Is Low Stomach Acid Damaging Your Health?

If you’re suffering from bloating, gas, indigestion, and frequently even heartburn, you may have insufficient stomach acid. Officially called hydrochloric acid, this compound is essential to digest protein into the building blocks of muscles, tissues, and even your genetic material—amino acids. Stomach acid also helps ensure the proper absorption of other critical nutrients, including:  niacin, folic acid, vitamin B12, vitamin C, beta carotene, magnesium, iron, zinc, and calcium.

As we age, hydrochloric acid tends to become depleted. Additionally, it is reduced by eating complex meals (that’s most meals), excessive eating, and high protein intake. And if you have a sluggish thyroid gland you may be prone to insufficient hydrochloric acid.

Not only can hypochlorhydria (as it is officially called) result in nutritional deficiencies it can cause fatigue, insufficient pancreatic digestive enzymes, and food allergies. But, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Here are some of the symptoms associated with low stomach acid.  Don’t forget to check out my article 12 Ways to Supercharge Your Digestion to discover ways to restore stomach acid and other digestion tips.

Keep reading to discover the symptoms and health conditions linked to low stomach acid…Some symptoms and conditions associated with low stomach acid:


Autoimmune disorders



Celiac disease


Diabetes mellitus


Dilated capillaries in the cheeks and nose (in non-alcoholics)

Distention after eating

Dry mouth


Fingernails that are weak, peeling, and cracked

Food allergies


Hair loss in women




Intestinal parasites–chronic

Iron deficiency



Multiple food allergies


Nausea after taking supplements


Parasitic infections

Pernicious anemia

Post-adolescent acne


Restless legs


Sore or burning tongue

Vitiligo (skin disorder involving white patches)

Source:  Slater, PhD, DNM, CHT, RNCP, ROHP, Cobi. Wellness News, August 27, 1012.

Subscribe to my free e-mag World’s Healthiest News to receive monthly health news, tips, recipes and more. Follow me on Twitter @mschoffrocook and Facebook.  Copyright Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD.


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Patricia O.
Patricia O.1 years ago

@H: Thanks for your input here. I'll be trying that!

Chi Hoo
C H2 years ago

OTHER things that can disrupt digestive activity:
1. Following a low-fat diet and consuming too much carbs, including sugars, starches/grains.
2. Following a high protein diet that restricts carbs and fats.

===Minimum daily requirements for Good Fats.
===Minimum daily requirements for Complete Proteins.
===oh, and it's probably a great idea to get plenty of fiber!
BUT...there are NO minimum daily requirements for carbs--ZERO--!!!
That is why the Inuit & some others, do so well on only eating fats and some meat.
They know how important fats are: one can literally survive only on good fats for a period of time--whale or seal blubber, for instance....better than trying to survive only on lean meat, such as found in rabbits--in fact, one can starve to death, by only subsisting on rabbit meat, or the equivalent.

IF one consumes only a high protein diet that approximates subsisting only on rabbit meat alone: one will develop what's often called "rabbit starvation".
The body cannot live only on protein. It will develop diarrhea, then dehydrate, then die, if allowed to continue longer than a couple weeks or so.

Many people try to restrict fats, eat high protein meal replacements, and still eat carbs; they gain weight--after perhaps a short bit of weight loss. They often develop digestive upsets of all kinds. Anxiety happens. More eating, craving, etc. There are not enough tools the body needs,to heal itself or operate p

Peggy Ausmus
Peggy A.2 years ago


Chi Hoo
C H2 years ago

A VERY simple test for low stomach acid:
==Cook one cup of peeled, chopped Dark RED beets in only water.
==Eat those beets using NO other food, no other pills or additions.
==Observe your urine output over the next 24 hours.
If urine looks to be tinged pink, in any amount, during the 24 hours post-eating the water-cooked beets, it means you lack enough stomach acid to handle proper digestion.
If your urine is normal yellow color, you have enough stomach acid, and disregard the second test.

Repeat the test, BUT, add real apple cider vinegar, about 1 to 2 Tablespoons, to them just before eating them.
Then monitor the urine output color over the following 24 hours.
EXPECTATION: urine should now be normal yellow color.

One could play with that, and try the test, while taking an antacid when you eat the beets, to see what happens to the urine color.

Sue Fowler
Sue Fowler2 years ago

Thanks for the info

Nimue Pendragon
Nimue Pendragon2 years ago

Read the other article too, thanks :)

Chi Hoo
C H2 years ago

Also, having unbalanced/low PROBIOTIC, can also cause a wide array of stomach and digestive and health problems.
At issue is,
1. The probiotic must be safe
2. The probiotic must make it to the small/large intestines alive.
3.The probiotic must deliver actual health benefits to the host.
The site listed here, is, of course, promoting some products.
But as good as those are, those are not the only products--the article is a very clear explanation to help understand the importance of PROBIOTICS--a good, wide variety of them!

While helping acid balance with "simples" like REAL apple cider vinegar, for instance, or adjusting the body pH using bicarbonate of soda, can be really helpful, those cannot replace millions of Probiotics.
We lose them daily, just going thru modern life.

When scientists studied all the remote cultures in the world that are them longest, healthiest lived, there were very few commonalities. But one stood out: all of them consumed fermented foods, daily. THOSE provide probiotics.

The more we learn, the better care we can take.

Lynn C.
Lynn c.2 years ago

Good grief. The symptoms list covers just about everything I see in the elderly today. Thanks for the head's-up.

Marian D.
Marian D.3 years ago

Ditto Sandra C.

karen n.
karen n.3 years ago

another good thing to read about is the rebound effect of takeing acid reduceing medications.