"A healthy stomach has an acidity level (pH) between 1-2,
that is around one million times more acid than pure water.
The digestive process takes place as food passes through the mouth,
stomach, small intestine and large intestine. At the stomach, the
gastric acid helps to break down proteins for further digestion at
the small intestine. The time consumed for the whole digestion
will depend upon the way the whole process passes. The food
at the mouth must be well prepared: grounded and chewed, with
the help of good teeth and saliva. Saliva contains an enzime which
acts on starch to convert it into sugar. Then the food passes through
the esophagus into the stomach, where it is further desintegrated
and acted upon by the stomach juices, that contains besides the
hydrchloridic acid, pepsin and other enzymes."
"1. Stomach acid is hydrochloric acid at a pH of 1, which means that it is at
a concentration of 0.1 moles/liter.
2. When something is swallowed, it reaches the stomach within seconds.
3. Stomach acid does not dissolve enteric coatings. That's the whole point
of an enteric coating; it doesn't break down until the small intestine. In
fact, there's a really interesting picture in a recent (I don't think it's
earlier that August 2000) New England Journal of Medicine of an
enteric-coated aspirin lodged in a stomach ulcer. The coating was perfectly
intact, so that you could still read the printing on it."
"The gastric acid secretion happens in several steps. Chloride and
hydrogen ions are secreted separately from the cytoplasm of parietal
cells and get combined into HCl only in their canaliculi. Gastric acid
is then secreted into the lumen of the oxyntic gland and gradually
reaches the main stomach lumen.
The highest concentration that it reaches in the stomach is 160 mM in
the canaliculi. This is about 3 million times that of arterial blood,
but almost exactly isotonic with other bodily fluids. The lowest pH of
the secreted acid is about 0.8, but the acid gets diluted in the
stomach lumen to the pH between 2 and 3."
"Acid production in the gastrointestinal tract
The basic acid-base balance of the human body should never be confused
with acid that is produced by the stomach during digestion. The human
stomach normally has an acid pH and produces hydrochloric acid, which
Many factors can trigger overproduction of stomach acid, for example:
* Infection with a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori
* Excessive intake of irritants such as spices and caffeine
(coffee, tea, cola drinks and certain caffeine-containing energy
The overproduction of stomach acid can lead to:
* Gastro-oesophageal reflux
* Stomach ulcers
Treatment for overproduction of stomach acid includes:
* Proton-pump inhibitors (medications that reduce the amount of
acid the stomach produces)
* Antibiotics to eradicate Helicobacter pylori infections
* Avoidance of alcohol, spicy food and condiments, cigarette
smoking, rich, fatty foods and caffeine
* Avoidance of individual foods that may cause discomfort to
specific patients - this is often an individual reaction so that some
patients need to cut out white bread, while others need to avoid brown
* Reduction of stress by exercise, relaxing exercises,
psychotherapy, anti-stress medication, hypnotism, yoga or any other
method that relieves stress and anxiety
Keep in mind that the amount of stomach acid you produce does not
influence the acid-base balance of your body. An individual with a
stomach ulcer or someone who is producing too much stomach acid can
have an alkaline body pH and vice versa. "
Here is a nice page explaining acidity/alkalinity, and showing stomach
acid as being only slightly less acidic than hydrochloric acid!
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pH + stomach acid
acisity of stomach