What is the Solution to Low Stomach Acid?

1. Simple Betaine HCl Challenge Test

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Betaine HCl challenge is known to be the most reliable test one can perform at home. This test is also cheap and safe. Although this is an option, its not my favorite and I often do not recommend this test to clients.

I prefer using a combination of functional gastrointestinal testing and a solid analysis of our comprehensive new pt. evaluation to determine whether or not low stomach acid is an issue.

2. Eat a balanced healthy real food diet!
If you struggle with parasites and chronic infections, you will definitely have to alter your diet to achieve optimal results.  Every patient is different, but we typically start patients on a Paleo or Autoimmune Paleo diet and then make more specific, individualized recommendations as we gather more information from lab testing.

As a general rule of thumb, consuming whole, real foods that you can hunt, pick or fish is a great place to start.  Also, eliminating simple sugars in your diet is also really important as these are food for parasites, fungus and bacteria.

3. Correct nutrient deficiencies.
You may want to also supplement few vital vitamins and minerals.  The specific nutrients you will need vary from person to person.  This type of information you can learn more about by working with a functional medicine physician and ordering the proper testing.

4. Reduce the pathogenic load.
There are many ways to effectively eliminate the pathogens.  Some patients opt for the traditional antibiotic route.  Although this is an option in some cases, I often encourage patients to at least consider 1 round of herbal antimicrobials.

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By choosing herbal antimicrobials you do not affect gut flora negatively and instead of experiencing the many side effects associated with pharmaceutical medicines, you often experience “side benefits.”  They are herbs, and if used properly can benefit the body in more ways than simply killing off infections.

If you want to know more about low stomach acid and its potential implications on your health book your FREE intro consult today with Dr. St Jean by clicking here.

Looking to learn more about how you can improve your overall health? Maybe you want to learn more about how functional medicine and nutrition can help you recover naturally from Anxiety, Depression and other mental health issues. If so, check out our article and video blog.

If your more of a podcast/audio person,  join us for our new Anxiety Podcast where we interview leading Anxiety experts and review cutting edge strategies for recovering your health.

In health,

Dr. St Jean