Imbalance: Underactive Stomach
background info | recommendations
The symptoms of an underactive
stomach closely match those of an overactive
stomach, and therefore care must be taken to choose the correct
treatment. Low levels of hydrochloric acid (HCL) are associated
with a number of disorders such as anemia, allergies,
osteoporosis and skin problems. Poor liver
function may also be a factor in your digestive
problems. Does your chart
also show a liver imbalance or allergies?
a way to determine if you need more stomach acid:
When you have
indigestion, drink water with 1 tsp cider vinegar in it.
If it makes
the indigestion go away, you are likely not producing sufficient
stomach acid (hydrochloric acid -- HCL).
stomach is the result of a shortage of hydrochloric acid (HCL) in
the digestive chamber, which causes proteins or fat to digest too
slowly and remain in the stomach too long. This causes discomfort
from the fermentation and gas that is created. These symptoms will
be even worse if sugars are trapped in the stomach at the same time.
Making the mistake of taking an antacid neutralizes and further
reduces the already inadequate amount of stomach acid and causes
the contents of the stomach to be dropped into the small intestine,
where it continues to ferment, generating intestinal gas. Nothing
is improved -- stomach gas has been turned into intestinal gas.
better long-term solution for the cure of an underactive stomach
is to strengthen the stomach's natural HCL production capability
as much as possible. This can be achieved by cautiously using supplements
such as vitamins, minerals and digestive enzymes, and learning how
to combine foods for effective digestion
and maximum nutritional benefit.
Many people who have bloating, gas and/or indigestion assume that
they have too much stomach acid (hydrochloric acid, HCL) when they
probably have too little. The symptoms of an underactive stomach
are very similar to those of an overactive stomach. A symptom of
an UNDERactive stomach is discomfort (bloating, burping, gas and
burning) IMMEDIATELY after meals, whereas if you have an OVERactive
stomach the discomfort usually begins anywhere from 45 minutes to
5 to 6 hours after the meal, or even in the middle of the night.
As well, discomfort caused by an OVERactive stomach may be relieved
by a snack or by drinking a bit of milk, while symptoms of an underactive
stomach will not.
symptoms of underactive stomach (low HCL) are a full, heavy feeling
after meals, rectal itch, constipation or diarrhea, food allergies
and nausea after taking vitamin or mineral supplements. You may
be able to clear up your problem simply by making some dietary changes.
usually secrete less HCL as we age. Most young people can eat just
about any combination of food without suffering digestive discomfort,
but as we age most of us need to be more careful how we combine
foods. Proteins and fats are much harder to digest when eaten in
the same meal with sugars. A small amount of meat eaten at a meal
that ends with cake, pie, ice cream or fruit might digest reasonably
well, while the same meal with a larger amount of meat (a steak
or hamburger, for instance) may create an uncomfortable digestive
problem for you.
fats stay in the stomach up to four hours, while sugars are digested
in the intestines and should pass through the stomach in only minutes,
which they do, if eaten independent of proteins and fats. However,
eaten together, proteins, fats and sugars stay in the stomach too
long, causing gas to form, which results in intestinal discomfort.
If you want to eat fruit or a dessert, or drink juice you should
do so at least ½ hour before your main meal, or wait at least
one hour (preferably two to 3 hours) after you've finished your
meal. This keeps the sugars from being trapped in your stomach with
the slower digesting proteins and fat, and thus avoids the cause
of gas formation.
you have digestive difficulties, it can be both instructive and
interesting to carefully observe your body's responses to food,
because your body will tell you when you've exceeded your digestive
limits. For instance, combining eggs (protein) with orange juice
(fruit) for many people is a sure formula for digestive discomfort.
Simply taking more care with your combinations
of food may solve your digestive problems. Always eat food slowly
and chew thoroughly.
If you continue
to have digestive problems, take a good broad spectrum digestive
enzyme supplement (containing betaine HCL) after your biggest meal.
A broad spectrum digestive enzyme will help in digestion of carbohydrates
as well as digestion of proteins and fat. If you don't think you
need those, you can buy a betaine HCL supplement separately. You
can take one or more at each meal, but as you pay closer attention
to your body's responses you will discover which meals (and which
types of meals) require the digestive supplements. You may only
need a digestive supplement with a meal that is high in protein
and/or fat. Too much HCL will give you a warm, burning feeling in
your stomach, and you will know to cut back. If you take more than
one capsule, take them throughout your meal. After taking the digestive
supplements for a few months, you will likely notice you are secreting
more digestive juice on your own, and you can then cut back.
As an alternative
to a digestive enzyme supplement, try drinking a bit of apple cider
vinegar just before a meal.
Do not take a digestive enzyme supplement and do not drink vinegar
if you have any inflammation of the stomach lining.