Low stomach acid production is a common disorder in celiac disease and dermatitis herpetiformis that is characterized by lack of sufficient hydrochloric acid needed 1) to properly digest food, which results in malnutrition and subsequent nutritional deficiencies, and 2) to destroy swallowed bacteria and other microbes, which may allow infections to develop.
It is also common in the general population, as well, affecting 50% of people age 60 years and about 80% by age 85 years. Nevertheless, low stomach acid is not generally looked for as a cause of acute and chronic disorders that rob health with far-reaching effects.
The stomach digests incoming food into a liquid state, thereby releasing nutrients so they can be absorbed by the small intestine. Powerful stomach muscles churn food and mix it with gastric juice, dissolving and breaking it down.
Gastric juice is produced by gastric glands located in the stomach lining. These numerous, microscopic glands produce about 3 liters of juice a day. Gastric juice is composed of a high concentration of
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