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. See the rest of the foods and smoothie recipes with these foods (click here)        

How to Check your Hydrochloric Acid Production with Blood Work

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What is a MCV Blood Test?

MCV stands for Mean Corpuscular Volume.  It is an indicator that is on most standard blood panels.

Your MCV level, 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.

Red blood cells (RBC) are big when they are created. Then as they mature, they shrink in size. If you have large RBCs, that means that they are immature cells and something is preventing them from maturing into a useful size.

This can be be caused by a deficiency in certain nutrients – most commonly a deficiency in vitamin B12 and/or iron.

Your body’s ability to absorb Vitamin B12 is heavily dependent on having something called, “Intrinsic Factor” – which is produced in your stomach.  When you do not have enough Intrinsic Factor, your absorption of Vitamin B12 will go down … which can then lead of the problem of your red blood cells not maturing.

Intrinsic Factor is produced in the stomach and is dependent on Hydrochloric Acid (HCL).

What is HCL?

HCL is short for hydrochloric acid.

HCL lowers the pH in your stomach which allows your stomach to break down proteins for digestion. By lowering the pH in your stomach, the acid is able to kill bacteria that is on your food, which prevents many illnesses.

You can 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.

How Age Can Affect MCV Values

Here is the bad thing that can happen and does happen with age …

Hydrochloric acid levels decline

-> which causes intrinsic factor levels to decline

-> which causes poor absorption of vitamin 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.

What to Look for on Blood Work

1.) Look for the MCV value on blook work.

2.) Total Globulin: HCL may be needed when the reading goes above 2.8.

3.) Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin (MCH): HCL may be needed when the reading goes above 31.9.

4.) Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin Concentrate (MCHC): HCL may be needed when the reading goes above 36.

5.) Red Cell Size Distribution Width (RDW): HCL may be needed when the reading goes above 13.

6.) 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.

MIND Diet Smoothie Recipes

As you can see from the prior section, you are to eat lots of vegetables, berries and nuts. 

Therefore, superfood smoothies are an excellent choice in the MIND diet. 

Superfood smoothies commonly contain vegetables, nuts and berries.  When you think of nuts, you should also think about the beneficial seeds such as flax and chia seeds.

We have over 100 superfood smoothie recipes on this website that you can use, which I believe these are the healthiest recipes you can follow on the mind diet. 

This video shows how you can choose the recipes based on your health conditions:

How to do Intermittent Fasting with the MIND Diet?

Intermittent fasting is simply going for a short period of time without eating. Drinking water is ok and encouraged while fasting. Some people choose to do a form of fasting every day, while other people choose to do it a few times per week.

I like doing some fasting every day. What does that exactly mean?

It means to eat all your food for the day in a 6 to 8 hour window of time. As an example: You could eat between the hours of noon and 6pm. Stop eating at 6pm and don’t eat again until noon the next day. Pretty simple.

The other way to fast is to do a 24-hour fast. For instance, you eat a meal at 5 pm today and don’t eat again until 5 pm tomorrow.

Fasting may sound hard but it is exactly the opposite of the struggles one faces when going on a diet where they limit their calories.

For instance, if you start a diet today, the first few days are the easiest and then it gets harder to follow each day.

Intermittent fasting is the opposite. The beginning is the hardest because your body is not used to burning stored body fat for energy.

After you become “fat adapted”, your body easily uses stored fat for fuel and your hunger levels will drop significantly. This makes fasting very easy to do and is something that can be incorporated for life.

The key to fasting is to start off slow and work your way into it. You will feel better doing it this way. Let’s say your goal is to eat in a 6-hour window each day. Maybe you want to eat between the hours of 12 to 6 pm, but you currently start eating at 7am and stop at 9pm at night. All you have to do is begin to narrow the hours.

Step 1: Eat dinner at 6 pm and do not eat anything after that. You just cut 3 hours off your feeding window. Do that for a week or two. It will get easier and easier to do.

Step 2: Once you feel that you are ready to move on, start delaying by an hour when you eat your first meal of the day. Before you know it, you will have reduced your feeding time down to a 6 to 8 hour window.

The MIND can be very beneficial and you can make it even more beneficial by incorporating intermittent fasting and superfood smoothies into you daily routine.

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