Need to increase your stomach acid? Well, I have 11 Ways to Naturally Improve Stomach Acid Production as the third part to this stomach acidity series.
In case you missed them, part 1 was 33 Ways to Tell If You Have Low Stomach Acid and part 2 was How to Test At Home for Low Stomach Acid, HCL Challenge.
I have already made it clear that stomach acid is essential for optimal digestive health.
The digestive system is 30 feet long and the stomach itself is only a small portion of that.
The stomach is a temporary storage place for food. Only water and alcohol are digested here, which is why you get drunk on an empty stomach.
Additionally, HCL is here, which is the only acidic organic in the digestive tract. The HCL kills bacteria and helps break food down so that it can effectively send food on its merry way.
Naturally increasing its production, then, is ideal.
11 Ways to Naturally Improve Stomach Acid Production
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1. Add fermented veggies to your diet
You can simply make your own fermented veggies or buy ones such as Bubbies Sauerkraut, Farmhouse Culture, and Kimchi.
If you can’t handle the full product, try just the juice, which also helps.
2. Use a quality sea salt
Pink Himalayan Salt is my favorite because not only can it help with acid production, it also contains important minerals like magnesium which helps fight high-stress levels (and is great for those recovering from Adrenal Fatigue).
3. Explore Food Combining
Carbohydrates reduce the production of HCL and protein requires HCL to be digested.
If you can avoid mixing the two, it could help. (That said, I feel it’s more important to just eat without the extra stress, and if this one will stress you out, skip it.)
4. Marinate your meats
You can marinate meats prior to cooking to help with pre-digestion of them.
Using a marinade with lemon, lime, apple cider vinegar, etc. to help your body better digest the protein.
Take your time when eating meals.
Did you know that digestion begins in the mouth and that you have digestive enzymes there as well?
Chew your food slowly so as to break it down as much as possible before it even reaches the stomach.
Remember, so often it comes down to HOW we eat vs WHAT we eat.
6. Hot vs Cold Liquids
Ice water inhibits the production of stomach acid, so avoid drinking it with your meals and instead drink it around meal times.
Also, avoid drinking water with meals period, as it dilutes your natural HCL and enzyme production.
7. Choose a beverage wisely
Ginger, dandelion root and lemon are all things which naturally increase HCL production.
Make your own warm beverage using them (try making a warm version of my lemonade!) or easier yet, try one of these (caffeine-free) teas: Ginger Aid® and/or Roasted Dandelion Root.
8. Take Betaine HCL
In addition to the fact that the Betaine HCL Challenge will help determine your current HCL levels, including a supplement with Betaine HCL can help increase stomach acid as well.
There are two main ways to do this:
- You can take straight HCL pills. Take them in the same way you conducted the challenge. Each time you decrease a pill, you’ll know your stomach acid production is naturally increasing.
- Take a supplement that includes HCL. Some people are sensitive to the high amounts of HCL per pill, so they prefer to include HCL as part of a supplement intended to help break food down. This is why we created, Break Down. It is a superior digestive enzyme that includes HCL.
9. Be calm
Overall stomach acidity levels drop as we become more stressed.
Learn to manage stress, especially around meal times when the body’s job is to digest food.
10. Eliminate all food sensitivities
Consuming foods on a daily basis that you are sensitive or intolerant to (i.e. wheat, gluten, soy, eggs, corn, preservatives, nightshades, etc.) causes a decrease in stomach acid production.
Learn more about food sensitivities.
11. Apple cider vinegar
Add apple cider vinegar to your diet wherever you can.
You can mix a little in with water prior to all meals or better yet, cook with it.
Some recipes: Homemade Apple-Spiced Vinaigrette, Homemade Sweet Sage Dressing, Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Grapes and Walnuts.
In case you haven’t gathered it yet, I find the digestive system 1,000% fascinating. I live and breathe ways to optimize it since I spent years tearing it down.
If you want to learn every last thing about your own digestive system, grab a copy of my 90-Day Gut Healing Journal, Healing Blooms from Within.
If you liked this post, you might also enjoy:
- A Gutsy Girl’s Bible: an approach to healing the gut
- All About Acid Reflux
- Is Stress Causing My Digestive Distress
You will heal. I will help.
OMGosh Sarah… a lot of what you’ve said makes soooo much sense for me now! Since the suicide death of my father (on our Thanksgiving morning, Oct. 12/15), I have been living on stomach pills from the doctor for major reflux and sometimes an extra Pepcid chewable as well if it was bad at night. I’m a true vinegar girl (probably have at least 8 different types in my cupboard) but never thought of the cider one before! At least not exclusively for this problem… thank you.
I’m back to work full time next week (part time just for this week) and this will be a handy thing to know.
I didn’t want to take Rx’s for the depression that I had apparently sunk into so I’ve been taking St. John’s Wort 300mg x 3 day and it has to be combined with Omega-3 1457mg x 2 day to be effective.
All organtic and VERY happy to say that it’s working… I’m now back at work and feeling like a “normal” person instead of Jeckyll & Hyde!!! 🙂
I am so sorry to hear of your father, Jane. All my hugs.
Do u know ibs? I have ibs and due to ibs my stomach is not empty properly in the morning and I am not hungry well do u have solution for my slow digestion ? i mean natural solution without drugs According to me stay empty stomach at night is it best for me
?for production of acid for hungry well please give proper solution by
I don’t believe I’m an isolated case. Betaine HCL, even under the care of a doctor, gave me severe gastritis that took weeks to heal. I landed in the ER because I thought I had some pancreas or galbladder issue. Turns out I didn’t need extra stomach acid, and it’s really not know if people need extra. I’m sure vinegar is a safe way, but HCL is incredibly strong. Thanks for the article
Taking hcl supplements is not natural. It’s just symptom suppression. Otherwise good list.
Hi! I’m not sure I completely agree with that. On the one hand, yes, you’re correct that it is a supplement so maybe not as natural as something like drinking ACV, but on the other hand, it does more than just symptom suppress. I am living proof of this. I started taking 8+ a long time ago, and I am down to just 4, but probably could go even down to 3. I am beginning to produce it on my own, and adding them in has done more than just suppress the symptoms. Thanks for the thoughts!
What if someone has issues with swallowing lots of pills? I am in my 60’s and have noticed increased difficulty doing so. I don’t eat much protein so I just take 1 or 2 HCL. I was diagnosed with low stomach acid in 1995 and my stomach/microbiome has been a mess for a long time. Is there another supplement or way to help with this? ACV burns my gut also. I do need to slightly increase my lemon water and fermented foods but most of these are troublesome. Maybe I should try only 1/2 tsp or so. This is all so much work and is stressful for sure. Any advice?
Natural – existing in or caused by nature; not made or caused by humankind… There’s no world where I would ever consider anything that comes in a pill natural. Period. And if the hcl supplements were actually treating the cause and not the symptom, then at what point will you be healed? Cause for me taking pills everytime I eat for the rest of my life is not a cure, it’s a quick fix. And I’ve seen you provide no evidence that it’s the hcl pills are what cause you to need less of them over time. Just cause you’ve had to take less at a certain point doesn’t mean that it’s the hcl pills that boosted your stomach acid production. Correlation does not mean causality. It could be any number of other factors in your treatment or life that caused your acid production to increase. And the hcl is just the easiest way to measure stomach acid strength. At best you have theory… Have you ever tried not eating meat? It’s horrible for you (and the environment) anyways. Could be that eating meat sets an unrealistic standard for how much hcl your stomach needs. Since it’s not designed to process high amounts of protein and operates best at an 8% protein diet(look at both breast milk and the healthiest people in the world, who are from Okinawa). The hcl a vegan needs in a day is, most likely, far less than a meat eater.
“Have you ever tried not eating meat?” You have no idea about the hell and back I’ve been through and about the YEARS where I ate almost no meat, super high fiber, all the Vegan this that and the other to “heal.” Made me horribly miserable, B12 deficient, etc., etc.
We are going to have to agree to disagree on the HCL.
I think I may be suffering with low stomach acid and sibo. My main symptoms are persistent bloating that only reduces during extended water fasts, constipation, belching immediately after meals and drinks and flatulence. I have tried various healing diets and I’m currently on day two of the fast tract diet. I have started supplementing with HCL, acv and sauerkraut but I’ve not noticed any improvements. Can it take a while for the natural remedies to work? How much acv should I take daily please?
Hi Ria! Thanks for reaching out. Yes, it can take awhile, but also keep in mind that without a full diagnosis, what you’re doing may not be right for you. Could you get some testing done so you know for sure what you’re working with?
Am not sure if I have low stomach acid cause I haven’t gone for a test but my symptoms are belching immediately after food, constipation, acid reflux, muscle pain cause of gas. So what test can I tell the doctor to do to find out if I have low stomach acid?.
Hi! Do you see a traditional doctor? If so, I’m not sure how they test? I didn’t have any sort of blood test or anything like that.
Hi Sarah. A year and a half ago I found out I had Candida Overgrowth. After taking medicine and getting rid of it, I found out I also had leaky gut, after that I found out I have SIBO. I have been taking the Thorne – Betaine HCL & Pepsin since Thanksgiving. I right away felt nothing with up to 3 caps and stayed at 3 caps for about three months. Then the pharmacist said he had patients taking up to 15 caps sometimes and recommended I keep increasing. So over a week I did and reached 15 with no burning or heavy sensations. I have come down to 13 with every meal now, but only because once in a while I would feel a slight sensation, but I also wondered if it was because I took the Betaine but didn’t eat a bite soon enough after that. I always take the Betaine first then start eating. I also take 7 caps with every snack too. My dr. says this many at every meal is not “necessary”, but he also says it won’t hurt taking that many, it just isn’t necessary. What are your thoughts? Is this too many? Do you take yours at the beginning of the meal and with snacks? I am currently on the GAPS Diet, Stage 3 of the Intro. part, and adding in foods has been a struggle. I add them in small amounts and try one for 3 days before adding another, but it seems that at some point they still don’t sit well with me and I backtrack again. Do you have any tips or a post about how to properly add in new foods? I am also taking Bio-Botanical herbal antibiotics for my SIBO. Thanks for the help!
Hi! I think 13 is far too many. There is a lot of information about all of this in my e-book, ‘The Gutsy Girl’s Bible: an approach to healing the gut, 3.0′ via the “SHOP’ tab above 🙂
Would you include celery juice on an empty stomach first thing in the morning to this list?
Hi Amanda – The verdict is still out on Celery Juice for me. I know it’s all the rage, but I have not researched it enough nor have I tried it. My goal is to do so and report back. Xox
I haven’t been tested but I just know I have SIBO. I have hypothyroidism (hashimotos) and I’ve been on Nexium for years. I never have more than 1-2 bowel movements a week. It’s builds up until I’m in pain as bad as labor pain and then I’m on the toilet in excruciating pain also so nauseated from it all that I’m also dry heaving into a garbage can. I find that I have trouble with fat as well. Bad tummy cramping. I have so many issues I feel like I have no clue where to begin and cannot see a doctor due to finances right now. My question is if I try the low stomach acid test with the pills… do I want to do that while still on nexium? And will it make my heartburn bad? I can’t take a day of heartburn! It’s so bad. 🙁
Hi Elizabeth – NO! Absolutely do not do anything with HCL while on Nexium. That could not end well. I feel for you so much, but please work with a medical practitioner to help sort through it.