Do you feel gassy and bloated after eating meals? While overeating can easily cause bloating, there’s another culprit that often goes unconsidered – low stomach acid production.
Your stomach relies on hydrochloric acid (HCl) to break down food and kill off any potential pathogens. Adequate HCl is especially crucial for digesting protein rich foods like meat, eggs, and fish.
When your stomach acid is too low, food sits in the stomach undigested for longer. This gives more time for fermentation by bacteria, which produces gas and causes bloating. Low HCl also means the stomach empties more slowly, allowing gases to accumulate.
Some other signs of low stomach acid include:
- Heartburn/reflux after meals
- Frequently needing antacids
- Feeling overly full after eating
- Nutrient deficiencies
- Weak immune system
- SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth)
What causes low HCl? Stress is a major factor as it redirects blood flow away from the gut. Insufficient chewing, eating too fast, and food intolerances can also reduce acid secretion. Advancing age is another common cause, with HCl output declining as we get older. Chronic antacid use likewise impairs HCl production over time.
Improving low HCl can prevent bloating and the many problems linked to poor digestion. Strategies include reducing stress, drinking apple cider vinegar with meals and taking HCl supplements like betaine hydrochloride.
Relieving bloating may be as simple as improving stomach acid levels. Work with me to determine if low HCl could be at the root of your discomfort after eating. With a few lifestyle changes and strategic supplements, you can get your digestion back on track and say goodbye to post-meal bloating for good within a few days.