The Stomach contains what is known as Gastric Acid, Gastric Juices, or Stomach Acids. The reason why we have all these acids in our stomach is due to the fact that acids are responsible for breaking down the foods we put into our bodies. Foods such as Carbohydrates, Fats, and Proteins. The stomach acids do not work alone, certain enzymes are also needed to break down the foods we eat. (Digestive Enzymes to be exact!) Digestive enzymes are made in the pancreas, stomach, small intestine, and salivary glands.
What are Enzymes?
- They are proteins
- They help to “speed up” chemical reactions
What are the different Stomach Acids?
- Hydrochloric Acid (HCL)
- Potassium Chloride (KCL)
- Sodium Chloride (Nacl)
So when it comes to Acid Relux these acids can be damaging even though these acids are need by the body.
Two important proteins when we think about Acid Reflux are Pepsinogen and pepsin. Pepsinogen is an inactive protein that is found in the lining of the stomach walls. It becomes activated when digestion begins and enters into the stomach. Once in the stomach Pepsinogen is mixed with Hydrochloric Acid where it then becomes pepsin. Pepsin is highly acidic. That is why when we have Reflux that Reflux contents contain pepsin and that is what causes damage to the esophagus and the throat (for people with LPR).
So the next time you think about Acid Reflux think about what are all these acids and why do we need these acids.