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Stomach acid test review (HCL test)

Published 19 April, 2007

As part of my first nutritionist appointment, I had to take a stomach acid test to test the levels of hydrochloric acid my stomach is producing. The reason for this is that if the stomach is producing too little acid, digestion does not take place properly and so passes under-digested food to the intestine.

Much digestion of carbohydrates takes place in the intestine itself, but proteins must be broken down in the stomach, by stomach acid. If the acid levels in the stomach are too low, undigested proteins get passed along the gut, and can lead to problems such as food allergies and inflammation.

So I was sent a stomach acid test kit through the post. I already knew it involved swallowing a piece of string (while holding onto one end!), leaving it in the stomach for a while, then pulling it back out. The strong soaks up the juices from the stomach and you test it for acidity once it's out. Although it sounds unpleasant, it's actually just a little strange - not really uncomfortable and I didn't find it made me gag.

The process is you drink a cup of black coffee half an hour before to stimulate acid production. Then you tape one end of the string to your cheek (to make sure you don't swallow it) and swallow a capsule containing the rest of the string with a glass of water. You then lie on your side for 10 minutes while the capsule dissolves and the string soaks up juices, then pull the string out smoothly and fairly quickly.

Anyway, from the results (I'll post a picture soon), my stomach acid is between PH6 and 7. You'll remember from chemistry that 7 is neutral - i.e. not acidic at all, so it looks as if we may have identified one problem in the digestion chain! Me eating is like dumping food in a glass of water - good job I chew well!

I'll let you know what the nutritionist prescribes to deal with the low stomach acid problem as soon as I hear back.

Related article: Gluten home test review

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