Biochemistry: Acid Indigestion: Myth & Mysteries

Among the commonest ills of man, ranking close to constipation and headaches, is the wide range of supposed digestive upsets mistakenly described as "acid indigestion." Every day, millions of Americans complain of "heartburn" or "sour stomach." TV commercials spiel endlessly about "acid upset." Some sufferers try to dignify their complaints with such technical terms as hyperacidity and acidosis. By whatever name, the problem is a high-up bellyache, and those who suffer from it in the U.S. lay out $90 million each year for antacids and alkalizers.

Haunting Danger. Medically both heartburn and acid indigestion are vague terms, as hard to...

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