Hydrochloric acid (also known as stomach acid) is the main component of gastric juices produced in the stomach. It is the only acid produced by our bodies; the other acids are the byproducts of metabolisms. Here are some important functions of hydrochloric acid (HCL) in the stomach:
1. For acidifying stomach content
Hydrochloric acid is the main component of the gastric juices produced in the stomach and it maintains the stomach pH of 1 to 2 by acidifying the stomach contents.
2. Prevents Infections
Hydrochloric acid acts as a barrier against foreign microorganisms and helps prevent infection.
3. Helps in digestion of food
The hydrochloric acid present in the gastric acid helps in the proper digestion of foods. It denatures proteins with its low pH and converts pepsinogen (an enzyme precursor) into pepsin (an active enzyme).
4. Prevents diseases
Presence of hydrochloric acid in gastric acid produced by the stomach prevents anemia, osteoporosis, nerve disorders, yeast infections, hair loss in women and many more illnesses. Too much acid in stomach is also harmful and leads to stomach ulcers.