top of page

Polyphenols for Gut Health

This week on the Harmony With Food Radio Show, I talked about why your acid reflux may be caused by too little stomach acid, rather than too much, and the benefits of polyphenols for your microbiome.

Low Stomach Acid

When you are put on a PPI (proton pump inhibitor) for acid reflux, it can actually cause hypochlorhydria or low stomach acid. Our stomach acid also naturally declines as we age because the parietal cells in the stomach lining produce less stomach acid. Studies show that about half of all people over age 60 and 80% of people over the age of 85 have low stomach acid.

Side Effects of Low Stomach Acid

When our stomach's pH is too high, it inhibits pepsin, which is essential for the digestion of protein, and inhibits the absorption of many minerals. Stomach acid also provides our first line of defense against food poisoning, H. pylori, parasites, and other infections.

Without adequate stomach acid, we leave ourselves at risk and open to decreased immune resistance and a variety of other health problems, like deficiencies in B12, Vitamin C, iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and copper.

Symptoms of Low Stomach Acid

The symptoms of low stomach acid are very similar to those caused by having too much stomach acid, which is why I recommend microbiome testing that will actually test the pH of your stool. Here are some of the symptoms to watch out for:

  • Bloating

  • Belching

  • Burning and gas immediately after eating

  • A sense of fullness after eating

  • Indigestion

  • Diarrhea

  • Constipation

  • Nausea

  • Presence of parasites, candida, yeast, or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth

Causes of Low Stomach Acid

Here are a few things that can cause low stomach acid:

  • Pernicious anemia

  • Chronic H. Pylori infection

  • Long-term PPI treatment

  • Autoimmune gastritis

  • Type IV Mucolipidosis

Diseases Associated with Low Stomach Acid

There are many diseases that are associated with low stomach acid, here are a few:

  • Addison's Disease

  • Asthma

  • Celiac Disease

  • Chronic autoimmune diseases

  • Chronic Hives/Dermatitis

  • Gluten sensitivity

  • Diabetes

  • Eczema

  • Gallbladder disease

  • Grave's Disease

  • Hepatitis

  • Hyper and hypothyroidism

  • Lupus

  • Osteoporosis

  • Anemia

  • Psoriasis

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis

  • Rosacea

I can help treat low stomach acid with nutraceuticals through my BioUnique Boutique program. Click HERE to schedule a free 45-minute call with me to get started.


Polyphenols are a group of chemicals that occur naturally in plants. There are about 500 unique polyphenols that are collectively known as phytochemicals. They can be categorized by into the following groups:

  • Phenolic acids

  • Flavonoids

  • Stilbenes

  • Lignans

Effect of Polyphenols on the Microbiome

Eating more polyphenol-rich foods has been shown to create an optimal gut bacterial balance, which in turn can reduce your risk for many diseases. If you have a decreased abundance of beneficial gut bacteria, which we can determine through testing, increasing your intake of polyphenol-rich foods is one thing you can do to improve your gut bacteria.

Here are some of the effects of polyphenols on the microbiome:

  • Helps increase bifidobacteria and lactobacillus, while reducing firmicutes, which helps with weight loss

  • Helps decrease calprotectin, an indicator of inflammation, and E. Coli, a pathogenic bacteria

  • Increases bacterial diversity

  • Increases short chain fatty acids, which are important for gut health

Polyphenol-Rich Foods

A few foods you can find polyphenols in are:

  • Cocoa powder and dark chocolate

  • Peppermint

  • Oregano

  • Elderberry

  • Rosemary

  • Capers

  • Pecans

  • Black olives

  • Plums

  • Thyme

  • Chestnuts

  • Cloves

  • Green tea

  • Curcumin

  • Red grapes and wine

  • Pomegranate

Episode Transcript


Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • LinkedIn Social Icon
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
bottom of page