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Stomach Acid & Bloating

Posted 7 years ago by Guest Author

This is a guest post written by nutritional therapist Daniel O'Shaughnessy.

Have you tried everything and still can’t work out why you are feeling bloated? You walk past your cupboard and it seems packed with supplements that aren’t doing anything for your bloat. Perhaps there may be something that you are missing…. Sufficient stomach acid production.

Hydrochloric Acid, the medical name for stomach acid is found in the stomach and is what is used to begin the digestion of protein. Stomach acid essentially acts as pawns on a chessboard by offering frontline protection against things like food poisoning, parasites and other infections, as well as helping to absorb minerals such as magnesium, iron, copper and zinc.

Stomach acid may decrease with age and also in times of stress. Additionally many of us on drugs to block stomach acid production, therefore it can leave us open to a range of infections.

Some symptoms of low stomach acid are:

BLOATING - especially following a meal, belching, flatulence, indigestion, food allergies, chronic infections, weak or peeling nails, constipation or/and diarrhoea and more.

In fact, a Nutritional Therapist will generally consider stomach acid production when many individuals present with IBS in clinic.

Eating healthy

Stomach acid is important for digestion! 

So how can you test your stomach acid levels?

  • On rising, before you have any food, take one teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda in a glass of water.
  • Begin thinking about food or smelling food for a few minutes.
  • Drink the entire contents and wait 10-15 minutes
  • If you have sufficient stomach acid, you should burp as the bicarbonate of soda will react with the stomach acid producing carbon dioxide.
  • If you do not burp, you may be suffering from low stomach acid. If this is the case then you may want to consult a Nutritional Therapist to assist with the management of this.
  • If by chance you suffer adverse reaction from this test such as heartburn, simply drink some milk or have a stick of celery.

This test is an easy and inexpensive in-home test to run and gives a good indication but not the most completely accurate test. There are other tests to assess this, however more invasive and at a cost.


Lipski E (2012) Digestive Wellness. 4th edn,. New York, McGraw-Hill.

Trueman L, Bold J (2010) Gastro-Intestinal Imbalances Part 1 The gastro-intestinal tract – Use and Abuse. In: Nicolle L, Woodriff Beirne A, eds. Biochemical imbalances in disease. London, Singing Dragon, p174-211. 

About Daniel: 

Daniel O'Shaughnessy (Dip. ION FdSc mBANT CNHC) is a nutritional therapist and Metabolic Balance coach working in London.  His love of food stemmed from an early age, which led him to studying at the world renowned Institute for Optimum Nutrition where he qualified after 3 years of intense training.  Daniel runs a clinic where he sees clients on a 1:1 basis. He has a particular interest in sports nutrition, optimising gastrointestinal health, stress management and weight-loss.  

Daniel is a full member of BANT and is registered with the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council, the only register Therapy recognised by the Department of Health. 

Find out more about Daniel at, or follow him on Twitter @nkdnutrition and Facebook at

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