Hypochlorhydria, a lack of stomach acid, arises when the stomach is unable to produce hydrochloric acid. It is a greatly overlooked cause of problems.
Acid environment in the stomach
The stomach requires an acid environment for several reasons.
- acid is required for the digestion of protein,
- acid is required for the stomach to empty correctly and failure to do so results in gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (heartburn),
- acid is required to sterilise the stomach and kill bacteria and yeast that may be ingested and
- an acid environment is required for the absorption of certain micronutrients, in particular divalent and trivalent cat-ions such as calcium, magnesium, zinc, copper, iron, selenium, boron and so on.
As we age, our ability to produce stomach acid declines, but some people are simply not very good at producing stomach acid, sometimes because of pathology in the stomach (such as an allergic gastritis secondary to food intolerance), but sometimes for reasons unknown.
Problems arising from hypochlorhydria.
There are many possible problems that could arise from hypochlorhydria:
- Failure to digest foods properly. This will result in a general malabsorption of proteins. Indeed, hypochlorhydria as induced by antacids and H2 blockers and protein pump inhibitors substantially increases one’s risk of osteoporosis because the body simply does not have the raw material to replace bone. Many degenerative conditions will be associated, therefore, with hypochlorhydria.
- Failure to absorb trace elements. Trace elements are essential for normal body functioning. If these are not present then the biochemistry of the body will go slow, organs will go slow and this will accelerate the ageing process. Therefore, one would expect to see people getting diseases, such as cancer, heart disease and neuro-degenerative conditions, before their time.
- Failure to sterilise the stomach contents. This will make individuals more susceptible to gut infections such as gastro-enteritis and possibly enteroviruses such as Epstein-Barr virus, Coxsackie virus, Echovirus and so on. Gastric acid is an essential part of normal defences against disease. Gastric acid is also essential for getting rid of undesirable bacteria and yeast that appear in the diet. Particularly virulent strains, of course, may cause simple food poisoning. However, if there is an overgrowth of bacteria and yeast in the stomach, then foods will get fermented instead of being digested. This produces wind and gas resulting in bloating and alcohols, which may or may not be useful to the body.
- Increased risk of stomach cancer. Having the wrong bacteria and yeast in the stomach will irritate the lining of the stomach and increase one’s risk of stomach cancer.
- Malabsorption of vitamin B12. It is well known that the stomach must be acid in order to absorb B12. Indeed, using a proton pump inhibitor such as Omeprazole, will reduce absorption of vitamin B12 to less than 1% of expected. Many people already suffer from borderline B12 deficiency – this is a difficult vitamin for the body to assimilate, but essential for normal biochemistry.
Symptoms of hypochlorhydria
When any of the above problems go wrong, it can result in symptoms.
- Accelerated ageing because of malabsorption.
- Wind, gas and bloating as foods are fermented instead of being digested, i.e. irritable bowel syndrome.
- A tendency to allergies – the reason for this is that if foods are poorly digested, then large antigenically interesting molecules get into the lower gut, where if the immune system reacts against them, that can switch on allergy.
- Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease
- Iron deficiency Anaemia
- B12 deficiency
- A tendency to candida dysbiosis or bacterial dysbiosis.
There is an additional twist to the hypoglycaemic tale which complicates the situation further. When one becomes stressed for whatever reason, one releases stress hormones in order to allow one to cope with that stress.
Insulin is such a stress hormone and has the effect of shunting sugar in the blood stream into cells. This produces a drop in blood sugar levels and also causes hypoglycaemia.
Therefore, hypoglycaemia can be both a cause of stress and the result of stress, indeed, another one of those vicious cycles that are so often seen in disease states.
Do you know the difference between the flu and the stomach flu?
While “stomach flu” is a popular term, it is not a correct medical diagnosis. These are actually two different diagnosis caused by two different types of irritants. The correct term for the stomach flu is gastroenteritis. ‘Gastro’ meaning stomach, ‘enter’ relating to the intestines and ‘itis’ meaning inflammation.
People who are suffering from gastroenteritis, or the stomach flu, will have irritation or inflammation of the stomach and intestines, the gastrointestinal tract. Gastroenteritis can be caused by either virus, bacteria or a parasite and does not necessarily need to be caused by an infectious process. Triggers for gastroenteritis can include lactose intolerance or other allergic reactions to specific food types.
On the other hand, the flu is caused by a virus known as influenza. The flu often mimics the same symptoms as a respiratory cold except that it begins much more quickly with symptoms of fatigue, fever and respiratory congestion. Individuals who suffer from an upper respiratory infection, also known as the common cold, may also suffer from a low grade fever; but individuals who are experiencing the flu will generally have a fever greater than 100° Fahrenheit.
There are over 100 different types of viruses that can cause the common cold, yet only influenza virus types A, B and C will cause the flu. However, while there are only three different types of influenza that cause the flu, all of these types are capable of genetic mutation and developing different strains each year. The flu will also lead to more severe or life-threatening illnesses, such as pneumonia, in individuals who are immune suppressed or who have other underlying medical conditions which make their overall health precarious. Individuals who are older, young children, those suffering from AIDS, cancer or other milder chronic conditions such as diabetes or asthma, may suffer more severe affects from having the flu.
Treatment for each of these conditions will vary depending upon the individual’s overall health and the underlying reason for the condition. In other words, in a normal, healthy, young male or female additional treatment for the flu may not be necessary. Individuals are able to recover from this illness by increasing the amount of fluids that they drink each day, getting plenty of rest and good nutrition. However, individuals who have asthma or cancer may find that they need supportive care that is hospital-based rather than home-based. Within the hospital, physicians and nurses will be able to administer intravenous fluids, oxygen and antibiotics for those who go on to develop pneumonia.
Gastroenteritis, sometimes called the stomach flu, may include a headache, fever and swollen lymph glands depending upon the particular germ that is causing the symptoms. However, the individual will also suffer from abdominal cramping, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Individuals can experience gastroenteritis from food poisoning, inflammatory bowel disease, allergic reactions, parasite infections or viruses and bacteria.
In severe cases, the individual will lose a significant amount of body fluid that can result in dehydration. Unfortunately, it does not take the loss of too much fluid in order to induce a medical situation that requires immediate attention of a physician. Signs of dehydration can include lightheadedness; increased thirst; dry, sticky, mucous membranes; lack of normal elasticity of the skin and decrease the output of urine or tears. Individuals who have gastroenteritis may find they are unable to keep water in their stomachs without vomiting or may find they are unable to keep up with their fluid needs because of severe diarrhea.
For the most part, individuals who suffer from gastroenteritis can be treated at home with good, supportive care. In common cases, such as viruses or allergic reactions to a particular food, individuals are able to recover nicely from gastroenteritis without significant medical intervention. You can avoid dehydration by sipping clear fluids and gradually introducing a bland diet that includes bananas, rice, apple sauce and dry toast. This diet is often referred to as the BRAT diet. Eating bland dry foods makes it easier for the digestive system to accommodate the nutrition and calories and is unlikely to irritate a sensitive gastrointestinal tract.
When physicians or medical personnel are discussing the flu they are referring to the respiratory condition caused by influenza. When referring to the stomach virus medical personnel may call it “stomach flu” or will more correctly call it a gastroenteritis or stomach virus.
The differentiation between these two diagnoses is usually easy to discern. However, some people who suffer from the influenza virus will also have vomiting and diarrhea making the differentiation slightly more challenging. These symptoms are usually rare but may happen when individuals suffer from a normally sensitive stomach and then experience the influenza virus.
So, the next time you tell someone you have the flu be sure to these specific about exactly what illness you really did experience!
Hypoglycemic symptoms and manifestations can be divided into those produced by the counter regulatory hormones (epinephrine/adrenaline and glucagon) triggered by the falling glucose, the neuroglycopenic effects produced by the reduced energy delivery to the brain and the fatigue from reduced energy delivery to the body.
- feeling of warmth,
- Dilated pupils (mydriasis),
- feeling of numbness “pins and needles” (parasthaesia).
- abdominal discomfort,
Neuroglycopenic manifestations – reduced energy delivery to the brain
- Foggy brain,
- impaired judgment,
- nonspecific dysphoria,
- personality change,
- emotional liability,
- poor quality sleep,
- automatic behavior,
- also known as automatism,
- sometimes mistaken for “drunkenness”,
- focal or general motor deficit,
- “glassy” look,
- double vision,
- difficulty speaking,
- slurred speech,
- abnormal breathing,
- generalized or focal seizures
These symptoms are very similar to being drunk with alcohol – which results again in poor energy delivery to the brain.
Poor energy delivery to the body
- poor stamina,
- blurred vision and many others!
Vitamin B12 is one of eight B vitamins and is also known as Cobalamin. It is the most complex vitamin in the human body. It is essential for a range of healthy bodily functions including the production of red blood cells, the health of the nervous system, immune function and sperm production.
There is also evidence to suggest that Vitamin B12 reduces cancer risk and the chances of suffering from heart disease.
The fact that the body does not store this important substance efficiently means that to avoid the levels of Vitamin B12 depleting rapidly it must be regularly absorbed into the body from food.
Fortunately, research is uncovering various conditions and illnesses that are thought to be linked to a vitamin B12 deficiency.
Sources of Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is found in quite a wide range of foods but because it is only produced by bacterial fermentation-synthesis, it is only found naturally in animal products.
It is commonly added to foods and is available as a supplement or as a vitamin B12 spray. Those who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet can easily become deficient in vitamin B12 or they may absorb enough to avoid severe deficiency but not to protect against the risk of heart disease or dangerous complications during pregnancy.
For this reason vegetarians and vegans should be especially aware of their vitamin B12 intake. The body can safely take on high doses of vitamin B12 because any that is not needed can be either stored or excreted.
The following are sources rich in vitamin B12;
Lamb’s liver and pork liver are amongst the richest sources of vitamin B12. Lamb’s liver provides 85.7μg (1428% RDA) of vitamin B12 per 100g serving, a truly impressive vitamin B12 content.
Shellfish are another excellent source of vitamin B12, especially oysters, clams and mussels. These also provide other important substances such as zinc, copper and iron in significant amounts.
Clams contain 98.9μg per 100g serving, accounting for 1648% of the RDA. That is 84μg (1401% RDA) per 3 ounce serving, and 187.9μg (3132% RDA) in 20 small clams, or 9.4μg (156.6 %RDA) in one small clam!
Crab and lobster are also high in vitamin B12, not as high as clams etc but a 100g portion of crab contains 11.5μg of vitamin B12 (192% of the RDA).
Lobster can provide 4.04μg (67% RDA) per 100g serving, or 6.59μg (110% RDA) in an average whole lobster (163g).
There are many types of fish that provide substantial levels of vitamin B12.
Mackerel provides the most vitamin B-12 with 19μg per 100g serving (317% RDA),
followed by Herring (312% RDA),
Trout (130%), and Bluefish (104%).
Fish eggs (caviar) are also high in vitamin B12.
The eggs of white fish contain the most vitamin B-12 with 56.4μg (940% RDA) per 100g serving.
Caviar contains a third of that with 20μg (333% RDA) of vitamin B12 per 100g serving.
While octopus is more commonly found in traditional Mediterranean and eastern cooking, it is becoming more popular on a global level.
Octopus typically provides 36μg of vitamin B-12 per 100g serving accounting for 600% of the RDA.
The amount of vitamin B12 in beef depends on the cut you choose but the best choice in terms of vitamin B12 levels is lean chuck steak, followed by sirloin then rib-eye.
Lean lamb is a good source of vitamin B12 and also is a good source of protein and zinc. Lamb shoulder is the best cut of lamb for vitamin B12 levels.
As well as providing calcium and vitamin B2, cheese is a fairly good source of vitamin B12.
Swiss cheese provides the most with 3.34μg (56% RDA) per 100g serving,
followed by Gjetost (40% RDA),
Parmesan (38% RDA),
Tilsit (35% RDA), and Feta (28% RDA).
Chicken eggs are another fairly good source of vitamin B12 , the yolk has the highest level. Goose eggs and duck eggs have even higher levels of vitamin B12.
Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Not getting enough vitamin B12 leads to a deficiency which causes the red blood cells that are produced to be larger than normal and unable to function properly.
This is more common in older people but can affect people of all ages.
Vitamin deficiencies often go unnoticed. Therefore it can be difficult to pinpoint the underlying cause of the wide ranging symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency.
Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency;
Because vitamin B12 is of influence in so many systems in the body, the symptoms of a deficiency will be different for everyone.
Where one person in particular suffer from fatigue, tingling, memory loss and problems with muscle cramps, someone ells can be suffering from an inflamed tongue, menstruation complaints, trouble concentrating and depression.
The symptoms can also vary during the years.
- Weird feeling in the feet (feeling of walking on felt, wadding or pads; surface feeling is disturbed, under-sensitivity to pain; burning sensation on the skin)
- Tingling feeling (in the feet and hands and later in legs, arms, face “feels like being charged “; “ants walk”; also numbness in hands and feet, shaky hands, loss of control over your arms/legs)
- Concentration and memory problems (can’t think clearly, wadding head, drowsiness)
- Heavy and stiff feeling in the legs (pain in the hips)
- Fasciculaties /myokymieën (muscle vibrations; contraction of a small part of a muscle most common near the eye, but can be in other places of the body; involuntary movements, restless legs)
- Ataxia, loss of position (unstable / difficult walk, stumble; walking like being drunk until no longer able to walk; walking against things; unexplained fall; dropping things out of your hands; being clumsy)
- Aphasia (problems with speaking; using wrong words; can’t remember the right words; speaking with “double tongue”; “keyboard-aphasia”: swapping letters)
- Mental health problems:
“Short fuse” / irritability; Mood swings; Irrational to serious mental complaints
- Panic attacks and suicidal behaviour; Nervousness; Psychosis; Paranoia
- Dementia (memory loss); Depression; Confusion
- Fatigue (sometimes very tired)
- Drowsiness (need a lot of sleep, just fall asleep spontaneously)
- Lack of energy
- Discolorution around the knockles (skin is browner then the rest of your fingers)
- Glossitis (inflamed tongue; burning, painful or irritated tongue, especially among seasoned/spicy food, sour drinks and when brushing your teeth; inflamed and/or bloody gums; iron-/metal taste); Canker sores
- Tightness of chest (angineuze pains, palpitations, arrhythmias, accelerated heart rate, shortness of breath)
- Being cold (sometimes a burning sensation on the skin)
- Myalgia (muscle pain after exercise, is worse than before; sometimes muscle cramps; muscle weakness; strength loss)
- Pain (including back, hands, wrists, joints, hips and knees)
- Inflammation in the digestive system (up to bowel perforation)
- Nausea (no appetite, indefinable feeling in the stomach)
- Bowel complaints, diarrhoea (with some regularity)
- Derogatory reflexes
- Weight loss (loss of appetite, loss of taste/smell)
- Anaemia, sometimes little, often not; (fainting; dry skin; itching; yellowing eyes and skin; paleness; hyper pigmentation; spontaneous bruising; petechia)
- Problems with eyes (optic neuropathy, blurred vision, loss of visual field)
- Hearing problems (tinnitus, distorted sound),
- Hair loss
- Friable nails
- Hyper tone bladder (incontinent, even a little bit and/or weak bladder)
- Infections (vaginal-and an increased risk of urinary system infections)
- Menstrual problems (irregular, heavy, long, increased pain, sometimes no menstruation at all, error-positive PAP smear)
- Infertility/miscarriages, birth abnormalities; libido loss, impotence
- Young children with a deficit: growth and development is lagging behind, autistic behaviour
Who is most at risk from vitamin B12 deficiency?
Some groups of people are more at risk from vitamin B12 deficiency than others and the risk increases with age. The following groups should be especially vigilant for signs of a possible vitamin B12 deficiency;
Those with Atrophic Gastritis may have trouble absorbing vitamin B12 properly and so a supplement is often recommended to keep levels up.
Vegans and vegetarians may not get enough vitamin B12 because they do not consume animal products, supplements and foods with vitamin B12 added to them are recommended for those who avoid animal produce, especially during pregnancy when it more important than ever to have the right levels of vitamin B12 in the body.
People who are taking medications including Proton pump inhibitors, Metformin, Histamine antagonists, Bacteriostatic Antibiotics and anticonvulsants. Advice should always be taken from a medical professional if you are taking medication and think you may have a vitamin B12 deficiency.
Vitamin B12 and the Earth
The level of vitamin B12 in foodstuffs depends on how much nutrition the animal absorbs from the food it eats.
If vitamin and mineral levels in the earth are low, the animal then does not absorb as much and then we in turn do not absorb as much.
Intensive farming, chemicals and environmental damage all play a part in the depletion of nutrients in the soil and so farming techniques that take this into account will always produce better sources of vitamin B12 and other important nutrients.
Also there is the matter of the preventive vaccination the animals receive. The more we give this to the animals, the worse their general health will be, which in turn has his effect on the meat we eat.
Vitamin B12 and Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is a condition that experts are only really beginning to understand.
Sufferers experience widespread pain, fatigue, sleep disorders and depression. Many sufferers also have high levels of homocysteine and low levels of vitamin B12 (vitamin B12 reduces the level of homocysteine) and research now suggests a link between the two conditions.
Experts are researching how chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia could be successfully treated with vitamin B12 supplements.
Solutions to vitamin B12 Deficiency
The solutions to any vitamin deficiency are to increase the levels of that particular vitamin in your body.
For vitamin B12 deficiencies you can increase your intake of foods that are rich in vitamin B12, increase your intake of foods that have had vitamin B12 added to them or choose a supplement.
There are various supplements available, in various forms including injections. Research suggests that one of the most effective ways to take a supplement is in the form of a vitamin B12 spray.
Check with your health practitioner if you think you depleted with vitamin B12.
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This is actually a very rare cancer that forms in the part of the bile duct that is outside the liver. What is the bile duct? This is the tube that collects bile from the liver and joins a duct from the gallbladder to form the common bile duct, which then carries bile into the small intestine when food is being digested.
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