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Book Report #6: Why Stomach Acid is Good For You : Natural Relief from Heartburn, Indigestion, Reflux & Gerd

Why Stomach Acid is Good For YouYour Nampa ID Chiropractor can help with stomach problems!

Title: Why Stomach Acid is Good For You : Natural Relief From Heartburn, Indigestion, Reflux & GERD

Author: JV Wright, MD and Lane Lenard, PhD

Year: 2001

Pages: 208

This month’s book offering regards the always colorful world of digestion. And I say in all sincerity, you are only as healthy as your digestion. You can tell a lot about your health and your habits by how well you digest. Although we spend too much time in a state of “fight or flight” (anti-digestion), we would do well to remember why the counterpart of “rest and digest” is so important.

This short and well documented read gives us the straight scoop on stomach acid. As I have written about here this shining beacon of digestion, stomach acid, gets a bad rap. This book helps us to rethink one of the cornerstones of health.

What cornerstone is that?

Stomach acid, of course! Adequate amounts of stomach acid are imperative for good digestion and good digestion is imperative for good health.

So, what does stomach acid do?

Stomach acid breaks down protein into amino acids for absorption into our bloodstream. Amino acids are the building blocks of life and make up everything. As we age, we actually require more of these building blocks, not less. And a strong stomach acid allows these chemical reactions to take place.

An alert reader might be saying to himself (or herself) “Wait a minute!” Why are we spending an estimated $10 billion on acid suppressing drugs and antacids each year? If stomach acid is so good for you, why are we trying to suppress it?

Good question.

As this book is quick to point out on nearly every page, the antacid industry has no vested interest in getting to the bottom of acid reflux, GERD, heartburn, or indigestion. They have a vested interest in keeping people symptom free, not well. I know this sounds cynical but think about it. Symptom suppression makes stockholders happy because the customers are never healed, just symptom free. And so, the pharmaceutical company now has a customer for life. Cure of any ailment does not produce the result of lifelong customers.


I think I have a knack for picking books where the title gives it away. I think clarity is important and I think if an author or authors take the time to just say what they are thinking, no hidden agenda, then I will give them a shot. This book, however, definitely has an agenda and no, it is not hidden. Although this book is 20 years old, it still appears to be the gold standard of contrarian opinions regarding stomach acid. Drs. Wright and Lenard make a compelling case for why the paradigm regarding acid suppressing drugs (Zantac, Prilosec, Tagamet) is harming more people than it is helping. True the acid is reduced, but it comes with a cost, and the cost might not be apparent for years or even decades.

My favorite chapter was one titled “Starving in the Midst of Plenty: How Gastric Acid Levels Affect Nutrient Absorption.” Simply stated, you may have the best diet in the world, but if your stomach acid is so low that nutrients and minerals cannot be absorbed, you are essentially on the road to malnutrition and disease. Very simple idea but also very counterintuitive.

As we age, we naturally produce less stomach acid and our stomach muscles, not our six pack abs on the outside, but the muscles that make the stomach work on the inside, begin to atrophy. Like the rest of our muscles, they don’t work as well as they once did. Being that this purports to look for root causes of digestive disturbances, my question throughout reading this book is: Does this need to happen? Can this fate somehow be avoided? I don’t think an answer was forthcoming unless I just missed it. What I didn’t miss is that, by and large, our problems are exacerbated by a crummy diet, no surprise. Our crummy diets wreak havoc on the digestive system and cause them to malfunction in many different places along the digestive path. Most notably at a place called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). When you swallow food, it goes down your esophagus and is released into your stomach through the LES. Once inside the stomach, the food is not supposed to go back up through the aforementioned sphincter. When it does, bad things happen, like GERD.

The authors do take the time to spell out some low cost, non-pharmaceutical, options for stimulating copious amounts of stomach acid and ways to potentially strengthen the LES.

If you are suffering from any of the aforementioned digestive maladies, this book may well be an eye opener for you. If you are already using antacids and/or acid suppressing pharmaceutical drugs, this book should give you hope that a holistic non-medical approach might improve your health in many ways.

Standard Process, our favorite supplement company, has two natural products that work wonders in this regard. They are Zypan and Digest Forte. Please talk to us if you have any questions.


Here is a link to Dr. Wright’s Clinic:

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