Low stomach acid is very prevalent condition in many countries. Lower stomach acid could be due to a number of factors in their health or lifestyle. Many people use acid blockers or acid suppression drugs for the treatment of GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) and heartburn. What many do not know is that low stomach acid, possibly combined with bacterial overgrowth may be the cause of GERD and heartburn. Acid suppression medications and drugs such as Prilosec were initially advised to only be used for 6 weeks at a time but many find themselves being on such drugs for many more months and years.
When treating low stomach acid it is important to treat other digestive issues as well, particularly bacterial overgrowth. Low stomach acid can easily be treated with a combination of betaine hcl (always with pepsin) and enzymes, personally I take betaine hcl with bitters to supplement for the lack of stomach acid but also jumpstart my own digestive process. Betaine hcl should be increased gradually over time until you start to feel digestive issues such as bloating, heaviness, hotness, burping, farting or heartburn. A good rule of thumb is to start with one pill with each big meal of the day you eat and stay at that for a few days. After a few days start taking two pills, repeat the process until you find the number of pills that cause digestive disturb then back off by one pill. Also avoid drinking liquid (especially water) while eating, try to only sip but drink as much as you want between meals.
Bacterial overgrowth is another thing that may need to be treated as well. While many doctors and even some naturopaths would advise antibiotics, it might be more advisable to introduce probiotics and promote healthy, beneficial bacteria in the gut. The reason for this is that some bacteria in the gut are beneficial (such as H. Pylori) but when there is an overgrowth of them, they can cause digestive problems and lower stomach acid.
I generally do not advise taking many supplements without necessary but supplementing with a colostrum plus lactoferrin and multi-strain probiotics would be beneficial. It is also fairly easy to make homemade sauerkraut, kefit and yogurt, which some studies show have more probiotic content than conventional brands of yogurt.
Although countless scientists and nutritionists preach the benefits of fiber, insoluble fiber in particular can exacerbate bacteria overgrowth and provide food for bacteria to thrive on. In addition if bacterial overgrowth is a problem, prebiotics are advised against as well as they may cause bacterial overgrowth as well.
If additional help is needed with bacterial overgrowth problems or symptoms it is advised to seek out a functional medicine practitioner or naturopath who has experience dealing with digestive issues. A test I would highly recommend is the metametrix GI stool test which shows the levels of good and bacteria, enzymes and a snapshot on how your digestive system is doing.