By Josh Redd, DC on November 13, 2017
Several factors are responsible for stomach cancer, however a recent study has shown that regular use of proton pump inhibitors, commonly referred to as PPIs, for acid reflux increases the risk of stomach cancer. The study shows that PPI users are more prone to stomach cancer in relation to those who used H2-receptor acid reducing drugs (Tagamet, Pepcid). It was also pointed out that people who have Hashimoto’s low thyroid may struggle with acid reflux because one of the factors that causes acid reflux is hypothyroidism. A lot of people think acid reflux is a result of high stomach acid. Actually, the opposite happens to be true. Too little stomach acid is responsible for acid reflux. This brings us to the question, why is this relevant when you have Hashimoto’s low thyroid? By nature, the stomach is very acidic. This is to enable it break down food easily and also fight bacteria, fungi and other pathogens. Good stomach acidity helps to absorb minerals and also informs the rest of the digestive system to release the required hormones, enzymes that ensure good digestion. If you have low stomach acid then you are prone to gut inflammation, infections and other digestive dysfunction. All these can lead to Hashimoto’s low thyroid. You also require healthy stomach acid to repair your gut. What is responsible for low stomach acid? Stress, bacterial infection, poor diet and some natural deficiencies are responsible for low stomach acid. Although an H. pylori infection, which is synonymous with stomach ulcers, is the most common case of low stomach acid. You should watch out for pernicious anemia and inadequate zinc B12, magnesium, or chloride. How low stomach acid causes acid reflux The small intestine requires the content of food being received from the stomach to be acidic enough for it to be able to pass through. If this fails, the food goes back up to the esophagus. Even though the food is considered not be acidic enough for the small intestine, it is too acidic for the tissues in the esophagus. This leads to the burning of acid reflux or in some cases heartburn. This could also be a sign of poor digestive function which could play a role in Hashimoto’s low thyroid. Why antacids worsen acid reflux overtime Using acid-reducing drugs could help your immediate needs but causes a great problem down the line. This is because low stomach acid makes the digestive system open to infection, inflammation and in some cases damage. It is important to address the underlying cause of low stomach acid when you have Hashimoto’s low thyroid and not just treat the symptoms. How to improve low stomach acid when you have Hashimoto’s low thyroid You can improve low stomach acid by using supplements that contain betaine hydrochloric acid (HCL). For those with stomach ulcer or stomach autoimmunity using supplements could aggravate the situation. In such circumstances, it is best you address the existing condition head on. Ask my office for more advice on managing acid reflux and Hashimot's low thyroid.