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The Importance of Hydrochloric Acid in Digestion

When you think of hydrochloric acid (if you think about it at all!) you probably think of the dramatic uses for this chemical in movies, on TV, and from news stories. This substance is dangerous and capable of dissolving almost anything, right?

Not exactly. Like anything, hydrochloric acid can be dangerous when it is used improperly and in high amounts, but it does have a natural and beneficial use in the digestive process. In fact, it is the main component of stomach acid, the natural acid that your body uses to digest food, extract nutrients, and promote regular health. Read on to find out what it does, who is at risk for being low in this substance, and how a nutritionist in Arvada can help ensure that your body has a proper level of hydrochoric acid.

What does HCL do in my body? HCL helps to sterilize your food as it enters your stomach, preventing harmful bacteria from food or the environment from entering your intestines and making you sick. But HCL is more than just a safety measure: This natural chemical triggers your body to release pepsin, an enzyme that is vital to your body’s ability to digest protein HCL also releases alkaline bicarbonate into your blood, maintaining homeostasis. Without HCL, your body cannot process minerals such as magnesium, copper, iron, manganese, or chromium effectively, and you may show mineral deficiencies.

Could I be low in HCL in my body? Many people suffer from low levels of HCL. Typically, this affects people over 45, those who have had gastric bypass surgery, or those who have had varicella—chicken pox, more commonly. However, this issue is also common in those who use antacid medications, such as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), H1/H2 blockers, or other forms of antacids to treat conditions such as ulcers or H-Pylori infection.

Should I supplement? How much? Before beginning any supplements, consult with a physician or a skilled nutritionist in Colorado. However, you may benefit from HCL supplementation if you suffer from digestive issues, fungal growths throughout your body, chronic fatigue, adrenal fatigue, anemia, asthma, or an immune disorder. In a cruel twist of fate, you may feel like you have too much acid, especially if you have acid reflux disorder, because being too low in HCL can show the same symptoms of indigestion, discomfort, bloating, and poor nutritional absorption.

To develop the best plan for your digestive health, consult with a professional nutritionist today. Kelly Crout, nutritionist in Denver, can help you to understand your body and the best way to keep it healthy through diet. Call 720-220-8256 today to set an appointment and start your journey to wellness!

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