Here is what to look for on Blood Work
Use blood work to indirectly monitor your stomach acid. Hydrochloric acid (HCL) is the acid produced in the stomach to lower the pH of the stomach so food is properly digested.
To assess your HCL production, you should get blood work done.
Check your MCV level (Mean Corpuscular Volume), which is a measurement of red blood cells. Blood cells are categorized into red blood cells and white blood cells. When general health testing is performed, the doctor will look at both types of blood cells.
The MCV level should be below 90 to have a normal blood test. We always want to strive to have a normal mcv.
The MCV reading will gradually rise as your HCL production declines. One of the reasons that MCV value rises is that there is a vitamin B12 deficiency. B12 relies on intrinsic factor for absorption. Intrinsic factor is produced in the stomach and is dependent on HCL. This would be considered a high MCV.
Here is the bad thing that can happen and does happen with age. Hydrochloric acid levels decline causing intrinsic factor levels to decline, which causes poor absorption of B12, which causes large MCV values (high tests). This is why we look at the MCV value on the blood work to get an idea if the patient has low hydrochloric acid production.
There are other blood values that are related to low levels of hydrochloric acid, such as:
Total Globulin – HCL may be needed when the reading goes above 2.8.
Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin (MCH) – HCL may be needed when the reading goes above 31.9.
Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin Concentrate (MCHC) – HCL may be needed when the reading goes above 36.
Red Cell Size Distribution Width (RDW) – HCL may be needed when the reading goes above 13.
Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) – HCL may be needed when the reading goes below 10.
There is an important saying with blood work. Treat the patient, not the blood work. This means that you should correlate the patient’s symptoms with the blood work.
Important functions of Hydrochloric Acid
Another article I wrote describes some of the other functions of hydrochloric acid that you may not be aware of. Hydrochloric acid kills the microorganisms on the food you eat. The high acid content of your stomach is able to kill things like bacteria, fungus and viruses, which prevents them from getting into the rest of your body. Read more here
The dosing protocols for taking hydrochloric acid depend on your size, how much you are eating and how much acid your stomach is already producing. Read more here
When a patient has anemia, hydrochloric acid levels in the stomach should always be suspected. Read more here
Top Foods for the Gastrointestinal system
A full list of foods that have research on pubmed can be found (click here)
Ginger has been shown to improve functional dyspepsia and stimulates gastric emptying.
Pineapple has therapeutic value in the treatment of functional dyspepsia.
Apple inhibits the growth of helicobactor pylori and helps to heal damage to the gastric mucosa.
Kiwi improves constipation.
Amaranth has a gastroprotective effect.
Banana protects the gastric mucosa from damage from aspirin. It strengthens mucosal resistance and promotes the healing of ulcers.
Basil leaves potent anti-ulcergenic and ulcer healing properties.
Cayenne Pepper enhances secretion of bile salts and stimulates the activity of pancreatic lipase.
Green Tea is associated with a reduced occurrence of H. Pylori infections.
Dates have a positive effect on gastrointestinal transit activity, which improves constipation.
Mint leaves may have therapeutic value in gastric emptying disorders. It also may have therapeutic effects in patients suffering from functional dyspepsia and mint appears to be an effective remedy for dyspepsia.