I have been doing some research for one of my patients who has a health problem with a bacterium in the digestive tract called Helicobacter Pylori (H. Pylori). H. Pylori is an aggressive intestinal bacteria that is often treated with antibiotics. Antibiotics have many possible side effects and can cause damage to the liver which is definitely not a desirable trade off. Even with the use of antibiotics, H. Pylori is difficult to eradicate because it has a shape and coating that makes it difficult for the antibiotics to penetrate. It is kind of like a weed. It is so embedded into the intestinal lining that it comes back with time even when you try your best to kill it.
A common theme that I have seen in my research is that there is a direct correlation to decreased stomach acid and issues with H. Pylori. Put bluntly, if you are taking an antacid because you have heartburn or acid reflux, it is not the right approach! It makes the environment in your gut ripe for all kinds of health and malabsorption/malnutrition issues. I know you have been told differently but I can prove what I am saying is true.
See if this sounds familiar: You have some acid reflux. Your esophagus burns and your stomach might burn as well. You start taking over the counter antacids because they are the only thing that gives you relief. With repeated use of the over the counter antacid, the pH in your stomach starts to go up and become more basic.
Your stomach needs an acidic environment in order to absorb the nutrients from your food. However, you are making it more basic which means that your body isn’t absorbing the nutrients you need and you start developing more health problems such as getting sick more often, slow wound healing, nutritional deficiencies, low energy, etc… Eventually, you have to take more over the counter antacids because you are having more burning and you have gained some weight.
Finally, you go to your Dr. and your Dr. says “You have too much acid in your stomach and we need to put you on a prescription antacid to take care of this”. Then again, with additional time, you start to develop other issues such as H. Pylori infections and other digestive issues such as bleeding ulcers, etc... Guess what? Now you get put on even more meds for those issues which only cover up the symptoms “temporarily” which will have their own side effects and eventually lead to even more health issues.
The whole time, you are getting more and more frustrated. You and your Doctor have been chasing the symptoms instead of the cause of the problem and you are getting worse.
The stomach has Hydrochloric Acid (HCL) in it. The stomach needs HCL in order to have a pH below 2 so that it can work efficiently and digest nutrients from the food you eat. If it is above that, then it can’t work properly. Antacids directly decrease the production of HCL which makes your stomach produce other acids that can and will burn your stomach and esophagus. So to really drive the point home: Most of the time, it isn’t the hydrochloric acid that is burning your stomach and esophagus. It is the other acids and byproducts of having a more basic pH that is. By changing that environment with antacids, it creates a vicious cycle that leads to many different health problems over the long term.
Here is a list of just some of the conditions that can be related to hydrochloric acid deficiency:
- Crohn’s disease
- small intestinal bacterial overgrowth
- autoimmune disorders like lupus
- rheumatoid arthritis
- pernicious or B12 anemia
Indications of the possible need for Supplemental Hydrochloric Acid Therapy: gas, burping or bloating (esp. when eating protein), bad breath or body odor, asthma, food or environmental allergies, intestinal parasites, loss of the taste for meat and pancreatic or biliary dysfunction.
Obviously, if you can’t digest your food properly, then you can’t be healthy. If you can’t absorb nutrients, then your body will always be sick in one way or another. Disease doesn’t usually happen overnight. It is a long, steady decline over many years that shows up one day in a form of sickness or poor health. The good news is that in most cases, there are corrections that can be made to the system that are natural and safe. ***Some extreme cases will get to a point where the mucosal lining in the gut needs to be repaired because the lining is in such poor shape that all acid (including HCL) will contribute to the burning, etc… I have protocols for gut repair that we can utilize in more severe cases, but most people will respond to the simple approach of 1. elimination of all antacids and 2. stabilizing the pH in the stomach. If you are having these problems and would like to learn more, ask me about the Hydrochloric Acid Challenge and Supplemental HCL and Stomach pH Stabilization Protocols.
Again, thank you for being my patient and I will be here to help you in any way I can.
Yours in Health,
Dr. Keith Currie, D.C.
President, Currie Health and Wellness Diagnostic Center