l’ve been experiencing heartburn and bloat for the past few months, and it’s really put a damper on my appetite. My doctor says it’s probably from stress, so I wasn’t worried, until I stepped on the scale and saw that I’ve actually gained 12 pounds. What gives?

You may be suffering from low levels of hydrochloric acid (HCl). The stomach’s production of this digestive agent slows after age 35. But without enough HCl, the body can’t properly digest protein or absorb calcium, magnesium and iron, so you miss out of the metabolism – and health promoting benefits of these nutrients.

Plus, low levels of HCl slow the production of cholesytokinin, a hormone that helps the gallbladder release bile for fat emulsification in the liver. This can leave the liver unable to process fat, causing it to be stored instead.

The good news: Taking an HCl supplement (like HCl+2, at unikeyhealth.com) before meals will curb your digestive issues and optimize your liver function. After four weeks, you can experiment with reducing your dosage to once a day.

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