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Do You Know the Symptoms of Low Stomach Acid?

For many of you, the answer is no.
 
Stomach acid or gastric juice is vital in digestion, particularly in breaking down proteins. An average adult produces 1.5 liters of stomach acid every day.
 
But, as we grow older, our body tends to produce less stomach acid.
 
Here are the results of several studies correlating age to decreased production of stomach acid:

  • More than 30% of men and women over 60 secrete little to no stomach acid.
  • 40% of postmenopausal women were not secreting stomach acid at all.
  • Close to 40% of women over 80 were not producing hydrochloric acid during digestion.
  • Researchers in Japan found that 60% of men and women over 50 were not producing stomach acid during digestion. 

This is telling us that when we reach a certain age, our body stops producing stomach acid. This condition is called achlorhydria. But you can also suffer from low stomach acid, hypochlorhydria, at any age.


 
So what does this mean for you?
 
Even if you eat a healthy meal, your body won’t receive its benefits because you don’t have the gastric juice to properly digest it and absorb the nutrients, especially Vitamin B-12.
 
In addition to age, risk factors to hypochlorhydria include taking antacids, chronic stress, a diet that is poor in zinc, a bacterial infection called H. pylori, and having undergone stomach surgery.
 
If you are exposed to these risk factors or experience some of the symptoms below, you may have low stomach acid.

Symptoms

Symptoms of low stomach acid are far-reaching. At first they may start with indigestion and vitamin and mineral deficiencies. That creates havoc to your overall system as every organ of your body depends on these vitamins and minerals to function well. You may experience the following:

  • Weak fingernails and thinning of hair
  • Heartburn
  • Paleness
  • Weakness
  • Behavioral changes
  • Vision loss
  • Undigested food in stool
  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Frequent burping
  • Nausea while taking supplements
  • Osteoporosis
  • Depression
  • Headaches
  • Poor sleep
  • Muscle cramps
  • Blood sugar imbalance or diabetes

Prevention and Support

Understanding the causes and symptoms of hypochlorhydria is already half the battle. You can now create ways to support your gut for the prevention and improvement of hypochlorhydria. Your diet is a good start.
 
A diet that mostly consists of processed foods, sugar, and chemicals won’t do your gut any good, so avoid or limit these “foods”.
 
The following strategies will help your gut, but it is important to work with a practitioner so that it is individualized and appropriate for you:

  • Taking 1 teaspoon-1 tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar with water before meals improves digestion and stomach pH in the long run (be sure to have ruled out H. pylori, ulcers, etc. first as certain conditions can worsen with ACV!!).
  • Taking probiotics may support your gut to heal. The increase in helpful gut bacteria aids the gut to function properly, producing the right amount of digestive enzymes and gastric juice. (If you have diarrhea or SIBO, speak with your practitioner to pick the right probiotic formula).
  • Increasing fermented foods gives your gut a wide variety of probiotic strains that help your gut to run smoothly. Sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, and kombucha are examples, and you can find more here.
  • Eating slowly and making sure you’ve chewed your food thoroughly before swallowing allows your gut to produce/secrete the gastric juice and digestive enzymes as well as supports the entire digestive system.

Your gut is at the root of your overall health, and I’m here to help you learn how to take care of it.
 
It is my passion to work with people like you whose health symptoms are getting in the way of you living life fully and with a sense of freedom in your body. I can help you to regain your health, so you can feel great and free to enjoy life fully. I hope that today’s suggestions are helpful to you.
If you’re ready to discover where your best health has been hiding, I’d love to connect with you!
Apply for a complimentary Unstoppable Health Discovery Session. http://bit.ly/schedulinghealth (subject to availability).
 
Until next time, I’m wishing you unstoppable health!
~Rebecca 

Thyroid Health & You, Part 1

Did you know that more than 12% of the US population will develop a thyroid condition during their lifetime? An estimated 20 million Americans are living with some form of thyroid problem, and unfortunately, up to 60% of them are unaware of their condition. When patients are not diagnosed, they are at risk for certain serious conditions including cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis, and infertility.

It’s high time that we raise awareness about the importance of the thyroid gland and what we can do to support it. 

And guess what? Your gut and thyroid work closely together. When one isn’t working well, neither can the other one. Many gut symptoms in fact, like low stomach acid, food intolerance, and bacterial imbalance, can be caused by a thyroid imbalance.

Let’s dig into this together.

What is the thyroid & what’s it do?

The thyroid gland is a 2-inch long butterfly-shaped gland located in the middle of the lower neck. Despite its small size, it produces hormones that affect every cell, tissue, and organ of the body. These hormones control metabolism–the chemical processes in your body that break down what you eat to make energy.

I will give you a simple explanation of how thyroid hormones affect your metabolism. Your thyroid gland actually produces three hormones: Thyroxine (T4), Triiodothyronine (T3), and Calcitonin. We will not be focusing on Calcitonin, but this hormone is responsible for the formation of bones. T4 and T3, on the other hand, are what most people call the “thyroid hormones,” which are manufactured by the thyroid gland using the building blocks iodine (a trace mineral) and tyrosine (an amino acid).

T4 and T3 cannot be released to the bloodstream unless there is a stimulus from the brain, particularly from the pituitary gland–that pea-sized body connected to the base of the brain, the major endocrine gland responsible for your body’s growth and development as well as the functioning of other glands such as the thyroid. So this pituitary gland will release a so-called Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) which tells the thyroid gland to release thyroid hormones into your circulation. Once they’re out, they act on every cell in your body to increase cellular activity, converting food into energy–this is metabolism. These hormones can affect how fast your heart beats, how deep your breath goes, and whether you gain or lose weight.

Thyroid Dysfunction

Here’s the more challenging part. Your thyroid gland can be overactive (hyperthyroidism) or underactive (hypothyroidism).

Hyperthyroidism symptoms include nervousness, tremors, irritability, heat intolerance, racing heartbeat or palpitation, an increase in appetite, frequent bowel movement, etc. Hypothyroidism manifests as fatigue, weakness, cold intolerance, depression, muscle cramps, weight gain, loss of appetite, constipation, etc.

If you are experiencing these symptoms, you may have an underlying condition that needs to be checked out by your doctor. For example, growths, either malignant or benign, can form on the thyroid gland and can affect its normal function. Your immune system can start attacking your thyroid tissue (autoimmune condition: Hashimoto’s or Grave’s) resulting in loss of function. There are a variety of diet and lifestyle factors that influence proper thyroid function (like stress, diet, sleep habits, and more) so diet and lifestyle is almost always part of the solution to balancing out thyroid function as well. We’ll dig into that next week as well as what foods to eat and what to avoid to promote thyroid health. Stay tuned!

It is my passion is to work with people like you whose health symptoms–like low energy, gut/digestive issues, excess weight, mood imbalance, chronic infections, and skin & sleep problems–are getting in the way of you living life fully and with a sense of freedom in your body. I help you to regain your health so you can feel great and free to enjoy life fully.

Until next time, I’m wishing you unstoppable health!

-Rebecca