In chronic eczema the severity of the condition seems to correlate with the extent of stomach hydrochloric acid ("HCl") deficiency, and decreased HCl is also associated with vitamin B group deficiency. General allergies, and specifically food allergies, are correlated with low HCl. Poor food breakdown and the "leaky gut" syndrome are associated with food allergies.
Hydrochloric Acid is a digestive acid secreted by a healthy stomach when food is eaten. It initiates the digestion of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates and aids in the absorption of several vitamins and minerals. In addition, because HCl is a strong acid, it inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria. HCl kills various bacteria from food which may pose a health hazard, inactivates the salivary amylase from the mouth, and activates pepsin, an enzyme which starts protein digestion in the stomach. HCl also denatures protein, or chemically alters the structure of protein to make protein more digestible. Acids, chemicals, heat, and radiation are various ways proteins are denatured.
When someone has a HCl Deficiency, their body is deficient in mineral salts that are used to produce HCl. You see, the good news is that a mineral like potassium not only stimulates the production of hydrochloric acid (which favors digestion) but it also contributes to a balanced pH level in the blood.
The most carefully planned diet fails to accomplish its purpose unless digestion and absorption are adequate and normal. Digestive enzymes and HCl must be produced in adequate amounts to facilitate normal digestion. Too little HCl inhibits protein digestion and the absorption of vitamin C causes the destruction of vitamin B-complex factors and prevents essential calcium, iron and other minerals from being assimilated to the extent that anemia and bone fragility may develop. A large variety of nutritional deficiencies may restrict the production of essential enzymes allowing putrefactive bacteria to multiply in tremendous amounts forming great quantities of stomach and intestinal gas. Further, a deficiency or absence of normal beneficial bacteria in the intestinal tract will allow propagation of gas-forming and disease and odor-forming bacteria.
Low stomach acid may be the result of heredity, extended use of drugs such as antacids, anti-ulcer medications (cimetidine, ranitidine and others), infection in the gut, or food allergies (especially to milk and dairy products). Drinking milk with meals stop the production of HCL. Having lemon with your meal is helpful. Doctors specializing in nutritional medicine can do several tests to determine the etiology. One of these is the comprehensive digestive and stool analysis ("CDSA").
Magnesium is needed to reduce histamine levels. In the book Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, the authors note that food allergies are usually associated with low hydrochloric acid levels and poor digestion. The authors' rationale for this is that low stomach acid leaves food undigested and fermenting in the intestinal tract. This fermentation causes gas, bloating and stomach upset, the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Undigested and fermented food causes the body to raise histamine levels, which produce allergic reactions. This is why people take antihistamines for allergies, to lower histamine levels.
Low stomach acid levels reduce levels of beneficial intestinal bacteria which is needed for absorption of magnesium. When lab rats are deprived of magnesium, a wide variety of studies have noted that they develop allergy like symptoms. Their ears turn red and they develop skin problems. Rats with magnesium deficiencies have increases in histamine levels. They also have raised levels of white blood cell counts. Mg deficiency has been implicated in allergies and allergic skin reaction in many studies on humans, too. Variations of allergies, skin allergies, and raised white blood cells have all been noted as features of many chronic disorders.
Stress stops the production of HCL. See, also, The Magnesium Web Page.
There are digestive enzymes with HCL you can buy from the health food store, and there are many herbs that aid digestion. Sulfur also stimulates bile secretion and safflowers simulate HCL production.
Zinc also assists in the production of HCL.
Another method to see if you have low HCl is to drink 1/2 cup of beet juice. If your urine is red, you need HCl.
"Mayo Clinic researchers... in the 1930s published an article that tabulated the statistics on stomach function in people of all ages. They found that 50 percent of all the people they tested over age sixty had less stomach acid produced in their stomachs than is necessary to completely digest their food. When we don't digest our food, we don't get the nutrition out of it." - Dr. Jonathan Wright
Breakthrough by Suzanne Somers, page 25