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Page written in 2009: not much edited thereafter: This page gives some details about Stomach Acidity, the steps one can take to control it plus some related details and comments. The medical advice that I got in 1973 is the essence of this page.
This page is getting into the site now in September 2017, after 2 years, due to some readers requests
Why Stomach Acidity - the cause - Scientific / medical facts
Stomach produces very dilute Hydro chloric Acid - the acid that we use for cleaning toilets. The strength is however low - 1 ml diluted to 1000ml / 1 litre. So it is fairly diluted
The acid is produced to help digestion. It may help to dissolve, disintegrate, react and disperse the various things that we eat and also help easy removal / dilution of the unwanted waste things. Stomach can be regarded as a very slow mixing machine that finally tries to produce a uniform mixture of all that had been put in and discharges it to the intestine for digestion
Stomach works only when we are awake. It takes about the 3-4 hours for it to transfer its load to the intestine, where the actual digestion takes place. When we sleep, the stomach also goes to sleep. There is no acid production. That is why, we can sleep for 7-8 hours at a stretch at night, without feeling hungry.
Acidity: In an empty Stomach, the acid will act with the inner walls / membrane of the stomach. Stomach can bulge and feel thick, even if it is empty. One can loose the appetite. If something is fed into the stomach, the acid will attack / react with that first. And that is the way to reduce / avoid acidity. Feed the Hunger. Having a glass of water is also a simple minor step to reduce acidity - acid gets diluted
I failed to understand and tackle my acidity problem between 1971 to July 1973 and worsened it. Chest pain would erupt at any time. Further complications like peptic ulcer are possible. Only medical advice helped me to get out of the mess gradually.
Effects of acidity
Acidity trap can lead to chest pain, belching, stomach ulcer and perhaps a bit more. Appetite weakens and worsens the problem. One should consult a doctor as acidity is a medical problem and self medication is not right for long duration.
Cause for the Problem
Stomach empties out the contents in 3 to 4 hours. [Recollection of 1956, 8th standard Science]. So, feeding the stomach at regular intervals adequately is one scientific way to reduce and avoid acidity
Still Consult a Doctor. He has enough experience to resolve the problem
Animals eat to feed their hunger. Humans eat to feed the hunger and appetite. No outsider can guide on these things routinely.
Distancing acidity / Safe step when regular food is delayed by a hour or two, at times
For the Stomach acid to get spent / used up, have some eatables like say some biscuits, milk, fruits or any handy eatables or proper food. The cause and the first aid / relief is with us.
Natural Products - Acidity relief ? Banana and Milk
Bananas contains Potassium, an alkali metal, in a way that can easily be absorbed by the body and can keep Acidity away. 90% of Banana is water. [Recollections from a show in Star Plus and some other book]
Milk is one of the safest food item to resolve / reduce Acidity in my view. My Doctor's advice too in 1973
Acid / Alkali forming foods - from a medical book
Alkali: All fruit juices, all vegetables excluding onion and lentils, all vegetable juices, honey, fresh milk of all types and treated milks like buttermilk are alkali forming foods. They can reduce acidity
Acid forming foods: meats of all kind [ with the exception of horse ], fish/all sea foods, onion, walnuts, peanuts, bread, all types of wheat and other cereal flours, all types of pasta, chocolate, eggs and cheese are acid forming foods. They have to be reduced / minimized with Doctor's advice in case of acidity problem / worsening acidity problem
[ to hell with acidity. It is nice to have Idli with Onion Sambar for breakfast than having a cup of tea with some dull tasting biscuits ]
Anta acid tablets is no cure - minor, hour long relief only
Anta Acid powders normally contain a bit of extra alkaline chemical like baking soda to neutralise the stomach acid. The normal tablets contain some Aluminium compounds. In special medicines, there can be other special chemicals also
These are all minor, temporary relief's and not to be taken as remedy. After the alkali gets spent / neutralised, acidity will again start, as acid production is continuous. It is simple common sense. This drawback is to be borne in mind
[ Despite Aluminium being an abundant mineral on Earth [Clay - Aluminium Silicate], I recollect having read that the Body does not need Aluminium. And the minimal needs are met by anta acid tablets.]
Resorting to these easily available tablets from the nearby medical shops and taking them routinely is not the right step. Digestion may get affected. Normally, these are not to be taken in an empty stomach - acid meant for digestion gets neutralised / inactive. Proper medical counsel is necessary if the problem is routine and disconcerting
An Alkali Salt:
Sodium Bicarbonate [ baking soda ] and Citric acid mixture was also sold as Anta Acid relief.
Baking Soda is used in the preparation of many food items. When dissolved in water, I think, Sodium Citrate, an effervescent salt is formed. It is used in soft drinks. The slight excess content of Sodium Bicarbonate fights with the Stomach acid
Citric acid is the acid in Lemon: Body also produces Citric Acid routinely and the person who found that out, Tricarboxylic Acid Cycle / TCA cycle, got a Noble Prize - Read in a Bio Chemistry book in 1995. It is an Alpha Hydroxy Acid
As per my recollection, Eno's salt, as per the lable say around 1980, was roughly 54% of Baking Soda and 46% of Citric Acid. Nowadays, Eno carries an Ayurvedic label and the contents are mentioned in Ayurvedic jargons.
[The present Ayurvedic lable in many earlier Cosmetic / Allopathy items is a tax saving exercise in my view. ]
Worsening the Problem
Acidity and smoking
From my personal experience I can say that smoking can also lead to Acidity. I am a smoker since July 1965. Smoking on an empty stomach, lulls the hunger and dulls the appetite. A smoker may eat less than what he should and naturally, acidity can become routine.
I never used to have breakfast, not even biscuits, between July 1969 and March 1973. That is how I worsened my position between 1971 to 1973. Finally, I went to the Doctor around July 1973. It took me 6 months to understand the above mentioned details and get over the problem. I was not far away from getting peptic ulcer.
Coffee, Tea - can lead to acidity
Coffee and Tea, the way we take it in India with milk, gives a feeling of fullness to the stomach. The quantity be limited to 50 ml at a time and not a mug. They normally dull the hunger. So it is better to have some eatables with Coffee and Tea, as I do now.
[Being thoughtless and spineless imitators, now the so called, educated, pompous, vain, precocious, affluent persons take a 'mug' of coffee / Tea - keeping up with the Jones. 150 to 200 ml at a time. This is not the right dose for anyone for long. 50 ml or less, at a time, is more appropriate].
In the early Seventies, I used to light a cigarette after Coffee on an empty stomach. Due to factors earlier mentioned, you can realise that this was a wrong step. As a Tamilian, I used to take Filter Coffee which is much stronger with stimulating coffee's aroma unlike instant coffee, which is not my first choice.
Carbonated Drinks: I never used to like Colas even when it was available for 20 paise in 1963. Shri Gopichand, the earlier Badminton Champion, refused an offer to endorse Coco Cola - one news. How many Celebrities show such integrity. Mera Bharat Mahan. Carbonated drinks / Soda, I think, can add to acidity, as it is carbon dioxide dissolved in water - that is carbonic acid.
Newspaper articles on Health subjects are generally shallow - could be unwittingly counter productive
The above write up was provoked by Dr. Batra's article in Times of India
The irresponsiblity of Dr. Batra and Times of India
Times of India printed an article on ' Acidity ' by Dr. Batra, the self advertised expert on Homeopathy. [ perhaps on 13-11-2008 ] I only have a feeling that he has more cures than diseases discovered so far
Newspaper should verify the details and not act as 'photo copying' machine on health matters. They are not reproducing the meaningless blabberings of a Politician.
Milk should be avoided as it contains Lactic acid, is Dr. Batra's comment. I cannot quote verbatim as I do not preserve the trash. Homeopathic tablets are diluted with Lactose / Milk Sugar. What is he blabbering about Lactic Acid and its sugar content ? [ Are they not / were there not baby milk powders with names like Lactogen ? ]
Every new born baby survives on Milk for nearly a year. Do they suffer from acidity ? Has any Doctor / any major therapy found out any link between acidity and a baby's milk diet ? No. One has to think for a minute and does not have to be a Doctor to trash his advice
A medical practitioner cannot be so ignorant of basic facts and also be reckless enough to loudmouth a baseless excuse without proper verification and misguide the public through an obliging newspaper. And if this his standard and for a change, we accept that every Doctor in his India's largest Homeopathy hospital Chain are personally trained by him as claimed, pause for a minute and reflect - on what basis, can you trust his hospitals for hair and diabetes, which are still eluding a meaningful solution in any therapy ?
Organic Acids can be about 100,00 or more times weaker compared to inorganic acids. Hydrochloric / stomach acid is an inorganic acid. We are concerned about acids / alkali in food / inside the body. His reasoning is shallow in my view. If we accept his line of thinking for a minute, we cannot take Orange, Tomatoes and Pine apple for they contain Citric Acid. Apple has to be thrown out as it has maleic acid. To hell with grapes, which has tartaric acid content.
You can lie in bed and refuse Ascorbic acid, Nicotinic acid, Folic Acid and Pantothenic acid. In common parlance, they are all Vitamins
Do you feel the disgust that I now suffer against a practitioner like Dr. Batra ? What is worse is the fact that Times, claiming to be the largest selling daily in India, prints that without scrutiny !
A Nutritionist's article in Times of India, Thursday, 20-11-2008 was very different / contradicted Dr. Batra's shallow views - within 3-4 days as per my recollection. Did Times of India note that ? Did they offer an apology to the public? Are they not morally guilty of having misled near about 100,000 readers ? They carry on - no one asks !
Times of India
Though I am a reader of Times of India from 1960 onwards and regular daily reader from 1974 onwards, I do not rate this paper to be good.
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