Older people are very susceptible to malabsorption, which causes vitamin, and mineral deficiencies, especially vitamin B-12. Malabsorption starts in the stomach, and affects every part of the body, including the immune systems and brain functions.
As a person ages, the parietal cells, in the stomach, begin to wane in their ability to produce strong enough Hydrochloric acid (HCL). The reduction in the strength of the acid, by the parietal cells, is called Hypochlorhydria. As the disorder progresses, it now becomes Achlorhydria. Achlorhydria is the complete absence of HCL, in the digestive process and will causes Pernicious Anemia. Pernicious anemia is more common in the 65 to 85 and up age groups, but not limited to any age group.
Pernicious Anemia is a condition, in which the body does not produce sufficient numbers of red blood cells, because the small bowel cannot absorb vitamin B-12 properly. Vitamin B-12 is essential, for the production of red blood cells, in the bone marrow. Osteoporosis, also caused by malabsorption, is a contributing factor in the reduction of red blood cell production, in the bone marrow. The acid producing cells, in the stomach, also produce the intrinsic factor. The intrinsic factor is a glycoprotein that is required, in the small bowel, for the absorption of B-12. When the acid producing cells are no long producing acid, they are also no longer producing the intrinsic factor, necessary for the absorption of B-12.
In addition to aging, hypochlorhydria and Achlorhydria are caused by, the use of antibiotics, antihistamines, proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and a host of other chemical medications. They can also be caused by bacteria like, Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), which can cause gastritis. Achlorhydria will inhibit the production of the intrinsic factor and drastically decrease the absorption, of virtually all of vitamins, minerals necessary to support the body''s, immune system and brain functions.
The symptoms associated with Hypochlorhydria and Achlorhydria are: gas, abdominal pain, reflux, belching, bloating, nausea, diarrhea and/or constipation, bleeding gums, dizziness, fatigue, headaches, poor concentration, shortness of breath, loss of strength, Jaundice, loss of appetite, swollen tongue. In some cases, pernicious anemia can cause serious neurological problems like: Dementia, depression, loss of balance, memory loss, numbness, or tingling in the arms and legs, heart problems, risk of stomach cancer and stomach polyps.
Strong HCL is absolutely necessary, in the stomach, for maintaining a sterile environment in the stomach and for destroying pathogens that enter the digestive tract. It is also necessary, for breaking down nutrients, into thick sticky mass called Chyme, which is prerequisite for digestion. Another important function, is to assist the Peptic enzymes in breaking down proteins into peptones, which are the building blocks for the amino acids. Many proteins are allergens and will cause allergic reactions, if they are not destroyed by the HCL and Peptic enzymes.
The Peptic enzymes are most active, when the strength of the HCL is at 1.0 pH. When the strength of the acid decreases, Pepsin becomes less active in the conversion of proteins. At pH 5.0 Pepsin is completely inactive, in the conversion of proteins. When this occurs, raw nutrients are prematurely dumped into the small bowel, resulting in allergic reactions and many conditions, not normally considered as allergies.
In many instances bringing the digestive system back into balance, with natural medications and a regiment of vitamin B-12, will eliminate the Pernicious anemia and restore Parietal cell function. Increased Parietal cell function also increases production of the intrinsic factor and B-12 absorption and it will also increase absorption of other vitamins and minerals.
Bringing the digestive process back into balance will always improve immune system response and increase the body''s ability to ward off diseases. It will also prevent many food born allergies. The unbalance condition caused by Hypochlorhydria and Achlorhydria can be easily corrected, once the disorders are verified, by a pH diagnostic test.
A Heidelberg pH diagnostic test, is also used to determine the correct amount and type of medication, necessary to bring the digestive system back into balance.