Your stomach secretes acid which not only breaks down the food we consume, but also destroys bacteria and parasites that may have entered with the food. So, to have ample acid is protective, it protects us from harmful things entering with food. The food stays in your stomach churning for between 1-3 hours. At the bottom of the stomach there is a doorway called the pyloric sphincter, it is considered the quality control center for the system. It regulates the passage of food to the small intestines. When we have proper pH in the stomach the pyloric sphincter is triggered to release the food into the intestine. The first part of the intestine is a transitional area, the stomach contents pH should be between 1.5 to 3 and mucous is secreted to raise the pH so it can continue through the small intestine without doing damage.
If, in this first part of the intestine, the stomachs contents pH is higher than 3, your stomach contents will not be released until absolutely necessary. Food staying in your stomach too long can cause fermentation, putrification and maldigested food and lead to gas, bloating and back flow of food into the esophagus. It can also lead to a deficiency of B12 and other nutrients and proteins that aren’t fully broken down. The acid triggers hormones and enzymes along with bicarbonate to be secreted and if the acidity isn’t there, these signals are not produced which hampers additional signals further down the GI tract.
With the contents staying in the stomach longer, the mixing is still happening and it’s easy for acid to spill out of the LES, the classic sign that your stomach isn’t acidic enough. Less obvious signs of improper stomach acidity are food sensitivities, a diagnosis of an autoimmune condition, unexplained bouts of nausea or diarrhea, food sitting uncomfortably in the stomach after eating, acne, obesity, fatigue, pale skin due to anemia, muscle cramps, hair or nails that won’t grow, and seeing undigested food in the stool. As you can see, you may not have typical signs of low acid secretion, but so many small seemingly unrelated symptoms point to it.
Here's an example. I am 52 years old, about two years ago I noticed that I had some swelling under my armpits. I thought it was weird, so I started to work on my lymphatic system, drank extra water and spent some time in my sauna, exercised a little more. Nothing made it budge.
Would you think something like this was related to digestion?
It wasn’t until I started to optimize my digestion that it went away, within three months. Like I said, an improper pH can come in many forms and a lot of the time we don’t connect it to digestion.
How can you optimize digestion?
These remedies can get you started. You can find all the items in a regular supermarket. If you find that these aren’t working for you and you need more support, reach out!