stomach acid test

Stomach Acid Test – The Burp Test

A great DIY stomach acid test is the burp test.

Stomach Acid Test

On an empty stomach, ideally first thing in the morning, drink about a half pint of water with a half teaspoon of bicarbonate mixed into it.

If you have plenty of acid in your stomach you’ll burp within about two minutes. This happens as carbon dioxide is released by the action of your stomach acid on the bicarbonate.

When I did this I gave up timing after 10 minutes and no burp, leaving me to conclude my stomach acid is pretty rubbish! Not all that surprising as stomach acid reduces after the age of 40.

Acid Is VERY Important For Digestion

You need a healthy amount of acid to digest proteins properly, especially animal proteins that are more difficult to break down.

Acid is also needed for the absorption of many minerals, particularly magnesium and calcium. If you don’t absorb these well for a long time due to low stomach acid you could end up with weak bones.

There’s that old saying “you are what you eat”, it’s not exactly true. You could be eating the best quality food but if you’re not breaking it down you can’t absorb and make use of it.

Stomach acid also sterilises food and goes a long way to prevent infection.

Symptoms Of Low Stomach Acid

One of the commonest symptoms of low acid is heartburn. Learn more here.

Another very common symptom is bloating after food.

If you keep getting one minor infection after another (coughs, colds, upset stomach), this could be contributing.

Improving Stomach Acid

In the ‘olden days’ older people use to eat pickled food with their meals – a great way of increasing stomach acidity.

Taking about 3gm for ascorbic acid (vitamin C) with meals in another option. The benefit is you get vitamin C too! Or you could have the juice of a lemon or lime.

A shot of apple cider vinegar is another way.

If you’re on medications from your doctor especially acid suppression tablets don’t jump in with both feet with this one. You can take betaine hydrochloride tablets with meals. These supplements usually come with pepsin too, it’s an enzyme that breaks protein down. This is what I do these days, especially if I’m eating a high protein meal.

Let me know how you get on with your own burp test!

Have a great week.

Dr Julie

4 thoughts on “Stomach Acid Test – The Burp Test”

  1. Can I take the betaine hydrochloride while still taking the tablets from my doctor to reduce my reflux symptoms. I’ve heard that my reflux might be due to not enough stomach acid rather than too much

    1. Hi Melanie – there’s little point as they will be antagonistic to each other. Check out the other blog that’s linked in this one about reflux often being triggered by low acid.

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