The problem with acid reflux is NOT too much stomach acid. Now that I’ve got that out in the open, I promise to explain it. But first, I have a story to tell.
Lately, my husband has been experiencing acid reflux in the middle of the night. He’ll get up and drink some warm milk and it usually goes away. Recent blood work indicate he was low in iron. A follow up test showed he was low in Vitamin B12. His doctor suggested that he take a Vitamin B12 supplement.
It didn’t make sense to me. I know my husband’s diet and there’s no reason, based on diet, for him to be low in Vitamin B12. Or iron. That’s when I started looking at the clues and began to suspect that my husband had low stomach acid. I also know that you need strong stomach acid in order to utilize Vitamin B12 and iron. If you’re a meat eater you’re likely getting plenty of iron and B12 from your diet.
Acid Reflux caused by too little stomach acid! #WhatsCookingWithBarbara Click To Tweet
I had my husband do a simple test to determine if his stomach acid was low. It was. Then I recommended a supplement and am happy to report that he is doing much better! He even has more energy, which shouldn’t be surprising knowing the relation between B12 and iron and energy.
Are you confused yet? Conventional medical “wisdom” says that acid reflux means you have too much stomach acid. Except that “wisdom” forgets that low stomach acid is incredibly rare. If you’ve seen a doctor for your acid reflux and he’s prescribed or recommended any of the acid reducing medications, let me ask you this: Did he test for excess stomach acid?
The Real Problem With Acid Reflux
Stomach acid or gastric juice or gastric acid is composed of hydrochloric acid (HCl), potassium chloride (KCl) and sodium chloride (NaCl). The average pH is between 1.5 and 3.5, which is highly acidic. That acid environment plays a key role in protein digestion as well as serving as the first line of defense against pathogens.
It seems convoluted, but acid reflux is usually a result of too little stomach acid. Here’s why: You have a sphincter muscle (a ring of muscle serving to guard an opening) between your esophagus and your stomach. It’s called the Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES). It’s job is to keep the stomach acid and contents in the stomach. That muscle is made stronger by the presence of acid. If your stomach acid is low or weak, the muscle doesn’t work as well and so what acid is in your stomach can pass form the stomach to the esophagus, resulting in acid reflux.
One more thing about low stomach acid. It seems that our production of stomach acid begins to decline starting around age 40. I don’t know why that is true, and plan to do more research on it. It does make me wonder, though: If we need stomach acid to utilize iron and B12; and if we need iron and B12 for energy, then perhaps one reason we lose energy with age has to do with low stomach acid. Maybe?
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