Amidst all the media hype about “acid indigestion” and too much stomach acid causing acid reflux, and the need to take acid-reducing drugs (PPI's) to stop the secretion of acid in the stomach, it's easy to forget a painfully obvious fact: "Acid is in the stomach because it is supposed to be there!" Acid is not some nuisance substance the stomach uses to punish us for enjoying a pepperoni pizza. The acid plays a variety of vital roles in the digestive process. Without it, our digestive health, and our health, in general, is doomed to suffer. Nutrients such as the peptide and amino acid components of proteins, minerals (including iron, copper, zinc, and calcium), as well as vitamin B12 and folic acid, all depend on adequate stomach acid for their digestion and absorption.
Hydrochloric acid (stomach acid) has many important functions. The two most common important functions are the low acidity (low pH) of the stomach which kills pathogens such as viruses and bacteria, and the breakdown of complex proteins into smaller much less complex proteins which enable us to use amino acids for our bodies to be able to synthesize hormones and neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) for optimal health and mental clarity. The lack of stomach acid is linked to many diseases and disorders as well as autoimmune diseases. Many of these are contained and explained in detail in this Mind Map.