When we think of stomach acid, we associate it with sour stomach, heartburn, indigestion and GERD. But did you know that proper amounts of stomach acid are essential for maintaining strong, health bones? Stomach acid not only helps to aid in digestion of your food, but also promotes absorption of key bone building minerals in your intestines.
The acid produced in your stomach is called hydrochloric acid (HCL). HCL triggers the production of pepsin, an enzyme that breaks down protein molecules in the stomach so they can be absorbed in the small intestine. Protein is critical for just about every function in our body and actually makes up approximately 50% of the volume of bone. But HCl is also necessary for proper mineral ionization and absorption. Low stomach acid can result in poor absorption of calcium, magnesium and other minerals that are critical to the structural formation of bone. So if you are taking medications that block stomach acid, you may also be affecting the absorption of key nutrients needed to build and maintain healthy bones.
Digestive symptoms like bloating, gas, indigestion or heartburn after meals may have your reaching for the antacids, but these symptoms may actually be indicating that you are not making enough stomach acid. Research shows that the natural levels of HCl and other digestive enzymes decrease as we age. By the time we are 60 years old, our production of stomach acid is 1/4th the amount produced when we were 30. Other factors such as stress, alcohol consumption, and poor diet can also impair the body’s ability to produce the proper amount of stomach acid. Taking an occasional or daily antacid will actually make the problem worse by further reducing the already depleted amount of stomach acid.
Although you might think that your daily digestive symptoms or the need for antacids are not associated with your bone health, digestive issues can absolutely be a contributing factor to bone loss. Optimizing digestion is one of the 5 critical steps in the BONES Method approach to maintaining and rebuilding healthy bones.
Contact me today to discuss how to address your digestive issues without the use of antacids so you can improve your digestion and save your bones!
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