This is an objective, independently written product review on Progast® Digestive Power: a 6-in-1 natural remedy specifically formulated to assist in stomach acid production. This product assists in the relief of gastroesophageal reflux symptoms such as heartburn, GERD and acid reflux caused by low stomach acid. This remedy is not vegetarian friendly and has been developed specifically for those with a protein rich diet.
Progast® Digestive Power:
- increases the production of acid in the stomach which supports the breakdown and absorption of nutrients (especially protein, B12 and minerals)
- destroys bad bacteria in the stomach
- coats the stomach as it elicits a muco-protective effect and
- prevents reflux
This natural product of pharmaceutical grade quality contains the following ingredients per capsule:
- Betaine HCL (hydrochloric acid) 500 mg
- Pepsin 30 mg
- Intrinsic Factor 10 mg
- Fermented Apple Cider Vinegar Powder 100 mg
- Gingerol Extract 50 mg
- De-Glycyrrhizinate Liquorice Root Extract 50 mg
Other ingredients: Gelatine (Capsules)
If you think you have too much acid because you have acid reflux, you may want to alkalise your stomach with over-the-counter acid blockers. You may feel better at first, but worse later. It may seem counter intuitive, but in most cases, acid reflux is in fact caused by low stomach acid – and the solution lies in increasing your stomach acid.
Low stomach acid (hypochlorhydria) or even no stomach acid (achlorhydria) can cause various conditions including:
- Heartburn – a burning sensation in your chest, throat or neck
- Acid reflux – when the acid from your stomach moves up into your oesophagus
- GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) – the more severe and chronic form of acid reflux
- Indigestion – food not breaking down sufficiently in the gut
Normal production of stomach acid (HCL) allows for the optimal function of the lower oesophageal sphincter (LES). The LES is a ring of muscle that connects the stomach with the oesophagus, and is controlled by the autonomic nervous system. The pH of the stomach triggers the opening and closing of this ‘gatekeeper’ valve.
The normal level of stomach acid is between 1 and 3 on the pH scale. Acidic is 1, neutral is 7 and alkaline is 14. If the pH of your stomach acid is not low enough, this valve does not close, resulting in a flow back (reflux) of stomach acid and other secretions into the oesophagus. The lining of the oesophagus is easily irritated by the contents of the stomach. GERD may result in damage to the throat, vocal cords, coughing and frequent throat clearing and pain in the sternum.
Progast® Digestive Power may be used to increase the production of acid in the stomach, keeping this valve nice and tight. Furthermore, the additional ingredients such as the herbal extracts of liquorice and ginger, provide further relief to digestive discomfort caused by low stomach acid.
What causes the decrease of gastric acid secretion ?
- The most common cause is chronic gastritis (inflammation of the lining of the stomach) as a result of H. pylori infection.
- Ageing is a factor in the reduction of pepsin secretion.
- Prescription medication and particularly antacids, PPI’s and H2 Beta blockers used for the treatment of heartburn, GERD and indigestion, will reduce stomach acid production, causing the very symptoms they claim to cure.
- A low salt diet may also be a culprit as potassium and salt help in the production of hydrochloric acid (HCL).
- Coffee, tea, and sodas may increase the risk of GERD because of their effect on the tone of the lower oesophageal sphincter or the acidity of stomach contents.
- Chronic high stress decreases production of stomach acid.
- Zinc deficiency
What are the symptoms of low stomach acid?
- Acid reflux
- Impaired digestive function1
- Discomfort or cramps after a meal
- Osteopenia / osteoporosis
- SIBO (small intestine bacteria overgrowth)2
- Intestinal dysbiosis (overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria or parasites)
- Hair thinning
- Muscle fatigue and atrophy
- Low levels of B12, magnesium, zinc and iron
Here is a quick test to check if you have low stomach acid:
First thing in the morning, before brushing teeth, drinking or eating anything:
- Mix ¼ teaspoon of baking soda with 1 cup of room temperature water.
- Drink the solution and set your timer. This mixture should cause you to burp as the bicarbonate combines with stomach acid to create carbon dioxide!
If you are burping within 2 to 4 minutes, you likely have sufficient stomach acid. If it takes more than 30 min to burp, you likely have low/insufficient stomach acid. Early and repeated burping may be due to too much stomach acid (do not confuse this with small burps from swallowing air when drinking the solution).
The effect of low stomach acid on health
- A lack of gastric acid may interfere with the optimal absorption of nutrients. This may have very serious consequences, especially in the elderly, and in particular should B12 not be absorbed. The prevalence of vitamin B12deficiency is higher in the presence of H. pylori infection and eradication of this bacteria may correct vitamin B12 levels.
- Low stomach acid can drive H. pylori bacterial infection.
- A lack of stomach acid makes it difficult to absorb minerals and can lead to anaemia (low iron levels).
- Food transit time is reduced as undigested food travels through the intestines and the fermenting food in the stomach can cause bacteria build up, resulting in bloating and gas. Stomach acid plays an important role in destroying bacteria before it enters the small intestine.
- Incomplete protein digestion can cause weak muscles, loss of collagen and even loss of protein in the bone. This will also eventually affect joint health.
- An overgrowth of fungus and yeast, called candida, can develop when the pH in the stomach is too alkaline and not acidic enough.3
Let’s examine the ingredients in Progast® Digestive Power
Betaine HCL 500 mg
Betaine Hydrochloride is a substance found in grains, some beets and other foods. It is the building block of stomach acid. HCL activates hormones and signals the pancreas to release digestive enzymes. HCL is not an acid, but an acidic form of betaine – a vitamin-like substance. HCL is effective for increasing stomach acid.4,5
A deficiency in hydrochloric acid will cause small particles of food to not be fully broken down. Over time this will lead to intestinal permeability, which triggers autoimmune reactions.
Pepsin 30 mg
Gastric juice comprises mostly of HCL, pepsin, water, mucus, and intrinsic factor. Of these five components, pepsin is the principal digestive enzyme involved in protein digestion in the lining of the digestive tract. HCL plays a crucial role in creating the pH required for pepsin activity.
Pepsin facilitates the transportation and absorption of B12. When the pH of the gastric juice in the stomach increases to values greater than 3, pepsin is almost completely inactivated. Progast® Digestive Power uses crystallised pig pepsin.
Intrinsic Factor 10 mg
Low stomach acid affects intrinsic factor (a glycoprotein) necessary to absorb B12. Deficiency in B12 is a serious health concern. It is a key factor in methylation which is necessary to keep inflammatory homocysteine levels low.
Half of autoimmune patients may launch an attack on the cells of their own stomach lining, leading to an inability of the stomach to release intrinsic factor and HCL.
Fermented Apple Cider Vinegar powder 100 mg
Apple cider vinegar is fermented apple juice, raw and unfiltered. During production, the enzymes are still intact – ensuring the presence of the ‘mother’ (a cloud or sludge at the bottom of the barrel). Apple cider vinegar encourages stomach acid production. It is preferable to take apple cider vinegar in a supplement form, rather than drinking the liquid form as this can erode teeth enamel.
Gingerol extract 50 mg
Generally used to alleviate nausea, cramping, bloating and indigestion, the spice ginger works by stimulating digestive enzyme secretions in the gut.6
This popular traditional medicinal plant helps to relax the smooth muscles in your gut lining and assists with digestion by speeding up the movement of food in the intestinal tract.7
Anti‐inflammatory, antioxidant, antitumor, and antiulcer effects of ginger have been proven in many scientific studies, and some of the ancient applications of ginger as a home remedy has been confirmed.8 Ginger has shown to possess significant activity against a wide range of gram-negative bacteria and may eradicate H. pylori.9
De-Glycyrrhizinate Liquorice root extract 50 mg
Liquorice is mainly known for its anti-inflammatory and mucosa-protective properties and its ability to reduce spasm of smooth muscle.10 Liquorice helps to soothe irritated and inflamed sections the digestive tract. Its coating effect may prevent heartburn.11
Several studies12,13 have shown the ability of liquorice to heal ulcers by improving the protective lining of the intestines. This is done far more effectively than ulcer medications, which reduce the acid needed for a healthy microbial balance and for the absorption of nutrients.
Another bonus of having liquorice root in this product is that it may eradicate H. pylori.14
WHAT OUR READERS SAY
- ‘My concern about the side effects of prescription drugs for heartburn has made me determined to find the cause and a natural alternative solution. Thank you for explaining that heartburn is not caused by excess stomach acid, but rather by too low stomach acid.’ R. Smit.
DOSAGE AND DIRECTIONS FOR USE
Take two capsules of Progast® Digestive Power with 300ml room temperature water after you begin eating a protein rich meal. If you do not notice an improvement, slowly increase the dosage to four capsule per meal or as directed by your healthcare professional. Gradually lower your dose over time as your symptoms improve. If you feel warmness in your stomach, that means you’re taking enough and may even need to decrease your dose.
Recommended for persons 18 years and older. Not recommended for children. This product should not be taken by pregnant woman as there is not enough clinical evidence to support the use in pregnancy or breastfeeding.
SIDE EFFECTS AND WARNINGS
Do not take this product if you have a stomach ulcer, as the suppression of gastric acid is critical for ulcer healing. HCL produced from betaine hydrochloride might irritate stomach ulcers or keep them from healing. If you have an ulcer, taking acidifiers may cause pain and burning. This product is to be taken specifically with protein and vegetables but not on an empty stomach or with salad and fruit.
If you feel intense gastric burning with even one capsule, it means you may unknowingly have a stomach ulcer and or an H. pylori infection. Do not continue taking Progast® Digestive Power and consult your medical practitioner to provide you with a diagnosis.
Do not use this product if you are currently using acid-reducing medication, including proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). Ask your physician about slowly weaning yourself off PPIs.
Do not take HCL if you are taking any non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, Tylenol, or aspirin as peptic ulcer disease is a well-recognised complication of NSAID use.
Do not use if you have SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) or a dysbiosis of the colon. This is because the liquorice root extract can allow bacteria and biofilm colonies to hide behind the mucus the liquorice creates to protect the gut lining.
Please consult your medical practitioner if you have been diagnosed with kidney problems or high blood pressure before taking Progast® Digestive Power as it may negatively impact your condition.
Betaine HCL & Pepsin contain an ingredient derived from porcine (pork) source. This product is not vegan or vegetarian friendly.
Free from sugar, lactose, gluten, GMO, soya & pesticides. No artificial additives, flavours, colourants & preservatives. Produced in an ISO 9001 facility. For more information, visit https://progast.global/.
The information published here does not intend to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. The product reviewed has not been evaluated by any regulatory body and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. The information given here is not meant to be a substitute for seeing a healthcare professional. It is our opinion only, based on several years of research, in consultation with world experts. We’re sure you’ll find it useful, but please use it wisely and always exercise common sense.
- Chubineh S, Birk J. Proton pump inhibitors: the good, the bad, and the unwanted. South Med J. 2012 Nov;105(11):613–8.
- Jacobs C, Coss Adame E, Attaluri A, Valestin J, Rao SS. Dysmotility and proton pump inhibitor use are independent risk factors for small intestinal bacterial and/or fungal overgrowth. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2013 Jun;37(11):1103–11.
- Naglik JR, Fostira F, Ruprai J, Staab JF, Challacombe SJ, Sundstrom P. Candida albicans HWP1 gene expression and host antibody responses in colonization and disease. J Med Microbiol. 2006;55(Pt 10):1323–1327
- Yago MR, Frymoyer AR, Smelick GS, Frassetto LA, Budha NR, Dresser MJ, Ware JA, Benet LZ. Gastric reacidification with betaine HCl in healthy volunteers with rabeprazole-induced hypochlorhydria. Mol Pharm. 2013 Nov 4;10(11):4032–7
- Yago MR, Frymoyer A, Benet LZ, Smelick GS, Frassetto LA, Ding X, Dean B, Salphati L, Budha N, Jin JY, Dresser MJ, Ware JA. The use of betaine HCl to enhance dasatinib absorption in healthy volunteers with rabeprazole-induced hypochlorhydria. AAPS J. 2014 Nov;16(6):1358–65.
- Platel K, Srinivasan K. Influence of dietary spices or their active principles on digestive enzymes of small intestinal mucosa in rats. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 1996; 47:55–59
- Yamahara J, Huang QR, Li YH, Xu L, Fujimura H. Gastrointestinal motility enhancing effect of ginger and its active constituents. Chem & Pharmaceutical bulletin. 1990; 38:430–431.
- Bodagh M, Maleki I, Hekmartdoost A, Ginger in gastrointestinal disorders: A systematic review of clinical trials. Food Science & Nutrition. Nov 2018.
- Ebrahimzadeh Attari V, Somi MH, Asghari Jafarabadi M, Ostadrahimi A, Moaddab SY, Lotfi N. The Gastro-protective Effect of Ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe) in Helicobacter pylori Positive Functional Dyspepsia. Adv Pharm Bull. 2019;9(2):321–324.
- Mehmood, M. H., Munir, S., Khalid, U. A., Asrar, M., & Gilani, A. H. Antidiarrhoeal, antisecretory and antispasmodic activities of Matricaria chamomilla are mediated predominantly through K+-channels activation. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2015; 1.
- Bahmani M, Rafieian-Kopaei M, Jelodari M, Eftekhari, Z, Delfan B, Zargaran, A, & Forouzan, S. A review of the health effects and uses of drugs of plant licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra L.) in Iran. Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Disease. 2014 4(S2), S847–S849.
- Morgan AG, McAdam WA, Pacsoo C, et al. Comparison between cimetidine and Caved-S in the treatment of gastric ulceration, and subsequent maintenance therapy. Gut. 1982; 23(6): 545–551.
- Turpie AG, Runcie J, Thomson TJ. Clinical trial of deglycyrrhizinized liquorice in gastric ulcer. Gut. 1969l; 10(4): 299–302.
- Rahnama M, Mehrabani D, Japoni S, Edjtehadi M, Saberi Firoozi M. The healing effect of licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) on Helicobacter pylori infected peptic ulcers. J Res Med Sci. 2013;18(6):532–533.