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The Good and Bad Stomach Acid

May 15, 2009 by  

The Good and Bad Stomach Acid

There are two kinds of stomach acid—the good and the bad. The good is called hydrochloric acid (HCl), and the bad is called organic acids of fermentation.

It’s the bad acids that cause all the trouble. The bad acids only appear when there is insufficient good acid or HCl.

Good HCl does not cause heartburn, acid reflux and all the bad symptoms. Bad acids cause the discomfort.

But when we take antacids, we kill all acid, the good and the bad… much the same as antibiotics kill all bacteria—the good and the bad. We have to drink buttermilk or take probiotics to put back the good bacteria. Doctors don’t advise us to put back good bacteria. We have to learn this and do it for ourselves.

Likewise we take betaine hydrochloride to achieve optimal levels of HCl in order to neutralize and overpower the bad acids. You can order it in a product called Advanced Digestive Solution from our sister company, Health Resources™.

Everybody over age 50 is low on good stomach acid. This creates the huge antacid industry that gives false comfort and false hope. Customers should be advised to take two, four or six betaine, whatever achieves comfort. It is important to understand that the need varies according to stomach conditions.

Acids of fermentation are products of decomposition. These are very harmful acids and they become a monkey wrench in the machinery of health causing acidosis, which is systemic poisoning.

The only way to rebalance the body is with hydrochloric acid, which greatly stimulates immunity.

For more information on this subject, read Three Years of HCl Therapy by Roy W. Huntsman. Although this book is currently out of print, you can order a copy for $29.95 from Health Resources™ by calling 1- 800-471-4007.

Bob Livingston

is an ultra-conservative American and author of The Bob Livingston Letter™, founded in 1969. Bob has devoted much of his life to research and the quest for truth on a variety of subjects. Bob specializes in health issues such as nutritional supplements and alternatives to drugs, as well as issues of privacy (both personal and financial), asset protection and the preservation of freedom.

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  • Marvin Janssen

    In response to the article about stomach acids I’m over 50 and have had some problems. I was taking Tums and found some relief but then I learned about the fact that the Tums treatment was also eliminating the good digestive acid as well. I ran across an article that suggested eating dried figs to treat heartburn. I’ve been doing that now with pretty good success for several months. Do you have any information about what the figs are doing? Are they really helping or are they like the Tums and may cause more problems in the future?

    • Bob Livingston


      I have no idea on the figs. Apple cider vinegar in water is a good solution as well as supplementation with betaine hydrochloride tablets. I take a betaine hydrochloride and digestive enzyme combination that works very well from Health Resources at

      • http://none Jonathan

        You did not answer the question; What are the figs doing – is it good orbad?

    • Denis

      I have used a half teaspoon of Heinz apple cider vinegar with no other supplement and get relief.

      • Nita

        You would be better off using Organic Apple Cider Vinegar

    • Ted Pulfer

      Hi, I’m 70 yrs. old and have used Organic untreated cider vinegar for yrs.and get good relief also the mineral content is very beneficial. Regards, Ted.

  • Paul

    I took the prescription Protonix for about 3 years and while it helped, my acid reflux would return along with very intense pain in my solar plexis, I found what was happening was my food, was actually getting stuck there and all I could do was suffer until it decided to move further. At the ncouragement of a bood friend, I started bying over the counter acidopholus and took like 4-6 a day for almost 3 months. Now, almost 4 years later, I take one every day and rarely have a problem. No reflux, no pain.

  • http://NONE Stanley

    I have been a pharmacist for 50 years and have repeatedly advised patients to stop taking all PPI’s (Protonix, Prilosec, Zantac and Pepcid ) and antacids replacing them with a jigger of Apple Cider Vinegar about 20 mins before each meal.
    At least 2 dozen of my patients now carry a small bottle of vinegar with them because they are world travelers and I get many calls and thank you’s because of this advise.

  • tj

    I have been taking Protonix for several years for acid reflux caused by a hiatel hernia.
    Do the apple cider vinegar and the betaine hydrochloride work for a hiatel hernia problem?

    • http://PersonalLibertyJustice Steve

      My wife’s cousin had recommended ZYPHAN for my acid issues. He also advise me that my food does not digest properly and ever since I’ve been taking the ZYPHAN I have not had the problem. Thanks to DR. D’s advise my digestive system is working well.

  • frank john santangelo

    Try 1/2 tsp of baking soda with 3-4 0z of water twice daily. Good Luck

  • sonya young

    I have tried baking soda It did not worked for me

  • Cesar Fernandez-Stoll

    I think the answer is in a balanced and consistent diet. If we can see that the frequency of acid problems increases, it is probably because somehting we are eating, even if we’ve been eating it for ever, is now causing poor digestion and therefore, tending to ferment rather than do any good.
    Hence, keeping a close eye on what we eat and eating it regularly like at close to the same time every day, helps develop the habit in our physiology to produce HCL at the time of digesting what we eat and not just at any time when we feel hungry and unsatisfied.
    I do use Rolaids, the chewable type and it is working, But I have to use it very seldom, and is ususally when my routine is broken.

  • s c

    Changing bad habits isn’t easy. The longer we wait, the more likely it is that we’ll be confronted with non-science that demands that we run to an MD every time we don’t feel quite right. It is more than a bit curious that those who have not been trained in basic nutrition [MDs, who typically get one course in medical school] are the same
    ones who demand to be seen as the only ones who can help [for a steep PRICE, of course]. It makes NO sense to pay for their biased, non-scientific information (courtesy of the drug firms).
    You can’t do better than natural. This is a point that MDs will never understand – or admit. Why should they? They’re getting rich and staying rich by keeping patients ignorant. Educating yourself is a required part of life, people. If you can do better than “natural,” please let me know what it is.

  • Rick McCutcheon

    While I agree that “natural” is the best, there are certain folks that have serious problems.

    I have been on Nexium for 3 years daily.
    I have tried all of the vinegar, probiotics,…..etc. routine.
    Nothing helped except for the PPI. I couldn’t even sleep without it, and if you don’t stop the reflux with GERD, you stand a chance of Barretts and then esophageal cancer.

    If natural works for you,……God Bless, and consider yourself lucky.

    • Rick

      I missed something. This is my 1st time here. What is PPI?

      • too much government

        proton pump inhibitor—neximum, prilosec, etc

    • Hemal

      You have not given natual enought time, and not done it holistically, PPI is not an answer, you are preparing your self for deeper health issues later on.

  • Lois Moore

    I have taken 40 mg of Nexium for several years. I have tried not taking it for a period of time, but then go back to taking it. I have a very large hiatel hernia. It works pretty well,
    but I find that lying down or going to bed on an empty stomach is crucial.
    I have tried both baking soda and apple cider vinegar. The apple cider vinegar can
    give you immediate relief. However, there is no substitute for a very strict diet, and not
    going to be or lying down before all your food is digested. Loosing weight, if necessary, is most beneficial. Caffeine, alcohol, fats, and sugar all aggravate the problem.

  • Niki C.

    I, too, have fallen into the GERD lifestyle. Through much research I have learned of a few important points to practice in order to ease the problem. Unfortunately the Betaine HCI did not work for me, in fact it made it worse. So that is off the table for me. However, what I did discover is that I have certain food sensitivities that aggravate my symptoms. The biggest culprits being corn, dairy and chocolate (which causes breathing problems, bummer!). Perhaps yours are different. What research has found is that high fat and high protein foods aggravate GERD. That knocks out quite a few foods, good and bad. In April 2008 I learned of the importance of the balance of acid to alkaline foods in our bodies. Since then I have practiced the rule of two thirds alkaline to one third acid foods in my daily meals. And I added green drinks to my diet. Within the first three months I lost about 15-20 pounds without being on purpose. I’ve been able to maintain my proper weight without trying. Granted the GERD can cause you to lose weight, but not eating is not a healthy way to lose weight. From my research I have learned that an “acidic” body can cause a myriad of problems including excess weight (that typical dieting and exercise can’t solve) & skin disorders. There is a great deal of information on the net regarding the acid vs. alkaline theory. I am a believer because it has made a difference in my life. Now to be honest, I do take an anti-acid, pepcid, once a day before my dinner meal and I take a ph-balance supplement in the morning and evening. Along with my diet being primarily alkaline and I use a pillow under my mattress while I sleep, the GERD is much, much better. I can’t say that I’m “healed” because I also backslide on occasion and pop a M&M, or eat tortilla chips. And it can take a day or two to get back to feeling good. Yes, it’s stupid of me, but GERD only surfaced in the last year and a half so it’s still a process of accepting my new lifestyle. I believe it’s important to use digestive enzymes also, especially if using anti-acids, in order to help break down the foods. But be careful using too much protease, it can also aggravate GERD. Truly God has provided the medicine we need, we just have to be diligent in finding what is out there. So spend time researching, experimenting, and above all praying, you’ll find help. God Bless.

  • allean eseman

    I can’t believe all these stories. I thought I was just one of the few with Gerd and these terrible symptoms & excruciating pain not only in my chest but almost unbearable pain in my left lung area. I have been so miserable. I have been on prevacid, protonix, & now on Nexium. I just started trying an alkaline diet today & I did drink apple cider vinegar & baking soda in 8 oz. of water. So far no luck.I’m really hurting. Now I have to take stool softners every day & that really upsets me because I was like clock work before. I feel like Michael Jackson. Please just give me something to make me sleep & make the pain go away. Anyone out there have any more advice. Sure would appreciate it. God bless all of you. I pray for anyone with this problem every day & myself. Just have to keep the faith.

  • http://idk alexis

    had helped alot

  • http://yahoo Linda

    I also just recently developed acid reflux. I am scheduled for a scoping in December. I need to find out if my sphincter is working on my esophagus. I tried different drugs including protonix and I do not like the idea of taking them because your body should naturally make it’s own acid. I’ve tried several of the home remidies but they don’t work for me. I was on a generic protonix however I still had acid reflux and I did not like the idea of them shutting down the good acid. i still had acid reflux on them but I was not eating the right foods at that time. I went off of them and my acid reflux was worse than ever. I stopped drinking coffee, wine, beer, eating chocolate….and started eating a combination diet. That did not eliminate my acid reflux but it helped with the bad acid. Two days ago I went back on the generic protonix to see if I can get any relieve…’s too early to tell. I still do not like the idea of using the generic protonix but I have to get relief. I did start drinking warm water with lemon in it. Its call an alkiline water. If you don’t get enough liquids (and i mean water) you can get dehydrated and that does not help with the stomach acid problems. I know each one of us has to figure out what works for ourselves and there are different “levels” of acid reflux and how it affects us. Mine started burning my esophogus and the doctor put me on carafate. I started with the burning pain in my lungs (thought I was having a heart attack- twice this happened until ER doc pressed on my chest and then the acid started coming up) I have burning in my mouth. I am in customer service on the phones and I am starting to lose my voice. This mornng I am feeling better – I have had acid reflux 24×7 for 2 months – I don’t know if protonix can work in 2 days. I know I have been very careful with the combinations of foods I put into my body and I started drinking lots of lemon water. I just don’t know. What we do knowis whatever we put into our bodies whether it be food or drugs will affect us down the road. Choose carefully.

  • Diane

    I was diagnosed with continuous acid reflux a few months ago. My only symptom was that I coughed after all my meals. I have been doing that for over a year and no one picked up on the GERD connection. Since I have food and grass/tree allergies, I thought I was alergic to some of the foods I was eating. Not so. So I’m on a proton pump inhibitor and don’t like it at all. I have never had any pain or discomfort, just the cough, but I know damage is being done to my esophagus which could lead to cancer. I have to take the meds. I sleep on a wedge-shape pillow, which I’m told is the best thing I can do for myself. Sometimes in the a.m. I wake up with a scratchy throat, which I presume is the acid. Probably because I end up at the bottom of my pillow since I am a toss-and-turn kind of sleeper. Oh well……..

  • Isiah Bendana

    Betaine is really very helpful because it helps you digest foods faster. I always use this digestive aid. “”`*”

    Kind regards“>


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