When you have chronic heartburn or GERD, one of the first things your doctor will do is put you on a proton-pump inhibitor – or PPI. These medications “work” by reducing the amount of stomach acid you produce, which effectively solves the problem of acid reflux right?
Ehhh, maybe not. Although it seems counter-intuitive, in the majority of cases, acid reflux is caused by too LITTLE stomach acid, not too much. So when you already have too little stomach acid and then go on a PPI that reduces stomach acid even more, you’re in for some major side effects – the most common being headache, nausea, diarrhea, stomach pain, fatigue, and dizziness. And it’s likely that you’ll still be dealing with heartburn.
The Importance of Stomach Acid
Stomach acid is crucial to proper digestion and absorption, so when you lower its natural production, you’re also lowering your body’s ability to absorb nutrients, setting you up for deficiencies. Combine this with a poor diet and you’re in a rough spot.
So what’s the solution? Well, there’s no blanket solution of course, but if you suspect you have low stomach acid, you can do several tests at home, like the baking soda stomach acid test and/or the HCl stomach acid test.
Correcting Low Stomach Acid
If the signs point to low stomach acid, your best bet for long-term correction is HCl supplementation with digestive enzymes combined with a healthy diet.
While you’re working to correct your stomach acid imbalance for the long-term, the short-term solution is apple cider vinegar, which can help lower the pH in your stomach (allowing you to digest food more easily) and kill off any Candida overgrowth. You’ll want to take 1 teaspoon in 4 ounces of water first thing in the morning and then again before each meal.
But you can’t just get any old ACV. To be effective, it must be raw with the “mother” intact. The “mother” is a cloudy clump of living enzymes and nutrients — and that’s where all of the goodness in the ACV lies. Most ACV with the mother will say it right on the bottle, but you can tell just by looking. If the apple cider vinegar is clear, that’s an indication that’s it processed (and that’s not what you want). Apple cider vinegar that looks murky with a bunch of stuff floating around inside is what you want.