Not half as sour as I should be
June 21, 2022 1:46 PM   Subscribe

So I have low stomach acid. Now what?

After weeks of persistent, constant gas and bloating, and pellet-like tiny poops (not with constipation though), I started taking a betaine HCL capsule and a Beano before every meal. Shocked, shocked to find out that the combo eliminates about 80 percent of the gas and bloating.
During my recent research, I've seen that low stomach acid can leave metabolic markers, and sure enough, my blood work from last year shows a couple of them.

I'll be seeing Western digestive specialists and primary care folks to get up-to-date metabolic panels and to request a specific low stomach acid test, but I'm pretty sure that will be confirmed.

So then what?
  • A lot of the gas and bloating is gone, and I'm pooping more normally too. However, I'm frequently tired during the day to the point where I nap a few times a day. For more fun, the food cravings are beyond the pale to the point where binge eating flared again last year. Hadn't done THAT for a couple of decades, and with poor digestion it's hell on wheels.
  • I've cut the amount of animal protein I'm eating, thinking that it's harder for my impaired system to break down, but honestly I'd have more energy on three burgers a day. That's been my experience for YEARS. I wish I could drop a lot of the animal protein, but not at the oft-proven cost to my vitality.
  • I take All Of the Supplements alongside the betaine and Beano: good quality multivitamin, electrolytes, Polyporus mushroom in dried form, shiitake to reduce the cholesterol that's currently being dumped directly into my small intestine (poor digestion, again), spirulina and chlorella algae, fish oil, Vitamins D3 / K2.
  • A Chinese medicine practitioner has recommended that I eliminate caffeine, all dairy, whole wheat flour, and nightshade foods. I've done so. He's also warned against excess consumption of bitter greens, interestingly: I guess my diagnosis has to do with excess heat (and humidity).
  • My Chinese medicine practitioner also recommended daily intake of Polyporus and shitaake mushrooms as well as algae. I'm following the instructions happily, and I'm also receiving acupunture treatments.
If you are a person who struggles with low stomach acid, or if you are a practitioner who's had success in treating it (including restoration of vitality and healthy metabolic panel results), I'd like to hear from you.
posted by Sheydem-tants to Health & Fitness (2 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I'm frequently tired during the day to the point where I nap a few times a day / honestly I'd have more energy on three burgers a day / I take All Of the Supplements

When you see your Western docs, ask for a full iron panel, full thyroid panel, and vitamins D & B12 testing. Impaired digestion means nothing -- not vitamins, minerals, nor supplements -- gets properly metabolized. Low stomach acid (hypochlorhydria, achlorhydria) is common in hypothyroidism and vitamin/mineral deficiencies, as well as being its own condition (sometimes preceded by H. pylori infection) doing advance work for other disorders.

[If testing shows you need iron supplementation: gut issues make oral iron especially inefficient. I wasted years on tablets and liquids. After iron infusions, my iron-deficiency anemia finally improved, my hypothyroidism is better-managed, and my digestion is better overall.]
posted by Iris Gambol at 3:40 PM on June 21, 2022 [4 favorites]

Best answer: I have hypothyroidism and low stomach acid. For years, I was never without Alka-Seltzer, believing that my frequent heartburn was due to high acid.

After I learned that I have low stomach acid, I followed the AIP elimination/provocation diet for 3 months to eliminate and reintroduce common problem foods. In addition to avoiding those problem foods, I also started eating organ meats from time to time as an easily digested source of nutrients.

Another big help is digestive bitters, which stimulate stomach acid by adding a bitter taste to the mouth. This does a lot to eliminate my remaining low stomach acid symptoms.

In addition to all this, I also changed my old habit of drinking a sizeable amount of liquids around mealtimes. I choose to have most of my drinks at a different time now, to avoid diluting my stomach acids.
posted by dog-eared paperback at 10:00 PM on June 21, 2022 [2 favorites]

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