You may not think about your stomach acid very often, but it’s one of the most critical components of your digestive system. If you have too much or too little, your digestion will be nearly impossible. Stomach acid, also known as hydrochloric acid or HCl, play many roles in your body, from helping break down protein to digesting vitamins and minerals. Stomach acid activates the enzyme pepsin. Without this teamwork going on your body would be unable to break down proteins into smaller molecules for absorption. They would continue to stay intact the way you swallowed it and miss out on being a supportive nutrient. Your body needs these proteins for most of its functions.
It also plays a crucial role in your immune system. Because it is so acidic, stomach acid kills any harmful bacteria, parasites or fungi that you may ingest with contaminated food. It is your first line of defense. Without stomach acid you wouldn’t be able to absorb Vitamin B12, which is essential for functions of the brain and nervous system. In our American Society we are seeing an ever increasing lack of B12 abortion and there for increases in fatigue, anxiety, lack of sleep and so on. This can be one of the many components to missing out on you B12.
The pH in your stomach falls around 2. The stomach protects itself from the low pH of the stomach acid by secreting and alkaline, bicarbonate-based solution. The bicarbonate neutralizes the stomach acid so that it doesn’t eat away its own lining. In a perfectly healthy gut, the stomach would produce just enough stomach acid to properly digest foods without causing any ill effects. Unfortunately, today’s fast paced lifestyle and modern diet wreak havoc on the stomach and production of stomach acid. Some people produce too much and others don’t produce enough. If this may be of concern for you, always consult your health physician for support.