Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is one of the easiest methods to improve digestion by increasing your stomach’s hydrochloric acid (HCL). ACV increases secretion of your stomach’s HCL needed in the metabolism of fats and proteins. Ideally, you stomach should have a pH of 1 and 2 – a highly acidic environment (on a pH scale of 0 to 14). Proper pH is required for your body to obtain the essential nutrients from foods. Food sensitivities (see the article in this newsletter on food sensitivities), pharmaceuticals, chronic inflammation, stress etc. can neutralize the stomach pH towards 4 (pH of table vinegar). When the pH is less acidic than a pH 1 to 2, it is called hypochlorhydria. A less acidic pH impedes our ability to breakdown foods and can result in acid reflux, burping, gas, pain in the epigastrum. Often patients will be misdiagnosed as having hyperchlorhydria, or rather too much stomach acidity, because they are experiencing acid reflux – when in fact it less acidity could be the cause of their digestive woes.
Causes of low stomach acid range from chronic consumption of sugary foods, eating too quickly, diluting digestive enzymes by eating and drinking at the same time, thyroid and adrenal disregulation, food sensitivities, high stress levels, aging – these can all be factors in changing our stomach’s ability to digest. Conditions associated with low stomach acid include gallstones, rosacea, low pancreatic enzymes, poor digestion and malnutrition, in spite of a good diet. An easy, and cost effective way to support your digestion is to take ACV before meals that contain fats and proteins. ACV that is raw and unfiltered, containing thin strands at the bottom of the bottle, ought to be your preferred choice. Take ½ tsp straight if you like sour or in a dash of water if you do not, 5 minutes before your meals.