1. Health

Your suggestion is on its way!

An email with a link to:


was emailed to:

Thanks for sharing About.com with others!

Most Emailed Articles

Financial Stress

Hypochlorhydria Screening Quiz
Low Stomach Acid Assessment

We've all heard about excess stomach acid and heartburn, but what about the condition at the opposite end of the spectrum, low stomach acid? It's believed to be involved in indigestion, premature aging, food sensitivities, nutritional deficiency, bacterial overgrowth, yeast infections, weak hair, skin, and nails, and a host of other conditions.

Who gets hypochlorhydria?

From approximately age 35 and on, most people begin to secrete less stomach acid. By the time people reach their 50's, many nutritionally-oriented doctors estimate that over 50% of their patients have low stomach acid, also called hypochlorhydria. People with a history of helicobacter pylori infection (the bacteria involved in stomach ulcers) and/or who have used protein pump inhibitor medications long-term are more likely to have hypochlorhydria. 

Why is stomach acid needed?

  • Without stomach acid, we can't digest and absorb the protein we eat. That's because stomach acid is needed to produce an enzyme called pepsin, which breaks down protein.

  • Fat and carbohydrate absorption also rely on stomach acid. Stomach acid causes the release of secretin, which then triggers the pancreas to produce enzymes that digest fat (lipase), protein (protease), and carbohydrates (amylase).

  • Stomach acid helps keep the digestive tract sterile, preventing the overgrowth of bacteria and yeast. Low stomach acid can lead to bacterial overgrowth or candida yeast infection.

  • Stomach acid is needed to absorb properly absorb micronutrients, including iron

Conditions related to hypochlorhydria

  • Acne
  • Anemia
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Eczema
  • Food allergy and sensitivity
  • Hashimoto's thyroiditis
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Osteoporosis
  • Rosacea
  • Psoriasis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Small intestine bacterial overgrowth
  • Candida yeast infection
  • Vitiligo
  • Adrenal fatigue

Keep in mind that other conditions can also cause these symptoms and that it is important to consult a health professional for a diagnosis.

You can begin the quiz below. A higher score suggests a greater likelihood of hypochlorhydria. Having the signs, symptoms, and lifestyle factors in this hypochlorhydria screening quiz should prompt a discussion with an alternative medicine practitioner to see if further evaluation needs to be done. Be aware that most conventionally-trained doctors may not recognize this condition.

For information on treating hypochlorhydria naturally, this site has all you need to get started. 

Start The Quiz

©2015 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.