An introduction to the causes of low stomach acid
Hydrochloric acid, also known as stomach acid, is released from parietal cells in the stomach. For many different reasons, the composition and production of stomach acid may waver.
This page describes some of the more common causes of low levels of stomach acid.
As we age we become less efficient at producing stomach acid. Other risk factors which can contribute which may become more prominent as we get older include stress, poorer diet choices, nutritional deficiencies or infections.
Deficiency in vitamins and minerals
Sufficient amounts of zinc and B vitamins are particularly important for the production of stomach acid. Therefore, a poor diet or one lacking in a nice variety of essential vitamins and minerals, can hinder the process.
This can advance into a vicious cycle as low levels of stomach acid results in the poor absorption of many vitamins minerals - but these are required for the production of stomach acid!
A common bacterial infection which can affect stomach acid production is that caused by Helicobacter pylori (H. Pylori). H. Pylori inhabits the protective mucous barrier lining the stomach in many people (thought to be approximately 50% of the population).
On some occasions, their presence doesn’t cause us much harm but in others it can give rise to inflammation, making our stomach lining more vulnerable to damage by our acidic stomach acid. This inflammation of the stomach is also known as gastritis.
The bacteria can also affect the production of stomach acid, this can increase or decrease depending on the areas of the stomach that are inflamed.
Your thyroid function can also have an influence on stomach acid production.
People with an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) produce less gastrin – the hormone which stimulates the release of hydrochloric acid from the parietal cells of the stomach.
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