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Stomach Acid

Since the entire mystery of heartburn causes rests with stomach acid it is best that we discuss it in additional detail as well. After all don’t forget, our plan is to learn as much as possible about the condition so that we can regain control. This will also help us understand how our physician came to the conclusion that we in fact do have acid reflux. For that we will have to skim over how a normal digestive process works, and how that differs from what is going on in your body.

Before we even swallow the first bite off our meal, the sight and smell senses of our body engage and begin producing acid which is released into the stomach. As we start chewing and breaking down our food, a mucus or saliva is also released into the mouth. Our saliva contains an enzyme which helps break down the food and also lubricates the upper gastrointestinal tract. Our tongue is a large muscle which moves the food around and finally pushes it down the back of our throat, a place also called the pharynx.

This is where gravity gives a helping hand and along with the muscular contractions inside of the esophagus moves the food downward. The food then passes through a narrow opening of the esophagus also known as the lumen. The stomach is made out of many different layers which work alongside each other in order to extract all of the carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, reabsorb electrolytes and other nutrients from the food and fluid which we provide it. This is why it is so important to eat the right things, as otherwise your stomach is working very hard and not replenishing the energy. As with a car if it doesn’t get the right fuel or enough fuel it will eventually start breaking down.

The stomach can change shape depending on whether it is full or empty and a normal digestive process takes between minutes and several hours depending on the food. This is why we do not want to eat too much right before going to sleep as the acid is released and can cause additional damage while we are laying down. The gravity is not working in our favor and the stomach acid can easily find its way up the throat and to the back of our mouth burning everything along the way. This is one of the reasons why some people call it the silent acid reflux.

The most important part we need to understand is how the stomach walls work and this will allow for us to see what the medication does. The parietal cell or the wall is the origin of the stomach acid and it releases it based on one of three different triggers. The first one is acetylcholine, which neurotransmitter triggered by the vagus nerve based on our sense of smell, look and taste. It activates very small proton pumps to release the acid into our stomach. The second one is histamines which are activated as the food begins to stretch the stomach, and they also turn on the proton pumps to start acid production. Our last trigger is gastrin, a hormone, which moves through the blood stream and activates the proton pumps.

If everything is working correctly the food in its liquid form makes its way into the intestines. There are many reasons why things do not work as smoothly as they should but it is great to at least understand the regular process. This will come handy when we talk about the different types of medications, how they work and why they work.