The Acid Test
Hydrochloric acid presents a few dilemmas for those of us seeking better supplements on a daily basis.
On one hand, it must be handled with appropriate safety precautions because it is a highly corrosive liquid. It is used in various industrial applications including leather manufacturing and PVC plastic production, as well as the removal of rust from iron and steel.1
Of course another great use for hydrochloric acid, or HCl, is to help us digest our food. Our bodies are protected from this corrosive acid by a mucosal barrier in our GI tracts. Many times when people think they have too much acid, they actually have too little barrier and not enough acid. Yes, this acid is a good thing.
Acid is one of the main things that help us to break down those big forkfuls of food into useable nutrients. Despite the popularity of acid-neutralizing and acid-blocking drugs, stomach acid is crucial not only to health, but also to achieving optimal function. When you block acid, you limit nutrient absorption and create an environment that is actually favorable to disease. Even if you don’t use these drugs, studies dating back over 70 years show that our ability to secrete acid decreases as we age.2-4
Having appropriate acid levels is step one. Before you start analyzing your percentage of fat, carbohydrates and protein intake, make sure your acid level is good. Before you start buying expensive supplements, make sure your acid level is good. Before you start analyzing your sets, reps, tempo and frequency, make sure your acid level is good. If you can’t break down your muscle-building nutrients, you’re putting in a lot of money and hard work and not getting the most from them. Again, it is step one.
Testing acid levels
Fortunately, this is easy to test and easy to fix. Very rarely can one put in so little effort for so much return. In order to test, I like to use a method recommended by Drs. Michael Murray and Joe Pizzorno, NDs.
In the middle of your next solid meal, take one capsule of Digestzyme (200 mg HCL.) Continue to increase the dose by one capsule at each subsequent meal until you can feel warmth in your stomach. DO NOT EXCEED SEVEN CAPSULES.
Once you’ve determined the dose that produces a warm sensation, you now know that similar sized meals require one less tablet than that dose. You have now determined how much acid your body should be producing on its own, but isn’t. (i.e. the dose that you take with every meal.) Smaller meals might require less and larger meals might require more.5 You should immediately notice changes like a decrease in bloating, belching, and less indigestion.
This one little change to your program can have an incredible impact. Protein that never made it to your muscles is suddenly getting broken down for use. Carbohydrates that could have given you energy are now being digested and utilized. Healthy fats that were needed to improve the integrity of your cellular membranes finally have a chance. Expensive supplements that used to just “pass” on by, now get dissolved and released into your system.
Beyond that, acid in your stomach can protect you from bacteria, specifically helicobacter pylori, known to be one of the leading causes of ulcers. There are other things to consider, like enzymes, but the first step is having enough acid. It may sound too simple, but it really can make a huge difference.
Findings from the field
Since writing the article Maximize Your Progress with Hydrochloric Acid, and after giving multiple Biosignature seminars, we have found that an alarming group of people are basically generating very little stomach acid for themselves.
Dr. Bob Ratkowski estimates that 98% of the American population is deficient in HCL because of increased stress levels. I would concur with him on that one, as we have found similar results with our PPC s clientele. Colleagues of mine have found similar results in elite athletes in soccer and rugby. Even young athletes, such as a top college American football player I am training, are turning out to be completely HCL deficient.
Responding to the challenge
In response, we have created a large HCL concentration tablet that contains 650 mg of HCL, 90 mg of pepsin, and 40 mg of Gentian, an herb that stimulates HCL production. The product is called Ultra HCL 2.0.
If you got to the point where seven Digestzymes provokes no reaction in your system, simply replace them with two Ultra HCL 2.0 per meal. The day you encounter a warm sensation, go down to 1 Ultra HCL 2.0 and 2 Digestzymes That dosage will give a total of 1050 mg of HCL instead of 1,300 mg. Over time, simply cut back the total HCL per meal by 200 mg every time you encounter that warm feeling in the stomach.
I am looking forward to seeing you making new progress in the gym.
To order Digestzymes, and Ultra HCL 2.0 , please contact [email protected]
H.A. Rafsky and M. Weingarten, “A Study of the Gastric Secretory Response in the Aged,” Gastroenterology May (1946): 348-52
D. Davies and T.G. James, “An Investigation into the Gastric Secretion of a Hundred Normal Persons over the Age of Sixty,” Brit J Med i(1930): 1-14
J.H. Baron, “Studies of Basal and Peak Acid Output with an Augmented Histamine Meal, “ Gut 3 (1963):136-144
M. Murray and J. Pizzorno, Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, Rocklin, CA. Prima Publishing, 1998 pps. 134-137