You work out like a champ, you eat a diet that puts the guru’s to shame and your personal trainer is on point. You count your macros, get adequate protein, consume the highest quality supplements, you definitely get enough healthy fats (you are obviously smart enough to know low fat is garbage…duh). So whats the issue??? You’ve looked into your hormone levels and they seem to be doing pretty good so what else could it be?
YOU FORGOT THE FOUNDATIONAL WORK!
Let’s get you back to basics.
The amount of patients I see clinically who have low stomach acid ends up being about 9/10, yup that’s a high number. You may be saying to yourself it’s not possible for you to have low stomach acid because you suffer from acid reflux or GERD, as a matter of fact you may even be on a prescription PPI‘s so this whole ‘low stomach acid’ theory doesn’t apply to you right? WRONG! These things are the worst possible solution, or rather NON solution. In most cases the original diagnosis was incorrect and now all you are doing is making things worse, much worse. PPI’s are a medication designed to stop the stomach’s ability to secrete HCL (hydrochloric acid). That’s a big problem if the issue was actually that your HCL was too LOW.
Stomach acid is a must for your digestive process. It aids in vitamin, mineral and all around nutrient absorption, it also plays a role in emptying the contents of the stomach and it helps the body protect itself from food borne pathogens (that’s a totally different post). Bottom line… we need it, especially if you are consuming protein, which last time I checked we all needed. When our stomach acid reaches a specific level it signals the release of pepsin, this is an enzyme that breaks down protein, it is essential. Without enough stomach acid (or more specifically the stomach acid reaching the appropriate pH level of between 1.5 and 3), we don’t signal for the release of protein digesting pepsin. Not great when you are trying to eat that steak/chicken or whatever your protein source is. You could be eating tons of protein (we are a over proteined society, but that’s another post) and not getting the benefits of it. We need protein to build muscle, so if you are feeling ‘soft’ despite training like a champ or you can’t gain lean muscle you may want to take a good look at your digestion.
Now you may be thinking to yourself that you don’t take PPI’s so you are probably fine. Nope… sorry! Any over the counter antacids are just as bad, so is the fact that we live in a stressed out world, we don’t chew our food and we wash it all down with liquids.
How can we fix it?
- Limit beverages during meals (yes this means water too). Liquids wash away our much needed enzymes. If you absolutely must drink, take tiny sips. Enjoy the wine before your meal not during it.
- Chew your food. Don’t rush your meal! You need to thoroughly chew your food in order to release sufficient enzymes and start the digestive process of breaking your food down. It starts with that first bite.
- Add digestive bitters as part of your mealtime regime
- Try an HCL test, shoot me a message and I will be more than happy to provide you with my protocol. It’s cheap and you can do it at home. (email@example.com)
- Manage your stress. We can’t escape stress so we need to learn how to manage it. Meditate, breathe and hit the gym.
For more information on how to get your digestion back on track or balance your hormones why not send me an email? I’m happy to help! firstname.lastname@example.org