Pain in the gut, Digestive system-related diseases such as celiac/gluten intolerance (in varying degrees), Crohn’s Disease, colitis, IBS, heartburn, reflux, chronic diarrhea, gastro-paresis, diverticular disease, chronic constipation, gallstones and others are really climbing. According to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (related to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the National Institutes of Health and the NIDDK), 60-70 million people are affected by all digestive diseases at a cost of $141.8 billion (2004). How much is that today, 10 years later?
The stomach is the root of most all digestive disorders, whether in the stomach or the intestines. When symptoms start, most people control them the best they can – usually with over-the-counter remedies. These include antacids, which neutralize the acids in your stomach or acid blockers, which inhibit your body from releasing acid enzymes. When those no longer work, stronger prescriptives are sought. These seemingly simple fixes can come with a cost. Each has a set of problems that can be hard on the body, especially the kidneys, brain, or bowels. They also just mask the problem.
Then, when those fail, what’s next? I have an idea – let’s fix the problem! Sure, masking the problem with meds helps symptomatically, but what happened to resolving the issue?
With all the demonizing we do about stomach acid, we’ve forgotten that the body actually NEEDS stomach acid! Your stomach enzymes (particularly hydrochloric acid – HCL) are supposed to be acidic. When the stomach reaches the proper ACID pH of 1.0-2.0, not only does it digest the food in the stomach, but signals are sent to release or convert other enzymes throughout the digestive system. HCL has a very important job of killing any pathogen (bacteria, virus, parasite, mold, fungus, or yeast) that doesn’t belong in the body. If HCL is insufficient, we can’t break down protein or minerals, and could get sick from contaminated food.