Production of Stomach Acid Declining with Age
is NOT a Good Thing!

Why the Elderly Should Supplement with Probiotics

By Ross Pelton, RPh, PhD, CCN
Scientific Director, Essential Formulas


The purpose of this article is to point out that elderly individuals are at a much higher risk of having low production of stomach acid, which often leads to dysbiosis and associated gastrointestinal problems. These conditions can substantially increase the risk of developing intestinal permeability, or “leaky gut,” which can cause a wide range of additional health problems.

The level of acidity in the GI tract is a critical regulator of the intestinal microbiome. However, studies reveal that the production of hydrochloric acid (HCL) from the cells in the stomach lining decreases with age.i Thus, the elderly are more susceptible to health problems that can arise due to low production of stomach/gastric hydrochloric acid.

The increasing prevalence of hypochlorhydria (low stomach acid) and achlorhydria (lack of stomach acid) with advancing age increases the likelihood of upsetting the microbiome.ii When the microbiome is upset, there is a much greater risk of developing dysbiosis-related GI problems such as diarrhea, gas, bloating, constipation, inflammation, and pain.iii However, microbiome dysregulation also frequently causes leaky gut, which can result in many other health problems such as allergies, cardiovascular problems, disruption of gut/brain communication leading to anxiety and depression, weakened immune system and obesity.iv

It is well established that antibiotics kill good bacteria along with harmful bacteria, which cause a significant disruption of the microbiome. However, most people don’t realize that many other commonly prescribed drugs also disrupt the microbiome. Medications such as antacids, PPIs, and H2 blockers directly suppress acid production. However, other microbiome-disrupting drugs include the following: NSAIDs, statins, metformin, opioids, corticosteroids, antidepressants and antipsychotics meds, chemotherapy drugs and estrogen-containing medications, which include birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy medications.v

In addition to the progressive age-related decline in the production of hydrochloric acid from the lining of the stomach, medications that disrupt the microbiome also increase the likelihood of developing dysbiosis-related health problems.

The Perfect Storm is a metaphor for a combination of events that result in a drastic outcome. Here are the events that are creating a Perfect Storm Health Crisis for many elderly individuals.

  1. Production of stomach acid declines with age
  2. Many senior citizens take other drugs which also suppress acid production
  3. Decreased acid levels allow pathogens to grow & create an unbalanced microbiome
  4. Many elderly people are given antibiotics that negatively effects the microbiome
  5. Many other commonly prescribed drugs also upset the microbiome
  6. Lack of exercise & sedentary lifestyle contributes to unbalanced microbiome
  7. Constipation, a problem for many elderly individuals, promotes upset microbiome
  8. Lack of dietary fiber and consumption of high sugar/high carb diets upsets microbiome
  9. Upset microbiome produces dysbiosis-related intestinal problems
  10. Upset microbiome creates leaky gut, which can cause many other potentially more serious health problems

Healing the GUT: We need to build health, not just treat symptoms. Healing the gut needs to be a primary component of EVERY health protocol for healing. In addition to encouraging people to exercise, consume a healthy non-processed food diet and avoid microbiome-disrupting drugs, Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics have a 20+-year track record of providing fast action to help correct gastrointestinal problems, promote a balanced microbiome and improve overall health.

Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics & Postbiotic metabolites: Postbiotic metabolites are the master health-regulating compounds that probiotic bacteria create when then ferment/digest dietary fibers. Postbiotic metabolites are the compounds that can accelerate improvements in the intestinal tract that are due to an unbalanced microbiome. However, taking probiotics will only correct GI problems if the individual is ALSO consuming a very diverse range of fiber-containing foods. Most people do not. One study reported that 90% of American adults and children DO NOT consume the RDA of dietary fiber.vi

Independent research has reported that Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics contain over 500 postbiotic metabolites. When directly digested , postbiotic metabolites go to work immediately to reestablish proper acid/base level, reducing inflammation, accelerating the growth of healthy new cells in the lining of the GI tract, directly killing pathological bacteria and enhancing the immune system. This is why Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics have developed a worldwide reputation for providing Rapid Microbiome Restoration.

Many people experience “heartburn” and assume the problem is too much stomach acid. In a book titled Why Stomach Acid Is Good For You: Natural Relief from Heartburn, Indigestion, Reflux & GERD, authors Jonathan V. Wright, MD, and Lane Lenard, Ph.D. explain why heartburn is rarely due to too much acid, but instead is often due to too little stomach acid.vii This is because too little acid results in gastritis, which is an inflammation in the lining of the stomach. And, the symptom of this gastritis/inflammation in the stomach is pain, which is virtually indistinguishable from the pain associated with too much stomach acid.

The subject of this article is to highlight the fact that elderly individuals are at a much higher risk of developing health problems that originate from a decreased production of stomach acid.

When production of stomach acid is low, the acid/base level in the intestinal tract becomes too alkaline. With this in mind, I want to explain why Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics are the best product to address this condition.

A number of the postbiotic metabolites in Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics are weakly acidic compounds. These acidic compounds help maintain a slightly acidic pH in the microbiome ecosystem, which provides the following benefits. The proper pH is necessary for the absorption of many nutrients and the digestion of protein, it promotes the growth of beneficial probiotic bacteria, and it suppresses the growth of harmful pathogenic bacteria in the GI tract. The acidic postbiotic metabolites in Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics include the following: short-chain fatty acids, nucleic acids, organic acids, amino acids and fulvic acids. These slightly acidic postbiotic metabolites In Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics quickly help to reestablish proper acid/base balance in the intestinal tract. Taking a commercial brand of probiotic bacteria will NOT deliver any of these acid-normalizing postbiotic metabolites to the GI tract.

At Essential Formulas, we firmly believe that The Dr. Ohhira’s is the best product available to create and maintain a healthy microbiome. This is especially true for elderly individuals who are more likely to suffer from a deficiency or lack of production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach which can lead to the health problems discussed in this article.

Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics deliver probiotics, prebiotic and most importantly, a wide range of important health-regulating postbiotic metabolites. That is The Dr. Ohhira’s Difference!



i Britton E and McLaughlin JT. Ageing and the gut. Proc Nutr Soc. 2013 Feb;72(1):173-7.
ii Woodmansey EJ. Intestinal bacteria and ageing. J Applied Microbiology. April 19, 2007;1102(5):1178-1186.
iii Gareau MG, et al. Probiotics and the gut microbiota in intestinal health and disease. Nature Reviews Gastroentarology and Hepatology. 2010;7:503-514.
iv Carding S, et al. Dysbiosis of the gut microbiota in disease. Feb 2, 2015;26(e2):
v Pelton R. The Drug-Induced Nutrient Depletion Handbook (2nd Edition), Lexi-Comp, Hudson, OH. 2001.
vi Clemens R. et al. Filling America’s Fiber Intake Gap: Summary of a Roundtable to Probe Realistic Solutions with a Focus on Grain-Based Foods. Journal of Nutrition. 2012 July; 142(7): 1390S-1401S.
vii Wright JV and Lenard L. Why Stomach Acid Is Good For You: Natural Relief from Heartburn, Indigestion, Reflux & GERD. M. Evans publishing, Lanham, Maryland, 2001.