Underproduction of hydrochloric acid into the stomach is frequently encountered in subjects from developing countries. We explore the hypothesis that hypochlorhydria compromises the gastric barrier and favours bacterial overgrowth in the proximal parts of the small intestine where nutrient absorption takes place. Food calories are thus deviated into bacterial metabolism. In addition to an adequate caloric supply, correcting hypochlorhydria might be needed to decrease childhood malnutrition.
© 2017 The Authors. Microbial Biotechnology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd and Society for Applied Microbiology.