Heartburn/acid reflux is most commonly due to low stomach acid. I have been under a lot of chronic stress myself which has caused seriously low acid which has caused low nutrient levels notably iron (I have iron deficiency anaemia). The bloating from low acid is extreme after eating too. Then anal itching...TMI? lol I have been destressing with ASMR videos and taking betaine HCL with pepsin to increase stomach acid.
Excerpts from Gallbladder attack - Chronic heartburn...
"Too much stomach acid? Really? I mean, how is it that millions of people on PPIs are making too much HCl? Hyperchlorhydria or too much stomach acid is rather rare. If you're overeating, eating junk food or other food that is hard to digest, eating when stressed, living under stress, chances are much greater that you don't make enough hydrochloric acid or digestive enzymes and your symptoms stem from that. Take a look at some of the symptoms caused by low stomach acid.
Signs of Deficient Stomach Acid
Gas, bloating and burping shortly after a meal could be lack of HCl
Feeling of fullness or food not digesting
Heartburn and/or gastric reflux (sometimes too much HCl but most often not enough)
Foul smelling stools
Loose stools in the early morning
Dialated blood vessels on the cheeks and nose - Rosacea
Pernicious anemia or iron deficiency
Nausea especially after taking vitamins and minerals
Weak or cracked nails
Parasites - or at least increased susceptibility to parasitic infections
Chronic yeast infections
Acne in adults - especially if you have other symptoms from the list
Since low levels of stomach acid results in poor absorption of nutrients, many symptoms that accompany a deficiency of that vitamin or mineral makes this list much longer. The nutrients most affected are calcium, iron, folic acid, vitamin K and many B vitamins. See pernicious anemia.
If you're nervous about trying supplemental hydrochloric acid, you can do a trial with 1-2 TBSP of organic apple cider vinegar mixed with 1/8 to 1/4 cup of water after a meal. If it makes you feel better and does not hurt, you most likely would benefit from taking 500 - 1000 mg. of Betaine HCl with your meals.
Or you can also take a dropperful of Herbal Digestive Bitters (aka Gallbladder Bitters) with your meals which stimulates digestive juices including both HCl and bile. To curb sugar cravings, take bitters after your meal as well.
Risk Factors and Causes of Low Stomach Acid:
Candida and other Yeast
Bacterial Dysbiosis or infections in the Gut
H. pylori infection
Stress even in children
Age. HCl production decreases with age
Diseases Associated with Low HCl:
Interestingly, even though you might experience indigestion or some form of digestive discomfort just after a meal with low stomach acid, later on you could experience a feeling of too much acidity and wake in the night from this as well. This overproduction of acid later on can still be associated with low stomach acid. Try supplemental HCl for a few days and watch to see if these symptoms subside. They should gradually decrease.
How to Increase Your Own HCl
Bitter greens like kale, collards, beet greens, arugula, etc. may help to encourage the release of your own stomach acid. Lemon, olive oil and ginger help as well. Try adding some ginger to The Beet Recipe, but only if you are in maintenance mode with your gallbladder and no longer in pain. Spicy ginger could upset the balance if you haven't been pain-free for at least a couple of months.
Zinc and Thiamine B1 are necessary components in the manufacturing of stomach acid. Beet greens contain both. So does Nutritional Yeast. Food sources of zinc include collard, chard, pumpkins seeds, figs and wild salmon. Thiamine B1 is found in brown rice, spinach and peas."