Answer: The stomach lining produces sodium bicarbonate, which helps to reduce the acidity in the stomach up to a point. Great DNA, wherever it came from. OpenStax College, via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 3.0 license. What is the function of Hydrochloric Acid (HCl) in the stomach? Doctors often prescribe proton pump inhibitors for excess stomach acid. Up, useful and interesting votes and will share. Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on March 04, 2017: Hi, Nna. Doctors can prescribe a way to overcome these problems if no gastric juice is made. Drug manufacturers take this into account, however. You need to ask your doctor for more information about your condition and about suggestions for treating the problem. Absorption of vitamin B12 from food is a particular problem. Nice information regarding GERD, gastritis and acid peptic disease. What happens if it is all gone? Stomach acid is important to the digestive system. Question: If we have natural buffering systems in our stomachs, why would we have to take antacids? The epithelial cells on the surface of the lining are tightly bound to each other, which enhances their ability to act as a barrier. The hydrochloric acid in gastric juices makes it possible for our stomach to digest food. Like the myriad of other processes that occur in the amazing human body, hydrochloric acid production and action generally occur as required and without our awareness. i have benefited a lot from it. Hydrochloric acid (HCl) plays an important role in food digestion. Hydrochloric acid does its job in the stomach cavity, or lumen. Hydrochloric acid in your stomach helps you break down foods that you eat, especially protein, and assimilate nutrients. Intestinal bacteria also make vitamin K2. Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on March 26, 2018: Hi. Answer: Since the stomach must make hydrochloric acid in order for digestion to occur inside it, it has methods to protect its lining from acid damage. And I can no longer eat tomatoes at all because the acid hurts. Antacids may provide temporary relief from stomach problems. I have GERD and have been on 3 different proton inhibitors,but none of them seem to work .I wake in the early morning with acid in my oesophagus , I have changed my diet ,raised the head of my bed, do not eat late in the evening .I do not know what else to do .I went for a gastroscopy, but I was too combative to have them do it. Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 30, 2018: I'm sorry, Mary, but I can't offer any suggestions to help you because I'm not a doctor. Although stomach acid doesn't cause an ulcer, it may make it more painful. Patients should visit a doctor regularly so that any precancerous cells can be treated. The pancreas also produces sodium bicarbonate in order to neutralize the stomach acid that enters the small intestine and produces a basic environment so that intestinal enzymes can work. Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on January 08, 2018: Thank u Linda...I have actually learned alot. Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on April 23, 2017: Hi, J.O. Some evidence suggests that medications that are designed to reduce acid production in the stomach may sometimes cause hypochlorhydria. Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on May 28, 2018: Hi, Sushant. One question. Many people seem to experience acid reflux occasionally. The bacteria may travel into the small intestine. Without the hydrochloric acid located in gastric juice, pepsinogen wouldn't be changed into pepsin in the stomach. Too much or too little acid can cause problems. Acid reflux and GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) are closely related conditions, but GERD is more serious than acid reflux. In the stained sample of stomach lining below, the gastric glands are the indentations on the right that open to the outer environment (or the lumen of the stomach). The intrinsic factor enables the vitamin to be absorbed in the last part of the small intestine, which is called the ileum. People would drink milk or chug Pepto-Bismol to tame a burning belly, and everyone would blame the fire on too much stomach acid. Answer: If you are suffering from an excessive amount of hydrochloric acid in your stomach, you need to visit your doctor for a diagnosis and treatment. It is a fascinating subject. Otherwise,I get bitter taste in oesophagus and swelling on high cheekbones. The chemical is needed in order to activate an enzyme that digests the proteins in food. I just found out this month I have autoimmune atrophic gastritis. Question: I have a lot of gas in my stomach. It joins to the protein pump, preventing the pump from attaching to hydrogen ions and transporting them to the duct of the gastric gland. A hydrogen atom is made of a positively charged proton and a negatively charged electron. Hydrochloric acid (also known as stomach acid) is the main component of gastric juices produced in the stomach. I took nexium for some time. Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on January 13, 2013: Fantastic work. My heart doctor said it might be due to hydrochloric acid in my stomach? (The glands are shown in the illustration below.) The video below shows the process in more detail. A sore on the stomach lining is called a gastric, stomach, or peptic ulcer. That is really the main thing that creates that very acidic environment to break down food. Pepsin is an enzyme that digests proteins. I have a bookmark folder of just your articles and i just realized wow please keep up the amazing work. Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on August 08, 2017: This is not a generally accepted idea. A low level of hydrochloric acid in the stomach cavity can lead to an overgrowth of bacteria, including Helicobacter pylori. I have ulcers however they were said not to be caused by H.Pylori, what are some other possible causes? It requires the presence of a chemical called intrinsic factor, which is made by glands in the stomach lining. The protein transports protons across the membrane by active transport, a process that requires energy. Under normal circumstances, the LES closes the entrance to the stomach once food has entered its lumen. Medical learning keeps advancing and treatments are altered with the times. A circular muscle called a sphincter closes the entrance to the stomach. The latter condition is known as Barrett's esophagus. thank u very much. Voted up and take care! A major contributor to the process is a proton pump in the membrane of the parietal cells. There are many different causes for digestive problems. If someone needs to take antacids frequently, they should visit a doctor, xandert, via morguefile.com, morgueFile free license. The problem really comes from TOO LITTLE stomach acid. Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on January 13, 2013: You know, Alicia, I read hubs like this one, and others on the subject of health, and I realize just how lucky and blessed I am. Aspirin is an NSAID. Hyochlorhydria and achlorhydria are often associated with other disorders, including some autoimmune ones that affect the stomach. In chemical terms, it is an acid solution with a pH of 1 to 2 in the stomach lumen, consisting mainly of hydrochloric acid (HCl) (around 0.5%, or 5000 parts per million), and large quantities of potassium chloride (KCl) and sodium chloride (NaCl). A person with prediabetes or arthritis must also visit a doctor. Epithelial cells secrete mucus and bicarbonate, which protects the lining from acid. The small intestine also digests proteins, so we would still get nourishment from them without pepsin. Answer: If the mucus layer protecting the stomach lining is damaged, the hydrochloric acid and other components of gastric juice may reach the lining and injure it. Ulcers in the stomach are known as stomach, gastric, or peptic ulcers. Your doctor should be able to discover why you are making too much acid and will prescribe the most appropriate treatment for your problem and overall state of health. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Stomach acid is critical for disinfecting and killing off bad microbes and for optimizing protein digestion in the body. People whose stomach doesn’t make enough intrinsic factor can also develop problems if they fail to take supplements. They may also be caused by long-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which reduce the amount of protective mucus made in the stomach. Voted Up. Some people take simple antacids to neutralize the acidity in their stomach. It's now known that stomach ulcers are usually caused by a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori, or H. pylori. You took us from A to Z with this hub. Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on September 16, 2017: Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on September 13, 2017: One of the best articles I have read, and I have read many about this subject. If there was no mucus at all in the stomach, its lining would be destroyed by the hydrochloric acid. What is the name given to the damaged area? A doctor should be consulted if the symptoms are present in order to receive a diagnosis for the problem. Even a physician would need to see you and check your health records before they could make any helpful suggestions. They are discussed and shown to be incorrect or incomplete. There may also be a sour taste in the mouth. Food from animals contains vitamin K2 or menaquinone, which exists in slightly different forms. This is probably a question that you should ask your doctor because he or she can tell you exactly why your stomach is burning (if you don't already know). Mahendra Jain Delhi, India. The inside of the stomach is a very acidic environment, especially after food has just been eaten. Around two to three litres of this liquid are secreted each day. In fact, depending on the types of foods you eat and the size of your meal, food will typically stay in the stomach for two to six hours before moving on to the small intestine. The site of hydrochloric production is the pericanalicular zone round the intracellular canaliculi of the oxyntic cells. I think that it's important that you consult your physician to find out what's happening in your digestion system. Symptoms of low stomach acid may include stomach discomfort, bloating, heartburn, and/or nausea. It‘s more prevalent in elderly people than in younger ones, however. I hope you find an answer soon. Gastric juice contains intrinsic factor as well as hydrochloric acid. If the sphincter doesn't work properly, food and acid may move up into the esophagus, creating a burning sensation known as heartburn. Can you please suggest why it happens to me. Answer: The mucus layer covering our stomach lining normally protects the stomach from an acid attack. I was diagnosed with gastritis recently. Excess stomach acid, however, can irritate the lower esophagus and cause heartburn. It mainly consists of hydrochloric acid, a potent chemical produced by the cells lining the stomach ( parietal cells ) and your gastric glands. Someone who has chronic gastritis and is malnourished must be under a doctor’s care. I hope you find relief soon. Fish, meats, eggs, dairy and beans are all rich in protein. Someone with either hypochlorhydria or achlorhydria should be under a doctor’s care. This damage causes the burning sensation. Doctors can also perform a variety of tests to help them diagnose pernicious anemia. Stomach acid works to digest foods you eat. HCl also allows you to absorb vitamins and minerals and kills harmful pathogens. It denatures proteins with its low pH and converts pepsinogen (an enzyme precursor) into pepsin (an active enzyme). Well done Linda. Stomach secretions are made up of hydrochloric acid, several enzymes, and a mucus coating that protects the lining of your stomach. During the health consequences, our body produces much stomach acids. If the LES doesn't close or if it opens while food is still in the stomach, the churning, acidic mix in the stomach may be pushed up into the esophagus. Question: Is there a procedure other than gastric bypass that can reduce the amount of stomach acid a person produces? Without activated pepsin in the stomach, protein will pass into the small intestine in an undigested form. Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on January 13, 2013: Thank you very much, Deb. It is mainly gastric acid. I have had esophageal pH monitoring, gastroscopy, upper GI series etc and have been loosely diagnosed with a probably type of IBS, but no strict diagnosis. Acid reducers were not helping the burning in my throat and stomach discomfort. Without this low pH and sufficient production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, food cannot effectively be broken down. Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on January 15, 2013: Thank you for the comment and the votes, Crystal. I'm sorry, but I can't diagnose specific problems for individuals because I'm not a doctor. If the esophagus is exposed to acid frequently over a long period of time, its cells may be damaged or its lining may change its nature and resemble the tissue that lines the intestine. People with low stomach acid may need to take specific supplements to compensate for the lack of acid. Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on May 22, 2018: very helpful... keep up the efforts...:):):):) thank you. Bruce Blaus, via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 3.0 License. Linda Crampton is a writer and teacher with a first-class honors degree in biology. I hope you eventually find a physician who can help you. Thanks !! (A problem with the movement of acid into the esophagus may be diagnosed as GERD.) A physician should be able to give you advice about your specific situation, although from what you say it looks like it might take a while to get an explanation. The main constituent of gastric acid is hydrochloric acid produced by parietal cells in the gastric glands in the stomach. Intrinsic factor is necessary for the absorption of vitamin B12 in the small intestine. HCl does its job in the stomach cavity, or lumen. The wall would eventually be destroyed (if the person received no medical treatment and survived long enough for this to happen). I appreciate your comment and visit! Obtaining sufficient vitamin K may be less of a problem. It is the only acid produced by our bodies; the other acids are the byproducts of metabolisms. (Hydrochloric acid consists of hydrogen ions and chloride ions.) I've had a lot of digestive problems. Voted up and interesting. It may be surprising that our stomachs contain Hydrochloric Acid because it is one of the 6 common strong mineral acids. The stomach produces the hormone gastrin, which in turn creates hydrochloric acid. I can't offer more specific help because I'm not a doctor. These aren't as effective as the more modern drugs because they don't prevent the acid from being made. Can mucous backing up into the throat be a sign of low stomach acid? The sore may bleed if the acid attack continues. Parietal cells contain an extensive secretory network (called canaliculi) from which the hydrochloric acid is secreted into the lumen of the stomach. Perhaps you could ask to see a specialist if you haven't already done so. If the stomach digested no proteins at all, however, a doctor might suggest that a patient take supplemental enzymes to avoid malnutrition. How do you know that? Hydrochloric acid (HCl) has three benefits for the stomach. Answer: Your doctor is the expert. I have gastric problem from last 1 year. Significant hypochlorhydria (low stomach acid) seems to be uncommon. Thanks for writing it!! Do HCL in stomach effect the oral medication ? If you are personally experiencing a problem with digestion, the best thing to do would be to visit a doctor so that he or she can give you a diagnosis. Na+ and K+ ions included in the blood electrolyte are being exchanged for H+ of the mucus when CL- ions are running through it … Zina Deretsky, via NSF and Wikimedia Commons, public domain license. It sounds like you have a great immune system! 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