You may think that the digestion process doesnt begin until your food reaches your stomach. But it actually starts in your mouth when enzymes in your saliva start to break down food particles into their component nutrients for optimum absorption. The food is then swallowed and carried by the esophagus to the stomach. However, if you dont have balanced levels of hydrochloric acid (HCl) to properly digest your food, then you could suffer from major digestive discomfort.
Low levels of HCl could lead to heartburn, indigestion, bloating, diarrhea, upset stomach, embarrassing gas and occasional constipation. And taking over-the-counter antacids and prescription drugs like Prilosec® and Nexium® only make the acid levels in your stomach worse. How?
These prescriptions are known as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) because they lower the levels of acids in your stomach in order to help prevent acid reflux. But they only work in the short-term and greatly reduce the one stomach acid that is GOOD for your digestionHCl. According to Better Nutrition magazine, you need beneficial HCl stomach acid for two reasons:
- You need acid in your stomach because it kills unwanted bacteria and stimulates enzymes to break down the foods you eat.
- If you reduce the acidity in the stomach, your body will automatically start producing more acid.
Plus, many antacids contain an abundance of minerals that can cause problems for people over 50 when taken in high amounts such as sodium bicarbonate, calcium carbonate, magnesium and aluminum.
To ensure maximum digestive health, be sure to include HCl into your dietary regimen, plus other beneficial enzymes such as L-glutamic acid, amylases, proteases and lipases.