1. Bacteria killer
The highly acidic environment is harmful to most microorganisms, including pathogenic bacteria.
2. Pepsin switch
Hydrochloric acid in the gastric juices converts pepsinogen, which is secreted from the stomach’s walls, into protein-digesting pepsin.
3. Protein unraveller
Available pepsin in the acid breaks down protein structure, cutting the molecule into smaller chains of amino acids.
4. Vitamin absorption
Gastric acid helps stimulate the secretion of a glycoprotein known as intrinsic factor into the stomach, which will later bind to vitamin B12 in the small intestine.
5. Bile delivery
The presence of stomach acid in the small intestine helps to stimulate the release of fat digesting bile.
6. Blocks acid reflux
The acidity of gastric juices helps to trigger the contraction of the lower oesophageal sphincter, helping to keep harmful acid away from the unprotected tubing.
7. Aiding migration
The pressure from the volume of stomach acid helps to open the pyloric sphincter briefly, transferring chyme and acid into the small intestine.