Is Heartburn Really Due to Too Much Acid?

One of the most common complaints people tell me about in the office is heartburn or GERD (gastro-esophageal reflux disease). It is so common that heartburn drugs are always at the top of the list of prescribed drugs, and tops on the list of over the counter medication.

But, is it really due to a lack of hydrochloric acid (HCl) in the stomach?

I have explained this situation so many times in the office I have lost count. And every time I get done, the patient looks at me in disgust. NOT at me, but at the pharmaceutical companies and medical profession (Note: I am not against medical doctors, but in many cases what they are promoting just doesn’t make an ounce of sense).

You see, the VAST MAJORITY of heartburn is NOT caused by too much acid production by the stomach, and I am about to explain why.

The first thing we have to understand is pH. PH is the measurement of acidity and alkalinity. In the stomach we want a very low pH. This helps us to digest food, especially proteins. There are cells in the stomach that produce acid. By the time this acid mixes with the contents in the stomach it is at pH of about 2-3, VERY acidic!

The pH of most people’s stomach is nowhere near this, yet people are continually being prescribed “acid-blockers”. Often the pH can be 4, 5, 6, or even 7.

Picture from

And this is very important…

The pH scale is LOGARITHMIC. Think Richter scale and earthquakes here. Moving from a pH neutral of 7 down to a 6 is 10x, not just 1. So, a pH of 6 compared to 7 is 10 times more acidic. While a pH of 5 is 100 times more acidic than 7.

In the human body it takes a tremendous amount of energy to convert water into hydrochloric acid (HCl). Who do you know who has extra energy just lying around? Most people are fatigued, and tired. It’s ridiculous to think that the human body just starts making more HCl just for the fun of it.

Most people are too busy dealing with all the tremendous amounts of stress we have in our lives.

I mean your body has to concentrate water 1,000,000 times in order to create HCl at a pH of 1!

Here is what happens instead.

The average person’s body is extremely stressed. Some people admit it, others simply don’t have a clue because they have “always been that way”. But lab analysis and neurological stress testing with my Neuroinfiniti equipment clearly shows what is really going on under the surface.

People are stressed to the max and it’s taking a toll!

So, the body is stressed and it stops producing as much acid. Food starts to rot in the GI tract because the acid is not there to break it down, and the enzyme pepsin needs a low pH (high acid) environment to work properly to break down protein. The rotting food creates organic acids that build up and irritate the esophagus creating the heartburn.

And why do these acids get into the esophagus when normal stomach acid doesn’t?

Well, the valve (sphincter) between the esophagus and the stomach is pH dependent. When the pH is nice and low, it’s stays tightly closed. But, when the pH starts to rise because of stress and a poor diet, the valve becomes loose and allows acids to flow through. Now the organic acids from the rotting food and the acid that is in the stomach gets through to the esophagus and burns it creating the heartburn feeling.

Do you get the drift?

You might need to re-read this several times. The whole process is a vicious cycle.

And what are people prescribed? Acid blockers, or something like Tums or Rolaids. It soothes the pain, but it only serves to make the problem worse, further perpetuating the problem.

If you further decrease the acid in the stomach (moving towards the right of the picture above), less and less food will be digested properly compounding the problem. And we all know that proper digestion is critical for a good quality of life. It’s how we extract nutrients and power our amazing bodies.

So you see, heartburn is NOT due to too much acid (in the vast majority of cases), but instead too little acid being produced.

Without healthy digestion, it doesn’t matter how good of food you eat because you are not utilizing it properly.

Here is a test for you.

If you feel reflux or heartburn after eating take 3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in 4-8 oz. of water and drink it. If your symptoms get better, there is a good chance you are experiencing insufficient acid production. If it makes it worse, you might have an ulcer and need further evaluation.

And again, the ulcer was created because of the rotting food and imbalanced GI tract to begin with. The same rules apply, you will just need to be evaluated by a properly trained doctor such as an applied kinesiologist like myself in order to help heal the ulcer and take care of any infections that have been allowed to fester.

So, before reaching for the pill, or even if you are already on one, ask yourself if the logic of it really makes sense. Is your body truly creating too much stomach acid?

If you are like any of the  patients I have shared this with, you are probably going to be a little disgusted that nobody ever explained this to you.

Now you know…