Why Stomach Acid is Good For You & Why You Should Avoid OTC Or Rx Acid Blockers

Hi, Dr Minkoff here

There seems to be a campaign going on in the universe of medicine that stomach acid is evil and bad, and that you should get rid of it And what's almost as bad as statins for cholesterol, is taking medication to block stomach acid There's something like 25 million prescriptions per month from people who take this drug by prescription– drugs that block stomach acid And there's probably double or triple that of people who take these drugs because now they're available over-the-counter I had a very interesting patient this week who came in

She was on Omeprazole, which is Prilosec It's one of these drugs that's sold six billion a year, or something like that It's a big drug And after she was prescribed the drug because she was having some vague kind of throat pain, she went to the Physicians Desk Reference, and she looked up that the drug is only recommended to be prescribed for a two-week period And she went back to her gastroenterologist and she said "Well, I'm only supposed to be on this for two weeks

" He says, "Never mind, you're probably going to be on it for the rest of your life" She's in probably her late 30s So this is the attitude of gastroenterologists And I just want to call attention to it and I want to give you some information about it so you can think with it This title "Why Stomach Acid is Good for You", was actually the title of a very good book by a famous physician, who explained why stomach acid is good for you

His name is Jonathan Wright He's one of my mentors And if you look up that book, "Why Stomach Acid is Good for You", you'll learn a lot But this is the synopsis of it: In a normal stomach, here's the esophagus, here's the stomach, here's the small intestine starting In a normal stomach when you eat, the cells in the stomach are able to produce high levels of hydrochloric acid Now, acids are measured with this thing called "pH", which is the concentration of the hydrogen in the liquid

Now, Very Acid is 1, Water is 7, so no acid, and Very Alkaline is 14 So, it runs from Very Acid to Very Alkaline The stomach is able to produce stomach acid in a pH of 1 to 2, so it's Very Acid Now, our stomachs have a very specific kind of lining with mucus that protects our own body from being burned And when this happens, it triggers a valve that's between the esophagus and the stomach, (this is the esophagus) to close

The esophagus does not have this special lining So, if acid goes back up, it's going to burn So, if the person has symptoms of heartburn, with medicine, GERD (gastrointestinal reflux disease), or sometimes the reflux goes back up, they'll feel sort of sharpness in their throat or soreness in their throat I actually even had a patient this week where it was bubbling up and he was having trouble swallowing and the food was actually going into his lungs and causing pneumonia He had pneumonia three times over a couple months because the contents from his stomach were coming up and when he was swallowing he was having trouble and the stuff went into his lungs

So, many people who have this symptom are not producing stomach acid in the 1 to 2 range It may be in the 5 to 6 range Now that is still acid, if water is 7 and neutral It's still acid If the pH isn't 1 or 2, this valve doesn't close when you have a full stomach

And this stuff, pH 5 to 6, bubbles back up here and causes burning on the lower esophagus, and the symptom of, "Oh, man, I ate something bad", or "I went to bed and I got burning", and they go to the doctor He may look down here and see, "Oh, yes You have Barrett's esophagus You have burns along here, "and I don't see anything else in your stomach, but you have to go on one of these drugs to block stomach acid" Nexium, Tagamet, Prilosec

There's lots of them They all basically do the same thing They poison the cells in the stomach so that they can't make acid and when you take these drugs the pH of your stomach is going to be 7 And then when the stuff burps back up, it won't burn you Now, we need a low pH because without it proteins don't get digested

And minerals, like magnesium, don't get absorbed And when's the last time you ate sterile food? You know, like you boiled your food to boiling temperature before you ate it? You had an apple or you had ate something, so the food that we eat isn't sterile And that food has bugs in it It has parasites It has bacteria

It has other things And when they come down here, if the pH is 1 to 2, they get boiled in acid and they're done But, if your pH is 7, guess what's happening? Those guys get a free pass and they go in in your small intestine and now they can live because there's no destructive force down there to kill those guys And we see tons of people who have parasites and funguses and bad bacteria in their upper and lower intestine And we know that their stomach acid is virtually none, or they're on drugs to block stomach acid, and they can't protect themselves So, the worst thing you can do on this, is to take a drug to block it even more Now we know that sometimes foods bother people and there was a very famous ad about a guy who had some spaghetti or some pizza with tomato sauce and he got he got GERD symptoms

and then it shows he took the drug, and so before he goes out to an Italian restaurant he takes the drug and then he won't get a stomachache And that's kind of like giving yourself anesthesia in your hand and then touch something hot, you know, it's just stupid So he may have a food allergy or he can't digest it because he doesn't have the right pH And so what we need to do is, sometimes we have to give people, as therapy, stomach acid We give them, it's called Betaine, hydrochloride

Hydrochloride is hydrochloric acid And if we give them, with their meals, hydrochloric acid, the pH goes 1 to 2 This valve closes This valve opens And their GERD goes completely away

And this happens more often than not And then they're able to wean off their medication And then they don't need it And the physiology of their stomach is put back together so that they will digest proteins, they will absorb minerals, and they will kill the bad guys that come in with their food And then health-wise they're way better

So, if you have GERD, the first easiest thing to do is, we'll obviously avoid foods that bother you, but the second thing is, is you may need a digestive enzyme that's got hydrochloric acid to take with your food And generally what we do is we have them increase the number of tablets until either the GERD goes away, or if they're getting too much hydrochloric acid, there will be a little burning after the meal, that means you've reached too much For most people, it's 1 to 3 of a digestive enzyme that's got hydrochloric acid, and then once you know your amount, whenever you have a regular meal, just take it with it And with that you can handle your own GERD, and you won't need to go to the doctor, and you'll save yourself from a lot of other stuff like, like low proteins and low minerals, and picking up bad bacteria Okay? So, take away: If you've got GERD, there's a solution

And the solution is in here–take digestive enzymes with hydrochloric acid Of course, if you're really bad you go to a doctor and you get looked at But this is something that most people can do Some people find that they just take some apple cider vinegar with their meals, because that's a mild acid It will do the trick and it will get them there

Okay? Hope this helps

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