Table of Contents
What is the pH of Stomach Acid?
The pH of stomach acid ranges from 1 to 3, showing that it is extremely acidic.
Why is the pH of the Stomach Acid Important?
The pH of stomach acid is important for digestion as it breaks down proteins and kills bacteria. The low pH helps enzymes to break down food, making it more accessible for the body to absorb.
How is the pH of Stomach Acid Regulated?
The pH of stomach acid is regulated by the secretion of hydrogen ions by parietal cells in the stomach lining. The pancreas secretes bicarbonate to neutralise the acidic chyme in the small intestine. If the pH of stomach acid drops too high or low, the body releases bicarbonate into the bloodstream or increases acid secretion.
What is the role of Stomach Acid pH in Digestion?
Stomach acid pH plays a crucial role in the digestion process. The pH level of the stomach serves several important functions in digestion.
- The low pH of the stomach acid helps to denature proteins so that they can be broken down by digestive enzymes.
- The low pH of stomach acid kills harmful bacteria and other microorganisms that may be present in the food we eat, helping to protect us from infection.
- The low pH of the stomach acid triggers the release of other digestive enzymes and hormones that help to further break down and absorb nutrients from the food.
- The low pH of the stomach acid also helps to stimulate the contraction of the stomach muscles, which helps to mix and churn the food, further aiding in digestion.
Common Causes of Imbalanced Stomach Acid pH
Some common causes of imbalanced stomach acid pH are mentioned below.
- Diet: Consuming an unhealthy diet rich in sugar, unhealthy fats and processed foods raises the pH of stomach acid and causes digestive issues.
- Stress: Chronic stress can cause an increase in the production of cortisol, a hormone that can raise the pH of your stomach acid and cause digestive problems.
- Medications: Certain medications, like antacids and proton pump inhibitors, interferes with stomach acid production, causing imbalanced pH.
- Ageing: As we age, our bodies produce less stomach acid, which can lead to an imbalanced pH and digestive problems.
What Happens When Stomach Acid pH is Abnormal?
Abnormal stomach acid pH can lead to various health issues. When the pH is too low, it can cause acid reflux, heartburn, and ulcers in the stomach and oesophagus. In contrast, if the pH of stomach acid is too high, it can lead to bacterial overgrowth, malabsorption of nutrients, and increased risk of infections.
How can we maintain optimal stomach Acid pH levels?
We can maintain optimal stomach acid pH levels by:
- Eating a Balanced Diet: Consuming a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables and fibre promotes an optimal stomach acid pH.
- Managing Stress: Practicing stress management techniques like yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises can help in lowering cortisol levels and promoting a healthy stomach acid pH.
- Avoid Overusing of Medications: Avoiding overuse of medications like antacids and proton pump inhibitors can help in promoting healthy stomach acid production and maintain a healthy pH.
- Staying Hydrated: Staying Hydrated can help in maintaining an optimal stomach acid pH.