Stomach acid declines with age causing poor breakdown of protein – which you need to build muscles!
Optimally functioning digestion and absorption is a rare thing. Many people experience mal-digestion on a regular basis caused by number of factors incliding low stomach acid, poor production of digestive enzymes, intestinal microflora imbalance or unidentified food intolerances. Today, let’s look at the production of hydrochloric acid, the incredibly powerful acid secreted by the stomach and responsible for early breakdown of macronutrients. After the age of 30 stomach acid production declines for most of us, and this can cause the following symptoms:
- excess belching
- reflux or heartburn
- diarrhea or constipation
- a sense of fullness even with small small amount of food
- skin conditions, joint pain, cravings and fatigue can also be linked to low stomach acid.
It may take some nutritional detective work to determine what the exact problem is with an individual, but one common cause is low stomach acid. As Hydrochloric acid (HCL) declines it leads to incomplete nutrient breakdown. Ironically, the symptoms of high and low stomach are the same, and blocking stomach acid further with acid blockers like Tums, may lead to nutrient deficiencies.
If you think this is a problem for you, try some of these foods to optimize digestion:
- Naturally fermented foods, such as saurekraut, kim chi, kombucha and miso are a great place to start. These foods contain probiotics that help restore balance, and the naturally acidic properties can assist with breakdown of food in the stomach.
- Raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar, mixed with a bit of honey and water before a meal aids digestion.
- Bitter foods and herbs have been shown to stimulate gastric juices and improve digestion. Experiment with dandelion, ginger, fennel and milk thistle. As a general rule, you can include more bitter foods in your diet. Dandelion greens, arugula, endive and bitter teas made from the herbs listed above are all beneficial.
To your best health,
Cassandra Mick, CNE