Hydrochloric Acid Deficiency

Hydrochloric Acid Deficiency: Overview

Hydrochloric acid (HCl) insufficiency can be complete (achlorhydria) or partial (hypochlorhydria) and intermittent.  HCl plays an important part in the first digestive step, which if not completed properly can result in digestive problems all the way through the digestive tract. HCl does not digest food on its own, but creates an environment in which digestion begins.  HCl is responsible for converting pepsinogen to pepsin, which begins breaking down proteins in the stomach.  With limited HCl, pepsinogen is not converted to pepsin and protein digestion fails.  A second action of HCl is to prevent infections, since most organisms that are ingested are destroyed by an adequately acid environment.

Stomach Acid Deficiency

Information On This Page

Signs, symptoms & indicators of Hydrochloric Acid Deficiency:

Symptoms - Bowel Movements

Symptoms - Gas-Int - General

Symptoms - Nails

Symptoms - Skin - Conditions

Symptoms - Sleep

Conditions that suggest Hydrochloric Acid Deficiency:

Digestion

Heartburn / GERD / Acid Reflux often suggests Hydrochloric Acid DeficiencyHeartburn / GERD / Acid Reflux
Based on the clinical experience of doctors such as Dr. Jonathon Wright, MD, supplementing with hydrochloric acid sometimes relieves the symptoms of heartburn and improves digestion in individuals who have hypochlorhydria.  Unexplained bloating, belching and heartburn are frequently diagnosed as symptoms of hyperacidity and sometimes wrongly treated with antacids, when in fact the underlying problem is insufficient acid production.

Infections

Musculo-Skeletal

Rheumatoid Arthritis often suggests Hydrochloric Acid DeficiencyRheumatoid Arthritis
Lack of stomach acid occurs frequently in rheumatoid arthritis patients.  This is associated with changes in gastric microbial patterns.

Nutrients

Vitamin B12 Requirement often suggests Hydrochloric Acid DeficiencyVitamin B12 Requirement
Achlorhydria leads to improper absorption of nutrients such as B12.

Skin-Hair-Nails

Risk factors for Hydrochloric Acid Deficiency:

Nutrients

Vitamin B6 Requirement often increases risk of Hydrochloric Acid DeficiencyVitamin B6 Requirement
Vitamin B6 is necessary for the production of hydrochloric acid.

Hydrochloric Acid Deficiency can lead to:

Environment / Toxicity

Recommendations for Hydrochloric Acid Deficiency:

Botanical

Cayenne Pepper often helps with Hydrochloric Acid DeficiencyCayenne Pepper
Capsaicin, the active ingredient in cayenne, is believed to assist digestion by stimulating the flow of both salvia and stomach secretions.  One or two capsules of cayenne pepper taken before meals stimulates hunger also.

Diet

Vinegar may help with Hydrochloric Acid DeficiencyVinegar
Apple cider vinegar or lemon juice taken with meals mildly stimulates hydrochloric acid production.

Digestion

Hydrochloric Acid (Trial) is highly recommended for Hydrochloric Acid DeficiencyHydrochloric Acid (Trial)
Some people with low stomach acid have no symptoms that are obviously related, and are led to believe they are digesting properly, when they are not.  An HCl trial is a safe, worthwhile, and relatively accurate way to discover if an insufficiency exists.  Since the long-term administration of supplemental HCl may result in reduced stomach output of acid, administration is advised for diagnostic purposes and short-term use only.  Short-term use may result in a return of normal acid production.
Digestive Enzyme (Trial) is highly recommended for Hydrochloric Acid DeficiencyDigestive Enzyme (Trial)
A trial using plant-based enzymes to enhance digestion demonstrated their additional benefit of improving hydrochloric acid production in those individuals who were hypochlorhydric.

Vitamins

Folic Acid may help with Hydrochloric Acid DeficiencyFolic Acid
In cases of low stomach acid (hypochlorhydria) or no stomach acid (achlorhydria), supplemental use of hydrochloric acid normalizes folate absorption.
Vitamin B-Complex may help with Hydrochloric Acid DeficiencyVitamin B-Complex
Several B-vitamins are needed to support hydrochloric acid production.
Inositol Hexaniacinate may help with Hydrochloric Acid DeficiencyInositol Hexaniacinate
Inositol hexaniacinate might play a role in both the reduction of achlorhydria-related symptoms and in augmenting gastric acid secretion.  It may enhance the production of hydrochloric acid in a manner that cannot be explained by it simply being an acid.  Its benefits may be due, in part, to its stress-moderating properties upon the central nervous system.

KEY

Weak or unproven link: may be a sign or symptom of; may suggest
Weak or unproven link:
may be a sign or symptom of; may suggest
Strong or generally accepted link: is often a sign or symptom of; often suggests; often increases risk of; often leads to
Strong or generally accepted link:
is often a sign or symptom of; often suggests; often increases risk of; often leads to
May be useful: may help with
May be useful:
may help with
Moderately useful: often helps with
Moderately useful:
often helps with
Very useful: is highly recommended for
Very useful:
is highly recommended for