Your stomach uses hydrochloride acid to help digest the food you eat. It has the other added advantage of keeping unwanted bacteria at bay. He more acid you have the higher the pH of your stomach juices, the less bacteria can survive and the faster you can digest food. This is of course very high level and not a very scientific explanation but as long as you get the point that’s fine.
Things get interesting when your acid levels are lower. Firstly, your stomach cannot process foods as fast as it would with more acid. Secondly, unwanted bacteria starts to thrive. In particular the bacteria will thrive on the us digested carbohydrates (bread, crisps, pasta) sitting in your stomach. And what’s the matter with that I hear you cry, well the issue is bacteria create a lot of gas, litres of it actually. This all causes pressure, giving you that bloated feeling and helps push that acid back up into your oesophagus. It doesn’t end here though, for the most part the little valve that keeps acid in your stomach is strong enough to keep it down. But what if that valve was weakened or even relaxed, yep you’ve guessed up comes the acid. He unfortunate fact here is that some of our favourites, chocolate, coffee, alcohol do a good job of relaxing this muscle – spotting anything familiar? Coffee + chocolate + alcohol + bread = heartburn? That’s the reason, simple eh?
So the final part to the puzzle is to understand why you have low acid levels. As humans our acid levels drop over time as we get older, and based on your genes this may happen faster for you or slower. Not much you can do about that. What enhances this though is our good old friends, the heartburn pills and potions. They all are based around lowering acid levels. Sure it helps in the short term as it means there is nothing to push up the osopegus. But long term they are actually making you worse.
So that’s the reasoning, next post explains my experiment. See here