Tuesday, July 28, 2009

What is achlorhydria?

A condition resulting from the lack of STOMACH ACID. DIARRHEA, stomach discomfort, and bloating are common symptoms of achlorhydria, which has serious effects. It can lead to MALNUTRITION, even when the diet is well balanced, because achlorhydria drastically reduces the efficiency of DIGESTION. A chronic MALABSORPTION syndrome leads to deficiencies of VITAMIN B12, CALCIUM, IRON, and other nutrients and sets the stage for chronic FATIGUE, OSTEOPOROSIS, ANEMIA, and serious infections. Although causes of achlorhydria are unknown, lowered stomach acid production is associated with anemia, stomach inflammation, CELIAC DISEASE, diabetes, lupus, myasthenia gravis, rheumatoid ARTHRITIS, and some forms of cancer. Limited stomach acid production, not the absence of stomach acid, is termed HYPOCHLORHYDRIA. It is not as severe a condition as achlorhydria, although unless corrected, the ensuing malabsorption syndrome can have similar, detrimental longrange effects on health. In either situation patients may be advised to take supplemental hydrochloric acid in the form of BETAINE HYDROCHLORIDE or glutamic acid hydrochloride with meals to enhance digestion. These supplements should be used with medical supervision because of the danger of overdosing.

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