Recently, I was prescribed Omeprazole as a treatment for stomach and abdominal pains. Up until that point, I has always assumed stomach acid was a major part in digestion. Now that I would be producing less stomach acid with my drug, I wondered how I would digest food.

My research into stomach acid

Omeprazole is a drug of the category “Proton Pump inhibitor”. Its role is to reduce the amount of stomach acid produced in the body. It is commonly prescribed for heartburn, and other stomach complaints due to excess acid.

Stomach acids main role is to provide antibiotic properties to the stomach content. This is not so important today, as improved food hygiene has eliminated the need for an antibiotic fluid in the stomach. It has other roles, such as providing an environment to the catalysts to the enzyme breakdown of food.

Evidence for this role can be found at How stuff works. Vultures have an exceptionally high acid content within their stomachs, which kills off the majority of harmful substances in the food.

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