LOW STOMACH ACID or HYPOCHLOROHYDRIA refers to a condition where the secretion of hydrochloric acid inside the stomach - which is necessary for digestion of food - is reduced to below normal limits. It is a condition that is not dangerous to life but can make life very difficult.
SYMPTOMS & DIAGNOSIS OF LOW STOMACH ACID
Diagnosis of low stomach acid is often not very easy. Most of its stymptoms like indigestion, bloating, belching, flatulence and diarrhea can also occur due to several other medical conditions. In fact, these conditions, which are the hallmarks of low stomach acid, can sometimes be the only apparent symptoms in a much more ominous disease, where delaying investigation or medical advice can sometimes make it too late.
Low stomach acid is medically not a very acute condition, so it rarely leads you to emergency ward. It is a chronic condition and its persistence can severely interfere with a normal life routine, and upset its rhythm. This is where the natural and home remedies can be really useful.
NATURAL & HOME REMEDIES TO TREAT LOW STOMACH ACID
(i) MODIFY EATING HABITS : ADD FOOD THAT STIMULATES ACID SECRETION - First is the eating habits. To avoid frequent stomach discomforts, and indigestion, it is important to review the eating habits. It is preferable to avoid heavy meals, and instead shift to smaller snacks. It is also preferable to avoid excess of semi fluid in the diet, as it may induce various discomforts and indigestion. Lastly, it may be better to have small amounts of tea or wine with your meals, as both of them tend to induce acid secretion in the stomach, and would thereby help.
(ii) MORE VITAMINS - Second, as most cases of low stomach acid are associated with inefficient absorption, it is important to take larger amounts of vitamin rich foods. Taking food rich in vitamin B complex helps in curing many of the stomach discomfort complaints. Eggs, green vegetables, fruits are all useful. Sprouted beans can be a very good source of vitamins as well as protein.
(iii) IDENTIFY ALLERGIES - Sometimes, patients with low stomach acid develop allergies to particular foods, like milk, because of the inability of the acid to digest it before it is absorbed. in such cases, the best option is to identify the foods to which one has become allergic and then avoid them for a year or so, before trying them again.
(iv) ENSURE PROPER NUTRITION - Another challenge for people with this condition is to ensure that adequate nutrition is taken. Unless there is any other medical condition preventing it, it is better to shift to a high calorie diet, with sufficient fats, to ensure that the stomach condition does not aggravate overall health. Eggs may be a good source of protein supplementation.
(v) HERBAL REMEDIES - Among herbal remedies, ginger and garlic stand out. Both of them act as a tonic, add to the flavor of the food and also stimulate acid secretion, thereby helping with overall digestion.
WORD OF CAUTION - COMPLETE MEDICAL CHECK UP FIRST
It is always better to remember that low stomach acid is not exactly a life threatening disorder, but sometimes a condition mistaken as low acid may turn out to be a much worse condition, hence one should never hesitate in first getting a proper diagnosis, and try all kind of remedies only after any other condition is ruled out by your physician.