Stomach acid or hydrochloric acid (HCl), is a very powerful digestive agent, and much more important than you realize. It’s important to know if you are suffering from high or low stomach acid because the nutritional support is different.
As a result, the scientific consensus is that an alkaline diet does not benefit bone health with the initial positive results likely being due to random chance or a placebo effect. One major prediction of the acid-ash hypothesis is that taking alkalizing salts will directly reduce the acidity of the blood. Supporters of the acid-ash hypothesis claim that diet affects blood pH level. Foods that promote alkalinity, or ‘base-forming’ foods, are thought to prevent or counteract the effects of excess acid in the body. These foods include most fruits and vegetables.
They may also be caused by long-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which reduce the amount of protective mucus made in the stomach. Aspirin is an NSAID.
Tests and surgery for heartburn and acid reflux
And that’s a good thing – because food that sticks around will only continue to generate acid. While over-the-counter and prescription medicines are available, lifestyle changes can sometimes help those with only occasional acid reflux. The Mayo Clinic advises losing excess weight, eating smaller meals, and avoiding alcohol and nicotine. But dietary tweaks also can be key when trying to alleviate symptoms.
If a person still has symptoms after lifestyle modifications and antacids, a health care professional probably will prescribe a stronger drug. The usual choice is one of the histamine-2 (H2) blockers, or acid blockers.
Should you eliminate foods?
- A hot burning in the chest, a bitter taste in the throat, a gassy bloating in the stomach – acid reflux is no picnic.
- New research may shed more light on this connection, or expose other reasons why reducing animal products is beneficial for health.
- Normally, the LES closes as soon as food passes through it.
- The stomach lining produces sodium bicarbonate, which helps to reduce the acidity in the stomach up to a point.
- The regurgitated acid produces heartburn, a sour taste, and sometimes additional symptoms, including coughing, wheezing, chest pain, and difficulty in swallowing.
- In fact, stomach acid is an integral part of the digestive process.
If you’ve been prescribed antacid medication for your heartburn symptoms, your doctor may change your prescription to avoid triggering hypochlorhydria symptoms. 5.
In severe cases, acid production stops and the condition is called achlorhydria. H. pylori is an interesting creature, even though it can cause pain. It evades the acid that kills most bacteria and lives in the mucus coating on the stomach lining. Strangely, in some people the bacterium lives harmlessly in the digestive tract while in others it causes stomach ulcers or inflammation of the stomach lining (gastritis).
Eat small, frequent meals if possible. Over-the-counter medications may seem like a quick fix for acid reflux. However, the effect is usually short-lived and doesn’t help prevent the next episode. For most people, a slight adjustment of diet and lifestyle changes are the best solutions for overcoming acid reflux.
So a burp within three minutes of drinking the baking soda solution may indicate an adequate level of stomach acid. A burp after three minutes (or not at all) may indicate a low level of stomach acid. One of the easiest and most inexpensive ways to gain insight as to whether or not you have high enough stomach acid is to take the baking soda stomach acid test. Lots of people who have GERD notice their heartburn is worse after eating. As a person swallows, muscles in the esophagus move the food down into the stomach.
Knowledge of human physiology and evidence from clinical trials are both helpful in understanding the effects of acidic foods on blood pH and overall health. There is some evidence that chocolate may worsen the symptoms of acid reflux, but this is often dose dependant. For most individuals, a small amount of chocolate is usually tolerated.
Most cases of heartburn are treated effectively with lifestyle modifications, antacids, or prescription drugs. However, relapse is common when treatment is stopped.