Pain and Bloating—Hypochlorhydria?

stomachpainPain and bloating can result from a condition called hypochlorhydria or as it is also referred to, achlorhydria.

This is a disorder where the stomach does not produce enough hydrochloric acid (HCI).It is especially common in people living with ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia, and is known to be associated with childhood asthma.

Acid is required for the digestion of protein.and for the stomach to empty correctly, and failure to do so results in gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD).  Stomach acid is also required to sterilize the stomach and kill bacteria and yeast that may be ingested.  Pain and bloating occur when the digestive tract is not happy.

If you experience undigested food in your stool, irritable bowel, gastric reflux (yes, low stomach acid can cause gastric reflux), indigestion,  nausea, acne, immune system problems, food allergies, joint aches, muscle aches, etc., you could have hypochlorhydria caused by FMS/CFS.

Additionally, many of us with chronic pain diseases are also on medications and drugs to block stomach acid production, leading to more symptoms of pain and bloating, a vicious cycle.

Pain and bloating can arise from failure to digest foods properly.

Trace elements are essential for normal body functioning and if these are not present then the biochemistry of the body will go slow, organs will go slow, and this will accelerate the aging process.  Failure to sterilize the stomach contents will make individuals more susceptible to gut infections such as gastro-enteritis and possibly enteroviruses such as Epstein-Barr virus, Coxsackie virus, Echovirus, and so on.

People suffering from hypochlorhydria can experience these commonly associated conditions:

  • Asthma, Celiac Disease, Eczema, Psoriasis, Urticaria (hives) can develop when food is not properly digested.  Large food particles enter the lower intestines where the immune system attacks them (foreign particles and dangerous to the body), thus causing an allergic reaction, creating food allergies that can present symptoms in other areas of the body besides the digestive tract such as skin and lungs.
  • Lupus, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Macular Degeneration, Pernicious Anemia, Autoimmune disorders Osteoporosis, can occur due to lack of nutrient absorption.  When someone lacks the proper amount of hydrochloric acid to digest food and absorb nutrients, they become deficient.  Nutrients are needed in every aspect of healthy bodily functions.  Remember, it’s not what we eat, it’s what we digest and absorb!
  • Helicobacter Pylori (H. Pylori) and Stomach Cancer are examples of conditions resulting from the stomach’s inability to kill excess bacteria, yeast and fungus due to the lack of acids needed to sterilize the stomach.
  • Acid Reflux, GERD, Barrett’s Esophagus Stomach Ulcers, Gastritis (stomach inflammation) are due to the stomach’s inability to empty its contents, which are left to sit stagnant and ferment.  Stagnation allows acids to stew too long in the stomach and ferment, causing gas, bloating, belching, and the opportunity for acids to travel up into the esophagus.

Note:  If you are experiencing serious symptoms and/or any of the conditions listed above, consult with a gastroenterologist.

A simple at-home test to see if you are low in hydrochloric acid: 

In the morning, before you have breakfast, take one teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water.  Begin thinking about food or smelling food for a few minutes, (this usually gets the juices moving).  If you have enough stomach acid, you should burp as the bicarbonate of soda will react with the stomach acid producing carbon dioxide.  If you do not burp, you may be suffering from low stomach acid.  If this is the case, you may want to consult with your doctor about your concerns.

***If by chance you suffer an adverse reaction to this test, such as heartburn, simply drink some milk or have a stick of celery.  This is an easy, inexpensive test and gives a good but not perfect assessment.

One very important reminder……Approximately, 80% of your immune system is located in your digestive tract!  We need to keep it healthy enabling it to do what it was created to do…..digest, absorb and renew.   

So, what to do? 

To relieve pain and bloating, first and most important, we need to get the digestive system in mint condition!  That includes a high-quality plant-based digestive enzyme.  Plant-derived enzymes are able to work in the low pH of the stomach and in the neutral environment of the intestines, and a high-quality probiotic supplement.

  • Take the probiotic supplements every day. I take a probiotic supplement upon awakening with a glass of water. You can click here for more information on the product I use.

    e3_probiotics

    Probiotics

According to Michael Picco, M.D., gastroenterologist and contributor on Mayoclinic.com, probiotics contain good bacteria, which will help protect against harmful bacteria and assist with digestion.

  • Take the digestive enzymes prior to each meal.  I will even sprinkle them on my food or even chew them.  You can click here for more information on the product I use.

Digestive enzymes help break down nutrients so that your body can more easily absorb and assimilate them. I can assist you with your product choices.

Ask your doctor also about taking Hydrochloric Acid (HCL) tablets.  Take the hydrochloric acid after you’ve started eating each meal, as directed on the bottle. Hydrochloric acid breaks down proteins and fats and assists with the absorption of protein, calcium, vitamin B12 and iron…..always check with your doctor before adding this supplement. 

****People that are “high risk” shouldn’t take HCL tablets without supervision.  You’re high risk if you’re consuming any anti-inflammatory medicines, which many patients with pain do.  Examples of those are: corticosteroids, aspirin, Indocin, ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) or other NSAIDs.  These drugs can damage the GI lining and supplementing with HCL could aggravate it, increasing the risks of bleeding or ulcer.

  • Chew food thoroughly
  • Eat small meals frequently: Small meals are easier to digest
  • Avoid drinking liquids with meals: Fluids dilute stomach acid
  • Avoid drinking tap-water:   Tap-water contains chloride which kills friendly bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract thereby compromising digestion and immune system functioning. Another reason to take a high-quality, plant-based Probiotic.

“Image courtesy of marin/FreeDigitalPhotos.net”.

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