What is the role of the acid in our stomach?


-Kumudinee, Subject Matter Expert at Edumarz

Solution- Hydrochloric acid : it is considered as a very strong inorganic acid which can be prepared in laboratory. It is naturally produced by stomach cells as a digestive fluid. Its pH is 1-2 hence functions to destroy microorganisms which could have been ingested with the food.

 As all the macromolecules are complex in structure and packed compactly, they are difficult to get digested into their monomers or simpler forms. Hydrochloric acid being a strong acid helps in breakage of intermolecular bonds and enzymatic digestion of complex food molecules.

Role of hydrochloric acid in digestion: 

  • Provides acidic gastric environment for proper function of pepsin enzyme and kills harmful pathogens like bacteria. 

  • Helps in breakdown, digestion and absorption of nutrients like protein.

  • Facilitates digestion by disintegrating complex biomolecules into simpler forms.

  • Activates zymogen pepsinogen to pepsin which is required for protein digestion.


Absence of HCl:

In the absence of HCl the iron absorption is hindered as iron is essential in the solution. Stomach acidity can act as a negative regulator for the production of gastrin hormone which otherwise can cause hypergastrinemia.  

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