Gut health: what makes stomach acid

Gut health: what makes stomach acid

The gut is at the root of so many of our issues. Many of us are now suffering with digestive issues such as indigestion, constipation, stomach aches, fatigue, food intolerances or mood issues. Poor gut health often has a role in conditions such as eczema, obesity, dyspraxia, behaviour problems, depression, ADHD, OCD and autism. 

Stomach acid is absolutely key to good gut health. It not only helps us breakdown our nutrients to help absorption, it is also a powerful antibacterial in the body. Sufficient stomach acid minimises the overgrowth of bad bacteria (such as H pylori) parasites and yeast, which prefer a more alkaline environment. 

What do we need for good gut health?

Gastric acid, gastric juice or stomach acid, is a digestive fluid formed in the stomach and is composed of hydrochloric acid (HCL) from potassium and sodium chloride (salt). This acid plays a key role in digestion of our food. The body therefore needs sufficient sodium and potassium.

Zinc is also needed to make stomach acid and deficiency of this mineral alone is a big cause of many digestive problems. It’s also needed for many other functions including enzyme production in the liver, pancreas and elsewhere. Rebuilding zinc can take time and has to be done carefully with other mineral imbalances taken into consideration.

Elevated toxic metals such as lead, cadmium, mercury, aluminum, arsenic tend to impair digestion and elimination as well. They can block the spaces for minerals such as zinc, which then decrease stomach acid.

Copper is essential for controlling all types of fungi and some of the bad bacteria in the gut. Too much copper (also known as copper toxicity) can affect other minerals which then affect digestion. It can lower sodium and potassium by raising tissue calcium, slowing the oxidation rate, and decreasing the acidity in the stomach. 

A lack of iodine, vitamin B1 or B6 are also common culprits of inadequate stomach acid production. 

Phosphorus is important for overall digestion, a low phosphorus can mean you’re unable to digest protein well, have low stomach acid or intestinal infections (e.g. candida).

A hair mineral test can tell you if you have any of these mineral imbalances. Please do contact me if you would like to book a hair test to discover if you have sufficient minerals to support stomach acid production.