Indigestion is big business in the United States. Americans spend more than 7 billion dollars per year on acid suppressing drugs and over 4 billion dollars per year on over-the-counter antacids.
Most people assume that too much stomach acid is the cause of acid indigestion and take acid suppressors. Surprisingly, the primary cause of indigestion in over 90 percent of the people is not enough stomach acid – yes, I meant not enough stomach acid.
Stomach acid is good and necessary for health. Stomach acid is essential for proper digestion and healthy immune response. Blocking stomach acid for long periods can lead to other health problems. When stomach acid is low, many essential nutrients cannot be absorbed. These include amino acids, vitamins and essential minerals such as iron, calcium and zinc.
Common symptoms of low stomach acid include gas, indigestion, iron deficiency, dilated blood vessels in the cheeks and nose, chronic yeast and fungal infections, chronic intestinal parasites, weak fingernails, acne, and nausea after taking supplements. Diseases associated with low stomach acid include eczema, gallbladder disease, hepatitis, osteoporosis, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, and asthma.
An easy way to tell if you are part of the 90 percent with too little stomach acid is to take 1 tablespoon of either lemon juice or raw apple cider vinegar in a small amount of water at the beginning of a meal. If this lessens or eliminates indigestion, then chances are your stomach does not produce enough acid. A good natural remedy for this kind of indigestion is HCl and pepsin or a product called Food Enzymes.
If you are part of the 10 percent with enough stomach acid, but a bad stomach lining, you will want something to help repair the lining so it functions normally. I like products with deglycyrrhized licorice to support the stomach lining and inhibit H.pylori – a bacteria that lives on damaged stomach linings. My favorite product that helps repair the stomach lining is called Gastro Health.
Here is some more information so you can troubleshoot your own stomach issue. Stomach acid production tends to decline with age. The stomach lining suffers damage from certain things that we ingest such as aspirin, ibuprofen, coffee, chocolate, potassium chloride tablets and iron salts.
Food allergies are also a culprit in indigestion. Certain foods cause inflammation in our digestive tract. An inflamed digestive tract cannot perform normally. Almost everyone in the United States has a food allergy to white flour and products made with white flour. Other common food allergens that lead to indigestion include orange juice, coffee, and milk. Try 2 weeks without these foods and see if your digestion improves.
Having good digestion is essential to good health. Over the years, I have seen many conditions improve to go completely away once digestive issues were resolved. Try some natural steps to improve your digestion – you might be surprised at how good you feel.
Margaret Durst owns The Green House, a vitamin, herb and health food store in Mason, Texas. www.naturalcowgirl.wordpress.com