Stomach acid is essential for the digestion of proteins, protection against bacteria, and absorption of vital vitamins and minerals.
However, we have common lifestyle factors like alcohol, certain medications, pain relievers, coffee, pesticides, etc. that decrease stomach acid when stomach acid is deficient.
Normal acid in the stomach activates the closure of the cardiac sphincter muscle between the esophagus and the stomach. A lack of acid prevents this sphincter from contracting and thus the mildly acidic stomach fluid can reflux upwards.
Hence, paradoxically, the treatment of gastric reflux actually involves giving Betaine HCl tablets with meals. Acid reducing over the counter drugs like zantac and nexium do not permanently relieve the problem.