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Low Stomach Acid Symptoms and 12 Ways To Manage It

The Cabinet — 05.22.24

Have you ever felt like your stomach just isn't breaking down meals as it should? You might be surprised to learn that instead of too much stomach acid, you could be dealing with too little. It's a common but often overlooked issue that can significantly affect your digestive health.

In this article, we're diving deep into what low stomach acid means for your body and how it impacts your digestive processes. So, if you're experiencing discomfort after meals or food seems to sit heavy in your stomach, keep reading. 

What Is Low Stomach Acid?

Low stomach acid, medically termed hypochlorhydria, refers to a condition where your stomach produces insufficient hydrochloric acid (HCL). This acid plays a pivotal role in digestion, not only by breaking down proteins and making nutrients more accessible but also by acting as a first line of defense against pathogens that enter through our food.

When levels of hydrochloric acid are not optimal, your stomach struggles to perform its natural functions, which can lead to a cascade of digestive issues. 

What Are the Symptoms of Low Stomach Acid?

It's easy to think heartburn and indigestion come from having too much stomach acid, but more often than not, the opposite is true. If your stomach isn't making enough acid, your digestion might not be humming along as smoothly as it could be. 

Let’s take a closer look at some signs that might suggest your stomach acid isn't up to par:

These symptoms highlight just how essential the right balance of stomach acid is — not only for digesting food but also for overall comfort and gut health. If any of these sound familiar, it’s worth considering whether low stomach acid could be playing a role.

What Are Common Causes of Low Stomach Acid?

Understanding why your stomach may not be producing enough acid can help you address the root of the problem. Several factors can contribute to low levels of stomach acid, each influencing your body in different ways. 

Let’s dig into some common underlying causes:


As we age, our bodies naturally begin to produce less stomach acid. This decrease can significantly impact our ability to digest food effectively, leading to symptoms like bloating and heartburn.

Chronic Stress

Stress isn’t just a mental burden — it also exerts a physical toll through what’s called the gut-brain connection. When you’re chronically stressed, your body’s ability to produce hydrochloric acid can be compromised. This “fight or flight” mode is the opposite of “rest and digestion,” and can cause the body to redirect its energy from digesting food by reducing stomach acid production.

H. Pylori Infection

The bacteria Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is known for its role in causing ulcers, but it can also lead to a reduction in stomach acid. This bacterial infection, called Helicobacter pylori infection, can subtly alter your stomach’s environment, impacting acid production.

Long-Term Use of Medications

Certain medications, especially proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and other antacids, are designed to reduce stomach acid. While they can offer relief for conditions like GERD and ulcers, prolonged use can decrease gastric acid production over time.

Nutritional Deficiencies

Conditions like zinc, thiamine, and vitamin B12 deficiency can impair your body’s ability to produce adequate levels of stomach acid. Ensuring a well-balanced diet is important for maintaining optimal stomach acid levels.

Underlying Medical Conditions

Conditions like autoimmune gastritis and atrophic gastritis involve the immune system attacking the cells that produce stomach acid. These conditions can lead to achlorhydria, where there is an almost complete lack of stomach acid production.

How Do I Manage Low Stomach Acid?

When it comes to managing low stomach acid, the right mix of dietary tweaks and lifestyle changes can make a big difference. 

Here are 12 tips to help you naturally increase your stomach acid levels and enhance your digestive well-being:

1. Initiate With Apple Cider Vinegar

Kick off your meal with a splash of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water. This is a strategic move to enhance your stomach's acidity, prepping it for a more efficient breakdown of food. It’s a simple yet powerful tool in our digestive wellness arsenal.

2. Mindful Chewing

Take your time and chew your food thoroughly. Doing so activates your saliva's digestive enzymes early, optimizing the digestive process right from the first bite. This encourages your stomach to produce adequate acid, facilitating smoother digestion and absorption of nutrients. Chewing food thoroughly until it becomes more of a liquid consistency also helps reduce the digestion load. 

3. Enhance Zinc Intake

Zinc is vital for hydrochloric acid production. Boost your intake with zinc-rich foods like oysters, beef, and spinach, or consider a Hilma-approved zinc supplement. Adequate zinc supports acid production and bolsters your overall immune function.

4. Evaluate Antacids and PPIs

While antacids and proton pump inhibitors can provide quick relief from acid reflux, their prolonged use might lower stomach acid production. Discuss with your healthcare provider the potential of reducing your use and exploring alternatives.

5. Incorporate Ginger

Ginger isn’t just for flavor. Incorporating ginger tea into your routine can naturally stimulate your stomach's acid production, easing symptoms like bloating and indigestion. It's a comforting, natural remedy that supports robust digestion.

6. Probiotics for a Flourishing Gut

Balanced gut flora is key to digestive health. Our Daily Pre + Probiotic + Herbs are designed to support this balance, maintaining a gut environment that supports natural stomach acid levels and overall digestive efficiency.

7. Adopt Smaller, Frequent Meals

Eating smaller, more frequent meals can help maintain a steady level of stomach acid, preventing the overload that often comes with larger meals. This approach helps keep your digestive system from becoming overwhelmed, ensuring a consistent and comfortable digestion process.

8. Fiber for Digestive Regularity

Adequate fiber intake is fundamental for maintaining digestive regularity. Our Fiber Gummy offers a delicious way to increase your daily fiber intake, supporting not just regularity but also contributing to a healthy gut microbiome.

9. Secure Adequate Magnesium

Magnesium is crucial for numerous bodily functions, including the production of stomach acid. Magnesium indirectly affects HCl by regulating the hormone that stimulates stomach acid production. Low magnesium leads to low gastrin which leads to low stomach acid production.

Ensuring adequate magnesium intake through diet or supplements can help optimize your digestive enzymes' function and overall gastrointestinal health.

10. Leverage Digestive Enzymes

Sometimes, your digestive system needs a little boost. Our Daily Fiber + Digestive Enzymes are specifically formulated to maintain your body’s natural digestive capabilities, supporting efficient breakdown and absorption of nutrients.

11. Incorporate Healthy Fats

Healthy fats from avocados, olive oil, and coconut oil can help stimulate the gallbladder and liver, enhancing the release of bile and acids necessary for proper digestion. They’re not only good for your heart but also encourage your digestive system to function smoothly.

12. Adjust Eating Times

Experiment with the timing of your meals. Eating your last meal at least three hours before bedtime allows your stomach to process food with the acid it has without the interference of lying down, which can dilute and push acids upward, complicating digestion.

When To Call in the Pros

While many cases of low stomach acid can be managed with lifestyle and dietary changes, there are times when it's essential to seek professional help. If you're experiencing persistent symptoms like severe abdominal pain, significant unexplained weight loss, or recurrent vomiting, these could be signs of underlying health issues that require medical attention. 

Additionally, if you suspect nutrient deficiencies or have concerns about bacterial overgrowth or risk factors specific to your health history, a healthcare provider can offer targeted tests and treatments. Consulting with a gastroenterology specialist can provide you with a comprehensive evaluation and tailored recommendations.


Understanding and managing your stomach acid levels is more than just a remedy — it's about enhancing your overall quality of life. At Hilma, we're dedicated to supporting you with science-backed, natural solutions that bring balance and wellness to your digestive system. 

Remember, while our tips are here to guide you, nothing replaces professional medical advice tailored to your unique health needs. So, listen to your body, and don't hesitate to seek help when needed. 

Ready to take the next step towards better digestive health? Explore more of our insights and solutions at Hilma, where we blend the best of nature with the precision of science to help you feel your best.


Hypochlorhydria (Low Stomach Acid): Symptoms, Tests, Treatment | Cleveland Clinic

Setting the Record Straight | UT Health Austin

Aging and Digestive Health: 6 Factors to Watch For | Michigan Medicine

The gut-brain connection | Harvard Health

Magnesium and your health - health benefits and how much you need | healthdirect

Ginger in gastrointestinal disorders: A systematic review of clinical trials | PMC

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