Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

How Can Heartburn End Up As Anaemia?

By An Duy Tran

Research finds a link between some of the most popular heartburn treatments and iron deficiency, which can lead to anaemia

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

If you studied chemistry at school, you would probably be aware of the dangers of touching hydrochloric acid. This hazardous, corrosive and smelly chemical comes with a lot of safety requirements including wearing gloves and masks when you’re handling it.

What you may not know is that this toxic substance plays an essential role in our own bodies.

Iron deficiency is the top nutritional disorder in the world and the direct cause of anaemia in half of cases. Picture: Shutterstock

Our stomachs produce hydrochloric acid for the digestion of meat and, importantly, the absorption of minerals like iron. But sometimes, this acid doesn’t stay only in our stomachs. Instead, it moves up and creates an uncomfortable, burning sensation around the breastbone – commonly called heartburn.

This feeling is a symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease, which affects more than 2 million Australians.

As a result, many of us turn to popular medications that suppress gastric acid...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.