Understanding the Causes of Excessive Stomach Acid and Effective Remedies

excessive stomach acidExcessive stomach acid can be uncomfortable to live with, and while in many cases it is a minor nuisance, it can lead to serious health problems when not treated.

Stomach acid is important to the digestive system. It helps us process food, and it kills harmful bacteria. The stomach makes the hormone called gastrin, which creates hydrochloric acid. When these acid levels increase, it can lead to hyperacidity. Excess stomach acid can range from mild to severe.


Our diet, environment, and even stress can be contributing factors to excessive stomach acid. There are, in fact, relatively simple ways to reduce excess stomach acid or prevent it altogether.

What Causes Too Much Stomach Acid?

Most people who experience excessive stomach acid symptoms complain about a burning sensation from the start. We’ll look at excess stomach acid symptoms in detail, but first, let’s consider what causes excessive stomach acid.

Acid can build up in the stomach due to diet, excessive alcohol consumption, abnormally high acid production, or it can simply be hereditary. When excess stomach acid goes untreated, it can lead to ulcers. Diet plays a big role in controlling stomach acid too. There are certain foods that cause more acid and others that are better tolerated. Here’s a look at what causes excess stomach acid, starting with food.

  • Citrus fruits: Oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit, and pineapple can cause acid build-up. Apples, grapes, bananas, melon, and pear are much better options.
  • Vegetables: Most vegetables fit into a low-acid diet, but fried, canned, or creamed veggies should be avoided. Some people find that onions and tomato-based products bother them.
  • Dairy products: Whole milk, high-fat creams, chocolate milk, and strongly flavored cheeses should be avoided. Low-fat and fat-free products are much safer.
  • Grains: Any grains that are made with whole milk or cream.
  • Meats: High-fat meats, cold cuts, chicken wings, sausage, bacon, poultry skin, and fried or greasy meats. Skinless chicken and lean beef are better choices.
  • Beverages: Alcohol, coffee, mint tea, hot cocoa, and other caffeinated beverages
  • Spicy foods: Hot peppers, curry, garlic, and salsa are some examples.
  • Fiber: Too much fiber can cause acid production to go into overdrive since the food takes a long time to pass through the stomach.
  • Ulcers or cancers: Either of these can lead to an increase in the production of the hormone gastrin, which increases acid production.
  • Stress: Research shows people who are severely stressed produce more acid in their stomachs.
  • Infection: Bacterial infection by the bacterium H. pylori can also increase acid production.
  • Irregular meals: Not having meals at a regular time or having long gaps between meals can result in acid accumulation.
  • Lack of sleep: This can also increase acid production in some individuals
  • Zollinger-Ellison syndrome: Zollinger-Ellison syndrome is a rare condition characterized by the formation of tumors, known as gastrinomas, in the pancreas and small intestine. These tumors produce high levels of gastrin, a hormone that stimulates the production of stomach acid, leading to hyperacidity.
  • Gastric outlet obstruction: Gastric outlet obstruction refers to a blockage in the path leading from the stomach to the small intestine. This obstruction can result in an accumulation of stomach acid, causing hyperacidity.
  • Chronic kidney failure: In some rare cases, individuals with chronic kidney failure or those undergoing dialysis may produce high levels of gastrin, increasing stomach acid production.
  • Helicobacter Pylori infection: H. pylori is a type of bacteria that can colonize the stomach and cause ulcers. Some people with an H. pylori infection may also have high stomach acid.

In most cases, symptoms of excess stomach acid can be attributed to diet. It can be helpful for people to keep a food journal, which enables them to pinpoint what food or foods are bothersome. Once certain culprits are identified, eliminating those foods from the diet is simply a matter of finding relief.

Symptoms Of Excess Stomach Acid

The symptoms of excessive stomach acid vary from person-to-person, but the following list outlines the most common symptoms:

Stomach discomfort

A feeling of discomfort in the middle to upper part of the stomach is called dyspepsia. It can include burning stomach pain, bloating, burping, nausea, and vomiting. Sometimes people with this combination of symptoms are suffering from stomach ulcers.


Also referred to as acid reflux, it happens when the lower esophageal sphincter malfunctions. The sphincter is supposed to relax to allow food to pass through the esophagus into the stomach and then close to keep acids and food in the stomach, but if malfunctioning occurs, stomach acid can rise into the throat.

Indigestion or hunger

Many people who suffer from ulcers complain about a feeling of indigestion or hunger. Ulcers are also called peptic ulcers. They are essentially small holes or lesions in the lining of the stomach. Ulcers are caused by the destruction of cell tissues.

Bloating, belching, and flatulence are common in people experiencing mild symptoms of excess stomach acid. However, these signs can occur just prior to acid reflux. Because stomach acid is actually corrosive, it is important to treat this symptom so that it does not damage the esophagus.

Complications/Side Effects of Excess Stomach Acid

Excessive stomach acid can lead to a number of complications. These include:

  • Peptic ulcers: These are sores that develop when gastric acid begins to eat away at the lining of the stomach.
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): This condition arises from high stomach acid levels and is characterized by the backflow of stomach acid into the esophagus, causing discomfort and potential damage.
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding: This involves bleeding anywhere in the digestive tract. It can be particularly problematic if the acid leaks into organs associated with digestion, such as the small intestine and pancreas.

How To Get Rid of Excessive Stomach Acid

If you are suffering and are trying to figure out how to reduce excess stomach acid, you will likely have luck with one of the following approaches. Some people do take antacids to help fight the symptoms, but it is important to know that chronic antacid use can cause side effects.

The following are more natural remedies for excess stomach acid:

Apple cider vinegar

This has a natural acidic component that is actually good for indigestion. The enzymes in the vinegar break down foods and help reduce acidity. Consuming apple cider vinegar before or after a meal is recommended. Keep in mind that it does not mean that you can eat unhealthy foods.

Green juice

Green juices can alkalize the body and reduce inflammation. They also stimulate gastric juices, which can help with digestion. Green juices are most effective when consumed about 30 minutes before mealtime. Drinking it after a meal is not advisable because it can disrupt the already started digestive process.

Green breakfast smoothie

A breakfast smoothie that is green can alkalize the body and is considered an easily digestible meal. Spinach, cucumber, berries, lemon juice, and unsweetened almond juice can be part of your breakfast smoothie.

Raw salads and veggies

Raw salads and vegetables are naturally alkaline, so they can help with acidic stomachs. Heavily cooked vegetables can aggravate an overly acidic stomach.

Olive oil

A tablespoon of olive oil helps coat the stomach and can help with heartburn and indigestion. You can also drizzle olive oil on your food. Consider that when olive oils are heated, they become more acidic.


Raw or organic honey is a good option and much like olive oil, it can coat the stomach. Just a teaspoon or two is all you require. Honey can be consumed either pre-meal or post-meal.

Eat slowly

Consuming meals slowly and in a quiet, stress-free environment can prevent spikes in acid levels.

Eat bananas

This is a wonderful fruit to help decrease acid because it has a lot of potassium in it. There are also substances in bananas that help produce mucus that can protect the lining of the stomach.

Consume cloves

Saliva neutralizes acid and cloves promote the secretion of saliva. Cloves also promote good digestion of food.

Try ginger

Regular consumption of ginger is known to help the digestive system. It can be beneficial when it comes to stomach ulcers since it creates mucus secretion, much like cloves.



The leaves of the basil plant have carminative and soothe our digestive systems. They can be an effective relief from gas, nausea, and acidity.

Although it is often suggested as a last resort, baking soda can also be an effective treatment for excessive stomach acid. One half to one full teaspoon of baking soda in an eight-ounce glass of water may help ease the burn of acid reflux. You can also drink baking soda by mixing half a teaspoon of it with a few drops of lemon juice and a half-cup of warm water. No, it is not the best tasting drink, but if you are in a lot of pain, it just might be worth a try.

Lifestyle Changes to Control Overproduction of Acid In The Stomach

  • Maintain a healthy weight: Excess weight, especially around the midsection, can put pressure on the stomach and force acid back up into the esophagus.
  • Eat small and frequent meals: This can help prevent the overproduction of acid as it promotes better digestion and prevents heartburn.
  • Watch your posture while eating: Good posture can aid digestion and prevent acid backflow.
  • Avoid lying down for at least two hours after a meal: This can help prevent acid reflux.
  • Wear loose-fitting clothes: This can ease pressure on the stomach, which can worsen heartburn and reflux.
  • Quit smoking: Smoking can increase the production of stomach acid, reduce the function of the lower esophageal sphincter (the muscle that keeps acid and other stomach content from reentering the esophagus), and decrease the amount of saliva, which neutralizes acid produced by the body.

Most people experience the odd episode of excess acid in their stomach from time-to-time, which brings on symptoms such as acid reflux or mild heartburn. But when symptoms are occurring regularly and you just can’t pinpoint why, it is important to seek medical advice. Untreated heartburn, for instance, can lead to esophageal ulcers, esophageal scarring, or Barrett’s esophagus, which are precancerous changes in cells. About seven million people in the United States have acid reflux, or what is commonly referred to as GERD.



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