(NaturalNews) Leaky gut syndrome is a condition in which the lining of the gut is damaged to the point that nutrients cannot be assimilated and toxins are allowed to pass through the gut wall. There are many theories about what causes leaky gut syndrome, but one of the most compelling is the idea that low stomach acid levels are a primary factor in damage to the gut lining.
How Low Stomach Acid Damages Gut Lining
The main reason low stomach acid can contribute to an unhealthy gut is undigested food. Healthy levels of stomach acid are required to digest and assimilate nutrients like proteins and complex starches. When these pass undigested out of the stomach, they become a feeding ground for pathogenic organisms like candida. As the balance of gut flora is altered, digestion is adversely affected and the lining of the gut is weakened over time.
Another way low stomach acid damages digestive health is by allowing pathogenic bacteria to pass from the stomach into the rest of the gut. When the stomach is sufficiently acidic, harmful bacteria are killed swiftly by the acidic environment. When the stomach pH is too high because acid levels are too low, these bacteria survive and pass into the gut where they cause a slew of problems, including leaky gut syndrome.
How to Naturally Increase Stomach Acid Levels
- Avoid the use of antacids. These do nothing but cover up a symptom. If heartburn or acid reflux is a genuine problem, this is actually one more sign that your stomach acids might be too low, not too high. A weakened lower esophageal sphincter is actually the cause of heartburn and acid reflux, not elevated stomach acid levels.
- Uncover any food allergies and avoid those foods. Food allergies, especially dairy allergies, are known to cause problems with stomach acid levels as well as overall gut health.
- Take a teaspoon or two of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar in a small amount of water before meals. For those with mildly low stomach acid levels, this is often enough to greatly improve digestion.
- Try taking herbal digestive bitters to stimulate digestive juices. These have been used for centuries in traditional cultures to improve digestion and overall health.
- Take betaine hydrochloric acid with pepsin during meals. Most adults need between 3-7 capsules per meal to aid digestion.
Elizabeth Walling is a freelance writer specializing in health and family nutrition. She is a strong believer in natural living as a way to improve health and prevent modern disease. She enjoys thinking outside of the box and challenging common myths about health and wellness. You can visit her blog to learn more: www.livingthenourishedlife.com/2009/10/welco...