The 12th Invest in ME Conference, Part 1
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Stomach acid test with bicarb - epic fail

Discussion in 'Gastrointestinal and Urinary' started by Sasha, Mar 15, 2015.

  1. Sasha

    Sasha Fine, thank you

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    So, I've had continuous bad acid reflux this week (new symptom) and was advised to try a self-test for low stomach acid in which you drink 1/4 tsp of bicarb in 8 fl. oz of water first thing on an empty stomach, and time how long it takes you to burp.

    Within 2-3 minutes is normal. It's been 27 minutes now and nothing has happened.

    I took 4 Gaviscon tablets last night - they're the kind that form a raft on top of your stomach contents to stop acid being sprayed into the gullet.

    Would that have invalidated the test?

    :(:ill::depressed:
     
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  2. WillowJ

    WillowJ คภภเє ɠรค๓թєl

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    I don't know about that.
    But I hope you feel better soon!
     
  3. Sasha

    Sasha Fine, thank you

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    I think I've answered my own question! Here are the instructions for the Heidelberg Capsule test (the one that the docs use to measure stomach acidity):

    During the initial consultation, the Physician will request that you stop taking any medications that could possibly affect the test results. Contact your personal physician and ask if you can safely stop taking your medication for a short time. Certain medication like Proton Pump inhibitors (PPIs or acid reducing medications), antibiotics, antihistamines have a repository affect (retained in the cell structure of the body) if taken for a long time. The quantity and length of time you have taken these medications will determine how long you must stop taking them. This includes over the counter medications like Tums, Rolaids, Pepto-Bismol, etc. A list of medications and supplements you take will also be required by the Physician. A complete examination and medical history will be required before you can be tested.​

    Damn!
     
  4. Sushi

    Sushi Senior Member Albuquerque

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    I took that test and had the same results as the burp test--very low stomach acid. Gotta say, bicarb is a lot easier to swallow than a radio transmitter!
     
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  5. MeSci

    MeSci ME/CFS since 1995; activity level 6?

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    I wish I knew how reliable the burp test was. My burp time can vary from 30 seconds to 30 minutes or more, and I am not taking any drugs that might interfere with the test. It just seems that my stomach acidity varies a lot, probably dependent largely on whether I have over-exerted. My diet and supplements don't vary much.

    I take bicarb as an alkaliser, so it would be good to have an easy test to do before taking the bicarb - to see whether I need it or not!
     
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  6. ebethc

    ebethc Senior Member

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    Doesn't acid reflux mean you have TOO MUCH stomach acid?

    thanks
     
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  7. Mary

    Mary Senior Member

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    A common cause of acid reflux, paradoxically, is low stomach acid, but most doctors just prescribe antacids, never solving the problem and creating new problems with poor absorption of various nutrients. I don't know the chemistry but there's a ton of info about this easily found.
     
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  8. Sasha

    Sasha Fine, thank you

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    No - the stomach is designed to cope with acid. It's a sign that something has gone wrong with the lower oesophageal sphincter that stops acid escaping from the stomach into the oeosophagus. As Mary says, low stomach acid is common in those with the condition. According to a book I'm reading, 90% of people with chronic reflux have low acid. It may be that the closing of the sphincter is triggered by the detection of acid near the sphincter.
     
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  9. South

    South Senior Member

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    For anyone considering taking HCL capsules, I recently found opinions that taking the capsules 30-60 minutes after the meal is over can work much better than taking the capsules during or right after the meal.

    (Edit to add this paragraph): The logic is that taking the capsules during the meal might lower the stomach's own production of acid. So instead, taking the capsules later after the meal with water; the water sends the quickly-dissolved capsule contents down into the upper intestine to catch up with the food there. The pancreas then senses that the food in the upper intestine has a good bit of acid, and the pancreas reacts by sending out more enzymes. Voila, better digestion. As support for this theory, I did read a digestion study once that liquid like water, plus a few capsules, will leave the stomach very quickly.

    Taking the HCL capsules 30-60 minutes after the meal is over would send the HCL into the small intestine, which is the first part of the intestine after the stomach - and doing so mimics what a normal person's digestive system does: a normal person's digestion sends a clump of very acidic food out of the stomach and into the first part of the small intestine. There, the pancreas senses acidity and responds by sending enzymes and bicarbonate into the small intestine. Which is a good thing.

    I tried it, and lo and behold, I can take HCL capsules on this schedule without getting reflux. (a year ago I tried them during meals, and got reflux). I had a test done a long time ago showing low stomach acid, so am glad to finally find a way to help this.

    I know that some people say certain nutrients help your body make more stomach acid on its own, like niacin and zinc, so that is important to explore too.

    There's another thread on HCL in Phx Rising, here:

    http://forums.phoenixrising.me/inde...at-cough-no-heartburn-take-betaine-hcl.12288/
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2015
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  10. Sasha

    Sasha Fine, thank you

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    But isn't that too late for the acid to help digest the meal?
     
  11. bertiedog

    bertiedog Senior Member

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    @Sasha I haven't read all the thread cos a bit busy but since I gave up eating wheat and rye I don't ever experience acid issues. When eating grains (except for rice plus things like millet) it isn't uncommon for people to suffer with problems with acid reflux.

    Although I don't suffer with this anymore I find I still need around 450 mg HCL with meals and a digestive enzyme. I believe you should take the tablets at the beginning of the meal for the best result.

    Pam
     
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  12. Sasha

    Sasha Fine, thank you

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    Hi Pam - I haven't eaten grains for over a year (apart from quinoa). I recently (a few days ago) switched to rice and got much worse - I came off it yesterday and immediately improved.

    There's just no making sense of myself!
     
  13. bertiedog

    bertiedog Senior Member

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    @ Sasha Sorry to hear that, are you off dairy too as that can be a problem for some people?

    Pam
     
  14. Sasha

    Sasha Fine, thank you

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    No dairy for over a year!
     
  15. South

    South Senior Member

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    @Sasha Apparently not. I just edited my post above to add a couple comments about this, with the idea that the the capsule contents catch up with the food, by taking them with water awhile after the meal is over. Liquid and capsules, not mixed with food, leave the stomach quickly, according to a digestion paper-type thing I read once.
     
  16. Sasha

    Sasha Fine, thank you

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    But the stomach has a lining to allow it to cope with all the acid - you don't want to be sending acid into the intestines, do you?
     
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  17. South

    South Senior Member

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    Actually, yes, the SMALL intestine - this mimics what happens when a normal person's stomach sends a bolus (clump) of food out of the stomach into the small intestine. The food bolus of a normal person is very acidic when it leaves the stomach, arriving, still in an acidic state, into the small intestine. (the small intestine is the first part of the intestines, directly after the stomach)

    Then the pancreas, which has sensors in the small intestine, senses the acidic bolus that just arrived in the small intestine, and responds by making enzymes and bicarbonate. The pancreas sends the enzymes and bicarbonate into the small intestine (not into the stomach).

    This is a summary of reading from a few different medical sources, that I read slowly over the past few months.
     
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  18. Sasha

    Sasha Fine, thank you

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    Oh! That's interesting! :)
     
  19. justy

    justy Senior Member

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    I have had years of struggle with acid reflux now and have found out a few things things. I don't burp at all when I do the bicarb test, but due to severe gastritis and now severe reflux have been too afraid to try HCL.

    I am currently having mast cell activation issues and gerd due to HIGH acid is common in people with MAST cell issues. Taking H2 blockers has helped me a lot not just with the GERD but other histamine issues along side an H1 blocker.

    I also have EDS III - this can cause a lax sphincter due to connective tissue issues - the only way to know I guess would be an endoscopy? I have prolapse issues at the other end and imagine this could be an issue - so taking HCL would make it worse. People with EDS are much more likely to also have Mast cell issues.

    I have asthma and have been taking asthma meds all my life. Asthma meds can cause the sphincter to become lax over time. HCL would not help in this situation. Many people with asthma have GERD and many people with asthma have their asthma worsened by GERD causing irritation or even pneumonia in the lungs. Acid suppression is the only way forward in this case, unless you know you LOW acid AND a working sphincter.

    I have ALL the above issues, so unless I can see a very very knowledgeable consultant who knows about all of these issues AND gastric issues then there is no way for me to know what is causing what. I am just taking the acid suppressors and getting on with things that way - I know its not a long term solution, but as my oesophagus was hurting so much from the reflux and my asthma was worsening every time the reflux got worse AND I am pumping out histamine all bloody day long the only solution was take the drugs.
     
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  20. Sasha

    Sasha Fine, thank you

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    Sorry to hear about all that @justy - it sounds very tough to deal with.
     
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