Did you know that drinking a lot of water before and during a meal actually dilutes the acid in your stomach that is needed to digest your food properly?
Drinking clean water is good for you but drink it 30-60 minutes before or after you eat.
If you have digestive issues (IBS, gas, constipation, bloating, diarrhea, ulcers or acid reflux) consider adding Betaine HCl (Pepsin and Hydrochloric acid) to your routine. Although it sounds counterintuitive, having the proper amount of acid and digestive enzymes available when you eat may alleviate some of your concerns -even ulcers and acid reflux. Decreasing caffeine and processed foods, of course, will also help…
Let me explain….
Proteins are broken down into smaller molecules in the stomach by Pepsin. Pepsinogen is secreted by your gastric (stomach) chief cells but requires a low (acidic) pH in order to be broken down into its active form, Pepsin.
In addition, pathogenic bacteria (the bad guys) thrive in the stomach when the pH isn’t low enough or acidic enough. One in particular, the infamous H. Pylori, we now know is directly responsible for causing stomach ulcers -NOT acid!! Yes! A bacteria is responsible for that gnawing, burning sensation in the pit of your stomach -literally. We must crowd those out by reestablishing the correct pH in our stomach and replenishing the good bacteria, probiotics, in order to crowd out our uninvited guests.
Pepsin and other digestive enzymes in the stomach require a pH of 1-3 (acidic) in order to activate and work properly or they will denature (fall apart) and be rendered ineffective. The digestion process continues in the small intestine once the stomach has completed its job. As the contents of the stomach are dumped into the duodenum (the entry way into your small intestine) the acid is neutralized by the bicarbonate secreted by your pancreas into your duodenum and the digestive process continues from there by the enzymes produced by your pancreas.
Ensuring that this process occurs as designed helps to maintain a good balance of the beneficial bacteria in your intestines that influence about 70-80% of your immune system and actually produce necessary vitamins for your nutrition as well. (More on that another day). If you’re unable to take or tolerate capsules, chewable digestive enzymes may be helpful as well.
Happy Healthy Living!
Until next time…
Take Home Tidbits
Drinking a lot before you eat dilutes the stomach acid that you need to digest your food
Stomach ulcers (along with other digestive issues) are due to the presence of bad bacteria
Beneficial bacteria in your gut help digest your food and synthesize vitamins