(1) The hydrochloric acid present in the gastric juice
(2) The gastric juice itself
The gastric acid refers to the acid component of the gastric juice. It may also pertain to the gastric juice itself. This is probably due to the fact that the main component of the gastric juice is the hydrochloric acid. Other compounds comprising the gastric juice are potassium chloride and sodium chloride.
The gastric acid is secreted by the parietal cells in the gastric glands located in the stomach lining. The gastric acid helps to digest food in stomach and kill many pathogens that have reached the stomach by ingestion. The acid causes the denaturation of proteins.
To prevent the gastric acid from damaging the stomach, there are certain cells (mucus neck cells) of the gastric glands that primarily secrete mucus that acts as a physical barrier against the action of the gastric juice. Bicarbonates are also secreted to help regulate the pH of the gastric juice, and therefore prevent the latter from becoming too acidic. In humans, the range of pH of the gastric acid is from 1.5 to 3.5.
- gastric juice
- stomach acid