I've been having problems with candida overgrowths for years, using all the natural anti-fungals available. I recently experienced yet another systemic candida infection, but this time instead of diet and AF's I tried supplementing with large doses of Hydrochloric acid and recommended doses of digestive enzymes right before every meal. I have tried this previously, but only took too small a dose and stopped after a short while. I decided to give this theory another try as I thought perhaps these are what I'm lacking and enabling candida to thrive. I am pleased to say my (embarasssing) chronic digestive problems are almost non-existent now. In addition hair-loss has stopped and my adult Acne has vanished. I'm kind of a stressed/worry alot person (who isn't these days???)and I know stress reduces the stomach's ability to produce the very necessary hydrochloric acid.
I wanted to share this experience with as many as possible just in case this is the solution for anybody else out there. Here is some information:
The lack of hydrochloric acid
Hydrochloric acid (HCL) secretion helps protein digestion by activating pepsinogen to pepsin. This makes the stomach sterile to ingested pathogens which prevents fungal and bacteria overgrowth in the small intestines and helps with the flow of pancreatic enzymes and bile which helps with the absorption of a variety of nutrients. Studies have shown that the production of HCL declines with age which can cause a variety of clinical conditions.
The lack of HCL can also be cause by smoking, alcohol, stress and drugs. Low stomach acid can not only cause digested discomfort but can also cause problems with hormone balance, immune system and skeletal and muscle systems. HCL is important in the absorption of certain minerals and vitamin B6. HCL insufficiency can be complete which is known as achlorhydria or partial which is known as hypochlorhydria.
The symptoms of low HCL are constipation, burping after a meal, diarrhoea, indigestion, flatulence, heartburn, bloating, reflux, nausea, the feeling of fullness after eating and the sensation of a heavy weight in the stomach. The lack of HCL can cause to a toxic digestion systems which can result in disorders such as fatigue, migraine, Arthritis and degenerative mental disorders. This happens because chyme may attach itself to the intestines walls where it hardens and becomes putrefied because of the lack of HCL. The putrefied chyme will then become toxic passing toxins into the blood stream via blood vessels that lead from the digestive tract causing the hindrance of nutrient absorption and letting toxins circulate throughout the body resulting in the disorders mentioned earlier.
The deficiency of HCL can lead harmful substances to enter the intestines upsetting the delicate balance of gut flora. As a result, the lining of the digestive tract may well be exposed to unfriendly substance that will cause cells of the walls to weaken letting into the bloodstream allergens and toxic waste. This is known as leaky gut and can result in allergies, chronic fatigue, premature ageing, IBS, low immunity, headaches, migraine, joint inflammation and skin problems.
The lack of HCL can has also been linked with more clinical implications such as gallbladder disease, alcoholism, skin diseases, osteoporosis, arthritis, diabetes, asthma, hypothyroid and hyperthyroid, anaemia and disease of the gastrointestinal tract.
It has been documented that in cases of gallbladder diseases, just over half of the patients had a reduction of HCL.
An investigation by PM Joffe and N Jolliffe found in 1937 that 68% of male alcoholics and 71% of female alcoholics had inadequate secretion of HCL, 30% of males and 36% of females had achlorhydria.
In 1945, JR Allison found that there was a link between the lack of HCL and skin diseases such as Acne Rosacea, Alopecia, Avitaminosis, Eczema, Lupus Erythematos, Psoriasis, Seborrheic Dermatitis , Staph infection, Urticaria and Vitiligo. He found that in patients with severe B-complex deficiency there was also achlorhydria or hypochlorhydria. Table 1 shows his findings.
Table1. Summary or the relationship between skin diseases and HCL
He also found out that the severity of HCL deficiency was directly linked to the duration and severity of the skin condition. Within the patients with HCL deficiency he found immediate improved general health and skin condition with treatment for HCL and B-complex deficiency.
EF Hartung and O Steinbroker found in 1935 achlorhydria in 26% of their female patients (an average age of 52) with arthritis. The incidence of achlorhydria in females of that age without Arthritis is normally between 12-15.5%. De Witte et al found in his patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis only 50% had normal HCL levels.
IM Rabinowitch found in 1949 that 18% of his 50 diabetic patients under the age of 40 were achlorhydric and 64% of his 50 patients age 40 and over were achlorhydric also. He found that after thiamine supplementation three of his patients had not improved but did so after receiving HCl supplementation.
The gastric secretion of HCL was studied in 200 asthmatic children between the ages of 6 months to 12 years of age by JV Wright in 1990. Out of those 200 children 80% had levels of HCL that were below normal. Improvement with sleep, appetite, weight and with duration and intensity of asthma attacks occurred in 160 asthmatic children that were given a HCL supplement with their meals.
In 1964, MJ Williams and DW Blair reported that a high amount of their patients with thyroid disease had high incidence of achlorhydria, hypochlorhydria, and gastritis.
In most patients with pernicious anemia, achlorhydria is present. In 1949, IM Rabinowitch found that the red blood cell count increased when HCL was taken with meals.
A deficiency of HCL may increase susceptibility to enteric bacterial infections because of survival of ingested bacteria leading to intestinal overgrowth. Decreasing gastric acidity encourages Candida overgrowth especially in women. Candida albicans needs pH 7.4 for optimal growth but becomes completely inhibited at pH 4.5. Improvement in physical condition in Twenty-seven achlorhydric patients that were supplemented with betaine HCL and pepsin for 6 months. Gas and indigestion were relieved in all patients with these complaints.
In conclusion, digestion and absorption is dependent on the upper gastrointestinal tract being in a healthy state, when this is not so disorders of digestion and absorption may occur. Nutritional deficiencies will occur because of inadequate breakdown and assimilation of food. HCL is needed to destroy ingested pathogens to stop their overgrowth within the stomach and small intestine. Also, acidic chyme is needed in the small intestine to stimulate the release of bile, pancreatic enzymes and hormones. HCL production is needed for optimal absorption of many nutrients. The lack of HCL is prevalent to aged people. Inadequate HCL production can result in overgrowth by pathogenic bacteria or fungi, and evidence of parasites, Childhood asthma, alcoholism, chronic skin conditions, digestive disturbances and intestinal permeability. Diseases that effect the pancreas and gallbladder which indirectly require HCL may also benefit from HCL supplementation.