The Importance of Stomach Acid

How a Folic Acid Deficiency Affects Stomach Acid

“A subtle lack of folic acid (a B-group vitamin) prevents the stomach from producing adequate hydrochloric acid; in a severe deficiency, none of this valuable acid can be produced. Without hydrochloric acid, protein digestion cannot occur in the stomach; minerals such as iron and calcium do not dissolve well enough to be absorbed; and the vitamins which are acids are largely destroyed before reaching the blood.

“Since this acid protects the body by destroying harmful bacteria obtained through food, a person lacking folic acid is susceptible to intestinal parasites and attacks of food poisoning. When folic acid is given to persons lacking it, the tongue and mouth heal, and the bone marrow becomes normal; except in pernicious anemia, the production of acid is resumed.”

How a Niacin Deficiency Affects Stomach Acid

“Even in a mild deficiency of niacin (another member of the B-group vitamins, aka B3), abnormalities occur in the digestive tract. Too small amounts of digestive juices are secreted; the stomach fails to produce enough hydrochloric acid or perhaps can secrete none at all. Many digestive disturbances result.

“Since the lack of hydrochloric acid prevents the absorption of calcium and iron, nervous disorders and anemia often occur. Whenever the digestion is faulty, food cannot be well absorbed; putrefactive intestinal bacteria live on the undigested food, causing gas and flatulence.

Constipation and Diarrhea

“Constipation is most often an early symptom, but as the deficiency becomes more severe, constipation and diarrhea may alternate; eventually only diarrhea occurs and may become extremely severe.

“A niacin deficiency can thus cause psychological disturbances and diarrhea simultaneously; the diarrhea is usually thought of as a result of the psychological upset itself, which indeed it may be. The conclusion that nutrition plays no part in these disturbances, however, is not justified until the diet is made completely adequate and every possible step is taken to assure complete absorption.

“In a more advanced deficiency, the entire intestinal tract becomes sore and inflamed; such inflammation may be most noticeable in the rectum and vagina and around the anus. Persons undersupplied with niacin often suffer from a feeling of strain and tension, insomnia, dizziness, nervousness, irritability, and frequently recurring headaches.

“When niacin in the form of yeast (Brewer’s Yeast) is given to such persons, their intestinal inflammation clears, and digestion is normalized; they become noticeably relaxed, and their sleeping habits improve within a few days.”

“Studies indicate that 60 to 100 per cent of the persons showing severe tongue changes are unable to produce sufficient amounts of hydrochloric acid in their stomachs; their output of digestive enzymes is far below normal. In such cases, digestion is so faulty that unless tablets of hydrochloric acid and digestive enzymes are taken temporarily, much gas, flatulence, digestive disturbances, and discomfort may be experienced.

“In fact, if your digestion is so faulty that you have intestinal gas after you add foods rich in the B vitamins to your diet, you can be sure you have been deficient in these vitamins.”

Very important: Sugar and starch (refined carbohydrates such as white flour, pastas, breads, etc) use up hydrochloric acid in the stomach and then not enough is left over for proper calcium absorption then we end up short of calcium and magnesium because they work together.

Excerpted from Adelle Davis

“Let’s Eat Right To Keep Fit”

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