Who knew?

It actually takes the right acid to create systemic alkalinity—the key to health, longevity and weight loss.

Yes, you heard that right. I'm talking about hydrochloric acid (HCl) here, the only acid your body actually produces on its own that is not a byproduct of metabolic waste. It may sound counter-intuitive, but although HCl is an acid, it's the key to the proper alkaline/ acid balance — which is seriously deficient in anyone beyond the age of 35. A lack of zinc, iodine, salt, B vitamins, potassium and/or too much stress are common culprits of inadequate HCl production.

But, acid into alkaline—how could that be?

The right amount of HCl in the stomach triggers the pancreas to produce large amounts of alkalinizing bicarbonates that signal pancreatic enzymes, which can only activate in an alkaline medium. It is also absolutely necessary for the production of the hormone cholecystokinin (CCK), which helps the gallbladder to release bile for fat emulsification. Without sufficient HCl, bile production can be hampered from doing its job because if there is not enough bile produced, fat cannot be emulsified. It's as simple as that.

If you have a roll of fat at your waist line, your liver has stopped processing fat and begun storing it. Only when you bring your liver back to full function—with the aid of HCl—will you lose this fat.

And what will you gain?

  • Increased absorption of muscle building protein that increases metabolic rate by 25 percent.
  • Complete assimilation of calcium, magnesium, sodium, iron, B12 and folic acid, as well as 15 minerals and eight essential acids.
  • Relief of asthma (especially in children) and edema along with mucus congestion.
  • Better oxidation of painful lactic acid in tissues.
  • Increased kidney and liver function.
  • Elimination of boils, abscess, rosacea and rashes—which are unresponsive to other therapies.
  • Heartburn relief.

Don't leave home without HCl. It is the most effective antibacterial agent that I know of. Outside your body, it could literally burn a hole in a tablecloth or eat right through an iron nail. Within your stomach, it acts as a natural antibiotic—your first line of defense against toxic invaders, especially bacteria you are likely to encounter when traveling. It helps to neutralize pathogenic organisms, along with yeast and Helicobacter pylori, the bacteria associated with ulcers. It's even been used to neutralize the venom of snake bites to prevent infection! This information may seem new to you, but decades ago Dr. Hugh Tuckey and his family spent 30 years conducting independent research on HCl—research which has tragically been forgotten. They discovered that a lack of HCl was the underlying cause of many digestive and immune-system ailments, along with bad breath and dark circles under the eyes.

So, should you take an HCl supplement?

Yes and no.

No—if you already have any sign of acid reflux such as an inflamed esophagus or even an irritated stomach lining. Both of these need to be healed first and foremost with either slippery elm, zinc carnosine, or L-glutamine powder.

If any of the above is true, you might consider taking two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar in eight ounces of water 20 minutes before meals. This may naturally help to acidify your stomach without the need for supplementation.

Other individuals are welcome to take the HCl challenge! Before the next meal you eat, take a hydrochloric acid supplement that contains at least 500 to 550 milligrams of betaine hydrochloride and about 150 milligrams of pepsin.

The brand I recommend is UNI KEY's HCL+2. After you've taken your first HCl tablet, notice how you feel. If you're producing enough stomach acid, taking this supplement will cause you to feel a bit of pain or warmth in your stomach. You can relax—your stomach acid is sufficient to digest the food you're eating.

If you don't notice any symptoms or any worsening of the symptoms you already have, increase your dose to two HCl tablets at your next meal. If you're still symptom-free, or if the symptoms you've already experienced haven't gotten any worse, continue upping your dose one tablet at a time. As soon as you feel a burning sensation or warmth, you know you've gone too far. Drop back to the previous dosage and continue taking the supplement as needed. You can work up to eight pills a day.

After four months, you might experiment with reducing your HCl dosage. If you get good results, continue to reduce your intake of HCl until you are no longer taking it. If your symptoms return, go back to your previous dosage.

Sometimes, the use of a good digestive bitter is indicated. Bitter is better—especially when it comes to digestive health. Eating bitter foods like arugula, endive, radicchio, and horseradish can help promote more effective gastric secretions. Even dandelion root tea qualifies in this regard.

So, regardless of how you decide to treat your stomach, there are plenty of natural whole food options to put your digestion back on track for good!