By Geeta Chopra
You are what you digest. You have heard the old adage you are what you eat. However, that is only partly true. It is more accurate to say you are what digest.
How strong is your digestion? Today, most Americans are only digesting about 30% of their food. This means 30% of the nutrients. In general, our culture doesn’t support healthy digestion. Of course, the medical cure prescribed for this is antacids, which further exacerbate the problem. I will explain why this is counter-intuitive.
Antacid is another word for malabsorption.
Antacids do exactly what they sound like: work against your stomach acid. Anti the acid. In order to understand how dangerous this concept is, you first need to understand the vital role stomach acid plays in your day to day health, and survival as an organism. The hyaluronic acid your stomach producesbreaks down all food to prepare it for digestion, this includes all vitamins and minerals. Without it you are basically as good as anemic and malnourished. It is virtually impossible to digest anything you eat without stomach acid. Your digestive fire is the engine of the body and determines your overall level of health. In Ayurveda it is said that the people with the strongest digestive fire (pita dosha) are the healthiest, less prone to disease, and live longer. It also acts as your defense against deadly bacteria entering your body through food and contaminated water.
If you are prescribed antacids due to alleged increased stomach acid –think again. Typically, with such symptoms, you don’t have too much stomach acid, you most likely don’t have enough! Low stomach acid causes a burning sensation because a stomach full of bacteria feasting on undigested food burns its host. You need to understand what your doctor is pointing out – undigested food causes burning! The cure for this more stomach acid to digest it – not less! Remember, anything that doesn’t belong in your body creates inflammation; which could be described as burning. You need to evaluate what that could be. If you are taking antacids – you are most certainly exacerbating the problem by feeding the inflammatory cycle.
If you are going to take antacids, throw out your vitamins. Your body won’t be able to digest minerals. Ironically, doctors admit this when they say antacids can cause long term calcium malabsorption. As a result, they prescribe calcium supplements! Again, this is counter-intuitive. If you aren’t able to digest them – where will they go? To your kidneys in lumps known as kidney stones. Yes, antacids indirectly cause kidney stones. Gallstones as well. Strong stomach acid is required to break down and absorb minerals such as calcium, iron, and zinc. If you are taking them without the ability to break them down properly, they float around in your body and get logged in the organs. In the long run, you are depleting your body of these essentials minerals by taking antacids, which is a medical problem within itself.
Hydrochloric Acid is Your frontline defense against any invader:
Without hyaluronic acid, your risk of contracting AIDS, cancer, infections, fungal infections, low blood supply, acne, and many more conditions are increased. When you go to a restaurant and drink dirty water or eat food that has some ‘bad’ bacteria, what stops you from dying? Your stomach acid. What fights against the cold virus in your blood? Your Agni (digestive fire). This is the frontline defense system for your immune system because it comes in first contact with anything that doesn’t belong in your body. Imagine a greasy sink. If you pour water on it, nothing happens. Ifyou get an acidic substance like vinegar or alcohol, it flushes everything down the drain. Think of your stomach acid as the acidic powerful vinegar substance that flushes any unwanted pathogens that enter into your body through your esophagus. The moment it comes in contact with it, the stomach acid zaps it out of your system.
People with weak or low stomach acid tend to have more bad bacteria accumulated into their bodies. This
includes candida. There is a direct correlation to low stomach acid and candida overgrowth in the intestines. Candida need an alkaline environment to survive. If left unchecked, candida causes colon and stomach cancer. Candida create holes in your GI Tract. This is medically proven, although few GI doctors will even discuss candida. In medical school, candida is not in the curriculum. However, new research has linked Crohn’s disease to candida overgrowth. Duh! This is not surprising since Crohn’s is a type of system inflammation of the large bowel. Candida knows how important Agni is, but your GI doesn’t. And this is a serious problem. I will write a separate article on candida this fall.
Your stomach acid can also zap out parasites you come in contact with from travelling, that’s how strong some individuals are. An individual who never killed any of their stomach acid by way of antacids or took antibiotics has a substantially higher chance of flushing out any unwanted bacteria by way of ingestion without the need of outside help. Why would two people who have drank the same contaminated water have different results? If one person got sick and the other didn’t, it probably relates to their immunity. The stomach acid detected the bug and killed it; the bug couldn’t survive in that acidic environment. Additionally, their gut microbes went to work to combat the unwanted pathogen.
Ever notice that several prescription drugs warn against traveling to an area where fungal infections are high? This is because your body’s ability to defend itself is hampered by these pills. It is not uncommon for chronic antacid takers to have systemic candida, which is a fungal infection. Since their GI doctor never identifies the candida, it becomes candidiasis with chronic inflammation. The antacids continue to suppress stomach acid, the candida continues to grow unchecked due to eh alkaline environment the antacids create, and the person becomes a walking zombie not feeling anything, covering up all side effects with the pill. Until they wake up with colon cancer.
There is hope. Do your own research before taking antacids. I am not giving medical advice, but when I was told to take antacids, my family friend who is a doctor mailed me large 6 months supply in a box, which I threw into a dumpster. I then went to the health food store to find out natural ways to increase my hyaluronic stomach acid. I was pleased find a plethora of healthier options everywhere I diligently searched– which saved me.
Geeta Chopra is the television host of ‘The Geeta Chopra Show.’ She is a health and wellness coach who helps people heal from their root. She is in the process of writing two books, and gives talks on the subject matter. The approach she uses is influenced by Ayurveda and Chinese medicine.
She has a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Toronto and a Master’s degree from George Washington University. She is also the owner of a real estate development company. Follow her on YouTube to watch her latest TV episodes on various natural healing modalities including gut health, pranayama, the mind-body connection, organ detoxification, rejuvenation, and much more. Her book, “To Every Gastroenterologist in America: What You Didn’t Learn and Med School and to Every Patient Who Becomes Their Victim,” is launching in 2020. Follow her on YouTube to get a free copy. Be the best version of yourself!