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Digestion 101





Last post, I challenged the long-standing belief that high stomach acid causes acid reflux.


This week, we're delving into the basics of digestion and how the stomach initiates the breakdown of the foods we consume.

 




Digestion actually begins in the brain. Surprised?



When we think about food, it triggers a series of reactions: our eyes see food, our nose smells what's cooking, and our salivary glands start producing saliva—all before we even take a bite.  


Simultaneously, our stomach prepares for the incoming food by releasing gastric juices, which include hydrochloric acid.

 



Yes, the same hydrochloric acid that antiacid medications aim to reduce.

 

 So why does our stomach produce hydrochloric acid?

 

First, let's understand what the stomach does. I like to think of it as a blender!



The stomach's muscular walls churn what we eat into a soupy substance called chyme.


Alongside this blending process, it releases gastric juices containing hormones, enzymes, and hydrochloric acid, among other components.



 

Hydrochloric acid plays a crucial role in digestion by first eliminating pathogens that may accompany our food. Another vital function of hydrochloric acid is breaking down proteins into smaller molecules called amino acids, which the body can absorb and use to build proteins necessary for cell function.

 


It is essential for breaking down vitamins, minerals, and fats from our food.


Without sufficient hydrochloric acid, the macronutrients (food) cannot release the essential micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, etc.) needed to support the body's functions, including DNA synthesis.

 

Low hydrochloric acid levels can lead to malnourishment, contributing to common health issues such as osteoporosis, food sensitivities, anemia, allergies, eczema, rosacea, and more.



If we think of stomach acid as the first in a series of steps necessary for digestion—followed by enzymes, hormones, and other processes—it becomes evident that these processes are compromised when hydrochloric acid production is low.



Now, back to acid reflux and indigestion. Could these issues be caused by factors other than high stomach acid?

 


Absolutely!


Among them are stress, being overweight, and specific food sensitivities like coffee, alcohol, and unfortunately, chocolate!


Are you experiencing symptoms of low HCl? Do you have food sensitivities?


Krager Wellness is here to help!


Our Whole Health Digestive Program provides personalized support to tackle your digestive concerns and restore eating again symptom free!


Schedule a Complimentary Consultation today to discuss your health goals and explore personalized solutions.



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