Hydrochloric acid is the gastric acid found in a person's stomach. The stomach lining consists of parietal cells that secrete hydrochloric acid. This gastric acid is also important for certain stomach functions.
The secretion of hydrochloric acid is necessary for food digestion. It is also needed to keep the correct level of stomach pH so that the digestive enzyme pepsin can work properly.
Parietal cells release approximately two liters of hydrochloric acid daily. Hydrochloric acid and pepsin are released from the stomach lining after food enters this section of the digestive system. The digestive enzymes are important for the synthesis of proteins. Besides maintaining the proper pH in the stomach, another function of hydrochloric acid is the destruction of harmful bacteria found in the stomach.
Hydrochloric acid is a strong acid that can affect the stomach. However, mucus, which acts as a neutralizer for this corrosive substance, is released in the stomach and attaches to the stomach wall.