Welcome Green Monsters! We're your online guide to making conscious choices that help people, animals and the planet.
Download food monster: the biggest, baddest, yummiest vegan food app!
Buy the #EatForThePlanet book



Tips to Improve Stomach Acid Levels Needed for Good Digestion


Stomach acid doesn’t sound too appealing, but surprisingly, without it, digestion can greatly suffer. Many things contribute to digestion, such as everything from when and how relaxed you are when you eat, how much sleep you get, possible food reactions, along with the efficiency of your small intestine, liver, gallbladder, pancreas and large intestine. Boy, that’s a lot of work! But each part of digestion is needed for nourishing all your organs, along with your endocrine and nervous system health (which also affect digestion on their own).

The Deal With Stomach Acid

Stomach acid is naturally found in the body on purpose, and in the right amounts, it can help break down your food efficiently, due to the body naturally containing hydrochloric acid (HCL). Digestive enzymes also help improve stomach acid utilization and overall digestion, which is one reason they have become so popular today. Both HCL and enzymes decrease with age since we produce less, and when we abuse our digestive system by making poor food choices, along with taking in chemicals, and not managing our stress, these natural enzymes and HCL also decrease or become less efficient. When we eat more often than our bodies need or overconsume high doses of fats and proteins, acid production is weakened, which is usually when problems arise. Decreased HCL production may lead to poor digestion, with symptoms such as gas, bloating, and general discomfort.

How to Improve Digestion With Betaine HCL

We’re starting to learn just how deficient some people are in natural HCL levels and it’s a common experience among people that eat healthy diets. Since animal foods are so acidic, they naturally cause more stomach acid, but they aren’t the answer to improving stomach acids due to the negative consequences they come with. Too much of them can actually decrease stomach acid levels, so why confuse our bodies more than necessary?

Luckily, there are things you can do to improve your hydrochloric (HCL) stomach acid levels without giving up a healthy diet. When your body produces enough stomach acid, you should have less pain, gas, and overall digestive problems. A quality digestive enzyme supplement with HCL added (also called Betaine HCL on the label) is a great idea to consider or a standard Betaine HCL supplement, available everywhere now.

If you want to take a supplement, they have been shown to improve digestion and the uptake of nutrients to cause less pain and overall a better digestive experience. Keep in mind that inadequate HCl levels can cause iron deficiency anemia (due to the poor absorption during digestion) and even osteoporosis due to the decreased  amount of calcium absorption. Allergies and the poor food breakdown, and even leaky gut syndrome are also associated with low HCL. Diabetics also have lower secretions, as do those ezcema, psoriasis, dental disease, and candida yeast overgrowth. Chronic low stomach acid levels can even cause a rise in bacteria, yeasts, and parasites.

 Foods That Help Increase HCL

Foods in the diet also help the body produce more HCL naturally over time, though may not be as quick acting as a supplement. These foods are: lemons, limes, apple cider vinegar, along with papaya, pineapple, and a high-quality salt. Though a low-sodium diet is healthy for many, some people can actually take in too little salt, which can decrease HCL levels naturally, hence the name hydro-chloric( with chloric meaning salt). A great idea to improve your stomach acid levels naturally would be to try making a HCL-producing meal, such as a large salad with some apple cider vinegar lemon dressing, and a sprinkle of high-mineral sea salt (such as pink Himilayan or true salt), and perhaps some miso (also high in quality salt that provides beneficial bacteria).

Too Much of A Good Thing?

Keep in mind that too much supplementation of HCL is not necessary forever. If you take HCL and experience heartburn, this is likely a sign your body produces enough on its own, and if you experience heartburn without taking a supplement, your body may be producing too much. If this is the case, adding more alkaline fruits and vegetables can help improve this quickly. Digestion is extremely important to your overall health, so always keep in mind of how it affects you and be willing to make changes as needed.

Lead Image Source: avry/Flickr

Want to read more posts like this? Sign up for our newsletter below!​

Browse through some recent posts below:

Fruits and Vegetables Lead to Longer Life, Study Finds

How a Plant-Based Diet Can Boost Energy Levels and Regulate Thyroid Hormones

10 Iron Supplements That Are Great for Women Following a Plant-Based Diet

How to Naturally Get Electrolytes on a Plant-Based Diet From Fruits and Veggies

electrolytes vegan veggies fruits

Disclosure: One Green Planet accepts advertising, sponsorship, affiliate links and other forms of compensation, which may or may not influence the advertising content, topics or articles written on this site. Click here for more information.

0 comments on “Tips to Improve Stomach Acid Levels Needed for Good Digestion”

Click to add comment
1 Years Ago

The chloric in Hydrochloric acid actually doesn\'t mean salt, it means that it\'s a molecule containing chlorine atoms. Before anyone asks, hydrochloric acid containing chlorine atoms doesn\'t mean stomach behaves the same way as chlorine - different chemical compounds.

What about the classic name of spirit of salt? That\'s actually because historically, HCl, before it was called that because scientific advancement weren\'t as advanced, was made from rock salt and green vitriol. "-chloric" has nothing to do with salt at all: Chemically, salt is compound that results from the neutralization reaction of an acid and a base, and commonly salt refers to NaCl: Sodium chloride.

3 Years Ago

The last time I had indigestion, after succumbing to the lure of the family\'s leftover mac\'n\'cheese, I tossed and turned with gas for an hour and a half in bed (which was warm!) before I got up and poured myself a glass of kombucha. In about ten minutes, the gas was gone - first one end, then the other - and I was out for the night. Expensive to buy, but easy to culture yourself!

Half a lemon (or lime) in hot water like tea is a great way to start the day, and I find it makes me less hungry in the morning, too.


Subscribe to our Newsletter

Follow us on

Do Not Show This Again


Submit to OneGreenPlanet

Terms & Conditions ×