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Why Doesn't Our Stomach Digest Itself?
The Acid In Your Stomach Is Powerful (Strong) Enough To Dissolve Metal. Just A Drop Of This Stomach Acid On Your Palm Can Melt Straight Through Your Muscles. It Seems Like Your Stomach Can Digest Anything!

So Why Doesn't It Eat Itself?

As Soon As You Take The First Bite Of Food, Say A Cheeseburger For Example; Your Stomach Begins Releasing A Very Strong Acid Known As Hydrochloric Acid (HCl). This Acid Is Commonly Used To Clean Rusty Steel It Is Also Found In Household Cleaning Supplies Such As Toilet Bowl Cleaners.

Acids Are Measured On The pH Scale, Which Has A Range From 0 To 14. The Lower The pH Level, The More Strongly Acidic The Fluid Is. A Healthy Stomach Has A pH Of 1.5 To 3.0. This Puts Stomach Acid Somewhere Between Vinegar And Battery Acid. Surprisingly This Strong Acid Does Not Harm Your Stomach Itself. That's Because Your Stomach Has A Lining Of Mucous-Secreting Cells (Epithelial/Foveolar Cell - Secrete Mucous) That Coats The Inside Of The Stomach, Protecting Your Stomach From Getting Burnt From The Acid. These Cells Sacrifice Themselves In Order To Protect Deeper Layers Of The Stomach.

Each Minute, The Surface Lining Sheds Some Five Hundred Thousand (500,000) Cells. Your Stomach Lining Replaces Itself Every 4 Days, And The Stomach Cells That Come Into Contact With The Digesting Food Are Replaced Every 5 Minutes.

Your Stomach Also Secretes A Bicarbonate (HCO3-Rich Solution That Coats The Mucosal Wall. Bicarbonate Is An Alkaline, Which Neutralizes The Acid Secreted By The Stomach. This Continuous Supply Of Bicarbonate Protects Your Stomach From Digesting Itself. Your Stomach Secretes Roughly 2 Liters (0.5 Gallon) Of Hydrochloric Acid (HCl) Each Day. Hydrochloric Acid, Along With Digestive Enzymes And Other Chemicals In The Stomach Are Together Known As ‘Gastric Juice’. This Gastric Juice Is Very Important For Absorbing Nutrients From The Food You Eat. Hydrochloric Acid Kills Bacteria And Viruses That May Come Along With Food And Drink, Protecting You From Various Infections And Diseases. It Also Activates Stomach Enzymes That Digest Proteins In Your Food. Hydrochloric Acid Maintains The Stomach pH For The Functions Of These Enzymes. Too Much Digestive Acidity Can Eat Away The Mucous Lining Of The Stomach And Can Cause An Ulcer.

Without Enough Stomach Acid, There Is A Greater Risk Of Infections Of The Digestive Tract. Bacteria May Interfere With The Stomach's Defences, Which Can Also Cause Ulcers. One Such Bacteria Is Known As “H. Pylori”. These Bacteria Attack The Protective Barrier Of The Stomach. Once The Upper Lining Of The Stomach Is Damaged, Stomach Acid Can Get Through The Sensitive Lining Beneath. Both The Bacteria And The Acid Can Irritate The Lining And Can Also, Cause A Sore Or Ulcer.

Now, You May Be Ask, “If A Drop Of Stomach Acid Can Dissolve The Metals, Why Doesn't It Kills The H. Pylori Bacteria?”

It's Because The Bacteria Has Evolved To Survive In The Acidic Environment Of The Stomach. It Secretes An Enzyme That Produces Ammonia. The Production Of Ammonia Around H. Pylori Neutralizes The Acidity Of The Stomach, Making The Environment More Hospitable For The Bacterium.

The Human Stomach Is A Volatile Place And It's Always In An Amazing Process Of Maintaining A Balanced Environment. If One Thing Starts To Work Too Much, Or If Something Else Stops Doing Its Job, That Balance Is Lost And The Volatility Of Your Stomach Will Be Felt. Literally!

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