Gastric pH

Gastric pH is primarily influenced by two factors; acid secretion and gastric content. In a 24 hour period, the median daytime pH for eight subjects was 2.7 (range 1.8 to 4.5) in the body and 1.9 (range 1.6 to 2.6) in the antrum of the stomach1. Food buffers and neutralizes gastric acid, producing an increase in pH. The pH is not uniform in the stomach, due to the differences in the distribution of parietal cells, and the different patterns of motility in various regions of the stomach. These effects are illustrated by the experiment shown in Figure 5.8, in which pH electrodes were placed 5 cm, 10 cm and 15 cm below the gastrooesophageal junction prior to administering a test meal. Initially all electrodes showed a low basal pH. The meal raised the pH in the fundus to approximately 4.5, but this rapidly began to decline, returning to baseline after 2.5 h. The pH in the body of the stomach was slower to respond, again increasing to about 4.5, 15 minutes later than the fundus. This region returned to basal pH 3.5 h after meal ingestion. The magnitude of the change in pH in the antrum was much smaller, indicating that in this region the food is acidic for the majority of the time. In the body of the stomach, the large concentration of parietal cells

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