Side Effects of Betaine Hcl

| Modified on Aug 23, 2023
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Betaine Hcl, also known as Betaine Hydrochloride, is used to help improve digestion, yet for some it seems to cause side effects. In fact a common side effect is digestive problems, including stomach ache, reflux, and gas. Other side effects include insomnia, sleepiness, dry lips, dry skin, migraines and headaches.

Earth Clinic readers suggest a variety of ways to avoid the side effects of Betaine Hcl. Some readers say that fillers or other ingredients in a capsule could be a cause of side effects. Since some side effects seem to be dose dependent, taking less may be a way to avoid side effects.

Betaine Hcl is used to increase the stomach acid, thus improving digestion. It is also taken by some to increase potassium levels. Earth Clinic readers have reported that Betaine Hcl helps with a variety of digestive problems, including heartburn, burping, acid reflux, gas, slow digestion, skin problems caused by digestive problems, and digestive problems caused by candida.

If you have side effects from Betaine Hcl and want to try another natural remedy, be sure to look up your specific ailment on Earth Clinic and see what other Earth Clinic readers have found helpful.

If you experience side effects from Betaine Hcl, please be sure to let us know!

Additional Pages of Interest:

Betaine Hcl Cures

5 User Reviews

3 star (1) 

Posted by Euysup (Normal, Illinois, United States) on 12/14/2012
3 out of 5 stars

Better But With Side Effects

I have had GERD around 3 years and I have taken several of PPIs. While the PPIs worked a while, but after stopping PPIs GERD came back again. Therefore, I tried to take Betaine HCL to cure my GERD. I am on Betaine HCL around 2 weeks and I take 2-3 pills of it on every meal. It seems it works on my stomach and digestion. However, I have headache, dried lips and insomnia. I guess these come with Betaine HCL. I have read many articles that there is no significant side effects of Betaine HCL. Anybody has the same problem as mine? Any suggestions?

Replied by Louwrence
(Rustenburg, North West, South Africa)

Hi Eusyp, Just reduce the dosage, I only use one witout any problems.

Replied by Mike
(Montreal, Quebec)

Based on my experience, taking large amount of HCL Betaine with Yoghourt actually makes me fall asleep!!!

The activity of the pathogens in your body are mostly active at night when your immune system is at its lowest peak. This would explain why some people with digestive disorder have insomnia as was my case in the past.

Taking HCL Betaine will kill most of the pathogens in your system and thus leaving your stomach in a state of calmness.

Replied by Ironbutterfly
(Buffalo, Ny, Usa)
0 out of 5 stars

Following GB attack, I started a Betaine based Food Enzyme, among other things.... A week in and all was well until every day after 1 PM, I would get the feeling of acid dumping in my stomach... The good news is that before taking this, this would be the feeling I had after consuming ANYTHING. I just stopped the Betaine, today and the only reaction I had was following some gluten free, lentil crackers.... I have found my common denominator to be anything labeled, "vegetable oil, " and I also know I cannot tolerate crisco. Can anyone speak to this? Still experiencing gas and bloating on occasion...

regimen as of today,

Resetting Hypothalimus with a homeopathic
gluten, sugar and dairy free
Raw Vitamin
Probiotic at night.
Pau D'Arco tea.

Replied by Sp
(Wb, Nj, Usa)

Hi Ironbutterfly, regarding your reaction to anything containg vegetable oil - you may be having a reaction to soy. When a product label says vegetable oil, chances are it is, or has a high concetration of, soybean oil. Something to look into.

Replied by Rob

I had insomnia too - started supplementing with magnesium - cured it. Totally speculating but I think as the hcl made me absorb more vitamins and minerals, magnesium was not getting absorbed proportionately as theres no magnesium in food anymore these days (as soil is so crap).

Replied by Ashley
0 out of 5 stars

Hi, I was taking Betaine HCL for about a month and although it helped with my GERD tremendously I was having panic attacks/anxiety/heart palpatations while taking the supplements? Does anyone know why this might be? I don't think the ones I took contained Pepsin could this be a reason? Also since stopping all these symptoms got worse along with having a sore throat now


I had the same issues! I was having some pretty strong palpitations which eventually lead to a racing heart, Scared the dickens out of me. I felt very anxious. I stopped taking immediately.

Replied by lisa
0 out of 5 stars

HI, I EXPERIENCED A MAJOR MIGRAINE, And just wanted to say I have never in all my life had one so scary!

Betaine Hcl
Posted by Nicole (Sewell, Nj) on 08/08/2011
0 out of 5 stars

I have hypothyroidism and have had low iron for the past year despite being on iron pills for 8 months now. I tried a gluten free diet for a while to see if that was the reason I wasn't absorbing the iron but without success. After reading that people with thyroid problems have low stomach acid, I decided to try HCL supplements to see if this would help. I took my first one last night with a meal and had (still having) bad gas. I didn't see this listed as a side effect anywhere. I am also having a pain in my back on top of my rib cage but it doesn't feel like gas at all. I've had no burning or heartburn though. I don't want to stop taking these unless I really have to because this is the only other thing that might help my iron levels go up. Would I be able to take ACV with my pills instead? I'm not sure if that is as effective. Thanks in advance!

Replied by Mmsg
(Somewhere, Europe)

Nicole, by me iron pills never raised my iron levels either. Only when I started blackstrap molasses, did my iron levels go up to normal.