National statistics state that at least sixty million people experience heartburn approximately once a month and twenty-five million people experience the symptoms daily. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), a more serious form of acid reflux, is the most common digestive disorder in the United States. Both conditions can have many different causes but the most notable cause that is presented in research is stomach acid.
Gastric (stomach) acid is composed of hydrochloric acid, potassium chloride, and sodium chloride, the stomach produces about 2 litres of it per day. Gastric acid is a digestive fluid secreted by the stomach parietal cells to break down food, mainly dietary proteins. Stomach acid plays many roles in human health and disruption of it can increase risk for various conditions. Stomach acid helps to break down food for nutrient assimilation, and without appropriate stomach acid formulation, there is an increased risk of malnutrition.
Stomach acid can be adversely affected by some medical interventions such as gastric bypass surgery which can dramatically increase the stomach pH from anywhere between 5.7 to 6.8 pH – which is not ideal. The people who have to get gastric bypasses have usually been unsuccessful with conventional methods of weight loss and are likely to have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 35 or more with other weight related health problems. As such their stomachs are much more likely to experience microbial overgrowth because stomach acid consists of hydrochloric acid and pepsin, which can kill bacteria within 15 minutes when the pH is less than 3.0. If the pH is raised above 4.0 then bacterial overgrowth may occur.
What is referred to as intrinsic factor is what is needed to absorb vitamin B12 in the intestine, and low stomach acid can cause parietal cells to decrease the amount of intrinsic factor they secrete. One of the ways that low stomach acid can give rise to acid reflux, is by increasing the intra-abdominal pressure which could cause your lower-esophageal sphincter to remain lodged open, which as you can imagine, is not ideal. Other issues that can arise from low stomach acid are, constant belching, flatulence, bloating, cracked fingernails, undigested food in the stools, these symptoms can then manifest into serious autoimmune diseases.
The general consensus that research puports, is the theory that heartburn is caused by excessive gastric acid and that it needs to be to suppressed. Drugs known as Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPI) are prescribed to decrease stomach acid production.
Research has shown that acid reflux does not have just one cause though, it can be caused by an erratic or weak lower esophageal sphincter, pressure from abdominal fat, decreased Vagal tone, hernias, low gastric acid production and bile reflux. Not taking all of these causative factors into consideration when treating these diseases with the PPI protocol can often make the disease worse.
Low stomach acid risk can also increase with age, making it harder for elderly individuals to break down certain foods down and absorb some nutrients. GERD has been shown to increase with age as stomach acid decreases. One study found that 40% of women over the age of 80 do not produce any stomach acid at all. Low stomach acid as the cause for conditions like GERD and Reflux have been stated to also be the cause of low stomach acid.
If individuals do not have adequate levels of stomach acid to break down the food after swallowing, then the food can remain above the stomach until it slowly breaks down, causing the esophageal sphincter to be stuck opening, making it to where food can travel back up. The reason why people assume that excess acid is the reason for their reflux is because low stomach acid and excess acid and manifest with the same symptoms.
While GERD does not have one single cause, most research points to the lower esophageal sphincter, and how it is aggravated when the esophageal defenses are weak and overwhelmed by gastric contents that reflux into the esophagus. The esophageal sphincter is in place to prevent acid backwash, because the lining of the esophagus is very delicate and the acid can cause irritation.
The esophagus extends between the lower edges of upper esophageal sphincter to the upper edge or lower esophageal sphincter. The lower esophageal sphincter has its own functions independent from the upper and will normally relax to allow swallowed food to pass through, however both structures work together to allow ingested food into the stomach while preventing reflux of gastric contents across the esophago-gastric junction into the esophagus, this area is also the passage for air and gastric contents during belching and vomiting. The junction between the esophagus and the stomach is regulated by a high-pressure zone that keeps it closed, which is why excess pressure from abdominal fat can be one of the causes of reflux and GERD. The esophagus is stimulated to contract by the vagus nerve so that food can move through, and a weak vagus nerve can affect the way digestion is started.
Another overlooked cause of low stomach acid is low Vagal tone. Adequate Vagal stimulation is required for all areas of digestion including stomach acid production, motility and bile excretion. Gastric acid secretion is divided into three phases. The first is the cephalic phase which is activated by the thought, smell, sight, and taste of food. The brain processes these stimuli and stimulates gastric acid production predominantly via the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve also relaxes the oesophageal sphincter: fatty, spicy or fried foods relax the lower esophageal sphincter as well as delay stomach emptying and therefore cause acid reflux..
Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are amongst the top 10 most commonly prescribed drugs in the world and they are routinely used to treat GERD, acid reflux, peptic ulcers and indigestion. The main role of PPIs are to decrease the stomach acid, however studies show that PPIs can pose more harm than good. PPIs such as Nexium, Prilosec, Zegerid, etc. are all overly prescribed for even minor episodes of reflux. These medications work by preventing gastric acid production, the gastric acid does not act immediately because the drugs need time to build up in the secretory canaliculi. The medications will only offer temporary relief of acute symptoms and does not address the cause of the GERD or Reflux, Moreover, long term usage can disrupt the internal balance of some Physiological processes. There are also cases of PPI-induced hypochlorhydria secondary to PPI prescription. Hypochlorhydria has long term detrimental health effects, such as autoimmune conditions, increased risk for osteoporosis, bone fractures, and impaired B12 absorption, iron and magnesium, as well as pathogen overgrowth in the upper GI tract.
Proton pump inhibitors have been found to alter the gut microbiome and increase the risk of serious gut infections and even SIBO. Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) is a serious condition affecting the small intestine. It occurs when bacteria that normally grow in other parts of the gut start growing in the small intestine. That causes pain and diarrhea. The gut microbiota plays an important role in host resistance against colonization by exogenous enteric microbes and the overgrowth of normal flora, (microorganisms that live in the digestive tract and aid digestion). Many Studies have found that proton pump inhibitors alter the gut microbiota and increases the risk of enteric infections. If there is Intestinal bacterial overgrowth, it could promote bacterial translocation; the passage of bacteria from the gastrointestinal tract to extraintestinal sites, such as the mesenteric lymph node complex, liver, spleen, kidney, and bloodstream.
A 2017 meta-analysis published in the Journal of gastroenterology found that long-term PPI use was associated with a 1.71 times greater prevalence of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. Many individuals that suffer with GERD are placed on proton pump inhibitors, contrary to popular belief many observational Studies have found that GERD is more so related to low stomach acid and not high stomach acid and the forced opening of the lower esophageal sphincter due to intra-abdominal pressure. Intra-abdominal pressure has also been found to be caused by SIBO. Proton pump inhibitors can exacerbate SIBO. So, it's almost like a vicious cycle, if SIBO can cause GERD and acid reflux, individuals are put on proton pump inhibitors which dilutes the very thing that can protect them against bacterial infections.
The use of proton pump inhibitors is also associated with iron deficiency. In a 2017 gastroenterology study, researchers found that gastric acid inhibitor use was associated with an increased subsequent risk of iron deficiency. This risk decreased after PPI was discontinued. Along with iron deficiency, long-term PPI use has also been found to increase calcium malabsorption, resulting in the increased risk of bone fracture. Proton pump inhibitor use may also may increase the risk of infection such as C. diff and Campylobacter. Difficile or C. diff, is a bacterium that can cause symptoms ranging from diarrhea to life-threatening inflammation of the colon. People with Campylobacter infection usually have diarrhea (often bloody), fever, and stomach cramps. Nausea and vomiting may accompany the diarrhea
Heartburn is the term used to describe a burning sensation and pain in the stomach and/or the chest. It may be accompanied by bloating, gas, nausea, shortness of breath, and/or an acidic, sour taste in the throat. Most people suffer from heartburn at some point in their life. It often occurs when hydrochloric acid, which is used by the stomach to digest food, backs up into the esophagus (the tube between the throat and stomach), causing sensitive tissues to become irritated.
Normally, the esophageal sphincter (the throat muscle) pinches itself shut and prevents stomach acid from surging upward. However, if the sphincter is not functioning correctly, the acid can slip past it and into the esophagus. This is known as gastroesophageal reflux. Conditions that affect the esophagus and cause a reflux of stomach acids into the esophagus are now referred to as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) rather than dyspepsia, chronic heartburn, or acid indigestion. GERD can strike anyone, at any age. GERD can scar the esophagus, and if stomach acid makes its way into the lungs, it can cause asthma-like symptoms. GERD can also lead to a condition called Barrett’s Esophagus Disease, which is characterized by the transformation of the lining of the esophagus to become more like the lining of the small intestine rather than the esophagus, which may induce cancer.
Indigestion (also called dyspepsia) is not a disease but rather an acute digestive disorder of the upper abdomen or the intestines. Symptoms of indigestion can include abdominal pain, abdominal cramping, inflammation, bloating, burning sensations after eating, chronic bowel irritation, chronic fatigue, and flatulence. Studies have suggested that the root cause of indigestion is temporal low hydrochloric acid, which is the main component of gastric acid produced by the intestinal glands, and is essential for breaking down and digesting solid foods. Insufficient amounts of hydrochloric acid will lead to indigestion.
Now that you know all that about your stomach, what can you do about it? H- FLUX is a product that can help balance your diet and strengthen your gut. You can now be less anxious about your gut health. When you are anxious, some of the hormones and chemicals released by your body enter your digestive tract, where they interfere with digestion. They have a negative effect on your gut flora and decrease antibody production. H-Flux can help alleviate your health concerns regarding your stomach.
Health Benefits of H-FLUX
H-Flux is all-natural supplement that is formulated with a blend of 12 specific enzymes that aids digestive system functionality, and helps protect the delicate lining of your esophagus from harsh stomach acids.
H-Flux provides nutrients that support rapid, long-lasting relief from the uncomfortable experience of heartburn and acid indigestion, and helps to eliminate unpleasant belching, bloating, and abdominal inflammation. H-Flux also supports the digestive system to soothe the mucosal lining of the stomach and gastrointestinal tract, reducing gastric acidity while supporting optimal overall digestive health.