Stomach Acid 1 of 4 – Not just Bipolar Disorder #notjustbipolar

Not just Bipolar Disorder #notjustbipolar

Stomach Acid 1 of 4

When we get stressed, part of the fight or flight reaction is for our stomachs to make less acid. This is because it takes a lot of energy to make stomach acid and when we are stressed that energy is being used elsewhere.

Without enough stomach acid we do not digest protein at all well. If we continue to be stressed then much of the protein we eat will leave the stomach only partially digested. This is harmful to our health for these reasons:

  1. Lack of building blocks for good health:

For optimal health, then every day, we need enough of 8 essential amino acids that we can only obtain by digesting proteins. A lack of stomach acid is likely to leave us short of these vital building blocks for health and happiness. For example: Serotonin (often described as a good mood hormone) can only be made from the amino acid tryptophan. Failing to get enough tryptophan from our diet will cause us to feel less well as our serotonin levels drop. The medical intervention for low serotonin is often an SSRI drug (such as Prozac or Citalopram) however, without tryptophan you cannot make any fresh serotonin, which makes such interventions ineffective compared with improving digestion.

  1. Inflammation:

Below our stomach our gut has a sophisticated immune system. Its main function is to protect us against tiny organisms (especially but not only bacteria). However, our gut needs friendly bacteria such as those that allow us to digest enough vitamin B12. There has to be a chemical way for us to tell friend from foe in our guts. Every organism has unique sets (codes) of amino acids. Your immune system knows the codes for common invaders and will react to these often causing discomfort and inflammation. The trouble is that many partially digested proteins (perhaps most famously from wheat gluten) are mistaken by the immune system as invaders and so cause inflammation.

How does inflammation impact on common disorders? Reactions to improperly digested foods do not just affect the gut. This inflammation can affect our breathing, our balance, cause us to itch, cause blotches and almost always causes our energy levels and hence our moods to be more variable. Joint pain is also related to inflammation, so whether or not diagnosed with arthritis, the inflammation due to poorly digested protein tends to make us feel more pain/less well.

It seems that most people with the bipolar diagnosis have food allergies (and many may well have low serotonin due to poor digestion). Many allergies are mild and are simply described as intolerances. These may be put down to everything other than the true cause as most often the proteins causing the allergy are in that person’s favourite foods. For example: Protein in cheese is for many a source of variable moods, yet few cheese eaters will willingly give up eating cheese.

From personal experience I can say there are several effective routes for dealing with low stomach acid and through using these I can say the outlook is good. As we start to overcome low stomach acid and its effects then we can start to have more of the moods we want and need to be having. I will share what has been working for me and what I know works for thousands of others who have been diagnosed with ‘modern’ disorders and are overcoming these through improving their digestion.

For understanding allergies and intolerances I found ‘Boost your Immune System’ by Patrick Holford and Jennifer Meek to be particularly helpful

Roger Smith – – article updated 29th June 2014

About Roger Smith (in the UK)
Helping you to think about bipolar disorder in different ways so that we can eliminate the disorder and eventually eliminate the need for this diagnosis.

6 Responses to Stomach Acid 1 of 4 – Not just Bipolar Disorder #notjustbipolar

  1. judy critchlow says:

    Hello Roger,

    What an interesting article and this really does apply to me as I have been having problems for a few years now, having 2 sons with mental health issues (one collapsed and died recently) and his brother living with me after being evicted.

    Life is exceedingly difficult as my son wont take a psychotic drug. I am 80 and it all seems so unfair.

    There is no help forthcoming so I just look forward to the end. Thank you for your email, I would like to have further information if you have any.

    Kind regards, Judy Critchlow.


    • Hi Judy, Thank you for adding a comment. I am hoping to write a lot more about recovery after diagnosis. What we eat is very important. Would it help if I were to share more about what I eat these days that helps me to have steadier moods and be generally in better health?


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  4. Laura Stuart says:

    I’m so grateful that I found your article. I have been on antidepressants since I was 20 years old (24 years) & will be a lifer. I had been on Prozac 40mg for the last 7 years with no problems, until about 5 months ago. I had started taking Tagamet, from a minimum of 400mg to a max of 1,000mg daily & in addition to that from 5,000 mg to 10,000 mg of Tums daily. Slowly I started feeling worse & worse mentally & more & more depressed, to the point where for the first time in my life I was very suicidal. I had even switched to brand Prozac 1 month ago for the first time & it had no affect on me. Today I started researching Antidepressant poop out & was led to the idea that low stomach acid can affect Antidepressant absorption. It was very difficult to find any detailed info about it until I found your article.

    Will immediately stopping the Tagamet & Tums help me once again make natural Seritonin, as I will hopefully start to properly process proteins again? Is there anything else I should do?

    You’ve given me a but of hope again. Thank you so much for that.


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