Low Stomach Acid Symptoms, Causes, Natural Treatments - Dr. Axe

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5 Steps to Naturally Treat Low Stomach Acid


Low stomach acid - Dr. Axe

Here, I’m going to talk about natural remedies for low stomach acid.

The truth is, your stomach must be highly acidic to break down the food you’re consuming and for proper absorption. If you have acid reflux symptoms of any type — GERD, heartburn, etc. — or if you have a condition like leaky gut syndrome or inflammatory bowel disease, even most skin issues today, or a lack of certain nutrients, those are all major warning signs that you have low stomach acid.

To combat this issue, you actually want to naturally balance the pH level of your stomach. I’m going to talk about the top five steps you can follow and natural remedies you can take to improve your stomach acid and digestive function.

First, let’s discuss are some causes, symptoms, and risk factors associated with low stomach acid.

Causes and Risk Factors

Low stomach acid, also known as hypochlorhydria, is a condition characterized by a decrease in the production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach.

Common causes include:

  1. Aging: As we age, the production of stomach acid naturally declines.
  2. Chronic stress: High levels of stress can affect the functioning of the digestive system, leading to reduced stomach acid production.
  3. Helicobacter pylori infection: This bacterial infection can cause inflammation and damage to the stomach lining, which may reduce acid production.
  4. Pernicious anemia: An autoimmune condition where the body is unable to absorb vitamin B12, leading to low stomach acid.
  5. Gastric surgery: Surgical procedures that involve the removal or alteration of the stomach can affect acid production.
  6. Medications: Certain medications, such as proton pump inhibitors and histamine-2 (H2) blockers, can lower stomach acid levels.

Other causes include:

  • chronic illness
  • eating too fast
  • food sensitivities or allergies
  • high sugar intake
  • zinc deficiency


  • Indigestion: This includes symptoms like bloating, belching, flatulence and a feeling of fullness after meals.
  • Acid reflux: Surprisingly, low stomach acid can cause symptoms similar to those of high stomach acid, including heartburn, regurgitation and chest pain.
  • Nutrient deficiencies: Inadequate stomach acid can impair the absorption of nutrients like iron, calcium, magnesium, and vitamin B12, leading to deficiencies.
  • Food sensitivities: Low stomach acid can interfere with the breakdown of proteins, triggering immune reactions and food sensitivities.
  • Bacterial overgrowth: Insufficient stomach acid can allow the overgrowth of bacteria in the stomach and small intestine, leading to conditions like small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).

Other low stomach acid symptoms include:

  • nausea
  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • infection
  • undigested food in stool
  • hair loss
  • dry skin
  • bad breath
  • weak hair and nails

How to Treat Low Stomach Acid

1. Ingest Apple Cider Vinegar

The No. 1 thing you can do to start to balance this pH in your stomach is use apple cider vinegar right before your meals. I would take one tablespoon and just a very small amount of water. Apple cider vinegar is a great natural remedy because apple cider vinegar has a very low pH in balance with your stomach.

By the way, oftentimes I’ll add digestive bitters to my apple cider vinegar before a meal. You can get a little tincture of digestive bitters. In fact, bitters have been consumed for thousands of years right after meals or before meals to improve digestion.

2. Take Digestive Enzymes

The No. 2 step you want to start taking to improve your stomach acid are digestive enzymes. I would get a good digestive enzyme blend and take one to two caps right before your meal. You could even take that with the apple cider vinegar.

Digestive enzymes will help you fully break down those nutrients you ingest. If your stomach acid is too high, that will actually not allow you to break down the food you’re eating, so you must get plenty of enzymes.

That’s not something you should have to take the rest of your life, but it is something you should take for a time until your stomach acid balances out.

3. Add HCL with Pepsin to Your Diet

The No. 3 thing you may consider if you have low stomach acid is HCL with pepsin — hydrochloric acid with pepsin.

Now, hydrochloric acid is naturally created in your stomach. That is really the main thing that creates that very acidic environment to break down food.

But if you’re deficient in hydrochloric acid, and stomach acid itself, that’s not going to allow you to fully digest and break down things like protein, which, over time, can also cause a condition called leaky gut.

So you want to do everything you can to heal and repair your gut. HCL with pepsin is a great thing you can start taking on a regular basis to really help treat your GI tract, help fight things like acid reflux and improve low stomach acid. It’s also one of the best leaky gut supplements around.

Now, the trick with HCL is you typically want to take that while you’re under the care of a physician or start off with one capsule. By the way, you only take HCL with pepsin if you’re taking protein during a meal. If you’re not taking protein in a meal, you don’t want to use it.

If you’re getting quite a bit of protein foods in a meal — like chicken or beef — you want to take HCL.

When you get warmness in your stomach, that means you’re taking enough. You need to back it down.

Some people need one capsule; other people may need to take up to nine capsules of HCL with pepsin.

4. Eat Manuka Honey

The fourth thing you can do to improve low stomach acid is use Manuka honey. Manuka honey is a specific type of honey out of New Zealand, and this honey has antimicrobial properties.

People can develop things like SIBO symptoms — that’s small intestinal bacterial overgrowth — and the wrong type of bacteria in the stomach when they have low stomach acid. Manuka honey can help naturally treat conditions like SIBO.

Just take a teaspoon a day or a teaspoon twice a day. It can actually help in treating stomach ulcer symptoms, and it’s also great for low stomach acid.

5. Chew Your Food Thoroughly and Eat Smaller Meals

My last step here is a lifestyle tip. Those four natural remedies will help, but there are a few other things you want to do to help with your low stomach acid.

One of those things is to make sure you chew your food. So often we’re in a race through life, and we don’t take time to chew our food.

Chew 30 times, and then swallow — that’s my challenge to you.

By the way, if you’ve ever watched little kids, they chew about 30 times. It’s natural.

So make sure your food is totally chewed before you swallow. That can help your low stomach acid.

Also, eat smaller meals. If you’re eating very, very large meals, you’re not going to allow your body to heal. That’s an issue.

In addition, try fasting or intermittent fasting. The many health benefits of fasting along with intermittent fasting benefits add to your overall gut health and can reverse low stomach acid — whether it’s a bone broth fast, a vegetable juice fast or intermittent fasting.

Part of your body healing is letting it recover. If you’re continually eating food from morning to sundown every day, your body doesn’t have time to recover and heal. Some fasting is another great way to help balance out stomach acid.

So remember, you need stomach acid. It’s good for you, and you want balanced levels. If you follow these home remedies to heal low stomach acid, I know you’re going to see results fast.

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