How Can You Tell If a Client Has Lower Levels of Stomach Acid?

How Can You Tell If a Client Has Lower Levels of Stomach Acid?

A common misconception is that occasional heartburn is always the result of too much stomach acid. That leads to the assumption that neutralizing or reducing acid is the only course of action. When a client comes to you for help dealing with occasional heartburn, certain questions can offer insights into the type they’re experiencing. In turn, that can help you recommend the appropriate formula for relief. 

Read on to learn about low stomach vs. high stomach acid, warning signs and keywords to look for with clients. We will also compare a trio of products from Enzyme Science, including one formulated especially for those with lower levels of stomach acid. 

Common Signs of Lower Levels of Stomach Acid 

The pH environment of the gastrointestinal tract ranges from acidic to more alkaline. The upper stomach should ideally be between 4-6 pH, while the lower stomach should be 2-4 pH. A pH level of 3 to 5 can indicate hypochlorhydria, indicating lower levels of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, while greater than is considered achlorhydria. 

Clients with lower levels of stomach acid may experience: 

  • Occasional bloating, burping or heartburn within a half-hour of eating. 
  • Feeling “full” almost as soon as they finish eating. 
  • Fingernails that are weak or prone to peeling and cracking. 
  • Hair loss 
  • Lack of appetite
  • Undigested food in stool 
  • Nausea after taking vitamins or supplements 

Things like aging, everyday stress, medications and certain nutrient deficiencies can influence HCl levels. A supplement containing betaine hydrochloride and enzymes to boost the body’s pepsin production may help increase the acidity of the stomach.

Higher levels of stomach acid can be linked to certain medications, genetic conditions, kidney issues and obstructions in the stomach. Clients may experience occasional nausea, bloating, abdominal discomfort and decreased appetite. 

Betaine HCl for lower stomach acid levels*

The gastric juices in the stomach contain hydrochloric acid (HCl), which is produced by the hormone gastrin once food arrives in the stomach. While HCl is often vilified as the cause of occasional heartburn, it plays vital roles in digestion. By simply neutralizing or inhibiting the secretion of gastric acid, we can interfere with digestion, nutrient absorption and the microbiome. 

HCl helps digest food (particularly proteins) and kills potentially harmful pathogens in food. The mucosal lining of the stomach serves as a barrier between HCl and the stomach tissue. When acid levels are lower, it impacts the balance of gut microflora, protein digestion and nutrient assimilation (specifically vitamin B12, calcium, iron and magnesium). HCl also converts pepsinogen into pepsin, an enzyme that requires a low pH level in the stomach to do its work. 

Finding the right formula for occasional heartburn*+

Betaine HCl

For occasional heartburn and indigestion*

  • Support for low acid levels*
  • With HCl and acid-stable protease
  • Promotes optimal stomach pH*

Betaine HCl offers fast-acting relief for occasional heartburn and indigestion due to low stomach acid.* This gentle formula includes vegan acid-stable protease (to naturally activate pepsin), plus clinically studied prickly pear and olive leaf extracts to protect and soothe the stomach lining.*

Mucosave® FG is a patented and clinically studied blend of prickly pear cactus (Opuntia ficus indica) and olive leaf (Olea europaea) extracts that have been shown to have protective effects by creating a barrier in the lining of the stomach.* Mucosave FG has been shown to exert positive effects on the stomach lining, providing a necessary buffer for the acidity of digestion.* 

Many supplements use pepsin from porcine sources, but Enzyme Science takes an entirely vegetarian approach. Betaine HCl uses a blend of acid-stable protease enzymes that stimulate the body’s natural production of pepsin. This promotes the breakdown of proteins in an acidic environment.* 

Enzyme Science offers two additional formulas for occasional heartburn.*+ 

Acid Calm™ 

  • Enzymes to aid digestion*
  • Soothing botanicals Marshmallow Root and Gotu Kola*
  • With PepZinGI® Zinc Carnosine

Acid Calm™ supports those who experience occasional heartburn by helping better digest problem foods, while also providing long-term support for the function of the GI system.*  Zinc carnosine optimizes the stomach’s mucosal lining by acting as a buffer to gastric acid.*

GI Soothe 

  • Relieves digestive irritation*
  • Helps rebuild the esophageal tissues*
  • Instant soothing and protection*

This unique proprietary blend provides a calming effect to soothe GI discomfort.* With alginic acid from seaweed and prickly pear cactus, plus the natural buffering agents calcium carbonate and trimethylglycine.*


+ for occasional heartburn (not intended for chronic heartburn)