Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Antacids and Hydrochloric Acid (HCl): What You Need to Know

It is now estimated that the sale of antacids in the US has reached $8 billion a year.  Antacids are used by some people on a daily basis for the symptoms of acid indigestion and its accompanying gas and bloating.  These products are designed to temporarily relieve symptoms. They do nothing to improve your ability to digest food.  Advertisements stating they are an excellent source of calcium fail to tell you that only a balanced diet and good digestion will allow you to use calcium fully. 

Hydrochloric acid is needed for the breakdown of protein in the stomach to help with the absorption of nutrients such as calcium and iron, and to control the growth of unwanted microorganisms in the digestive tract.

Stress and tension can inhibit the production of HCl.  Taking antacids can actually be harmful, as many people are suffering from too little acid, not too much.  A deficiency of HCl is normal in all forms of degenerative diseases.  Hypochlorhydria and achlorhydria are conditions in which the production of hydrochloric acid in the digestive juices of the stomach is low or absent, respectively.

Possible Deficiency Signs:
• Halitosis
• Digestive problem (heartburn, belching, gas, etc.)
• Mental fatigue
• Lack of appetite
• Bloating
• Paleness
• Calcium or potassium deficiency
• Pernicious anemia

Uses of HCl in the body:
• Breaks down proteins and minerals
• Digestion and assimilation
• Breaks down iron and delivers it to the red blood cells
• Calcium assimilation
• Helps maintain pH (acid/alkaline) balance
• Helps destroy bacteria ingested with food
• Kills paracites

Clinical Uses of HCl:
• Pancreatitis
• Pruritis ani (itching of the rectum)
• Indigestion
• Pernicious anemia

HCl is found in Hydrochloric Acid capsules and in the herb, Safflower.


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