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!
This is a Cancer that forms in the tissues of the colon (the longest part of the large intestine). We might add that most colon cancers are adenocarcinomas (cancers that begin in cells that make and release mucus and other fluids). A diet mostly of cooked and processed foods devoid of enzymes is the main cause of colon cancer. Enzymes are especially found in raw foods. By the time the digestion process is in the final stages if the food is devoid of enzymes the colon which is the final process of digestion is robbed of necessary enzymes for proper digestion. Eventually this is a major contributing factor in Colon cancer.
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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.
More information will be added.
Also called gastrointestinal carcinoid tumor. This is an indolent (slow-growing) cancer that forms in cells that make hormones in the lining of the gastrointestinal tract (the stomach and intestines). Quite often it occurs in the appendix (a small fingerlike pouch of the large intestine), small intestine, or rectum. Our experience has shown that having gastrointestinal carcinoid tumor increases the risk of forming other cancers of the digestive system.
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