Did you know stomach acid is actually good for you? Many people who think they have high acid levels actually have low acid levels. It is so important to test and find out for sure.
Proper stomach acid production is vital to unlocking perfect digestion. The digestive process downstream from the stomach is controlled chiefly by pH changes. When the food (chyme) in your stomach reaches a pH of about 2-4, the valve at the bottom of the stomach (pyloric sphincter) starts to slowly release the stomach contents into the duodenum. From here, the pH changes up and down as it travels through the intestines and out the other end.
If the pH is wrong from the beginning, everything down-stream from the small intestine to the large intestine will likely be compromised. Chewing your food well is the first crucial step to perfect digestion and stomach acid is the next most important.
Low stomach acid can cause diarrhea just as fast as it can cause constipation so don’t think that it’s only confined to one or the other. If you have any digestive problems at all, this is one problem you must rule out or you may never unlock total health.
There are several ways to test your stomach acid. Not all tests are created the same, but the cheapest and simplest is the baking soda stomach acid test.
This test works by drinking baking soda and creating a chemical reaction in your stomach between the baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and hydrochloric acid (HCL). The result is carbon dioxide gas that causes burping. Ingesting baking soda is an old school natural home remedy for upset stomachs. This test will only cost you about $3 if you need to buy a new box of baking soda. Many people choose to try this test first because it’s very safe, low cost and you can get started tomorrow if it is in the cupboard.
But, there are problems with this test. Overall all there are a lot of variables to control. Trying to minimize all the variables can be tough so performing the test 3 consecutive mornings to find an average might be best. By doing this, you’re looking for more of a pattern than a onetime test of “yes” or “no”. Also, to increase accuracy of the test, you must do it as soon as you wake up in the morning before putting anything in your mouth.
I’m unaware of any scientific studies that prove this method of stomach acid testing is either reliable or accurate. The results of this test can vary widely and it’s up to your interpretation, both of which are not ideal.
The Baking Soda Stomach Acid Test
Here’s the quick, at-home way to see if you have low stomach acid:
- Mix 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda in 4-6 ounces of cold water first thing in the morning before eating or drinking anything.
- Drink the baking soda solution.
- Time how long it takes you to belch. Time up to five minutes.
If you have not belched within five minutes stop timing.
In theory, if your stomach is producing adequate amounts of stomach acid you’ll likely belch within two to three minutes. Early and repeated belching may be due to excessive stomach acid (but don’t confuse these burps with small little burps from swallowing air when drinking the solution). Any belching after 3 minutes indicates a low acid level.
Because the time frames can vary person-to-person, as well as how they drink the solution, this test is only a good indicator that you might want to do more testing to determine your stomach acid.
This test is not accurate enough to rule out low stomach acid. To rule out low stomach acid you will need to try the Heidelberg test or Betaine HCL challenge test.