By SUSAN CALLAHAN, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist
I will admit that I will never see age 50 again. When I turned 50, I knew that the page on the calender had turned of course but I did not fully understand that this particular birthday was once that actually mattered a lot to my body. Many things change in your body at age 50, things that are subtle but very important to your digestion and your brain, especially. I want to alert you to one massive change that happens in your stomach.
What Happens to Your Stomach at Age 50
Your eyes turn 50 and they work about the same as they did at age 49. Your arms turn 50 and they still work the same. Your brain and heart also work about the same at age 50 as they did at age 49.
But one organ goes through a dramatic change at age 50 and that organ is your stomach.
Your stomach has one key job --- digest, break down your food. To break down your food, your stomach degrades it with acid. In fact, one way to think of your stomach is simply as a sack of acid.
Food enters the stomach but so do lots of other non food organisms such as bacteria and fungi. Your stomach acid not only breaks down food, it also kills harmful bacteria and fungus.
Around age 50, most of us stop producing enough stomach acid, a condition known as hypochlorhydria.
Why Hypochlorhydria Matters to Your Health
Why should you care if you have low stomach acid? For one thing, hypochlohydria results in partially digested food entering your intestines. Your intestines are pretty robust organs but if it has to deal with food that is only roughly or partially broken down too often, it can trigger inflammation.
Too Little Stomach Acid Can Allow Fungus and Bacteria to Grow Wild in Your Body
Too little stomach acid only allows bacteria and fungus to escape into your intestine, from where they can escape into your blood stream. We have written about the dangers of one yeast, candida, if it is allowed to grow wild in your body. You can develop tinnitus, skin spots, throat infections and even die.
For me, the result of low stomach acid made little tiny white spots start to show up on my legs and face. I didn't notice them until the summer when I tanned up a bit in the sun.
Too little stomach acid can allow opportunistic, harmful bacteria to reach your intestines. Your intestines actually contains up to 1000 species of bacteria naturally, so having bacteria there is not the exact problem. You even rely on good bacteria -- probiotics ---- to help your brain and other organs to function properly and to regulate your metabolism. The problems start to arise when too many of the harmful bacteria begin to overpower the number of good bacteria. At that point, you may begin to gain weight rapidly, feel tired, feel foggy or forgetful and more.
Drinking Apple Cider Vinegar Restores Acid to Your Stomach
There are only a few ways to re-acidify your stomach. One way is to take hypochloric acid pill supplements under the supervisions of your doctor.
The other way is to add apple cider vinegar to your diet.
Add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to a 4 ounce glass of water. The mixture should taste mildly like vinegar.
Drink the vinegar with your meals, so that it can help to break down your food.
Apple cider vinegar is not only acidic. Like all vinegars, it also is a natural anti-septic, killing bacteria and fungus.
You will notice a couple of things right away. For one, you will get fuller, sooner. I noticed that I could only eat about 1/2 to 3/4 of my normal plate. With the acid levels now higher in my stomach, the food was broken down more and filled up my stomach quicker, making it feel full.
Within a week, I started to notice a little weight loss, courtesy of the slightly smaller meals.
Apple Cider Vinegar Will Help To Release Iron, Copper and Other Minerals and You'll Feel Better
The other thing you will notice is that your energy levels will pick up. Magnesium and iron are particularly important minerals for maintaining high energy levels. Apple cider vinegar will help to extract the iron, copper, magnesium and other minerals in your food, simply because the food will be better broken down. As a result, your iron levels, copper and magnesium levels will rise.
Apple Cider Vinegar Can Help Prevent Gray Hair and White Spots on Your Skin
You need iron and copper to make your hair from going gray, so over time, you may notice that you have fewer gray hairs. The color in your hair comes from melanin. Melanin makes color from iron, copper and other "ingredients".
If you have white spots on your skin, you'll see these start to color in again. The exact mechanism of why this happens has not been studied but I suppose it happens because more melanin is created from its ingredients copper and iron.