Stimulate Stomach Acid Naturally
Having sufficient stomach acid is very important. It not only helps break down food and proteins, but it kills off any harmful bacteria in your food. If stomach acid is low, digestive enzymes may not work as well either.
Some individuals with low stomach acid take HCl (hydrocloric acid) capsules. But these should be taken only when stomach acid are in fact low and under the advice of a medical professional. Because taking these when you have enough stomach acid can burn your stomach. If you feel a warm and/or burning sensation when taking the HCL capsules, you are taking too much. Always take with meal containing protein and fat. And never take more than 5 capsules.
Some practitioners use the "HCL challenge" reach this "burning limit" to determine if stomach acid are too low. But others say this is wrong. HCL challenge can produce a burning sensation if mucousal lining is damaged. The Heidelberg ph test is probably most accurate for detecting low stomach acid, but it is invasive and expensive. Some say that Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis correlates with the results of the Heidelberg test.
In any case, a safer more natural way to stimulate stomach acid production is to
- drink lemon water (preferably room temperature or slightly warm)
- a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in a cup of water (preferably room temperature or slightly warm)
- digestive bitters
- decrease stress during mealtimes
The book Digestive Health with Real Food writes ...
"... you can take digestive bitters or apple cider vinegar or lemon juice mixed with water a few minutes before your meals to stimulate stomach acid production naturally. Stress can also reduce the acidity of your stomach..." [page 67]
Digestive bitter herbs includes the following that the book mentions...
"The most popular blend is called Swedish bitters and includes but is not limited to aloe, manna, senna leaves, rhubarb root, angelica root, zedoary root, theriac venezian, carline thistle root, myrrh, camphor, and saffron." [page 189]
You can dilute with water but still need to taste the bitterness. Meal should be eaten no later than 10 to 15 minutes after the bitters.
Apple Cider Vinegar
In regards to apple cider vinegar, book writes ...
"one to two tablespoons (15 to 30 milliliters) of apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, or lime juice mixed in warm water 10 to 15 minutes before your meals. Raw sauerkraut or fermented pickles taken before the meal can also have a similar but milder effect."
Perhaps this is why traditional Korean cultures eat some Kim Chi before their meals. I prefer "raw apple cider vinegar with mother" -- you can find this a Whole Foods.
Author is not a medical professional and this is not medical advice. This is only opinion of the author at the time of writing.