Thursday, February 12, 2009

Low Stomach Acid and Nutrient Absorption

As I mentioned here and here, low stomach acid (hypochlorhydria) causes many problems, including bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine, lowered resistance to infection by ingested pathogens, an increase in gastric cancer susceptibility, and reduced nutrient absorption. It has the potential to underlie many other issues, including food sensitivities. The prevalence varies by age, increasing from less than 10% in the young to over 50% in the elderly.

In a previous post, I mentioned a few nutrients I had come across that require full stomach acidity for optimum absorption. I recently found a nice paper from 1989 titled "Hypochlorhydria: a Factor in Nutrition", which broadened my perspective. Here's a revised list of nutrients known to be affected by hypochlorhydria, as of 1989:
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Folic acid
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin B12
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin E
  • Niacin
  • Protein
That's a hefty list, and it's not even comprehensive!

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