What is Hypochlorhydria?

Hypochlorhydria, often referred to as low stomach acid, is a condition in which the stomach produces an insufficient amount of hydrochloric acid. This condition has been linked to many health problems, including indigestion, nutrient deficiencies, and an increased risk for bacterial infections and intestinal disorders

Causes of Hypochlorhydria

Environmental and lifestyle factors are known to contribute to hypochlorhydria. These include poor diet, drinking too much alcohol, smoking, and exposure to toxins or pollutants. In some cases, hypochlorhidria may be caused by the use of certain medications, such as proton pump inhibitors, which reduce the production of gastric acid.

Symptoms of Hypochlorhydria

The most common symptom of hypochlorhidria is difficulty digesting food, including feeling abdominal pain or discomfort, bloating, heartburn, indigestion, nausea, and vomiting after eating. Other symptoms can include:

  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Gas
  • A feeling that food is not properly digested
  • Weakness/fatigue
  • Food allergies or sensitivities
  • Nutritional deficiencies

Diagnosis of Hypochlorhydria

Hypochlorhydria is usually diagnosed using a test called the Heidelberg test. During the test, a small tube with a special sensor is inserted into the patient's stomach and records the amount of hydrochloric acid being produced. Another common test is the gastrin test, which measures the levels of gastrin, a hormone that stimulates the production of hydrochloric acid.

Treatment of Hypochlorhydria

The goal of treating hypochlorhidria is to address the underlying cause. Depending on the cause, treatment may involve dietary changes, lifestyle modifications, and the use of supplements to increase stomach acid production. If the underlying cause is medication-related, it may be necessary to switch to an alternative medication.