Hypochlorhydria, or low stomach acid, can cause a variety of symptoms in the digestive tract, as well as in other systems of the body. When we are not producing enough stomach acid, we are not able to break down our proteins efficiently and offset microbes as effectively. Below are some of the causes, symptoms, and treatments associated with hypochlorhydria.

Causes of hypochlorhydria:

  • Chronic stress
  • Refined carbohydrates
  • Lack of protein in diet
  • Zinc and B1 Deficiency
  • Medications: OCPs, nSAIDS (aspirin/Ibuprofen), antacids
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Low Estrogen
  • Natural aging process
  • Brain injury and neurodegeneratives diseases

Symptoms of hypochlorhydria:

  • Gas, belching, bloating, fullness (especially within 1 hour of eating)
  • Heartburn
  • Bad breath
  • Stomach upset easily by taking supplements
  • Iron deficiency anemia
  • Nail problems (chip, peel, or break easily)
  • Hair loss, dandruff
  • Acne rosacea, adult acne

Treatments for hypochlorhydria:

  • Diet:
    • Chew your food slowly (20-30 chews per bite would be ideal).
    • Drink very little fluids with meals and after meals.
    • Eat proteins at the beginning of the meal
    • Eat in a relaxed fashion
    • Avoid these foods: alcohol, refined sugars and carbohydrates, peanuts, soybeans, lentils
    • Have 1-2 meals be in liquid form, such as a protein shake or smoothie for easier digestion
    • Incorporate apple cider vinegar: 1 Tablespoon in 2oz of water, 15 minutes before meals
    • Squeeze fresh lemon in warm or room temperature water daily and use it as a dressing for salads
  • Lifestyle
    • Reduce stress, as stress can lower stomach acid production
  • Supplements:
    • Consider Betaine HCL support: 500mg 1x/day, more if needed depending on the severity of your symptoms. Don’t take Betaine HCL with nSAIDS.