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We often talk about acid-alkaline balance in the body, or body chemistry for short, and with good reason: keeping the boy at the proper pH is one of the most important metabolic functions that our bodies perform. What most people do not understand is that in order to maintain an alkaline body chemistry, the intestinal tract must maintain a very acidic state. Therefore, supporting a healthy intestinal pH is the foundation of maintaining optimal body chemistry.
The stomach is the most acidic part of the body and largely determines the rest of the pH of the intestinal tract. Hydrochloric acid (HCl) maintains a pH in the stomach from 1-3; this very acidic pH is important for a number of reasons. First, it helps kill microbes (i.e., bacteria, yeasts and viruses) we take into our bodies daily so they don’t cause gut imbalances or immune problems later. Second, sufficient HCl starts the breakdown of foods in the stomach so it can be more easily digested in the small intestine. Third, sufficient HCl is needed to breakdown and absorb minerals; without enough HCl, we can quickly become mineral deficient. And fourth, sufficient HCl stimulate the release of pancreatic enzymes and bile which not only digest our foods but also alkalize the digestive process.
If there is insufficient HCl, the whole process breaks down and food isn’t digested properly. This has much greater implications than a little indigestion. Undigested food particles set the stage for immune and inflammatory events throughout the GI tract and the body – and more inflammation means more acid and destruction in the tissues, leading to a more acidic body chemistry. Once more, as we said above without sufficient HCl, alkaline minerals are not absorbed, so the body’s stores are taxed even further.
The bottom line is that if your stomach is not sufficiently acidic then your body will not be optimally alkaline. This imbalance in body chemistry sets that stage for inflammation and disease.
Low HCl in the stomach can occur for many reasons, the most obvious being medications taken to reduce stomach acid. If you are taking these medications or think that your digestion or body chemistry could use some improvement, don’t hesitate to contact us so we can help you get on track and optimize your body chemistry.
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