SYMPTOMS OF LOW STOMACH ACID
Symptoms of low stomach acid include gas, bloating or constipation ...especially when taking calcium tablets for osteoporosis prevention or treatment.
Gas, bloating and constipation can all be symptoms of low stomach acid when taking calcium supplements. In the short term:
...and finally, try different supplements (after referring to the Best Calcium section) until you find one that suits you and meets the recommended dietary requirements for osteoporosis prevention. Calcium comes in chewable tablets and also in liquid form.
Food based supplements may also be easier on your stomach as may calcium citrate...although more tablets will be required to meet a daily requirement of 1,500 mg.
It is also important to investigate acid balance within your stomach to see if there is a larger issue that may be affecting your ability to absorb calcium. When someone is affected by bloating, heartburn, gas, and indigestion…these may be symptoms of low stomach acid rather than too much acid as most people believe. Taking an antacid such as TUMS to prevent osteoporosis could further reduce the already depleted amount of stomach acid which is needed to absorb vitamins and minerals.
In a healthy digestive system, the proper concentration of stomach acid—also known as hydrochloric acid (HCl)- kills unhealthy bacteria and fungi that are normally ingested with food and assists the body to absorb nutrients. If the HCl concentration is too low, a chronic condition called hypochlorhdyria develops. Some research suggests that low stomach acid affects a significant portion of the North American population and especially the elderly...as stomach acid production naturally decreases with age.
A low output of HCl can lead to chronic nutrient deficiencies as the body’s ability to absorb vitamins, amino acids, and minerals is compromised. Prolonged nutrient deficiency can set the stage for many chronic conditions including osteoporosis.
There are a number of things that can cause an imbalance in your stomach acid:
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Symptoms of low stomach acid may include any of the following:
The symptoms of low stomach acid closely mimic those of excess stomach acid-so it is important to test stomach acidity before you begin treating the symptoms. Maintaining a healthy balance of stomach acid is essential for preventing osteoporosis.
STOMACH ACID TESTS
The following tests will help you discover whether you’re suffering from a stomach acid imbalance:
To test your current stomach acid, look for a pH paper kit in your local health food store. The test is relatively straightforward and will help you determine your acid/alkaline balance.
Comprehensive Digestive Stool Analysis
This test reveals undigested protein fibers in the stool which is a symptom of low stomach acid.
Blood tests can reveal pernicious anemia- a disorder in which the body does not absorb enough vitamin B12 from the digestive tract due, in part, to low stomach acid levels.
Diets that help to balance stomach acid are also excellent for osteoporosis prevention. In addition to having lots of fruits and vegetable in your diet (rather than too much meat) adding the following foods to your menu can help address symptoms of low stomach acid:
The best yogurts are the plain, organic ones with live, active cultures. Look for the yogurts that include probiotics-which literally means “life giving.” Probiotics strengthen the good bacteria that help fight infection.
Kefir is a fermented milk drink that originated in the Caucasus region and is now widely available due to its health benefits. Kefir aids in lactose digestion, making it more suitable than other dairy products for those who are lactose intolerant. It also tastes great and is wonderful with fresh fruit.
Ground Flax Seed
Golden flax seed is yummy because of its nutty flavour. (Golden flax seed is slightly more expensive than brown flax but a lot tastier.) Flax is also great for increasing your fiber intake. I like to grind some seeds in my coffee grinder and snack on them during the day.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds supply the boron that is so great for healthy bones. People with Candida may find that raw or sprouted nuts and seeds are easier to digest.
For information on how one person used a vegan diet to deal with the symptoms of low stomach acid visit Night Time Acid Reflux.
FOODS to AVOID
Fortunately the foods that should be avoided to reduce the symptoms of low stomach acid- should also be limited to protect bone health.
Eliminating some or all of these foods is an excellent strategy for reducing the symptoms of low stomach acid.
MORE GREAT TIPS
Walking is a perfect exercise for moving the bowels and maintaining a healthy digestive system. A daily 30-minute brisk walk, preferably outside in sunlight, is a good start of any exercise plan.
Meditation, Tai Chi, reflexology, massage, yoga , and listening to calming music can also combat stress that may imbalance stomach acidity.
If you are concerned that low stomach acid may be interfering with your calcium absorption , it is especially important to ensure that your vitamin D blood levels are healthy throughout the year. Osteoporosis Canada reports that vitamin D3 can increase calcium absorption by as much as 30 to 80 percent.
During the winter months in northern regions, 5,000 IUs of vitamin D are often necessary to maintain adequate blood levels. The cost for six months supply is approximately $10.