Stomach acid, also called gastric acid, is the hydrochloric acid produced in the stomach. The acid is critical for the digestion of food in the stomach to transform it from its raw form to a form that contains absorbable nutrients.
In the case of low stomach acid, also called hypochlorhydria, some food will not be digested and, therefore, substantial amounts of nutrients in the food will not be released for absorption into the body. This means that even if you eat a balanced diet, your body will miss out on the nutrients that are unavailable for absorption. This can lead to deficiencies of various nutrients including proteins, minerals, and vitamins.
Gastric acid is also necessary for the control of harmful microorganisms and for neutralizing excess enzymes in the gut. Inadequate stomach acid can lead to an increase in harmful gut microorganisms and excess enzyme levels, which can cause many digestive problems. Below are 10 low stomach acid symptoms.
Symptom #1: Heartburn
While many people think that heartburn is a symptom of high stomach acid, this is not always the case. Heartburn is usually a low stomach acid symptom. When you have low stomach acid, digestion does not happen as efficiently as it should. This means that after eating, the food remains in the stomach longer.
As it sits there, the food begins to ferment due to food containing various microorganisms and the stomach environment being warm. This leads to the production of various chemicals and gases within the stomach. Heartburn happens due to the irritation caused when some of the fermented materials and gases rise and get into the esophagus. Low stomach acid can also cause other digestive issues including gastritis, cramps, constipation, gas, bloating, and nausea.