My gut feeling is you need more stomach acid



a previous column on apple cider vinegar (ACV), you stated that “heartburn and
reflux can sometimes be related to insufficient levels of stomach acid, not
high levels like many of you who take acid blockers assume.” Really Suzy? I’ve been on Omeprazole for years for heartburn.  My doctor says you’re nuts and got
angry when I questioned him.

Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

Answer: Doctors who thoroughly understand gastrointestinal
function know this basic principle of physiology. A simple blood test evaluates
stomach acid levels. Most physicians don’t test your “gastrin” level, they just
hand you a prescription for medication. This bothers me.

from the millions of pills that are dispensed from American pharmacies on a
daily basis, the business of convincing you that “stomach acid is bad”  is working. Don’t misunderstand, acid
blocking drugs are effective and necessary for certain individuals, but they
are way overprescribed. As a nation, we should spend more money educating the
public on how to eat healthier, rather than drugging people up each day, and
advertising double-bacon triple-bypass cheeseburgers. I’m just saying…

the signs of low acid (termed hypochlorhydria) may be heartburn, irritable
bowel syndrome, burping, cramps, food sensitivities and a higher risk for
autoimmune disorders, gallbladder disease, pancreatitis and cancer.
Hypochlorhydria is a huge problem in this country and it’s getting more
widespread, especially since the advent of acid blocking meds. Insufficient
acid (whether it is drug-induced or not) can also cause:

  • Hashimoto’s
  • Osteoporosis
  • Elevated homocysteine
  • Rosacea and acne
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Eczema and psoriasis
  • Yeast infections
  • Adrenal exhaustion
  • Vitiligo

does acid help? Many reasons, and one of them is that it keeps the tiny trap
door shut between your stomach and esophagus. This sphincter is pH sensitive
and in a healthy person, it stays shut because of the natural stomach acid.
With acid deficiency, the stomach pH increases and this may cause the trap door
to swing open, causing that familiar burn. Many people swear by the vinegar
trick because it provides various acids including “acetic” acid, but gulping
ACV forever is not my preference because it may be too caustic.

acids are sold at health food stores by names such as “betaine hydrochloride,”
“betaine with pepsin” or “trimethylglycine.” Begin supplementation slowly and
increase your dosage upward based on symptom relief. Take acid supplements at
the end of each meal, not the beginning. 
Ask a knowledgeable physician if acid supplements are appropriate for
you, especially if you take medications of any sort.  Acid supplements aren’t right for everyone and should be
approached with caution.

supplements work best when you eat healthy foods; you may also need to be
gluten and casein free. Depending on your condition, you could also greatly
benefit from probiotics, digestive enzymes, ginger, cayenne pepper, glutamine,
bile salts and/or DGL (deglycyrrhizinated licorice). 

You Know?

new study concludes that bisphenol-containing plastics (some water bottles)
make men four times more likely to have erectile dysfunction. 

This information is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose your
condition.  For more information
about Suzy, visit