Hyper or Hypo Stomach Acid?
Answered by: Christine Dennis
Question from: Cindy
Posted on: March 21, 2008

My digestion/absorption is not as good as it should be. How can I determine if I am deficient in stomach acid?

Symptoms for hyperacidity and hypoacidity are similar in many ways such as burning and irritation. However the main difference are that with hypoacidity one experiences a pale tongue, burping, bloating and undigested food in the stools. These are generalizations but they are true most of the time.

The easiest way to test for hyper or hypoacidity is to take a tsp of apple cider vinegar. If there is little to no irritation then one is more likely to be hypoacidic. If there is irritation but it subsides quickly, then one also likely to be hypoacidic. If there is severe irritation and burning then one is likely to be hyperacidic.

I have difficulty taking a lot of pills and was wondering if there is an herb/combination that would "normalize" my acid level. Please advise as to its safety, how to take it, and for how long. How would I know when to stop taking it or would this be something I’d need to take for the rest of my life?

Bitter and sour herbs and foods help stimulate good stomach secretions. Herbs such as gentian, dandelion and barberry have been used for this purpose. To help cool or calm excessive stomach secretions, herbs such as meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria) and peach leaf have been used. Herbs to help reduce stomach irritation are slippery elm bark powder, licorice root powder, marshmallow root powder, chamomile or plantain leaf. These herbs are available for purchase from Richter’s.

The dosage and length of time a person would need to take such remedies would depend on the individual. If a person has experienced a great deal of stress over a long period then it is likly that the remedy for need to be taken for a while, say several months or more. This would also be true depending on a person’s age - the older one is the more likely that stomach secretions are reduced. Consult a local herbalist for help with specific dosing.

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