The clinical importance of hypochlorhydria (a consequence of chronic Helicobacter infection): its possible etiological role in mineral and amino acid malabsorption, depression, and other syndromes

Med Hypotheses. 1992 Dec;39(4):375-83. doi: 10.1016/0306-9877(92)90065-k.


In a previous paper evidence was presented to show that Helicobacter-induced chronic gastritis is the probable cause of most chronic hypochlorhydria. In this article evidence is presented for the clinical relevance of reduced stomach acid secretion. Reduced mineral absorption is fairly well documented and has sound theoretical support from basic chemistry. Impaired digestion of protein has been suggested by a few studies. Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth in hypochlorhydria probably leads to putrefactive breakdown of the metobolically useful products of protein digestion, thereby reducing their availability for certain essential pathways. The possible lowering of tryptophan, tyrosine, and phenylalanine in the blood may be a precipitating factor in depression in hypochlorhydric patients. In reduced or absent stomach acid secretion a constellation of gastrointestinal symptoms has been consistently observed and reported by clinicians in the past, and treatment of the hypochlorhydria with hydrochloric acid or its substitutes has often been observed to be effective in reducing these symptoms.

MeSH terms

  • Achlorhydria / complications*
  • Achlorhydria / microbiology*
  • Amino Acids / metabolism*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Depression / etiology*
  • Depression / microbiology
  • Dietary Proteins
  • Digestion
  • Helicobacter Infections / complications*
  • Humans
  • Malabsorption Syndromes / etiology*
  • Malabsorption Syndromes / microbiology
  • Minerals / metabolism*
  • Syndrome


  • Amino Acids
  • Dietary Proteins
  • Minerals