Stomach Acid, B12 and Thyroid

Polaris posted an interesting link the other day which is getting missed.

The article concerned was discussing stomach acid, b vitamins and thyroid.

It was also discussing how PPIs block stomach acid production.

Let's take this one step further - I don't produce stomach acid, I have low stomach acid. I suspect, going on symptoms that many out there have low stomach acid whether taking PPIs or not.

If you have low stomach acid this is what the article says:

"Thyroid function becomes flawed because of lack of vitamins B2, B3 and B6 along with the minerals iodine, zinc, selenium, magnesium, copper, molybdenum, essential fatty acids and the amino acid tyrosine. Lacking these substances thyroid hormone can not be constructed."

So without stomach acid the above minerals and vitamins cannot produce thyroid hormone.

We also know without stomach acid b12 cannot be cleaved from food.

Hence you have one direct correlation that there could be an underlying cause as to why some people have thyroid issues and a simultaneous B12 problem.

Hope this info helps some people out there.

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72 Replies

  • Have you been tested for H Pylori?

    H Pylori is extremely common & can be diagnosed with a simple stool test. It's said to be the cause of all gastric ulcers & can lead to stomach cancer, yet the GPs seem to ignore it & prescribe Gaviscon & PPIs. These merely mask the symptoms & worse (as you point out) lead to all sorts of deficiencies. I'd suggest all Gaviscon & PPIs are good for is drug company profits & a few incentive bonuses for the GPs peddling them.

    Ask your GP for a H Pylori stool test, or do it privately with Oxford Screening. I'm pretty sure you have to refrain from PPI use for several weeks, so check that out, or you'll get a False Negative.

    If you have H Pylori, you will be offered "Triple or Quadruple Therapy", which is Antibiotics. Unfortunately, some strains of H Pylori has become resistant to Antibiotics. I believe it can be controlled with a zero carb diet (no sugar, bread, alcohol...) Plus substances such as Mastic Gum. When you have H Pylori it can return repeatedly. I've had Triple & Quadruple therapy & had it come back twice.

    Good luck!

  • Well, I've got a gastro saying the stomach acid issue is caused by autoimmune.

    Go figure.

    H Pylori thing may well be a red herring - as many things are. Is it the cause of stomach cancer or is low stomach acid?

    PA diagnosed patients will tell you it's only PA patients who have an increased risk of stomach cancer - ....

    Yet years ago when all these patients were diagnosed as PA (even the vegetarians) they all had low stomach acid.

  • I'll just add -

    I've never used PPIs or OTC antacids - many people have low stomach acid which is misdiagnosed as high stomach acid and they are given these things, but I've never taken them.

  • I'm sure H Pylori is very real. I believe it's a bacteria we all have. It's when we get an overgrowth that the problems start. The Pylori feeds on Acid, giving low acid symptoms. It also eats through stomach lining, causing ulcers. The doc who discovered it, Barry Marshall won a Nobel prize & yet strangely still very limited information about it. Our health system prefers to focus on masking symptoms rather than cure. No money in cure, lifelong repeat prescription is where it's at :-(

    Obviously, I wouldn't comment on your personal issues. They may be due to the PA. It's definitely worth a test though. Your GP can give it. Quick stool sample done yourself at home. Result within a week.

  • I'm sure H pylori is real - what I'm not sure of is what it's blamed for.

    It's not a case of the stomach acid being diminished it's a case of it not being produced. And if stomach acid isn't produced, intrinsic factor isn't produced.

    There has been some very interesting research recently on stomach acid and ulcers and I'll go and look your chap up as well.

    The comment about 'symptoms' of low stomach acid intrigues me - because my understanding is that they are the same as high stomach acid - which is why big pharma don't want the low stomach acid knowledge to get out there.

    My docs did nothing about the low stomach acid. Nothing. They don't understand it. The gastro went nuts. He's gone through the whole B12 malabsorption thing leading to nerve damage and what needs to be done (or should have been done) after that. He's stunned that doctors are missing this.

    There is a whole gap of knowledge missing between the GPs and the bottom and the handful of knowledgeable people at the top.

    He can't believe that nothing has been looked into and my muscle deterioration hasn't been looked at in light of the b12 deficiency caused when my b12 test was overlooked which in itself was caused by low stomach acid. Which is what I've been saying for 3 years.

    Now I have one bicep that measures 21cm and one that measures 27cm. And the doctors are looking at me as if I lost it somewhere!

  • As I said, I'm not suggesting H Pylori is part of your problem, but I think it's worth testing for.

    The Stool test can be done privately in UK for £35, so not expensive.

  • The stomach acid test can be done for £60 - and that is a problem.

    Probably best to have both done. But what would concern me is taking medication to rid ourselves of the H pylori we would be making matters worse.

    I'm starting to think that H pylori is a little like cholesterol. It's becoming the 'bad guy' in all this. When in fact cholesterol is a highly important compound in our metabolic processes. Yet the aim seems to be get it as low as possible.

    Whether I had it or not, I would want to look into the possible side effects of ridding myself of it...

    If anything else has been proven to me over the past few years it's that the medical profession jump on bandwagons like everyone else. For the most part their knowledge has little foundation or substance.

  • Actually the answer is simple, isn't it?

    You test stomach acid and test H pylori and then treat for H pylori and then test stomach acid levels again. If the stomach acid levels are still low then the H pylori wasn't the cause.

  • Best to relax. Take a breath. Don't jump to conclusions before you even know if you're affected.

    Worth doing the test to eliminate a possible cause.

    Good luck!

  • Absolutely shocking. Why are they referring patients to specialists if they are not prepared to listen to their diagnoses and treatments !?

  • Really interesting discussion. It made me think back. About twenty years ago, I was having constant stomach pain and diagnosed ulcer/gastritis. I asked for the H/pylori antibiotic treatment but was told "nobody gets ulcers any more - you just need Zantac" - GP hadn't heard about Barry Marshall !

    Looking back, that was the beginning of the downward slope.... and Hashimoto's. I eventually received strong antibiotics for H/Pylori after an endoscopy but symptoms came back, although at least I was able to drink a little wine.

    Years later, I've had longest relief from symptoms avoiding gluten....don't know why I didn't do it before !

  • Ha!

    I was told about B12 deficiency "Nobody gets that any more!"

    I know that ulcers have different causative factors depending on where they are. Stomach ulcers are different to duodenal ulcers. Again we tend to think of ulcers as being just 'ulcers'.

    I do think that stomach acid and digestive processes are the most interesting thing about all this. The problem is that it leads you to look at just about everything relating to human metabolic function. Makes sense if you think about it. Food is our fuel and the digestive system is what turns it into fuel. The path can, and does, lead anywhere and everywhere.

    I still think though, and more so recently, that we are being foolish putting all our faith into 'modern' medicine. In reality it has only been around about 80 years. A blink in history. They move too quickly, they take everything as a given and they are making a pig's ear of it. They are forgetting the basics and making up new rules as if they know better than mother nature.

  • Well said poppet

  • I had 20 years of various symptoms. It was only when I stumbled upon the subject of Gastric Acid (& the theory that "excess acid" doesn't exist, but rather that low levels cause reflux etc..), the piece advised a protocol using Betaine HCl tablets to test the theory. When I was able to wolf down 10 tablets without feeling any warmth, the article suggested testing for H. Pylori. I did it privately with Oxford Screening & got a Positive result. I took that to my GP & he said, "no problem, we'll give you the treatment" like it was an everyday occurrence. Begs the question why did I have to find it myself? Is it a secret??

    I've had it return twice before & I believe it's back. I'm booked in for a Gastroscopy in 2 weeks (& one where the sun don't shine Eeeeeek!!!!).

    When I met with the consultant last week & discussed my history, she told me H Pylori is extremely common. I think she quoted 60% of Gastroscopies find it.

  • I told my GP, when my b12 blood test was sat being overlooked, that my illness was in some way linked to foods. He's even put a smart-arse remark in my notes about it. I then discovered, again before the blood test was located, that ACV reduced at least the stomach aspect of the illness. But by then I was in such a mess it was a case of too little, too late. I then went on to have my own stomach acid test done and they still ignored it and thought I was loopy. Another smart remark in my notes. Apparently I have something 'else' called 'hypochlorhydria' and I am 'investigating this.'

    Shame the doctor a) didn't know what it was, and b) do the investigating.

    Yet, I was right.

    You see the figure of 60% your gastro gives for H pylori makes me sit back and wonder. Why are all these causastions in such high figures?

    We get the same with the autoimmune. Everybody has got some kind of autoimmune condition. Without modern medicine (according to modern medicine) most of us would be dead. Same goes for genetic issues. 60% having genetic 'disorders.'

    No, I can't go for these things, that would ultimately result in death without treatment, being 'normal'

    Death rates would be higher than in the 1600s.

  • Ruthi's link, given below, mentions Swedish Bitters. I tried this and it worked a miracle with uncomfortable and embarrassing IBS.

    I wish I'd discovered bitters and ACV years ago, as well as known the effect of gluten on my digestive system.

    I hope all goes well for you.

  • I use Swedish Bitters as well - or I did until the bottle got broken.

    Marvellous stuff. I stopped taking the ACV when I got the bitters.

    With the SB it stimulates all the digestion so you get the enzymes as well.

    I've hovering about wondering if I ought to make some bitters from dandelion leaves...

  • Yes, an amazing all round remedy - plenty of dandelions in my garden but I thought SB a combination of many herbs, most of which I hadn't heard of. I've tried home made yoghurt, fermenting cabbage etc. in the past but usually end up throwing it away!

    I get SB from Baldwins, long standing herbalists in London and a good price.

  • SB is made up of a combination but dandelion is supposed to act as bitters on its own. Maybe not as good but I'm willing to try it!

    I'll have a look at Baldwins.

    But I would recommend anyone to try the bitters before they go for betaine (definitely) or enzymes. I'd even rate it over the ACV.

  • Well, they probably know all about dandelions in your neck of the woods - weren't they called pis en lit - apparently the ancients ate them in the spring for blood cleansing and a clear out.

    I'll try them as a tea - will try anything now, except what the doctor ordered!

  • Yep. Anything the doctor prescribes I do in-depth research on.

    They still do eat them here. You can see people with little baskets walking over communal ground collecting them.

    It's quite normal to look eccentric in some parts of the world - very comforting!

  • Need to be off med like omeperazole for 2 weeks before test. I've just been tested through scope biopsy. Mine is negative - so no further forward. Heading to gp now to see if I can get any further forward

  • What test did you have? I've seen that a few people have had their stomach acid measured and they say 'negative' - well it's a pH test. Negative stomach acid would mean you had none.

  • It wasn't stomach acid being measured - it was h pilori and I was inconclusive for celiac disease. I hadn't considered low stomach acid - I'm being treated for high stomach acid!! Been taking high doses of omeperazole- have b12 deficiency (probably others) and lots of nerve issues as well as pain, reflux, stomach probs! Cannot seem to get to the bottom of it. Gp soon see if I can find out more. Had no life for 3months now :(

  • Sorry, I misunderstood your post - I'm trying to do too many things at once.

    If you see a British GP and ask them about low stomach acid, they haven't got a clue. I've put my test result in front of two and they smile and hand it back.

  • I was at an appointment where the chief gastroenterologist poo-poo-ed hypochlorhydria. (Said he had lots of patients with total achlorhydria who were doing very well, thank you. It isn't a problem.) And the post-consultancy letter went on about HYPERchlorhydria which hadn't been mentioned at all. GP couldn't quite understand why PPIs/H2As weren't suggested...

  • Yes they do say that, particularly in America where the big pharma control the FDA.

    I'd like to see the details of these patients who had total achlorhydria - since lack of stomach acid is responsible for all the deficiences we suffer from. Oh, and since it's also responsible for the digestive enzme function.

    Your chief gastro might want to look back over history and note that all the PA patients suffered from achlorhydria. And they all died.

    You might want to consider getting a second opinion.

    In fact, would it be possible to provide details of this chief gastro so we can put questions to him?

    And what were your pH levels when these professionals measured them?

  • Measure? What do you mean measure? That would have meant them not dismissing it out of hand without even giving it a single brain cell's worth of thought.

    This was not me! The chief gastro was rude, obnoxious and completely useless. I hope our paths never cross again in any way. The other person also would refuse ever to see him again. This occurred a number of years ago and really we were not in a position to do anything formal/complaint-wise at the time.

    Use was made of other approaches including vinegar, betaine, enzymes and - most importantly of all - more nearly adequate thyroid treatment. Things are much better now but still not right.

  • Ah, so what you are saying is you didn't agree with the gastro?

  • Even his registrar didn't seem to fully agree with him! We were disgusted and upset. And totally disagreed.

    It was my first experience of a prize idiot consultant.

  • I'll also just add, because I don't know where people are located in the world, but I know in the US gastros have for a while been instructed not to measure stomach acid levels (which suits big pharma quite nicely) I've got it in a book here somewhere.

    I don't know what they measure in the UK because I haven't seen a list.

  • A word of caution. I followed advice, and took some Betaine. It made my chronic stomach ache even worse.

    I have been taking a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda since before Christmas, and not only is my stomach the best it has been in years, my health (which has been poor all my life) seems much more robust too.

  • I agree about the betaine. It made mine worse. For some people their stomach acid has been so low for so long the lining of the stomach becomes irritated and the betaine is too strong.

    Also the release of stomach acid triggers release of pepsin which you also need.

    I would add a word of caution about bicarb. If you have low stomach acid which means it's alkaliine and add bicarb on top, which is also alkaline, then it makes the problem worse. If I take bicarb or even tablets with calcium in them, they are vomited back within about 5-10 minutes. This is tied in with Sippy Syndrome which was the original bicarb treatment back in the 30s (which is where our home remedy stems from) and it worked, until people started to go into comas with hypercalcaemia.

    'Robust' my, you are sounding like a politician.

    You can try the lemon juice test, which is half a lemon squeezed into a cup and topped up with water. Sip it. If you belch or get relief from indigestion then the indications are that you have low stomach acid.

    Hyperchlorhydria (which is high acid) despite what the media and pharmaceutical companies want to sell you, is actually very rare and only linked to a handful of illnesses - all of which need investigation.

  • "You can try the lemon juice test, which is half a lemon squeezed into a cup and topped up with water. Sip it. If you belch or get relief from indigestion then the indications are that you have low stomach acid."

    Al I got when I did that was awful stomach ache.

    Robust? Politician? Interesting connection. ;-)

  • Well if you have hypercholorhydiria then you should get it investigated further. It is rare and it can indicate some very serious problems.

    There are only a few conditions linked to it so easy to check out.

    Ah, yes, the buzzwords of today!

  • Not come across the lemon juice test before. But there are other home tests described here

    My very nice, but still not hugely well informed GP suggested PPIs again, even though we had already established they don't work. I told him about low stomach acid and ACV and he said 'Oh, I use that when I have over-indulged in takeaways'. But he didn't make the connection!!!!

    I think I may have found the cause of my ongoing gastritis - nuts! I went paleo a while back and of course nuts are important in that diet. When I cut down I realised the heartburn came on when I had eaten them (along with grains, gluten free ready made rubbish etc).

    For those who can't tolerate Betaine, ACV is much gentler - and less convenient!

  • I'll put it on the list.

  • Don't buy one from a supermarket which has additives. You want the Mother version which is cloudy looking.

    However - I wouldn't recommend the bicarb test. You can have a nasty reaction if you are very alkaline in stomach acid levels.

    The lemon juice test is much simpler and less traumatic!

    Nice article but I do wish people would reference stuff. There is a bit of a contradition in there and it would be good to see the in's and out's.

  • You might find this interesting reading:

    Worth reading parts 1 and 2 as well.

  • Thanks, I have actually read it - but I'm certain every one would like to have a peek. Chris Kresser goes the extra mile compared to most. He's also done a download on stomach acid so the pieces are being put together by some!

  • Have you thought about Pyroluria? This is a condition that renders B6 and Zinc unusable to the body and consequently is excreted via urine. Consider then that a lack of B6 means that B12 cannot be utilised, B6 and Zinc are needed to create stomach acid, and you start a whole heap of related conditions.

  • Can't say that I have ever looked into it, but I will.

    What concerns me is that we have this whole plethero of 'new' illnesses which all seem to be stemming back to the same problem.

    I mentioned the other day that it very much feels like when encephalitis lethargica was first noticed. It had numerous different names and was treated as dozens of different illnesses simply because it presented in a different manner.

    The thing with B12 deficiency is, that back in the day they knew that all patients with it had low stomach acid - yet, irrespective of the cause of the low stomach acid, how many patients are getting tested for it?

  • ...and another thing - the main problem with doctors is that they patronise you.

    You go to them after you've had your B12 deficiency uncovered, innocently thinking that doctors know B12 deficiency can cause neurological damage without there being a) anaemia or b) autoimmune. So you start telling them about your muscle problems or whatever and they 'go along' with it.

    They don't say, 'Actually, dear, we think you are bonkers because we know that you need to have anaemia first and autoimmune.'

    So you can't give them the correct information because they won't even acknowledge that they think you are talking drivel.

    They then put in your notes that you suffer from 'cognitive' problems because your b12 levels are normal.

    Then they do exactly the same thing with the stomach acid. You have the test done, the report is sent to them and they haven't got a clue what it is - perhaps they are thinking it is some strange tropical disease, I don't know.

    But what I do know is, they don't sit there and say, 'I haven't got a clue what this means' neither do they bother to go look it up.

    They just file it and put another note in your file about you 'believing' you have something else.

    If these people were even halfway honest, they'd state their perspective clearly and then look at yours, but they don't. They just patronise patients because they somehow believe 'they' were born with better functioning brains.

  • By coincidence, a circular has just come in from Dr. Izabella Wentz, author of "Hashimoto's Thyroiditis - The Root Cause". It is especially interesting as Coeliac Disease is one of the high risk categories mentioned in the guidelines for treating B12 deficiency :

    An extract:

    "When I first set out in search of lifestyle interventions that could change the course of my autoimmune thyroid condition, I came across an Italian study on people who had subclinical hypothyroidism, Hashimoto's and Celiac disease, but were not yet following a gluten-free diet.

    The study found that when most of the people with subclinical hypothyroidism were placed on a gluten-free diet, their thyroid function normalized! In 71% of people who strictly followed a 1-yr gluten withdrawal (as confirmed by intestinal mucosa recovery), there was a normalization of subclinical hypothyroidism. Another 19% of people who followed the gluten-free diet were able to normalize their thyroid antibodies. "In distinct cases, gluten withdrawal may single-handedly reverse the abnormality", the researchers concluded.

    Various studies have looked at the rates of Celiac disease in people with Hashimoto’s. All of the studies have found Celiac disease to be more common with Hashimoto’s, but the incidence rates have varied. While a 2006 Brazilian study found an incidence rate of Celiac disease at only 1.2% of people with Hashimoto’s, a 2007 Dutch study found that 15% of Dutch people with Hashimoto’s had Celiac disease."

    I'm trying to get my head around this P. If avoiding gluten can reverse Hashimoto's, is it possible that GF, through intestinal mucosal recovery, could prevent or reverse PA?

  • Well first off I'd look at the figures. Only 1.2% in Brazil and still only 15% in the Netherlands actually had Hashimoto's and Celiac. Not only a very broad discrepency but even in the 15% side of things, it's not particularly high.

    I'm not saying that avoiding gluten doesn't reverse things to some extent but by the same token I think I could reverse my lactose intolerance if I avoided everything with lactose in it (which would be difficult) That doesn't mean that the lactose was any particular cause of anything simply that my body can't degrade it in the normal way.

    There is absolutely no doubt whatsoever that the number of people suffering allergies and intolerances today are absolutely huge. And these aren't minor intolerances, they seriously affect quality of life and health. Everybody it seems has some reaction to something - yet it never used to be like that, did it?

    I'm certain that there is a guy on youtube who does a good piece on celiac and B12 deficiency and his explanation seems reasonable. But there are still huge gaps when you come to examine it more closely.

    So yes, if 'one' of the irritants in all this is gluten then removing it and seeing if it improves the intestinal mucosa. It may even improve absorption of B12. But I'd want to know why some people can't tolerate gluten in the first place. Again it seems to be an effect rather than a cause. Humans have managed to ingest gluten for thousands of years, why pick the last 20 or 30 years to suddenly not be able to digest it?

  • Another good link showing the coeliac/ autoimmune connection:


  • Interested to read that - I found that going gluten free removed most of my PA symptoms (brain fog/breathlessness/tiredness) pretty much overnight. I hadn't even set out to do it - it was just a by-product of a weightloss diet! But when I went into the GP saying "I think I have a problem with wheat", they didn't want to look into it...

    I still definitely need the jabs though, but sometimes I forget to make the appointment, which certainly would never have happened when I was first diagnosed.

  • that is really interesting Freelancer - thanks for this feedback and I'm glad GF is helping your PA symptoms. It's comforting to think there might be a possibility of reversing or even just reducing antibodies in autoimmune disease.

    GP's reaction to gluten testing seems typical I'm afraid - they don't want to get to the root of a problem - easier and more profitable to dish out drugs for each symptom. I didn't bother to ask for testing as I'd read that you would have to go back on gluten for six weeks for any test to be reliable and, once I'd stopped, my reaction to eating it again is extreme - seems a good enough test to me.

  • To be honest it rather muddied the water as I no longer felt I had any idea what was actually going on, though obviously feeling better was a good trade-off! I now rather assume I'm an undiagnosed coeliac, but who knows... And GPs rather glaze over at the word "gluten" - as, I have to admit, I would have done myself beforehand.

    I did have a (negative) test, though not through a GP, but found out later I hadn't gone back on gluten for long enough for it to be accurate, and I'm definitely not going to now. I started to develop gut reactions to gluten about a year or so after going GF, which I'd never had before - previously it just put me to sleep.

  • I'm not certain, but aren't we sort of missing the point as to why everyone has got all these allergies and intolerances and the conditions with overlapping symptoms?

    Again are we looking at cause and effect?

    The symptoms of lactose intolerance are stomach problems, breathlessness, fatigue, foggy thinking, indigestion, bowel issues, malnutrition (eventually) and a grumbly tum.

    So is dairy, or to be more precise, dairy sugar the cause of my B12 deficiency? I had a lot more symptoms than that obviously. Optic atrophy for one.

    So what do I do next, stop gluten. Or nuts? Or to normalise my cholesterol level (which was just edging at the time) statins. And then of course there is thyroid hormone . And the folic acid. And the vitamin D3. And the B12. Oh and magnesium and iron.

    There must be a whole lot more...

    No doubt that lactose intolerance and gluten intolerance and a whole load of other stuff cause, in their own right, symptoms which may or may not correspond with B12 deficiency - so I do think we have to accept that. It does not though mean that stopping gluten or dairy is going to resolve the issue of B12.

    I'm not saying that it's not going to help it but resolve it? - now there is one heck of a risk.

    Neither am I saying that B12 is the cause of the other problems such as lactose or thyroid or gluten or ME or anything else, just that all these illnesses and intolerances can, and do, run concomitantly.

    In their own right the intolerances cause symptoms.

    B12 deficiency in it's own right can kill.

    B12 is important simply because as an effect it is ultimately lethal.

    And then we have to remember that illnesses like ME, fibromyalgia, MS, motor neurone, Parkinsons - are all merely syndromes of unknown cause. Most have classical and atypical presentations. Yet many of these illnesses also present with overlapping symptoms.

    I went gluten free and it didn't help. So what does that say? Apart from the fact abstaining from gluten doesn't cause any regression of symptoms for me personally. But then others could take lactase and it not help them.

    It's finding the common bond here - that's what's important.

  • It's all just circular, isn't it? Is B12 deficiency the chicken or the egg, as it were? I sort of feel that in 100 years people will look back and wonder why we couldn't see the bigger picture - whatever that is!

    And in the interim we all just carry on experimenting on ourselves, trying to work out what makes a difference...

  • Absolutely agree. I think that in 100 years people will look back and think we were totally dumb.

    We appear to be back to autoimmune again at the minute. Would that be the autoimmune that causes injury or would that be the autoimmune that attacks internal organs and kills. Because people talk about it so casually I start to wonder...

    And what is autoimmune? And is it cause or effect?

    I have to bring the societal factor in here - if most people who have been diagnosed with any illness where all these corresponding symptoms overlap, had to go out and work - say we lived in an era where we had no benefits or pension system (which was the case not so long ago) How much more of an initiative we would have to look at the bigger picture and actually find the cause?

  • Apparently, there are many reasons why gluten in bread is harder to digest now , including how wheat is grown these days - one being that they used to let it grow tall but don't any more - can't remember where I read this or any of the details - maybe the Weston A Price site. Yes, more and more people becoming intolerant too - maybe because we're all living longer, eating more unnatural, processed food, over medicated and stressful lives,

    Sis has been lactose intolerant for years - has been v. difficult to avoid.

  • I certainly agree. I don't think gluten is the easiest thing to digest anyway - but growing and production methods have certainly changed. As have the types of wheat. But doesn't that make us intolerant of those things, if you see what I mean, rather than the wheat itself? The way it is preserved is also a problem. They use chemicals to, I think, retain the water. If you smell the bins that stuff comes in you would know why it's possibly not the healthiest stuff to eat.

    Although I have seen historical texts relating to the fact that man should eat bread made from anything but wheat.

    I saw something very interesting written about why we were living longer - and it is nothing to do with modern medicine. Simply that we learned more about hygiene. Interesting thought.

    Your sister can't avoid lactose. It's a dairy sugar which they now put in everything from sliced ham to tinned fruit. Only way I found round it was the lactase.

  • I'd just like to add a warning re h. pylori treatment. I was treated for this several years ago when a stomach ulcer was suspected (it was gallstones, but unfortunately no-one gave me an ultrasound). I was tested for h. pylori and found positive and had to be treated twice since the first round of antibiotics didn't manage to eradicate it.

    The antibiotics they use are ferociously strong and go through you like a dose of salts, taking your gut flora with them. An especially bad idea for anyone with an already compromised intestine - and who doesn't have one of those when they have gastric issues?

    Of course the antibiotics didn't resolve the issue since I didn't have an ulcer, but some years later I discovered that the evidence against h. pylori as a villain is far from clear cut. In the book Missing Microbes by Martin Blaser, a microbiome research scientist, he discusses the fact that although h. pylori is definitely implicated in gastric ulcers and stomach cancer, it is also implicated in a PREVENTATIVE way against acid reflux and throat cancer. They don't know yet what pushes it in one way or the other. It is even possible it is actually an innocent bystander in part of a larger picture and has been falsely accused.

    More importantly, it has been found that those people treated for h. pylori often develop acid reflux, or existing acid reflux gets a lot worse. I fall into this latter category. At the time of treatment my acid reflux got so bad I developed a sore chest from coughing so much due to severe reflux - a symptom I hadn't had before - and years later I now have permanent acid reflux and corresponding oesophagitis, while before treatment I only suffered from episodes of moderate reflux then long periods symptom free.

    My case is all the more annoying because I didn't even have the condition I was treated for! So for several reasons I would seriously think twice before treating h. pylori and I definitely would NOT do it in a prophylactic way, only if I definitely had a stomach ulcer, diagnosed by endoscope, i.e. someone has actually clapped eyes on it.

  • Thank you for this very informative post Chancery - I could v. much relate to the increasing acid reflux problems after H/pylori treatment.

    Over the years, the best remedy I found for this was Vogel's Centaurium drops - they work like magic.

  • Okay, I'm gonna ask - what do you think reflux is caused by- high or low acid?

    Incidentally there was a vet page linked to the YT Could it Be B12? docu which caused it to spike to its highest level ever. He made some of the most significant comments about H Pylori I have ever seen.

  • Interesting thread. My respiratory consultant last night thinks my cough is a result of acid reflux - Gerd I think? It seems to occur after gallbladder ops looking at Google so that does tie in. Saw some articles arguing bile rather than acid. Unfortunately has told me to go on omeprazole! I've had PPi's in past but only short term. Who knows what came first.....

  • Okay.

    Do you think acid reflux is caused by high or low stomach acid?

    (It's not a trick question)

  • I had always thought it was too much acid but I don't know is the answer Poppet. I haven't done any reading on subject and dk what tests have been done?

  • It is hard to get your head around, but reflux can result from low acid just as much as high - actually a lot more so.

    I wasn't being difficult, I just wanted to establish your understanding of it.

    At a wild guess - they won't have done anything to test your stomach acid levels. Doctors just presume that all reflux is due to high stomach acid. The pharmaceutical companies just love doctors - they can't sell us much for low acid indigestion.

  • If your stomach acid is not acidic enough (PH) = hypochlorhydria, your body will try to address that by producing more stomach acid, resulting in hypergastrinemia, that can result in acid reflux. Lots in here see:

  • It's the gastrin that doesn't switch off, Marre. The problem doesn't actually result in more stomach acid but the fact that it tries to. So what you end up with is still no stomach acid but extremely high levels of gastrin. Which is quite possibly where the stomach cancer link comes in.

    Actually I've now read the article and it does explain about the cancer. I wrote before I'd read it (cos I knew) But what makes me really angry and this is specific to me and a rant - is why I've been walking round for over 3 years with a test result to prove that I'd got low stomach acid, and all the problems that go with it, and the fact my weight has fallen to malnutrition level (42kg as a reminder) and doctors till tell me the ******* problem is in my mind - and my weight loss is due to diet!!!!

    This to a woman who, when all the trouble started, used to milk her own goats and make cheese and butter, bake her own bread, grow her own veggies, have her own chickens and ducks and buy meat from a local farmer.

    Of course I haven't got a clue about what a 'good diet' is - of course I am a stupid bint who lives on takeaways, sweeties and possibly cola.

    I am so angry.

  • Shame there isn't a medical trial/project taking place for autoimmune disorders Poppet, you would surely make a good subject! Marre, I've read through that link, not sure I totally understand it but it marries up with other sources. H Pylori certainly seems a bad character. I had an endoscopy b4 my gb op - trying to remember what they said, I think polyps were mentioned then and I think there was some ref to the infection - Hmm, wonder if can find some documentation somewhere to reflect that. ....

  • I don't believe there is any such thing as autoimmune disorders. I believe the autoimmune situation is merely an effect of other things going wrong in the body. I don't believe it is a cause.

    I believe it is something they recently learned to 'measure' and until they understand why it occurs then they will still keep throwing the term at multiple linked disorders.

    It's linking the phrase pernicious anaemia with the term autoimmune which is causing lots of problems for many people. It's never been linked with autoimmune when it was a fatal illness and it shouldn't be now.

    It's the same with the term 'cognitive' or 'functional' - those illnesses which are seen to be founded in the 'mind' are thrown at anyone when the illness has not 'structural' cause or does not meet the systemic criteria of illnesses such as Parkinson's, MS or whatever.

    Well, since they don't know what the 'structural' cause is of these illnesses, the first part of the diagnostic criteria goes out the window. The second part is the systemic criteria - does modern medicine really believe it knows about every illness out there? Does it really think that those it doesn't know about can be chucked into the category of 'your illness is founded in the mind'?

    Such arrogance.

    It doesn't even know about low stomach acid or B12 - been getting those wrong for the last 70 years or so.

  • ...and besides which. I know I've got low stomach acid. I know I've got the risk of stomach cancer and I know my weight has fallen to 42kgs.

    What I'd like is a doctor to look at what's wrong with me in light of the low stomach acid.

    I don't think that's too much for anyone to grasp.

  • What are the symptoms of low or no stomach acid?

  • Indigestion.

  • I know it's hard to believe but it's absolutely true.

    Prior to the 1920s this was a well known fact. And in many cases it could be verified because when people died they used to open them up, check the stomach pH and it was linked to a lot of illnesses. Including PA.

    There are also different reasons given as to why it causes reflux and not just indigestion - but I'm not happy with any of the yet. However the acid does get into the esophagus even in low stomach acid and causes more extreme pain there.

    Another indication of low stomach acid is that horrible full feeling you get about an hour after a meal. That is when the stomach starts to empty into the duodenum but the contents aren't properly broken down and the duodenum action, for a variety of reasons, also starts to struggle.

    However the main indication is indigestion.

  • Funny test you can do, nothing terribly precise and or scientific, not sure its true, but hey its fun, all from the old PAS forum.

    " A rough and ready guide to how much stomach acid you have is to eat some beetroot. The less pink your pee afterwards, the more stomach acid you have (as it breaks it down more efficiently).

    Also beetroot has betaine in it which is, yes, a good way to increase stomch acid!"

    Some more articles that may be of interest:

    Curr Gastroenterol Rep. 2011 Dec;13(6):518-24. doi: 10.1007/s11894-011-0225-5.

    Diagnosis and management of pernicious anemia.


    Pernicious anemia is a macrocytic anemia due to cobalamin deficiency, which is the result of intrinsic factor deficiency. Pernicious anemia is associated with atrophic body gastritis, whose diagnostic criteria are based on the histologic evidence of gastric body atrophy associated with hypochlorhydria. Serological markers suggesting the presence of oxyntic mucosa damage are increased levels of fasting gastrin and decreased levels of Pepsinogen I. Without the now obsolete Schilling's test, intrinsic factor deficiency may not be proven, and gastric intrinsic factor output after pentagastric stimulation has been proposed. Intrinsic factor autoantibodies are useful surrogate markers of pernicious anemia. The management of patients with pernicious anemia should focus on the life-long replacement treatment with cobalamin and the monitoring to early diagnose an eventual onset of iron deficiency. Moreover, these patients should be advised about possible gastrointestinal long-term consequences, such as gastric cancer and carcinoids"

    This is I think good to read;

    Chronic gastritis, how there are different strains of H Pylori, what damage can be done and why, development of gastric carcinomas, different forms of gastritis etc see:

    "Autoimmune atrophic gastritis

    Autoimmune atrophic gastritis is associated with serum anti-parietal and anti–intrinsic factor (IF) antibodies. The gastric corpus undergoes progressive atrophy, IF deficiency occurs, and patients may develop pernicious anemia.[25] "

  • I have to wonder what their interpretation is of pernicious anaemia?

    I think we have to face the facts now that the diagnosis and interpretation of PA is a complete mess.

    This bit sums it up for me

    " Without the now obsolete Schilling's test, intrinsic factor deficiency may not be proven,"

    ...but hang on, I thought we were looking for IF antibodies now?

    If we took their current criteria and also considered the fact that we now know the IFA test can throw up false positives, most of the people today diagnosed with PA wouldn't actually have PA.

    ... and what do they mean by PA? Apart from the fact it can happen quickly if the antibodies attack the intrinsic factor, it differs not a jot from B12 deficiency.

    Here's another contradiction -

    We hear the anaemia being described as 'end stage' - which is usually interpreted as being 'just before you die. I would strongly dispute that because it should be 'end process' ie it comes at the end of the cellular process. Or at least it is the thing that is most identifiable as a process.

    Then we hear doctors say that they treated the anaemia therefore the neurological damage has been averted and/or reversed. The implication being that the anaemia precedes the neurological damage.

    So does the anaemia come at the end or not?

    People haven't understood this illness for decades - nobody.

    They thought this illness was rare, it isn't. It simply isn't recognised for what it is because they have been looking for a fatal anaemia - and it isn't a fatal anaemia.

  • In fact I can clarify the history on this which might help some people:

    Addison identified some people as dying from an anaemia of unknown cause.

    It was known an an 'idiopathic' anaemia. That simply means the cause was unknown.

    Most of these people were fat, had no neurological symptoms and purely those representative of anaemia - lack of oxygen in cells.

    We shift right on to the 1870s and word had got out about this anaemia and other cases were being picked up. These cases however presented not only with the anaemia but with neurological symptoms - same as we get today.

    Yet further other doctors (mainly neurologists) suggested that this illness could present in 3 different ways:

    - an anaemia on its own and people died of it

    - as a neurological illness and the people went on to develop the anaemia in the latter stages

    - as a neurological illness which the people went on to die of which never showed any signs of anaemia.

    Yet in all 3 presentations the spinal cord had degenerated in exactly the same way. Even in the people with anaemia who never showed signs of neurological damage.

    These people died, in the main, of the neurological damage and they know that because they took them apart and dissected their spinal cords.

    But the only way to accurately diagnose the condition was when the anaemia appeared and in many it either appeared late or never. the people who got the illness picked up on where those that had the earlier anaemia presentation (and sometimes the later one) Hence it became known as pernicious anaemia.

    However James Risien Russell at the time said "to reach a diagnosis of subacute by the blood results alone is wholly undesirable"

    When they found a treatment it was discovered the blood problem - the anaemia - was treated quickly and easily (which it is) yet the neurological problems took a lot of time and intensive treatment to treat - and in many cases the damage was irreversible because the damage to the spinal cord was permanent.

    But that is why it became known as quickly and easily treatable. Trouble is they forgot about the neurological bit. And they forgot it could present as neurological. Hence we are still overlooked today and misdiagnosed or dismissed by all concerned. And some folk are still looking for an anaemia which results fatally. Unfortunately they only account for, at best, 20% of the cases.

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