The Hydrochloric Acid Dilemma

Digestive disorders are so common now-a-days. Why? How come most people are uncomfortable 30 minutes after a particular meal or specific food. Is heart burn and bloating just a part of getting old?

I don’t think so. And according to a fantastic book I read called “Why Stomach Acid is Good for You” by Jonathan V. Wright, MD, he doesn’t think so either. The book thoroughly explains that indigestion and acid reflex is not a problem of too much acid in the stomach, but rather having too little. Hydrochloric acid (HCL), the most powerful “stomach juice” is a precursor to begin the entire digestive process. Hydrochloric acid activates other digestive juices and enzymes as well. Many medical practitioners believed that taking acid-blocking medications would not be harmful to a patient and that it served them well to keep them comfortable. As it turns out, the opposite is true. Taking acid-blocking medications is detrimental to the digestive systems. In retrospect, it dampens and lowers the effects of the hydrochloric acid, and causes an even bigger issue. Anti-acid medication are often on medical histories I see daily in the dental practices I work in.



It is the hydrochloric acid that makes the stomach acidic. It brings the stomach to a pH of 2, which is extremely acidic. Battery acid acidic. However, if the stomach is not acidic enough, other systems in the digestive tract do not turn on. Another important component at the beginning of the digestive process is bile. Bile is extremely important, like hydrochloric acid, and it is responsible for emulsifying fats. This is a brand of great bile to get started on. The process to secrete bile never gets triggers if the stomach does not reach a pH of 2. If bile does not get triggered, secretin and pancreatic enzymes, vital for digestion become inactive. Gastrin, and Cholecystokinin (CCK), other digestive juices responsible for digesting fat and proteins, never get triggered either. You get the picture. Low to no hydrochloric acid is bad.

Without hydrochloric acid, new problems in the patient will sprout up later. The problems of prolonged suppression of stomach acid can show through increased discomfort after eating, difficulty eliminating the bowels, and malnourishment to name a few. As a Registered Dental Hygienist, I often can tell by the look, texture, and color of someone’s tongue and oral tissues if they are deficient in some vitamins, like iron. On a regular day at my dental office, I see approximately 8 patients. And approximately 6 times a day I am telling someone that they have signs of a vitamin deficiency.

Enamel erosion can be a sign of low to no hydrochloric acid. With low hydrochloric acid, the body works much harder to digest foods, oftentimes causing stomach irritation, indigestion, and the feeling of acid reflux. When these patients are in my dental chair, I can visually see signs of acid wear on their teeth. Acid wear on the teeth may be a sign of low hydrochloric acid from silent acid reflux. I know that as a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, many clients complaining of acid reflux may actually need supplemental support of hydrochloric acid. This is the kind I like. These dental patients’ teeth look thin, transparent, and are often very sensitive.

It is intriguing that the amount of stomach acid can affect so much on a person. Without proper digestion, important vitamins are not absorbed and crucial hormones can not be made.

Stomach acid indeed is crucial for your health. Ask me how I can help you correct digestive issues and determine if you have the proper amounts of HCL.