Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Whoa! Not Enough Stomach Acid

I thought I had considered everything when I began addressing the issue with my low adrenals a few weeks ago but I missed something so I am slowing down and starting again more slowly. I discovered my low stomach acid needs to be fixed before I go on to other experiments with my adrenals and thyroid.

I figured this out when I tried adding the supplements for adrenal support to my existing supplement regime and developed bloating, gas, pain in my stomach, acid reflux, no appetite, which was really that my belly was so full of supplements there wasn't room for any food.

I learned in my Heal the Gut class this winter that I needed to supplement with HCL I suspected this was true for me because of the following symptoms: (the one that pertain to myself are starred)*

Belching or gas within one hour after eating* 
heartburn or acid reflux* 
bloating within one hour after eating*
a vegan diet* (I do eat organ meats, and sea food)
bad breath*
loss of taste for meat 
sweat has a strong odor* 
stomach upset by taking vitamins*
sense of excess fullness after meals feel*
like skipping breakfast *
feel better if you don’t eat *
sleepy after meals *
fingernails chip, peel or break easily *
anemia unresponsive to iron *
stomach pains or cramps 
diarrhea (chronic) 
diarrhea shortly after meals 
black or tarry colored stools 
undigested food in stool... 

To further test my need for HCL I followed this test:

Self-Test Instructions 

1.    Begin by taking one 350 to 750 mg capsule of betaine HCl with a protein-containing meal. A normal response in a healthy person would be discomfort – basically, heartburn (or a warming sensation in the stomach). If you do not feel a burning sensation, at the next protein-containing meal, take two capsules. 
2.    If there are no reactions, after two days increase the number of capsules with each meal to two capsules. 3.... 

Read More at © Divine Health

My test began ok, initially the HCl I was taking settled well but after a week or so as I increased my dose to 4 capsules a meal I began to get a very painful belly so I dropped back to three capsules a meal and still my stomach ached and felt like fire. I went back to two capsules a meal but I was still very uncomfortable so I stopped taking the HCl altogether to give my stomach a chance to settle down. Still I was having trouble digesting so I stopped ALL my daily supplements except the PCA spray for mercury chelation. Though the first trial did not go well, now that my stomach is feeling better I plan to switch to the HCL Betaine she recommended and try again advancing to a higher dose more slowly, like one capsule for a week, then if all is ok try two capsules etc. Once I find how many capsules I can take without any reaction I'll know if I need to daily supplement with HCL or not.  So, a normal person would feel discomfort with one 350 to 750 mg capsule of betaine HCl anything more than that indicates my HCL is low and I need to supplement. Ideally it would be great to never need the supplement with HCL ever. That is the goal.

I was also low in zinc. I found this out by doing this test:

Zinc Test- 
To start this test you should not have had anything to eat or drink (except water within 30 minutes). Swish with 1 TBS. liquid zinc around in your mouth for up to 30 seconds and note the second you taste something other than water. Write down whether it tastes like one of the following descriptions; 

-Strong unpleasant taste =EXCELLENT
-definite taste that gets stronger but is noted immediately= FAIR
-no immediate taste but slightly minerally, dry or furry = POOR
-no specific taste after 30 seconds= DEFICIENT
-sweet taste after 30 seconds = EXTREMELY DEFICIENT

Since zinc helps to build HCL it would be a good thing to get a gauge on whether you are deficient or not. Supplement with a few bottle of liquid zinc while working to rebuild your stomach acid. the liquid is more readily absorbed - since zinc is only pulled out of your food/supplements with adequate HCL this method is a good approach to help bypass digestion while working to rebuild the stomach acid. After supplemental zinc for a brief period retry the test to see if your status improves. 

I do not recommend supplementing with zinc over 50 mg. per day without adding in 1-2 mg. of copper. As with any mineral, it's best if you are supplementing for any length of time to consider working with a practitioner to make sure you keep all the minerals in balance. 

During the hiatus from my experiment I did some reading on Dr Tennannt's site and discovered this about stomach acid:

"The human body should never absorb proteins---only amino acids.  The way the system is supposed to work is that stomach acid breaks proteins into amino acids.  The amino acids go downstream, are absorbed, and the body makes its own proteins.
When you don't have stomach acid, whole proteins get absorbed.  The immune system recognizes that it didn't make those proteins and assumes they are viruses.  It makes antibodies to these food proteins.  Soon you are allergic to the foods you most commonly eat.  You have a "mini-flu" after every meal as your body attacks your food and thus you feel tired about 30 minutes after you eat.
The system tries to isolate these proteins and often stores them in fat---thus you gain weight.
The antibodies make your blood sticky.  This increases your risk of blood clots and makes it hard for the blood to pick up and deliver oxygen.  As your body oxygen levels drop, your metabolism gets worse and anaerobic microorganisms begin to grow.
This process often starts with GERD (gastro-esophageal reflux disease).  When you don't make enough stomach acid, you develop gas as your stomach tries to digest your food.  These gas bubbles are surrounded by stomach acid.  The bubbles float up into your esophagus and you belch.  You taste stomach acid and your esophagus burns.  Thus you think you have too much stomach acid when the real problem is that you have too little.
stomach acid

Your stomach feels better when you take antacids and/or drugs that shut down your stomach acid.  However, this insures that you will develop chronic disease!  You will become allergic to your protiens.  In addition, the body cannot absorb zinc without stomach acid.  Without zinc, you cannot make neurochemicals like serotonin, so you become depressed.  Zinc is also necessary for over 360 known biochemical reactions including proper prostate function.
Stomach acid is your "front door".  It is intended to help kill infectious things like bacteria, fungus and parasites.  Without it, they have an open invitation to invade your body.  It is like removing the front door to your home so anyone that wants to can enter your home and do whatever mischief they wish.
These problems begin when you can't make enough stomach acid.  Making stomach acid requires iodine, zinc, and vitamin B1 as well as water, salt, and CO2.  Almost everyone is deficient in iodine and about 80% of the population is deficient in zinc.  Many are deficient in the B vitamins.  Thus we have another reason for so many to be depressed and tired from reacting to their foods and obese as well.
***The solution is to correct your stomach's ability to make stomach acid by correcting these deficiencies.  This usually takes 3-4 months.  During that time, you must take a pill that acts like stomach acid.  It is called Betaine it is available at health food stores.  You should eat a few bites of food before you take it so it won't aggravate your stomach.  Take it with each meal until you have time to correct your iodine, B1 and zinc levels."

So in addition to being low in HCL, and Zinc I wonder if I am also low in Iodine? I suspect so based upon our water having fluoride, having symptoms of hypothyroidism, and other things that I will begin supplementing and look into getting it tested to be sure. In Dr. David Brownstein's book Iodine: Why you need it and why you can't live without it he gives some good guidelines for taking Iodine and testing for it.

This is now my new focus, the stomach acid. Once the stomach acid is functioning properly then I will be able to disgust the supplements needed to help the adrenals. So my new daily dosages are as follows:
Wake up:
Iodine (two drops)
PCA spray (8 sprays)
Zinc (1 cap)
B1 (1 tab)

Betaine (HCl)/meal
Vit C 1 cap/meal

Iodine (two drops)
PCA spray (8 sprays)
Zinc (1 cap)
B1 (1 tab)

Once I have adjusted to the Iodine, zinc and B1 I'll add back in the supplements for the gallbladder and then see about adding in the rest. 

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