How do I Know if I Have Too Much or
Too Little Acid?
Very often, the food we eat tends to sit uncomfortably in
our stomach, causing it to bloat. Whilst most of us feel relieved after belching, there are times when this food
causes heartburn and acid reflux. Interestingly, experts believe that some quantity of stomach acid that is
created due to eating is actually beneficial to our body. However, it is harmful and causes problems only when
it is in excess or in really reduced amounts. Knowing what causes such reduced or increased quantities of acid
in the stomach as well as its symptoms will help you avoid it and lead a healthy life.
Stomach acid and its advantages
As mentioned earlier,
contrary to popular belief, stomach acid is actually beneficial to the body. Primarily, it is absolutely
essential for digestion, especially of proteins whilst also helping in the absorption of nutrients like iron and
It is important to note that
lack of adequate quantities of liquid will lead to improper digestion of food, which in turn will lead to the
body not getting adequate nutrients. Similarly, acids in our body act as barriers against bacteria and other
parasites that enter our body through food. Lastly, with our food intake not restricted to healthy foods, the
ingestion of large quantities of acid rich foods is unavoidable. Under these circumstances, the creation of
stomach acids actually helps in removing the bad effect of these acid rich foods.
Symptoms of stomach acid
Before testing whether you
have too much or too little stomach acid in the body, it is important to understand the symptoms of stomach
acid. Incidentally, whether you have too much stomach acid or too little of it, much of the symptoms are the
same. These include belching, bloating, acidic or sour taste in the mouth due to reflux, abdominal discomfort,
heartburn, constipation or diarrhea. Other symptoms, which may or may not be present in all types of stomach
acid include acne, depression, food allergies, hair loss, especially in women, lack of energy and weight loss.
It is important to note that where you experience any one of these symptoms, chances are that you are suffering
from stomach acid problem.
Tests for checking stomach acid levels
It is pertinent to note that
there are several tests available today that help you to determine whether the acid levels in your body are high
or low. Here are some of the common tests that are available:
vinegar to diet: This is the simplest
test for checking whether you have too much or too little acid in your stomach. All you need to do here is to
include vinegar in your diet and monitor your reaction to the addition. In other words, add apple cider vinegar to
your food and monitor your reaction. If there is a marked decrease in your symptoms of indigestion, then you can
safely determine that you are suffering from too little stomach acid. And where it does not resolve anything, it is
possible that you have high acid levels.
Capsules: Being a slightly more
sophisticated test, this requires a visit to the physician, where you are given certain capsules. The patients are
required to swallow a capsule, which are basically radio transmitting devices. Once this capsule is ingested, it
measures and reports the levels of stomach acid in your body.
acid analysis: Another test for
measuring level of stomach acid is where the patients undergo a gastric acid analysis, which is a diagnostic test.
Here a nasal gastric tube is inserted through the esophagus into your stomach. A meter is present at the end of the
tube, which measures the level of acids in the juices that are present in your stomach.
test: This is perhaps the easiest and
the cheapest test that you can use for measuring the level of stomach acid in your body. Here the patient is
required to swallow Zypan tablets, which are basically tablets that contain betaine-HCL and other important enzymes
to enable digestion. If ingesting this tablet along with your meal controls the problem caused by stomach acids, it
is assumed that your body produces too little stomach acid.
Irrespective of which test
you use to determine the level of stomach acids in the body, it is important to remember that having too much or
too little acid is not healthy. Therefore, it is imperative that you take remedial measures to ensure that your
body secretes the adequate level of acids that it requires.