When you consider your digestive system, it’s unlikely that the first thing you think about is your stomach acid. However, this acid is one of the most critical steps in the digestive system, allowing your body to break down the foods you eat in order to extract the beneficial vitamins, minerals, and nutrients in food. In this episode of Healthline Live Radio Show, Dr. Robert Marshall, Ph.D. and co-founder of Quantum Nutrition Labs, discusses hydrochloric acid and “how tremendously staggeringly important hydrochloric acid truly is.”
Dr. Marshall emphasizes one surprising action that could be hurting your digestion: cooking your food. “The reason many of us are having digestive problems is because we’re eating mostly cooked food. The longer you cook food, the more troublesome it is for your digestion because the natural factors in food such as vitamins and phytonutrients become deactivated. When food is cooked over the boiling point, it becomes even harder to digest and your system produces huge amounts of leukocytes to fend off the absorption of highly damaged food.”
Dr. Marshall also explains the evolving role of hydrochloric acid in the body: “When you hit 75 years old, the digestive system is typically worn out and produces almost no hydrochloric acid at all. Without sufficient hydrochloric acid, every meal you eat is just rotting and causing a feeding frenzy for potentially harmful bacteria that are normally held in check.” He points out that sufficient amounts of hydrochloric acid in the stomach helps keep your microbiome in tip-top shape. Without enough hydrochloric acid, you will be unable to digest food properly. Poorly digested food can then harm your gut bacteria. This can later lead to a compromised immune system, poor digestion, and some nutrient shortages.
When it comes to your digestion, you want to be sure you are well-equipped to extract all of the great nutrients from your food. “I feel so strongly about betaine hydrochloride. If you serve me a cooked meal without it, I won’t eat because I know I can’t digest the food properly,” Dr. Marshall asserts with conviction. He elaborates further on betaine hydrochloride: “Some of the methyl groups of betaine hydrochloride, known as trimethyl glycine, are carried back to the cell to promote healthy methylation. One of the major aspects of aging is a rapid, undesirable demethylation of the cell, so taking betaine hydrochloride is able to promote positive beneficial methylation.” His bottom-line, take-home message: For best digestion, take hydrochloric acid (HCL) at every meal that contains starch or proteins.
Listen to the full episode of Healthline Live Radio show below to hear more of Dr. Marshall’s digestion recommendations.