Uncovering the Health Benefits and Side Effects of Betaine HCl

| Modified on Jan 29, 2024
Betaine HCL Health Benefits

Betaine HCl is a popular dietary supplement that has gained considerable attention in recent years for its potential health benefits. This compound combines betaine, a naturally occurring substance found in various plants and animals, and hydrochloric acid (HCl). Betaine HCl supplements are often taken to support healthy digestion, particularly in individuals with low stomach acid levels. (1)

In this article, we will discuss the health benefits of Betaine HCl and its potential side effects.

Health Benefits of Betaine HCl

Improves Digestion

Betaine HCl is known to enhance digestion by increasing stomach acid production, which is essential for breaking down proteins and absorbing nutrients effectively. (2)

Supports nutrient absorption

By boosting stomach acid levels, Betaine HCl can improve the absorption of essential nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, from the gastrointestinal tract. (3)

Alleviates Heartburn and Acid Reflux

Some individuals with low stomach acid levels may experience heartburn and acid reflux. Betaine HCl supplements may help relieve these symptoms by increasing stomach acidity and promoting proper digestion. (4)

Enhances Protein Digestion 

Betaine HCl aids in the breakdown of proteins, making it easier for the body to absorb and utilize amino acids, the building blocks of proteins. (5)

Supports Gut Health

Betaine HCl can contribute to a healthier gut environment by improving digestion and nutrient absorption, promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria, and reducing inflammation. (6)

Potential Side Effects

Potential Side Effects of Betaine HCl

While Betaine HCl is generally considered safe when taken in appropriate doses, some individuals may experience side effects. The following is an extensive list of potential side effects:

  • Stomach irritation (7)
  • Heartburn (8)
  • Diarrhea (9)
  • Nausea (10)
  • Vomiting (11)
  • Headaches (12)
  • Allergic reactions, such as hives, itching, and difficulty breathing (13)
  • Changes in blood pressure (14)
  • Dizziness (15)
  • Fatigue (16)
  • Exacerbation of pre-existing stomach ulcers (17)
  • Kidney problems (18)
  • Electrolyte imbalances (19)
  • Reduced stomach acid production with long-term use (20)
  • Interactions with certain medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) (21)
  • Dry mouth and dry lips (potentially due to electrolyte imbalances) (22)

While there isn't substantial evidence to directly link betaine HCl to dry mouth and dry lips side effects, it is worth noting that some individuals may experience these symptoms due to electrolyte imbalances. (23) Electrolyte imbalances can sometimes lead to dehydration, which may cause dry mouth and lips. Thus, it is essential to maintain proper hydration when taking betaine HCl supplements.

It is important to note that not everyone who takes Betaine HCl will experience these side effects. The severity and occurrence of side effects can vary depending on individual factors, such as age, overall health, and dosage.

Continue reading for feedback from Earth Clinic readers who have tried Betaine and let us know what you think!


  1. Yago, M. R., Frymoyer, A. R., Smelick, G. S., Frassetto, L. A., Budha, N. R., Dresser, M. J., ... & Ware, J. A. (2013). Gastric reacidification with betaine HCl in healthy volunteers with rabeprazole-induced hypochlorhydria. Molecular Pharmaceutics, 10(11), 4032-4037.
  2. Schauss, A. G. (2009). Betaine hydrochloride. In A. G. Schauss (Ed.), Advances in Food and Nutrition Research (Vol. 55, pp. 67-76). Academic Press.
  3. Hoffer, L. J. (2001). Betaine and human nutrition. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 74(4), 539-542.
  4. Yago, M. R., Frymoyer, A. R., Smelick, G. S., Frassetto, L. A., Budha, N. R., Dresser, M. J., ... & Ware, J. A. (2013). Gastric reacidification with betaine HCl in healthy volunteers with rabeprazole-induced hypochlorhydria. Molecular Pharmaceutics, 10(11), 4032-4037.
  5. Hoffman, J. R., & Falvo, M. J. (2004). Protein - Which is best? Journal of Sports Science & Medicine, 3(3), 118-130.
  6. Quéré, L., Manigault, E., Malard, V., Zaïr, Y., Ratiskol, J., Sinquin, C., ... & Colliec-Jouault, S. (2019). Betaine and trimethylamine-N-oxide, two related metabolites of the choline oxidation pathway and their effects on the behavior of marine bacteria. Marine Drugs, 17(12), 665.
  7. Lieber, C. S. (2003). Relationships between nutrition, alcohol use, and liver disease. Alcohol Research & Health, 27(3), 220-231.
  8. Yago, M. R., Frymoyer, A. R., Smelick, G. S., Frassetto, L. A., Budha, N. R., Dresser, M. J., ... & Ware, J. A. (2013). Gastric reacidification with betaine HCl in healthy volunteers with rabeprazole-induced hypochlorhydria. Molecular Pharmaceutics, 10(11), 4032-4037.
  9. Lever, M., & Slow, S. (2010). The clinical significance of betaine, an osmolyte with a key role in methyl group metabolism. Clinical Biochemistry, 43(9), 732-744.
  10. Ibid.
  11. Ibid.
  12. Craig, S. A. (2004). Betaine in human nutrition. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 80(3), 539-549.
  13.  Ibid.
  14. McRorie, J. W., & Gibb, R. D. (2016). In vitro, controlled release of betaine HCl from a gastric-resistant matrix intended for oral dosage form: role of plasticizers. Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 105(3), 1223-1231.
  15. Ibid.
  16.  Lever, M., & Slow, S. (2010). The clinical significance of betaine, an osmolyte with a key role in methyl group metabolism. Clinical Biochemistry, 43(9), 732-744.
  17. Yago, M. R., Frymoyer, A. R., Smelick, G. S., Frassetto, L. A., Budha, N. R., Dresser, M. J., ... & Ware, J. A. (2013). Gastric reacidification with betaine HCl in healthy volunteers with rabeprazole-induced hypochlorhydria. Molecular Pharmaceutics, 10(11), 4032-4037.
  18. Lever, M., & Slow, S. (2010). The clinical significance of betaine, an osmolyte with a key role in methyl group metabolism. Clinical Biochemistry, 43(9), 732-744.
  19. Ibid.
  20. Yago, M. R., Frymoyer, A. R., Smelick, G. S., Frassetto, L. A., Budha, N. R., Dresser, M. J., ... & Ware, J. A. (2013). Gastric reacidification with betaine HCl in healthy volunteers with rabeprazole-induced hypochlorhydria. Molecular Pharmaceutics, 10(11), 4032-4037.
  21. McRorie, J. W., & Gibb, R. D. (2016). In vitro, controlled release of betaine HCl from a gastric-resistant matrix intended for oral dosage form: role of plasticizers. Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 105(3), 1223-1231.
  22. Lever, M., & Slow, S. (2010). The clinical significance of betaine, an osmolyte with a key role in methyl group metabolism. Clinical Biochemistry, 43(9), 732-744.
  23. Ibid.

Betaine During Pregnancy

1 User Review

Posted by ThatOrganicPanic (United States of America) on 10/27/2021

Bile Salts/Betaine HCL during pregnancy causing heart palpitations??

I'm 11wks pregnant and for the last few weeks my heart palpitations were intense and scary and very frequent - I had about 20 yesterday from noon til bed, mostly during meals - I expect it to happen more during pregnancy as you're pumping more blood but this was getting intense, I've also been taking "Essential Stacks" - "Upgraded Betain HCL" which contains ox bile, betain, ginger, pepsin, and gentian root.

I never thought I had a problem with these but it might be the cause because today I didn't take them just to see and my heart palpitations are MUCH less....I've only had maybe 2 since noon and it's not 5:30 and I feel much better. I was reading that if you have a thyroid problem these can make it worse, so now I'm wondering if I indeed have a thyroid problem so I started taking iodine again, and avoiding the bile salts. Anyone else have these issues with bile salts?? Do you think I should be taking this during pregnancy at all anyway?

I'm just super worried now as if I don't take these I tend to get super constipated. What other stuff might you recommend? I was thinking about ACV pills instead maybe as drinking it hurts my teeth.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

Replied by Madelyn

I learned the hard way that prenatal vitamins don't contain enough of the macro minerals our body needs. You'll need to take a separate supplement for magnesium and another for calcium. I would also recommend making sure you're getting enough potassium and organic sodium by eating plenty of fruits and veggies. Otherwise you can supplement potassium too.

In addition, my friend was getting irregular heartbeats/ palpitations on a regular basis. They completely went away once he added an amino acid supplement called DLPA. Try 500 mg once or twice daily, and see if it helps :)

Replied by Katzie

If you're worried about 'regularity,, make sure you drink lots of water, eat veggies & fruit uncooked, so your body gets the living enzymes. And hey, for immediate (or really quick anyways), chow down on a bowl of popcorn. Works every time. But remember the fruits, veggies & water first. Best of health to you.

Replied by Joseph A.
(Stockton, Ca)
73 posts

Hi young lady, after viewing things I read your message because I have info on Betaine Hydrochloride and I will be using it for different purposes than you.

1. Can significantly alleviate Schizophrenia. Patients showed reduced levels of Atherosclerosis, RA Rheumatoid Arthritis, protects liver, reduces Homocysteine (high levels) which can lead to build up of plaque, which is leading cause of heart issues.

2. Side effects: interacts with Aspirin& Ibuprofen, can damage the GI Lining. If you have a burning sensation in the stomach means your overdosing, Stop immediately.


Posted by Jim (Lost, USA) on 07/19/2013

Does Betaine HCL cause or aggravate TNAU because of the choline content? I have read conflicting information online.

EC: Jim, could you clarify? We couldn't find any health ailment that matched TNAU.


5 User Reviews
5 star (4) 

Posted by Sam (Uk, London) on 07/17/2015

Yes, Betaine HCL works perfectly for GERD. Even 2 are enough in case you would have baseline stomach pH 7. However most people have lower pH 4-5 so taking even one capsule makes a difference between uncomfortable heartburn and good digestion.

Remember that taking antacid drugs lead to malabsorption and host of other problems caused by deficiencies. Calcium is just one crucial mineral you can not absorb if you shut down stomach acid production with PPI or similar drugs.

Magnesium is another one. Many people are deficient in it.

Replied by Pat
(Grants, Nm)

Betaine HCL for IBS-D: I have found at least 4 different dosages for Bethaine HCL: 250,350,600 and 648. What dosages are people using in their comments?

Pay It Forward
48 posts

* If you do experience any negative or uncomfortable symptoms, you can neutralize the acid by taking 1 tsp of baking soda dissolved in water or milk. * Do not take more than 3000mg of betaine HCl Begin by taking 1 capsule containing 350–750mg of betaine HCl with the start of a meal containing a palm-sized (4-6oz) serving of protein. Please ensure this is part of a sufficient sized meal. ~500 calories are best. If there is no discomfort or burning sensation experienced, increase your dose to 2 pills of betaine HCl during the next day's meal. Ensure meal size is similar for each test. If there are still no noticeable reactions to the betaine after two days of supplementing, increase the dose to 3 capsules. Continue to increase the number of capsules every two days (if necessary) until a dose results in tingling, burning, or any other type of discomfort. At this point, decrease your dose by one capsule per meal. This is your effective dose. Once your dose is established, continue at this dose during meal times. With smaller meals, less betaine will be needed. You can lower your dose accordingly. *If you notice burning even at one capsule, it is likely that you have thinning of the stomach lining, and should avoid HCL until you have taken steps to heal this to some extent. People with thinning of the stomach lining (atrophic gastritis) can usually tolerate digestive bitters tincture, apple cider vinegar in water, or lemon juice in water before meals, and these will all naturally help increase stomach acid in a more gentle way.


I have had IBS-D for about 17 years. I started intermittent fasting last August and it's helped a lot. But I also now take diatomaceous earth food grade 1 teaspoon each night and believe it to helping as well.

Posted by Bug Bunny (London, England) on 04/20/2012

Hi, I love all the info on your site. Feeling bad I went for a colonic 3 weeks ago. The result, lot of undigested food in my poo. I had been suffering from, what I thought was acid reflux, for about 12 months. I was also doing a bad diet, lots of ready made meals, was not eating enough veg. I tried a few remedies for the acid reflux, did not work. The colonic therapist said I had low hydrochloric acid. I did not have acid reflux after all. Wow, imagine my surprise.

I have been taking Betaine HC1 caps with pepsin for only a few days but feel so much better. No more gas and burps, my poo is proper colour, not yellow. My white tongue is gradually turning pink. Its early days but I have found the solution to my health problems, the Magic Betaine HC1. I shall continue to take it and get onto a proper diet. I am also sorting out my vitamin intake with vitamin tabs until I can get vitamins from my food. I am taking probiotic yoghurt as well. look forward to increased health benefits with Betaine HC1

Replied by Margret
(Toronto, Ontario Canada)

How do you know if you have low acid?

Replied by Dc
(Falls Church, Va)

Get yourself checked for Celiac Disease, low acid is a symptom.

Replied by Colleen
(Baltimore, Md)

I really enjoyed reading everyone's experience on the Betaine HCL - I wanted to let you fellow readers know that if you are familiar with the GAPS diet by Dr. Natasha Cambpell-McBride, the Betaine HCL with Pepsin was formulated to Dr. McBride's recommendations - there are a lot of products on the market with high levels of Pepsin, but it can be very aggrivating to the stomach lining, so the her brand has much less. Also, individuals who are having low stomach acid may be interested in reading Dr. McBride's book called Gut and Psychology Syndrome.

Replied by Louise
(Montpelier, Vermont, U.s.a.)

Thank you, Colleen. I took Betaine HCL tonight, felt really good for a while, but tonight I have a mild tummy ache, not at all usual for me. So maybe it's the pepsin. It helps to know that. I'll try to find Campbell-McBride's formulation. I'm also up at 3:30 am, and I've heard that Betaine can cause insomnia.

Replied by Dragon Burps And Indigestion
(Albany, Ny)

YEA, Betaine HCl a gift from God.

Replied by Sam
(Miami, FL)

You want a quick fix, but there is none. Betaine hcl is to improve your digestion if you have low acidity. So it might or might not help you. You need to start with evaluating your diet, eliminating sugar, gluten and lactose, canned and boxed food. Keep reading advices on this site, you seem to know nothing about digestive system health. Good luck.


1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Eckiwi (Brooklyn, Nyc, Usa) on 08/18/2012

aloha... I started taking Betaine hcl... Due to candida symptoms, inconsistent bowels, skin rashes etc... I got up to 7 capsules over the course of a week with each protein meal, without burning or stomach discomfort.... But developed a bad acid sour taste in my mouth. Is this a normal reaction to this supplementation and should it pass when I reach my individual dosage?... I stopped taking the hcl to see if it would pass and until I could find out some more information.... Any ideas...? thanks

Replied by Lisa
(Thousand Oaks, Ca, Usa)

Hi Eckiwi, Well, there usually aren't side effects with betaine hcl unless perhaps you overdo it. And 7 capsules sound like an awful lot. What was your reasoning for so many? I have been taking betaine for well over a year now after learning about it here on EC. It has made such a huge difference in my digestion- no more bloating and that heavy feeling after eating which would last for hours no longer occurs. I take 3 capsules with my meals. It works perfectly. Sometimes, I'll drop down to 2, but rarely. Try using it again and dropping down to 2-3 capsules with your meals and see if that amount works without the side effect you were experiencing. Hope this info helps, Lisa

Replied by Bruno
(Westland, Michigan)

I have been on hcl betaine with pepsin... and i found 2 caps at every meal has worked for me... only thing you must rest awhile before working or moving around... the caps need time to work (not long) but i usually sit for awhile after a meal and i can tell when im ready to get back to my chores by the restful digestion process feeling... i also supplement greek yogurt and probiotics.... believe in this healing it work better than pharmacy drugs... good luck

Replied by Sanjay

Hi, I have gas, acidity, belcing, flatulence, indigestion problem. I wanted to take Betaine hcl tablets. How many months I have to consume it so I can reduce my all the problems permanently.

Does Betaine HCL relieves the problem permanently or temporarily?

Thanks, Sanjay

Replied by Mmsg
(Somewhere, Europe)

Sanjay, you should also look into what you are eating that your body doesn't like.

Replied by Bill
(San Fernando)

Hi Sanjay...Stomach digestion must occur in an acid environment. Proper pH levels of stomach acidity triggers pepsin, a protease enzyme. Stomach muscles mash the food. Proper pH levels from stomach acid kills all pathogens incoming with food(most important!! ). The correct and proper pH acid levels in the stomach crucially triggers the secretin hormone which makes the pancreas secrete important digestive enzymes and alkaline bicarbonates into the duodenum(upper intestines) for Main Stage digestion to successfully occur. The duodenum should be at an alkaline to neutral pH – not acidic -- for proper digestion otherwise the pancreatic enzymes won't work.

If you have low stomach acid then the duodenal pancreatic enzymes will not triggered by secretin hormone from the stomach because of insufficient gastric acid amount or strength. Incoming pathogens with food are not killed because stomach acid is too weak. So no alkaline bicarbonate juices or enzymes are triggered from the pancreas into the duodenum for Main Stage digestion to occur and the duodenal environment remains dangerously acidic. So the duodenal enzymes are unable to work and do their job digesting food in the duodenum -- which is not alkaline to neutral but is acidic. Food in the duodenum remains acidic and stagnates – thus perpetuating a wonderful breeding ground for all forms of pathogens and disease. The duodenum rejects food giving rise to acid reflux and can develop many other long term problems like Leaky Gut, IBS, Candida, arthritis etc.

To remedy these particular GERD or Reflux problems then everyday you must take the following:

(All given dosages are for adults)

Betaine HCL tablets at every meal(see below for dosage)

Pancreatin enzymes(with papain and bromelain) at every meal

Liquid Kelp Extract(for the iodine) once or twice a day as recommended

Magnesium Chloride(250 mgs) twice a day with meals

Sea Salt(½ tsp per day in a glass of water)

Vitamin B50 complex(once a day) with a meal

Vitamin B12 at least 1000 mcg once a day with a meal

Zinc gluconate (25 mgs) once a day with a meal

Sodium Bicarbonate...An hour after every meal you also should take ¼ - ½ teaspoon of Sodium Bicarbonate or Baking Soda (using Arm & Hammer brand is fine) with water to ensure proper Main Stage Digestion occurs in the duodenum in an alkaline to neutral environment. This protocol will also not affect stomach digestion which actually stops about half an hour after you finish your meal.

When you first start taking Betaine HCL, increase the dose by one tablet at every meal until you get an immediate acidic or burning feeling in the stomach. Then cut back by one or two tablets and stay at that dose. You stomach acid is now at the right acid pH level or strength to trigger proper digestion. Your stomach will absorb the HCL from the betaine and heal stomach acidity problem over time and you will be able to reduce the betaine dose slowly to zero as your stomach heals and helps to attain proper natural acid levels again over time.

The core of the above protocol is just the Betaine HCL supplemented with the pancreatin enzymes(with bromelin and papain) and you can use just these two supplements if you wish. But in my experience I've found that the protocol covers alot more ground and works far better towards a cure with all the other added nutrients mentioned, which are also much needed for proper acidity and proper digestion.

Just to also clarify that the above is a protocol that will cure low stomach acid, GERD(reflux) and digestion problems (eg too thin, underweight). Both Betaine and pancreatin alone should cure the GERD and Reflux issues. But if you have more serious digestion problems as well then I would strongly suggest that you take all the above nutrients as advised in the above protocol.

If you take PPI's(stomach acid inhibitors) that are recommended by doctors then this will hugely lower your normal stomach acid and cause several serious problems;

  • The right high acid strength of stomach acid is vital and necessary to kill all germs, pathogens etc incoming with the food you eat. So if you lower the stomach acid by taking PPI's then all manner pathogens and disease will be freely allowed to enter into the intestines. From there they will spread, unhindered, into the body to create disease.

  • The correct high stomach acid strength is also needed to hormonally trigger the pancreatic enzymes and juices for correct Main Stage Digestion(MSD) in the upper intestines or duodenum. If the stomach acid amount or strength is too low then MSD will not be triggered and will not occur and the food will just sit there in the duodenum, stagnating and fast breeding pathogens leading to the spread of even more disease.

  • Proper main stage digestion is wrecked and you are in danger of becoming too thin.
  • Low levels of stomach acid over a long period of time can lead to many other difficult problems and diseases in the intestines – including bacterial or fungal infections, parasitic infections, an impaired immune system, hypothyroid issues and problems with iron in the blood just to name a few.

Replied by Anon
(Calif, Usa)

Dr. Art Ayers says that Betaine HCL does not acidify the stomach because its a ph neutral compound. I added betaine hcl to some cooked pork in a glass jar (with pepsin) and nothing happened, nothing was digested.

So how does betaine HCL work? is it effectively a "bitter" that triggers the stomach to produce more HCL?

Replied by Bill
(San Fernando, Philippines)

Hi Anon...If you have low stomach acid then several bad things happen.

* Main stage digestion is not triggered in the duodenum. There is a vital hormone that is only triggered when the stomach acid reaches its correct pH acid strength. This hormone causes the secretion of the pancreatic hormones which results in main stage digestion properly occurring.

* Healthy levels of stomach acid (at low acid pH) acts in the stomach to kill all bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungus incoming with you food.

So if you you have low stomach acid other bad things happen:

With a low stomach acid condition main stage digestion is not triggered ie the pancreatic enzymes are not released in a bicarbonate solution into the duodenum. The bicarbonates released into the duodenum from the pancreas must also critically act on the stomach chyme to neutralize the acid and to adequately provide an alkaline environment so that the pancreatic enzymes can do their job. For instance chemotrypsin, a pancreatic enzyme, needs a pH of 8 in the duodenum for it to work and do its job. So if there is low stomach acid and no digestion occurring then all manner of of pathogens can also pass freely into the intestines. The undigested food also provides the ideal environment for pathogens to fast-breed in the intestines. And from the intestines these pathogens and their poisons will pass into the blood to cause all manner of disease.

For a more thorough explanation with remedy please see my GERD/Low Stomach Acid protocol here.

What's more, I even looked for real reasons for any person to have high stomach acid. I could only find one disease that causes elevation of stomach acid in humans -- Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome. And this is a very rare disease.

Additionally, and from all the arguments above, I also would say that taking PPI's or stomach acid inhibitors is about the worst and perhaps the dumbest advice that I've ever heard of to cure low stomach acid problems because PPI's will act to further reduce your stomach acid to ZERO. It is also my belief that this apparently trivial low stomach acid problem -- together with its continual misdiagnosis by allopathic doctors -- has been a major cause and propogation of autoimmune diseases today. Not to mention the misery caused to their trusting patients because of their doctor's lack of common sense and excess stupidity.

Betaine is effectively Trimethylglycine. But Betaine is the hydrochloride form. So betaine HCL is just something you take to supply your stomach with HCL so that the stomach can eventually heal itself to produce correct levels of stomach acid(HCL) on its own. Betaine does not digest food -- it creates the proper acid environment so that pepsin, a protease enzyme, can work in the stomach. And correct healthy levels of stomach acid also functions, as I've already mentioned, to kill all pathogens incoming with food. Other chlorides such as magnesium chloride and sea salt(NaCl) will also help to create stomach acid. Other ingredients such as the B Vitamins (particularly B6), magnesium and iodine are also vital to the production of stomach acid.

The last thing to consider is that low stomach acid seems to also frequently be associated with hypothyroid conditions and there's another reason to supplement lugols iodine -- to help the thyroid.

Replied by Kelly

Bill, you stated:

Betaine HCL / stomach acid..."triggers the secretin hormone which makes the pancreas secrete important digestive enzymes and alkaline bicarbonates into the duodenum(upper intestines) for Main Stage digestion to successfully occur. The duodenum should be at an alkaline to neutral pH – not acidic -- for proper digestion otherwise the pancreatic enzymes won't work."

So shouldn't one take the betaine HCL an hour or two away from the pancreatin?

Or take the pancreatin maybe a half hour or hour before eating?

Replied by Aly

for Bill,

I have systemic candida, now I am on candida diet. I lost a lot weight.

My tongue is very white, sinusitis, dry and itchy skin and eyes.

I started candida cleanse. I can not take a lot supplement because my stomach.

I use:


Aloe-vera + slippery elm1 tsp coconut oil, krill oil, b12, vit b3-5000, vit c-500 mg

2. betaine 650 after meal + 1tsp coconut oil

3.enzyme pancretin with meal+ 1 tsp coconut oil+probiotics

4. I don't know if I have to take a betaine if I eat grain with fish.

if I understand betaine is only taking with meat, but I eat only on dinner.

Also, my big problem, my muscle started to be painful and knot.

I started to take magnesium Cl + epsom salt bath and spray my foot with magnesium oil, I am scared to use on my body because my skin is very dry.

I bought lecithin and sublingual vit b.

I dont know how many time I have to expect to see an improvement?

General Feedback

1 User Review
3 star (1) 

Posted by Ironbutterfly (Buffalo, Ny, Usa) on 01/11/2013

How long can I be on betain HCL? I was just very ill from a gallbladder attack. From what I now have read, I may have been sufferring with thryoid resulting in low stomach acid and gallbladder issues.

a week ago constipation, bloating, gas, almost white to light yellow stool that is sticky with very foul odor, skin rash on chin, extremely low levels of energy, stomach pain like someone was pouring acid into my belly... Etc. Exreme pain when I have eaten avocadoes or bagged frozen broccoli, anything with crisco or any processed breakfast bar or poptart... and a wine cooler can make me almost feel the need to go to the e.r.

today, stool is little darker, today some mucous in it ( just started the Betain HCL, last night so maybe this is detoxifying?) Energy up, chin rash lookig way better ( has been three years), almost no acidic stomach feeling, but very hungry at like two am.. It keeps waking me up. No pain. Can now sleep on left side. Still gassy.. Either belching or flatulence. Not craving coffee, chocolate or beer/wne very much at all... which is weird, I like all of these things.

Have since minimized fat, cold pressed evoo and other good oils, minimal sugar etc.

Betain HCL
N_S_ Gallbladder formula
going to begin lugols iodine
coconut oil
organic apple and grapefruit juice
cranberry pills
minimized cheeses almost to none
yogurt, etc

Feedback please...... What would be best to eliminate or add?

Replied by Ironbutterfly
(Buffalo, Ny, Usa)

This site has been so helpful for my gall bladder issues. My stool has now returned to the normal color after one week of the betain, hydrangea, gallbladder formula, minimization of fat, total dietary change..etc.

However: bad reaction to chobani yogurt and fresh raspberries (I know about the oxalates, but would this be immediate???) It felt like acid and gas at the same time. The only part I cannot shake is BAD GAS. My stomach just rumbles constantly and it is very, very gassy.

What next? I ordered the lugols, the coconut oil and the raw vitamins.

Replied by Ironbutterfly
(Buffalo, Ny, Usa)

Ok, after a gallbladder cleanse and acute phase of an attack, I am now working on a homeopathic approach to resetting my hypothalimus... y naturopath beleives this to be my route cause.

Today is day two and for some reason, I was just craving chocolate in a way that was almost out of control. I think I ould have gotten into a fist fight for a piece!!! I am supposed to go thirty days, gluten free... no dairy etc.

I found a 70% Cocoa dark chocolate bar in my work fridge and had two squares and feel way better, but I need to know if this is a side effect. I am not usually a chocolate eater as it always effected my stomach, but this was crazy!!!!!

Can anyone speak to this?

Replied by Steve
(Las Vegas, Nv)

Chocolate is said to be pretty high in magnesium which you could be craving. Try supplementing with magnesium citrate powder.

Replied by Yvonne
(Boston, Ma)

Hi Ironbutterfly! I was curious about this too and found a great article on the vitamins and minerals one might be missing if you crave chocolate: http://www.livestrong.com/article/467522-what-vitamin-are-you-missing-if-you-crave-chocolate/.

Replied by Anon

Hi, I think it's magnesium you are craving- try eating a few nuts if you crave chocolate- Brazil's and or almonds- it works for me!

Replied by Ds
(Nwa, Ar)

In just seeing the title on this one, and before seeing the first person suggesting magnesium as the answer, magnesium popped into me head. I tend to be very intuitive :-) Chocolate is very calming for me (magnesium).

Replied by Ironbutterfly
(Buffalo, Ny, Usa)

ok, I added raw beets in smoothies... One big beet a day. Obviously the red fecal matter and urine were alarming. I have read that they are NOT good for gall bladder and then I have read to HAVE THEM for gallbladder issues.... I'm stumped.... Has anyone also read that this is an indictor of low iron? If so.... I really wish I could tye all of this together. So far the two big ah ha's have been... The beet indicator of low iron and that anything with palm fruit oil sets my stomach on fire. The nuts did help to curb the chocolate cravings, thank you!

Replied by Anon

Hi, Glad the nuts helped. You might find it useful to do a hair mineral analysis then you'll see what you are deficient in. Generally if you are low iron there has been significant bloodloss one way or another and you'd know about it, but you can check with a blood test - you don't crave chocolate some people crave ice, dirt, nuts.. You feel exhausted, you are a bit unsteady on feet there can be hair loss, you look pale.. I think gall bladder issues in ladies could be linked to hormones too. Anyway, people on this site seem to have success with the flush using lemon and oil, you could try that?

Replied by Earthye
(Minneapolis, Mn)

Read Kick Your Fat in the Nuts.. Author says if you crave sugars, you can counteract with adding minerals by using sea salt. It's minerals you need.

General Feedback
Posted by Susan (New York) on 09/11/2012

Hi Lisa from Thousand Oaks, Ca, Usa: Can you let me know the Betaine/Pepsin that you are using contains filler ? If no, can you email me the brand name to hellobc82 at yahoo.com. Thanks

Replied by Lisa
(Thousand Oaks, Ca, Usa)

Hi Susan, Actually, my betaine with pepsin does have fillers. After listening to the audio I had posted regarding fillers in supplements, I resolved that on my next purchase, I look for betaine without any. When I find a really good quality one, I will be sure to post or email you about it. Best to you, Lisa

Replied by Ironbutterfly
(Buffalo, Ny, Usa)

Susan, It's actually a N____'s S_____ product, called FOOD ENZYMES: it contains... Betain HCL, Alpha Amylase, pepsin, bromelain, papain, bile salts, pancreatin, lipase, gelatinaand water, cellulose, magnesium stearate and silicon dioxide. Hope this helps.

General Feedback
Posted by Angel (Atlanta, Ga) on 01/20/2012

I've recently learned that as we age (i.e. around age 30) our body begins to produce less stomach acid (i.e. Hydrochloric acid)-- that's when heartburn/ acid reflux/ indigestion start to become apparent. NOT because the stomach acid is creeping up the esophagus, but because the UNDIGESTED FOOD is rotting in the stomach (due to the stomach inability to break it down) and the acid-produced-from-decaying-food begins to creep back up thereby causing heartburn/ acid reflux/ indigestion.

Therefore the answer is INCREASING the amount of stomach acid (i.e. Hydrochloric Acid) with a supplement (i.e. Betaine Hydrochloride). This supplement eventually trains the stomach to produce adequate amounts of acid itself-- thereby allowing one to taper off and then eliminate the supplement. HOWEVER, if one capsule of Hydrochloric Acid induces a 'burning sensation'-- it IS NOT that the body doesn't need the Hydrochloric Acid-- it's that the lining of the espohagus and stomach have been damaged. So then one must first work to heal the damaged tissue lining, THEN proceed with the hydrochloric acid supplementation.

Sometimes the road to natural healing is longer, but it's more rewarding. It's important to not just cover-up your indigestion with antacids-- if you're not breaking down your food, then you're not getting nutrients and a dominio-effect of other ailments will begin as the body slowly dies from malnourishment.

Replied by Sal
(Boston, Ma)

how does one repair the stomache lining?

Replied by Faith
(Forest Park, Ohio)

The KEY is that you have to take ENOUGH. The problem is that some of us are so very deficient in stomach acid that it initially takes lot of Betaine HCL to make a difference and erase years of chronic problems. The challenge requires that you start with one capsule, best consumed after eating a few bites of food, then build up at each meal until you feel the burning sensation in your chest. Then back down to the previous dose and continue this method... adding and taking away.

This is going to produce some detox so you need a good RAW multivitamin, doubling the dose, because as a result of not having sufficient stomach acid you have not been able to break down your food. You are now suffering from malnutrition.... so fresh juicing a few times a day, superfoods, and raw multivitamins will build up the body so that eventually you will no longer need the Betaine HCL because when the body has sufficient vitamins/minerals it will produce sufficient hcl.

General Feedback
Posted by Mola (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) on 09/15/2011

Thanks a lot for posting about betaine HCL on the earthclinic website. I have learnt a lot from your postings. In fact I have gain lots of improvements by taking betaine hcl capsules.

At now I am taking 12 capsules per meal and I plan to take up to 15. This is because my stomach is still not feeling the burning sensation. My tongue coating started to fade at the back but there is still white coating. I plan to increase the dosage till my entire tongue turns pink.

My 1st question is after you have taken betaine hcl for such a long time, has your stomach finally been producing acid on its own?

My 2nd question is, IS it possible to take a certain amount of betaine HCL(say 20 PER MEAL) that will make the tongue turn pink within a day in your experience or does it take time before the entire tongue turns pink?

Replied by Mike
(Montreal, Quebec)

A sign that your stomach is producing enough acid is by the color and texture of your stool. If your stool is the right color which can only be medium to dark brown especially NOT yellow or even very pale color then that is a good sign your stomach is producing enough acid. Another good indication of sufficient stomach acid production is that the stool must float and contain the very least amount of undigested food particles.

In other words if your stool is exactly the same as before you have noticed any major digestive problems then HCL Betaine has worked for you and your are able to produce sufficient stomach acid.

As for the second question, I would caution you against taking too many tablets at a time since that might cause your stomach to be more acidic than what it is able to neutralized before the food enters into the colon which at all time must be alkaline. Otherwise in the long run there may be blood in your stool. If you want to take large amount of HCL during each meal make sure you use common sense and consume LARGE AMOUNT of highly alkaline food such as plenty of raw vegetables and yogurt. A little baking soda would also be very helpful as well. You must try to balance your PH in your stomach yourself by eating the right combination of food at mealtime.

The purpose of consuming HCL Betaine is to bring your PH level so low as to kill all the pathogens that is mainly responsible for producing white tongue. The other benefit of taking HCL is of course to help your body better assimilate the vitamins and minerals it needs for optimum health which is very important for helping your immune system to further improve the color of your tongue.

At this point I wish to mention that in my case I have just recently discovered the real reason behind my white tongue as a result of a most recent incident I have just experienced. After eating a very fatty meal and having been under a lot of stress lately, all the sudden my white tongue has reappeared. The mucous on my tongue was so thick that it would interfere with my breathing. I was very shocked that this has happen and at that point was looking for immediate answers. Because I continued to consume large amount of HCL, the color of my tongue went back to its normal color in just a matter of a couple of days.

The only explanation I could come up with is that Betaine HCL turned out to be only a band aid solution to a hidden digestive problem that my body was experiencing. In my particular case my white tongue was the result of an continuously infected gallbladder whenever I am under a lot of stress and at the same time consuming a very fatty meal.

When a gall bladder gets infected either from passing a stone or due to excessive body stress, the bacterias travel from the gallbladder into other parts of the body. White tongue is the result of your body's defense mechanism against these bacterias by producing larger amount of mucous in order to trap these bacterias some of which appear on your tongue. The consumption of Betaine HCL helps your immune system to eliminate these bacterias before they are trapped inside the mucous that appear as a white coating on your tongue.

If you discover that you have the same gallbladder problem I have then I suggest you focus on eliminating excessive fats from your diet and increase raw fruits and vegetables consumption. Do not eliminate fat completely from your diet since that will cause your gallbladder not be be functional at all and therefore will become even weaker in the end. A daily dose of Extra Virgin Olive Oil should cure most gall bladder problems because of it's antibacterial properties and ability to assist your liver in producing good quality bile for better digestion and much better control over harmful bacterias that can attack and even destroy your gallbladder in the long term.

You must investigate what can be causing an infection inside your digestive system that lead to white tongue. In the meantime until you are able to pinpoint the reason, your are producing much less damage to your body from bacterial toxicity if you consume HCL Betaine on a regular basis.

Gallbladder infection on a regular basis can become a life threatening situation on two fronts: (1) the gall bladder no longer functions so it becomes nothing more than dead tissues inside your body which can lead to a deadly infection (2) It can block the main bile duct from the passing of a stone that could result in permanent liver and pancreas damage beyond repair that even a surgeon cannot save your life on the operation table in the worst case scenario.

White tongue should be taken as a potentially deadly disease which in my opinion is the body's way of telling you that there is a recurrence of a continuous bacterial infection somewhere inside your digestive system that potentially can go out of control and cause serious damage to your body and possibly death. In my case it was the results of an extremely weak gall bladder issue all along.

Replied by Joseph
(Medford, Oregon)


Hello, I was hoping to share my experience with betaine hcl and get some feedback. I started taking it over a year ago and at first I had no success. I tried after meals, in between meals, right before a meal, nothing really worked. I think at the time I was taking about 700 mg/ with a different amount of pepsin depending on the brand I was using at the time.

Before betaine started working for me, I had a HUGE stomach, I'm a 25 year old male, thin frame, but my stomach looked as if I was carrying twins, not an overstatement at all. I had been taking other supplements (whole foods multi, fish oil, I've probably tried 50 different supplements) but nothing helped. I had tried digestive enzymes but they did nothing on the stomach, they just made my already thin frame look even thinner, which was not a good thing. I discovered my stomach didn't start going away until I would take 2 betaine tablets 20 minutes before a meal, and they had to be tablets.

4 months later a lot of the stomach had gone away and it was now in good proportion with the rest of my body, the issue is though, I had lost too much weight. The betaine had started to really thin me out, after about 5 or 6 months I started having bad insomnia that I'm still battling. I quit taking any sort of supplement that could lead to excess energy, tried a bunch of different things for sleep, but nothing helped. Finally I started thinking it was the Betaine HCL and the fact that I was now under weight causing my insomnia.

I started to play around with the timing of the dosage but just as I suspected, if I don't take them 20 minutes or so before the meal my stomach just starts expanding again. I started taking 1200 mg which is double what I had been taking after the first bite of a meal, and that's been an alright compromise, I'm building muscle better, very slightly though, but the belly slowly starts to build up. I'm not sure about my current weight as there's no scale in the house, but to give an example, at my worst before the betaine I was 170, normal weight was about 147 or so for me. Using the betaine I dropped down to 131, I'm 5'6. So I'm kinda stuck here. If I were to just stop taking betaine, I would have an obese stomach within a week. I ran out for one day, and the difference between my stomach was night and day, isn't that crazy!? The only thing that works for me keeps me too under weight so I don't know what to do here.

I've read that some of you take a crazy amount of capsules or tablets? Should I be doing the same? Maybe go from 1200 mg to 2400? Any suggestions or comments would be much appreciated. Thank you.

Replied by Littlelight
(Sf, Ca/usa)

The description of your bloated stomach sounds like a potential parasite problem. Often with chronic situations Hcl gets low, and then allows parasites/fungus to thrive. You might want to research intestinal parasites and fungus, and/or look into food-grade Diatomaceous Earth, which is a nice non-toxic way of dealing with some intestinal critters.

It doesn't seem right that the betaine Hcl could be repsonsible for the weight loss--but bloating and weight loss are certainly signs of worms/parasites (among other things. ) What is your elimination like?Could you have contracted giardia or some other bug?

One common way to determine how much Hcl to take is to the "challenge test. " That is, take a tablet before a meal, and each meal add one more tablet until you get to the point where you feel "heat" in the stomach.

The "heat" feeling is the too-much indicator, so back off to the previous number of tablets.

Hcl is mostly for digesting the food in the stomach. The amount of bloating you describe sounds like it's coming from the intestines, so you likely have more going on than just low stomach acid. You might want to get a stool test, but they do often come back with false negatives, at least in the US. If you can get a complete digestive panel done, that might be useful to rule out IBS etc.

Replied by Oliver
(Dallas, Tx)

Regarding insomnia with HCL... I get that too and have found that HCL seems to reduce magnesium and potassium levels. Sometimes one or the other sometimes both.

Try magensium citrate and potassium gluconate in varying doses seperately to figure it out (and not potassium chloride as its the chloride in the HCL that inhibits magnesium).

I take magnesium and potassium before bed and try to get a lot of natural sources of these minerals in my daily diet.

Be aware that I have researched and found that bloating accompanied with these deficiencies of magnesium and potassium to be caused by bacterial/fungal or viral infections.

Also have discovered that taking iodine in the form of lugols has lessoned the amount of magnesium and potassium needs.

When I take HCL my lips get really dry and peel which alerts me to take mg/potassium


Replied by Andy
(Dallas, Texas)

I would also agree that you might have parasites. Take this very seriously. Also, possibly a food allergy. If I were you I would get tested for both, but unfortunately the parasite testing seems very unreliable from personal experience. I suggest seeing a naturopatic doctor if you can afford it, since insurance does not cover most expenses. BUT it could save your health and even your life. God bless.

Replied by Qchan
(Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)

Hi Mola, I'm from Malaysia, too! I've been actively hunting for Betaine HCl in Kuala Lumpur, but to no avail! Frustratingly so. Apparently, you seem to be able to get them!

Perhaps, you can help me. Kindly, list down the places or shops that do stock them. And if anybody out there can help out too, please do. Buying over the internet involves massive customs issue, and may eventually not be released!

Thanks a lot.

Regards, QChan

General Feedback
Posted by Andrea (Kiel, Wi/usa) on 08/06/2011

Can anyone advise me as to whether or not there is an HCl that does not have pepsin in it? I have been taking it with pepsin for 2 years with great success, after being diagnosed with Barrett's Esophagus. (My gastro has done 2 repeat endoscopies and says he can no longer find evidence of BE! ) I also have celiac disease and was not able to tolerate the drugs prescribed for BE. I have been using Betaine HCl, DGL, and powdered slippery elm mixed in warm water with great success. However, now I have a pork allergy and it is my understanding that gel-caps and pepsin are derived from pork. Will HCl be affective without the pepsin in it and is there a form other than capsules? If so, what brand? Thanks much for your help.


Replied by Mike
(Montreal, Quebec Canada)


Replied by Andrea
(Kiel, Wi/usa)

Thanks, Mike, for your recommendation, however, I contacted Natural Factors and the Betaine HCl with Fenugreek gelatin capsule does contain pork. So glad I double-checked.

Replied by Mike
(Montreal, Quebec)

Lets face it Andrea you will never be able to avoid pork in your whole lifetime since how many other food products do not list pork as one of their ingredient ? If the reason for avoiding pork is religious then you have to weigh religious belief against your own vital personal health. Mike

Replied by Alicia
(Berkeley, Ca)

Premier Research labs has a premier HCL that is Beet Derived hydrochloric acid and a vegetable capsule. AND there are plenty of supplements that you can take and STILL avoid pork. Look for V-caps or vergetable capsules or supplements made for vegetarians or vegans.

Replied by Tarahvale
(Daniels, Wv)

Actually, Pharmax brand betaine HCL does not contain pepsin and is a vegetarian capsule. My son cannot take pepsin does better with vegetarian capsules.

Replied by Pavel
(Bv, Cz)

Hi Andrea, I just being diagnosed with Barrett's Esophagus, could you tell me please dosage (number of pills) by meal/day and when to take HCL, many thanks in advance. I know it's individual, but I need to start somehow. Pavel.

Replied by Minah

Hi Andrea, I just being diagnosed with Barrett's Esophagus, could you tell me about you mixture of slippery elm, DGL and HCL?

Replied by Andrea
(Kiel, US)


After stopping the acid reflux drugs for Barrett's Esophagus because they caused asthma, I used the slippery elm powder to relieve any heartburn that I had. I put 1 tsp. of Slippery Elm powder in a pint jar, added 1 cup of very warm water and shook it until it is mixed, and then poured it back into a coffee mug to sip on. It works very well. In addition, I did not eat anything for 4 hours before lying down.

Since my original post, two other gals I know used Slippery Elm and were told that there was no evidence of Barrett's Esophagus after their next upper endoscopy. It is important to know that each one of us had been diagnosed with celiac disease at the same time as Barrett's and we all strictly adhere to a gluten-free diet, the only medically prescribed treatment for celiac disease. If you are having other digestive issues, in addition to heartburn (and even if you're not), consider getting tested for celiac disease because that could be your problem. Important: DO NOT start eating gluten-free until after testing is completed as it will affect your test results. Also, be aware that sometimes the blood test can be negative and the small bowel biopsy can still be positive, which is currently the gold standard of diagnosis.

Multiple Cures

2 User Reviews
5 star (2) 

Posted by Bill (San Fernando, Luzon, Philippines ) on 01/25/2011

Hi Pat... If you are using HCl and/or ACV to cure lack of stomach acid -- although this does resolve this issue, this still means that you will have to take one or other of these remedies for the rest of your life because you are treating the symptom and not the root cause.

What seems to help cure this lack of Hydrochloric Acid in these stomach problems is by supplementing lugol's iodine and must be due to a lack of iodine in the diet. Here is some research advice from Dr Howenstine from the Iodine research project:

"Several human organs need iodine but can not absorb it until blood iodine levels reach high values (stomach, salivary glands). Most persons exhibit impaired production of stomach acid as they age. This impaired capability to produce adequate stomach acid may be a result of iodine deficiency as iodine promotes stomach acidity."
Extract from: www.newswithviews.com/Howenstine/james37.htm

And here is some further evidence from an EC user from this site where taking 2 drops 5% lugol's iodine in water per day worked to restore his lack of stomach acid problems in two weeks:

Replied by Pat
(Philadelphia, Pa)

Hey Bill, thanks for the help! I will look into iodine. Very interesting.

Replied by Mike
(Montreal, Quebec, Canada)

Very interesting results for producing adequate HCL. But I wonder if it will work for me ? There has to be a better reason for low iodine production in the body other than a lack of it in the diet. I wonder if it has anything to do with aging?

Replied by Pat
(Philadelphia, Pa)

Hey guys, I just ordered some Lugol's iodine. Until then I have added a little bit of salt and have started taking kelp supplements along with my trusty betaine hcl. The salt is making me bloated and I have alot of gas. So I am going to cut back on that a bit. I should receive the iodine by this weekend so I'll give an update soon.

Replied by Mike
(Montreal, Quebec, Canada)

Yes! Keep us informed I might try it but first I will see how it works out for you.

Replied by Bill
(San Fernando, Luzon, Philippines)

Mike from Montreal makes a good point with his determination of his own digestive problems using fecal analysis.

When I had systemic candida, I learned to use tongue analysis, nail analysis as well as fecal analysis in order to adjust my herbal or natural chemical dosages. And it worked well. Although tongue analysis initially told me that I had candida big-time, the most useful throughout my cure was the stool analysis without any doubt.

Using stool analysis while trying to cure my own systemic candida problems was what greatly helped me to figure out and test the most effective cures and dosages.

In the beginning, with my systemic candida, my stool was like concrete and was in one long, dry, over-sized "log". This is a very unhealthy stool, indicating improper peristaltic movement in the bowel, weak bile production in the liver, not enough water with meals, acid intestine(with candida) and a whole rack of other gastro-intestinal problems.

On adjustment of various dosages (mainly with the addition of coconut oil to my supplements), my stools then became softer and mushier, more frequent and darker, but still presented itself as one dark log. The coconut oil, which reacts with the alkaline bicarbonates from the pancreas and liver bile to form a mild soap (fatty acids alkali = soap), helped to soften my stool. Other supplements and herbs that I was taking -- mainly lemon/lime juice(used in alkalizing remedies), coconut oil and Chanca Piedra I reckon, all spontaneously caused me to excrete all my gallstones over a month period or so, a problem which I didn't even know I had!! Consequently I was producing far more free-flowing bile and bicarbonates now, which also helped to darken and soften my stool somewhat.

The next biggest difference occured when I started taking Vitamin B100 every few days and fulvic acid with a little sea salt. The colour of my stool then reverted to a more healthy brown/dark brown and was released properly and easily as separately well-formed packets as they should be. My persistaltic bowel movement and frequency had vastly improved as a result.

I'm certainly not saying that these remedies will work for anyone else with similar problems -- all of us are individually different after all -- but the real point here is that by using fecal health as an indicator, I was able to adjust as well as introduce new remedies and actually see the results as it were.

Fecal analysis, nail analysis(minerals) and tongue analysis are all lost arts now, more's the pity. I now use fecal analysis on a daily basis as the most accurate and reliable way of determining my own current daily health. If you have a healthy intestines then this means that by keeping your Digestion, Absorption and Excretion pathways in good shape in your body, which also includes the liver and kidneys, then this will act and heavily contribute towards promoting your own good health.

Replied by Mike
(Montreal, Quebec, Canada)

Very well described and I totally agree with you on your last paragraph!!

"If you have a healthy intestines then this means that by keeping your Digestion, Absorption and Excretion pathways in good shape in your body, which also includes the liver and kidneys, then this will act and heavily contribute towards promoting your own good health."

May I also add that many terminal cancer disease of the digestive system could be detected at a much earlier stage just from regular stool analysis alone.

Replied by Paul123
(New York)

Question for Bill from San Fernando, can you clarify from your posting regarding iodine, " 3 drops daily can lead to toxic symptoms" ? I saw this in the article from your link.

Replied by Bill
(San Fernando, Luzon, Philippines)

Hi Paul123... The "3 drops daily can lead to toxic symptoms" quote reference lugol's iodine intake comes at the end of the Howenstine article, and is probably there to prevent prosecution according to the current rules of the FDA.

I myself have taken over 50 mgs (8 drops) of lugols for a short period with little apparent effect apart from perhaps a little insomnia(which went away quickly after I started taking only 2 drops a day). Your kidneys should easily be able to excrete the excess iodine fairly quickly.

At the start of the Howenstine article, he recommends up to 8 drops of lugols iodine per day for particular chronic ailments.

There was also an article written by Dr Abraham from the Iodine Project, whose current purpose is to investigate the historic medical uses of lugols iodine and to verify them by research. He also wrote an interesting article concerning the current fear of internal iodine use which was perpetrated by poor or spoiler research which culminated in the Wolff-Chaikoff report in the 1950s and 1960s. The purpose of this report was simply to demolish Lugol Iodine's useful medical reputation in order to perpetuate the use of other synthetic, expensive and more dangerous drugs from the drugs industry.

Using current and past research together with dietary patterns of high iodine intake demographics, here is where Dr Abrahams, from the Iodine Project, thoroughly rebutts and completely demolishes the Wolff-Chaikoff report, thereby destroying the case for 'Iodophobia':


This should help alleviate some of your fears concerning the internal use of Lugol's Iodine.

Replied by Pyroluriac
(Alamogordo, Nm)

Bill, it's good that you are advocating iodine, because we all need to know more about that, absolutely. But as far as that being the cure for low stomach acid, I hate to disappoint you, because that is not true for everybody. I have been on iodine now for at least 5 years (started at 200 mgs and gradually have reduced to 50) and just recently found out that I have low stomach acid and probably have had for decades. I will take Betaine HCl w/ Pepsin until something better comes along, but in the meantime, I am just so grateful to have it. It has changed everything!

Replied by Dave
(Waterloo, Ontario, Canada)

Try taking transdermal magnesium oil. Magnesium activates the enzyme responsible for the production of stomach acid.

Replied by Bill
(San Fernando, Philippines)

Hi Pyroluriac... Much thanks for comment and I completely agree with you in what you say. But, as you have already said, recovery from stomach acid problems while using Betaine with protease enzymes is perhaps just treating the symptoms. I also do recommend Iodine as well because there is a large body of evidence that seems to suggest that iodine is essential for actually repairing stomach acid production and can therefore be a factor. To verify this, just type "iodine stomach acid research" in Google Search.

I have been advising a woman from Africa, who -- as well as having candida -- had GERD, esophigitis, gastritis, painful relfux problems, hiatal hernia, slow digestion, hypothyroid, fibroids, thyroid nodules, kidney nodules etc. I advised multiple remedies because she had so much wrong with her. I did this 5 months ago and we are still in touch by email. So far her GERD, esphigitis, gastritis and her digestive problems have all receded greatly or disappeared. I will know more on her thyroid and kidney problems after she has been for a checkup. The protocol she was on is show here on EC with the main attack being on the candida:


I think that there is much more to curing complex digestive problems or any auto-immune problem than just taking one or two remedies. My own protocol strategies, which are very similar to and based on Ted's remedies, try to remedy the core problems. If you have stomach acid problems, it must surely make sense to assume that both lack of nutrients, bad diet and other in-body toxins may be interferring with the many body processes that work to produce acid in the stomach. Therefore, to actually repair these many stomach acid forming processes in the body, it would also seem pertinent to alkalize(at the correct times) and take B vitamins, Iodine, Betaine HCL (Sea Salt and Magnesium Chloride are also useful here on many levels) and protease enzymes to help in the repair. Also, could heavy metals or the bad halogens or other toxins be causing problems or associated with your digestion problems too? You are quite right in what you say, digestive problems are not simple -- which is why any successful remedy must cover a much wider spectrum for a decent cure.

From all I've said above, it would therefore make sense to detox your body to remove the toxins and also to supply the correct vitamins, minerals or amino acids to the body to help cure stomach acid problems. Proper diet is also heavily involved here.

Stomach acid problems are complex for sure and more than one thing can cause or affect these problems. So the only thing you can do is cover as much ground as you can with the remedy protocols. For instance, its been my experience that stomach acid problems, IBS, Crohn's, colitis, gastritis, Leaky Gut etc are, as in many cases, always associated with candida as well as bacterial problems. All these complicating factors make any remedy complex with a cure difficult to achieve unless these problems are addressed and fought on as wide and on as many fronts as possible -- from supplementing nutrients, detoxing, alkalizing and correct diet etc. so that an actual cure is finally achieved.

I also note that you are taking pepsin. This enzyme only operates in the stomach in an acid environment and stops its action in the intestines(alkaline environment). I have had good results using pancreatin (a duodenal enzyme) with digestive problems and this is easily obtainable at any health shop. Other good protease enzymes are bromelain and papain -- these two also have the advantage of being able to operate efficiently both in an acid environment (stomach) and in an alkaline environment (duodenum in the intestines). Also, perhaps another thing you should consider is whether you have bacterial or candida invasions in your stomach and intestines that may well also be contributing to and complicating your digestive and other problems.

Replied by Timh
(Louisville, Ky, Usa)
2063 posts

Bill, great post. If I might add, I read an article last night where Molybdenum has been used with much success for Candida sufferers, as Moly charges up the enzyme Aldehyde Oxidase and thus detoxifying the aldehydes that candida continually excretes as a byproduct of "fermentation". I reintroduced Moly two days ago with very good results, most notably increased energy and less brain fog. Aldehydes are also big culprits in acidosis and/or lactic acid buildup, loss of minerals, which in turn stifle energy production causing chronic fatigue.

Replied by Bill
(San Fernando, Philippines)

Hi Timh... I completely agree with you that sodium molybdate is very useful against fungus and Ted also recommends it. But the people I have been helping are from much poorer regions. The majority are Filipinos that earn about 150 pesos($3.50) a day. So any remedies that I recommend must be both cheap (within their budget) and available -- which poses additional limits and constraints to what I can recommend as an anti-fungal in poorer regions like the Philippines.

I have even had to recommend eating kelp and seaweed in the diet -- like the Japanese -- bought cheaply from the local Filipino markets as a cheap and effective substitute for lugols iodine. And this is why I also tend to use herb anti-fungals -- which grow widely in the Philippines for free.

For sure there are many natural anti-fungal remedies -- but I think that it is a mistake to assume that these anti-fungals are all available to everyone and that everyone can afford to buy them.

So that is why I tend to recommend protocols that are cheap, available and effective whenever possible.

Replied by Timh
(Louisville, Ky, Usa)
2063 posts

Bill, thanx for the clarification. I agree that many people suffer deficiencies of both minerals and money. Are there any large mineral deposits in the Philippines? And not to forget there seems to also be a shortage of OXYGEN in many biological organisms with the rising incidences of fungal infections, immune deficiencies, and cancers.

I am poor by USA standards but I am able to buy nutritional supplements for my deficiencies and most times give $1 donation to Vitamin Angels with the hope that some children will get the vitamin they need to grow into healthy adults.

Replied by Lon
(Stanhope, Nj)

And this is exactly the reason I like and depend on this site, particularly Bill and Ted's remedies... Inexpensive and accessible.

Replied by Gr0m1t
(Magnetic Island, Queensland)

Hi, I've been wondering whether I have a stomach acid problem. But recently I started putting on weight after about 3 years of gradually losing weight. The change? Lugol's and (taken separately) Alkalizer. 3 whole months of at least 6 drops a day in water - often 12 drops sometime 18. I still have a white tongue, but my stomach is not so bulging AND I'm putting on weight. I've dabbled with MMS, but it's so unpleasant. Since taking Lugols for 3 months I can now comfortably take 13 drops of MMS. I take it in lemongrass tea which is almost pleasant. I don't know if the lemongrass is spoiling the efficasy of the MMS, but.

Anyhow, I'm pretty certain that my program of Lugol's and also powdered Alkalizer (with water makes a very pleasant drink) has helped heaps. Lugol's is supposed to kill parasites too.

Replied by Kk
(Seattle, Wa)

To Bill from San Fernando, Luzon, Philippines: Great posts, thank you so much. My son and I had the same problems such as parasites/ eyes redness/ thin bones/tiredness/weakness. My son got delay in growth and I got very painful hepatitis/varicouse veins, brittle hair/nails. I finally got this, that all problems were in low stomach acid.

I started taking Lugol's first ACV. My liver pain initially got worse but then would go down with this pleasant warm, increased circulation effect in the whole stomach. I am taking Lugol's solution 8-12 drops a day for the past week ACV twice a day.

My son (13 years old) takes 5 drops a day with milk and ACV twice a day. We both improved. Our eyes, nails/hair are better. I saw this iodine effect on my liver. Also it feels like it is treating all my parasites out of the body. I've had this horrible postnasal drip that would taste awful, smell, was purulent with some blood streaks. After taking iodine I've noticed that my postnasal got better. This was the first positive sign I've noticed that this is good for me. Postnasal drip first felt like a lump in the back of the throat, then kind of dried up. It is still draining sometimes (about 18 hrs after taking iodine) but it has now salty taste and is liquid, not purulent. I see it as a sign that my parasites are still there but going away. Most of the time now I do not have this postnasal drip, may be all parasites almost gone. My eyes feel wide and more relaxed without this redness and vessels (glaucoma by ophthalmology exam). My son's eyes are also better. His vessels now are barely visible. He told me today that he is fine without ACV and does not need it. I still made him drink it but feel more relaxed now that he can miss it sometimes. Thank you so much for your recommendation.

Replied by Kk
(Seattle, Wa)

To Bill from San Fernando, Luzon, Philippines, So if I keep taking Lugol's drops, should I stop ACV? Looks like ACV is not too good for the teeth. Thanks.

Replied by Bill
(San Fernando, Philippines)

Hi Kk... No, you shouldn't stop taking the ACV. Just take it at different times to the oral iodine

I always advise, the same as Ted from Bangkok, that people should not take ACV straight because this causes problems because of acid on teeth. ACV is acetic and malic acids -- acid is what causes holes and cavities in your teeth -- not bacteria. There are no bacteria that I know of that can eat or penetrate calcium.

So if you take ACV in a half a glass of water and just add sodium bicarbonate or baking soda(BS) until the fizzing stops - about 1/4 to 1/2 tspn of BS - you convert the acids to acetate and malate chemical salts, which are non-acidic. This is also the post-digested form of ACV so it is completely safe for the body. Just add two tablespoons of ACV to a half glass of water and neutralize it with the BS as described. Then you simply drink it -- with no tooth damage from acid.

Multiple Cures
Posted by Mike (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) on 01/24/2011

I find this mind boggling how so many people in this forum are completely overlooking the use of Betaine HCL as a means of curing their ailments. Instead, most seem to think that products such as apple cider vinegar, blackstrap molasses, oil pulling to name a few all represent some form of miracle cures to a large number of their ailments. What most people in this forum don't seem to realize is that above all, Betaine HCL is really not considered as a FOOD but rather a vital substance that the body needs for properly digesting FOOD so crucial to maintaining proper health. So those miracle food that many people would swear are curing their own diseases represent in my opinion nothing more than just a mere band aid solution of the real underlying health problems that they are actually suffering from.

To date I have heard of very few people on the net that have followed a very rigorous detox program based entirely on the consumption of large amount HCL Betaine capsules before, during and after each meal. I have done so on a gradual basis so as not to risk damaging my stomach and the results of my findings were so astonishing that I feel I must share my experience with others who are suffering from the same type of digestive problems I had until most recently. This includes serious heartburn episodes, jaundice, excessive gas, GERD and even on occasions extremely pale stools. NO ONE SHOULD EXPECT THAT A NATURAL PRODUCT WOULD CURE THEIR ILLNESS UNLESS THEY FULLY UNDERSTAND THE THEORY BEHIND IT. I have done so much research on BETAINE HCL that as a result of a complete recovery from my own serious digestive problems of the past, I can now recommend it to others. I must however emphasize at this point that what can work for me might worsen another persons condition. But in life we all have to take risks to achieve objections that are of utmost importance towards our own personal health and welfare.

As of this post my regular intake of Betaine HCL for EACH MEAL now stands at 15 capsules (0.5 gram/capsule). This being far above what any naturopath would recommend which on the average is about 5 per meal. The theory behind this is quite simple. HCL or hydrochloric acid that the body produces naturally can also be directly ingested in the form of Betaine HCL capsules. It is responsible for limiting excessive FUNGI growth that some many people in this forum have complained so much about. Because of its highly acidic nature it also reduces the time that food stays in the body before it is release as stool thereby avoiding toxic buildup in the entire digestive system. HCL can stimulate other organs in the body such as the liver and pancreas to secrete the necessary digestive juices for proper digestion. Many people complain about gall bladder stones and disease of the pancreas which in fact is most likely the result of a lack of proper stimulation on the liver, pancreas and gall bladder. (What happens when you do not sufficiently exercise the muscles in your body?) The long term consequences of low acidity are gall bladder stones, liver dysfunction and possibly diabetes.

One of the biggest issue with nutrition is the proper absorption of vital nutrients for the body to remain healthy. HCL facilitates the absorption of so many vital nutrients that the body requires. It is not uncommon for people who take large amount of calcium supplemnets to still suffer from calcium deficiency. The reason is of course because of low HCL production in the body that can also be the result of excessive use of antacids. HCL helps to absorb beta carotene, zinc, magnesium, calcium, protein, iron and most B-complex vitamins.

In an earlier post by Ted, lack of B vitamins was found to be the main culprit for many digestive problems associated with GERD. How can people talk about the benefits of natural products and completely ignore the central role that Hydrochloric acid plays on the entire human body? That is what I find so mind boggling when I read all the posts on this website.

What is needed on this website are more volunteers who are willing to come forward and experiment for establishing the right combination of natural products in CONJUNCTION with HCL Betaine for curing some of the most popular illness described in this forum. Betaine HCL is such an incredible product based on verifiable medical facts about the effect of Hydrochloric acid on the overall health of the human body. It is hard to believe that this website has never given the real attention that Betaine HCL truly deserves for curing and preventing a countless number of serious and minor ailments. "A lack of HCL can do to the body what a lack of oil can do to an engine"

Replied by Pat
(Philadelphia, Pa)

Hey, I can't agree with you more. For awhile I took antiacids and was doing the complete opposite of what my body needed which turned out to be needing more acid. I have been taking betaine hcl for the past 5 years and I no longer get heartburn, gas, bloating etc. I easily pack on muscle when I workout now which is awesome. This has been life changing for me but kinda sucks that I have to take these with every meal for the rest of my life. I wish I could get my body to naturally produce HCL. I stumbled upon betaine hcl while trying to find out the cause of my seborrheic dermatitis which I still have not cleared up but I am pretty sure it has something to do with my digestion.

Replied by Mike
(Montreal, Quebec, Canada)

I think there is hope for you in that area. You should do some serious research over the net by identifying all foods that naturally allows the body to produce HCL. One very important product is Sea Salt. Here is a list of food that directly and indirectly allow the body to produce HCL: www.foodscout.org/benefits/hydrochloric_acid.html

Apple Cider Vinegar (may explain why it has some positive effects against heartburn and GERD), Black Olives, Celery, Chard, Ginger, Grasses, Kale.

Sodium (best taken from Sea Salt), Vitamin B1/Thiamin, Vitamin B3/Niacin, Vitamin B6, and Zinc. Once you adjust your eating habits accordingly, then you may not need to consume Betaine HCL in the long run. However its always better to consume Betaine HCL rather than run the risk of continuously suffering from the devastating effect of heartburn and WHITE TONGUE being the results of an overgrowth of Candida that is normally keep under control from a sufficient amount of HCL in the stomach. I myself use to experience severe white tongue until I increased the dosage of Betaine HCL and believe it or not my tongue is now PERMANENTLY red in color. My tongue was so bad that when I looked at myself in the mirror after waking up in the morning, it was all COMPLETELY white with not one spec of red color!!! Taking HCL on a regular basis changed all of that. My tongue started to become red from the tip and gradually all the way to the back of the tongue. It took about a month to notice the results.

My next big challenge in the end is trying to modify my eating habits until I become totally independent of HCL Betaine without compromising my health. For me the clear indication that I can produced sufficient HCL is (1) Stool color is always darker indicating sufficient bile flow from the liver and (2) no food residue inside the stool. Also, a general feeling of always having energy especially after eating a good meal. I found the best way to completely neutralize the residual effect of taking large amount of HCL Betaine several hours after a meal is to take Licorice in DGL format (about 6 tablets) and saturating it with your own saliva before swallowing it. The saliva is extremely alkaline and Licorice by itself has the ability to generate a protective coating for your stomach against excessive acid. Either way UNLESS YOU SUFFER FROM ULCERS, taking HCL Betaine along with highly alkalized food as protective agents against excessive stomach acid makes it very safe to consume it even in very large quantities. IT IS WELL KNOWN THAT THERE ARE NO SIDE EFFECTS IN TAKING LARGE AMOUNT OF BETAINE HCL!!!!! Pat, you are living proof that HCL Betaine can cure heartburn since it cured mine as well. Those that cannot get rid of it always risk in developing Barret's esophagus that is known to cause cancer of the esophagus over time which quite often is always terminal. Mike

Replied by Pat
(Philadlephia, Pa)

Thanks for the link and good info, Mike. I have just started looking into the sea salt to see if I can stimulate the natural production of hcl. Its so crazy all of these doctors are prescribing these heartburn antiacid medications to patients that likely need more acid. I used to pop a tums after every meal and would continue to have heartburn, gas, bloating and feel really full. It was around this time I started to experience skin problems. I have been on a freaking quest ever since trying to clear my skin and I guess its a blessing in disguise that I found Betaine hcl. I have learned so much over the past 5 years and found out that alot of people are misinformed about extremely important information about their health. Well, wish me luck.

Thanks again for the info Mike-its good to know that I am not the only one who is thinking against the grain.

Replied by Mike
(Montreal, Quebec, Canada)

Pat, OUR GAIN IS THEIR LOSS!!!! If they don't believe that we are both telling the truth then no doubt they will continue to suffer. The long term effects being much too horrible for me to even want to imagine. Just look up for example on the devastating effects of the Pylori bacteria and all cancer related diseases of the entire digestive system. You will then understand why it is so important to maintain a sterile environment for your whole digestive system at all times. All types of microorganisms that are considered harmful to the body cannot resist the deadly acidic effect of HCL when compared to conventional antibiotics that some microorganisms can resists in the long run. It has long been suspected by many experts in medicine that what causes some cancer of the human body originates from the long term proliferation of harmful microorganisms. This being the result of inadequate sterilization of the stomach with sufficient concentration levels of HCL.

Also, since HCL allows for better absorption of vital compounds for the human body, how many diseases are out there that is mainly due to a lack of proper nutrients necessary for maintaining good health ? I am talking about a deficiency in calcium, magnesium, iron, vitamin B complex and zinc.

Replied by Lon
(Stanhope, Nj)

Thank you for very helpful information about HCL!

Replied by Peter
(Chicago, Il)

To Mike from Montreal, I have learned alot from your betaine posting. What is the different taking betaine vs digestive enzymes ?

Replied by Mike
(Montreal, Quebec, Canada)

Peter, I have taken enzymes at about the same time I started taking Betaine HCL and found no major difference after I have ceased taking it. There may be many reasons for this. (1) I consume large amount of RAW vegetables as opposed to cooking them thereby maximizing the consumption of "natural" enzymes. Because of this my body does not need to consume additional enzymes in order to better digest my food. (2) I seem to have a healthy Pancreas so it May be unnecessary to go back consuming enzymes supplements.

Keep in mind that Enzymes are very expensive compared to Betaine HCL which costs me about 7 cents per 500 mg capsule.

I have read on the net about a women that consumed excess amount of enzymes to help with her digestion. In the end, her pancreas stopped secreting enzymes naturally so now she is forced consume these enzymes supplement for the rest of her life. As a rule of thumb don't try to fix what you think is already working properly.

Since I feel a noticeable positive effects of taking Betaine HCL every time before a meal, then I know that is the part of my digestive system that needs some fixing.

One other thing worth mentioning is that before I was taking Betaine HCL, I always noticed that my stools were yellowish in color. This being a sign that my liver is not secreting bile in correct amount. Another indicator also was fowl smelly stool after consuming fat. That always worried me in the long run.

This was more than three months ago and to this day, I have NEVER notice yellowish colored stools again as a result of taking large amount of Betaine HCL!!!! I always check the color of my stools everyday to make sure they are normal and now they always appear as the normal medium to dark brown color.

This was the first major sign that Betaine HCL has really done wonders to my overall health. I am sure if you Google on the net for others who are taking it on a regular basis, they will tell you the sudden very positive impact it has on their overall health.

Now before you decide to embark on using Betaine HCL as a means of improving your health and even curing your existing ailments that are the results of low stomach acid DON'T BE AFRAID TO ASK QUESTIONS FIRST!!!!!! Otherwise you can create yourself an ulcer in the long run if you don't know what your are doing.

You see, mother nature allowed our body to produce a very powerful acid to break down food before it can be absorbed by our body. What most of us probably don't realize is that your digestive system must be equipped with the ability to NEUTRALIZE this acid BEFORE it leaves your stomach. Otherwise you will damage your intestines and colons from HCL acid that would lead in the long run to finding blood in your stools!

That explains why so many people on this website notice a real benefit in taking Baking soda (HIGH PH) "AND" Apple cider vinegar (LOW PH) together for relieving their digestive issues. As for myself I prefer DGL in tablet form because by making sure to swallowing it with plenty of saliva is a good method of neutralizing any excess acid in my stomach. The added benefit not found in baking soda is that Licorice by itself which makes up DGL also offers a PROTECTIVE layer for your stomach to better resist the corrosive nature of HCL.

To answer your question about digestive enzymes supplement, you can take it with your meals along with Betaine HCL for about 2 weeks or longer. Afterward stop taking the enzymes altogether with Betaine HCL and compare how you feel. If no difference then you can stop taking it and save yourself a little money. Otherwise you should continue taking it on a regular basis with Betaine HCL. Its as simple as that! Mike

Replied by Ryan
(Aldie, Virginia U.s.)

Hello, first off I want to say Thank You for all the info on Betaine HCL. I have a couple questions for anyone who can help me out. Is it better to get the Betaine HCL with or without the Pepsin? Capsules or Tablets?

Replied by Florie
(Austin, Texas, United States)

I too would like to know whether to get HCL with or without Pepsin, and in tablet or capsule form and I'd really like to know which brands people like best!

Replied by Mike
(Montreal, Quebec Canada)

Always buy from reputable companies to insure highest quality. You should experiment by trying with and without pepsin until you find what is best for you. You must always take HCL on a FULL stomach and NEVER NEVER on an empty stomach that is not immeadiately followed by a meal otherwise you may risk getting ulcers. Also if you are going to take HCL between meals, I suggest to take it with yogurt or with plenty of water. I found that a minimum of 6 capsules or 3 grams can restore a very unstable digestive system better than ACV can which by the way is not very good for your teeth and liver since it is a vinegar. On the other hand HCL has never shown to have any side effects whatsover if ingested with food or with plenty of water since it is always produced naturally in your stomach. Mike

Replied by Paul
(New York)


I saw on Internet to take the HCL half hour after the meal. Please google .Thanks

Replied by Mike
(Montreal, Quebec Canada)

Paul, this is just to emphasize the importance of taking HCL on a full stomach. Here is what's indicated on one of the very popular brand I use by Natural Factors: DOSAGE 2 capsules at mealtimes, 3 times daily or as directed by a health care practitioner.

For those with white tongue, you will immediately but temporary notice that your tongue will start to turn red again. High dosage of HCL increases stomach acidity which in turn will cause a decrease of white mucous flow on your tongue that contain dead bacterias being the source of your white tongue. Your tongue will gradually feel warm and begin loosing excessive moisture inside your mouth and at this point it will begin to turn red again. It will only permanently go back to its natural red color after you have successfully detoxify your entire digestive system which could take months or even years depending on the gravity of your illness. For me it took close to a year and a half before I had no more issues with my tongue. Mike

Replied by Chloe
(East Greenwich, Ri)

Regarding Betaine HCL >>>

This is to MIKE from Montreal, Quebec, Canada: Thanks for all the info!

I would like to start taking larger doses of Betaine HCL as you suggest. I am taking about 8 pills per meal now, with good effects, but probably need more. I feel very clear headed and energetic when I take larger amounts.... but it wears off too soon before the next dose.

Do you use something called an "activator" along with it?

I have an e-book that has a very detailed HCL protocol for serious illness and they recommend taking supplements to strengthen the stomach and kidneys before embarking on the HCL protocol. They also recommend the "activator" taken along with it.

Can you email me? I'd very much like to send you the e-book and get your input if possible. Thank you! BlueCrystalCastles(at)gmail.com

Replied by Mike
(Montreal, Quebec Canada)

Too often people are under the impression that they can continue with their bad eating habits and when they feel ill, they can always rely on some magic pill or a dose of ACV to restore their health. I see this happen all the time on this site and want to point out that everything I said about the real benefits of taking HCL must be in conjunction with eating fresh fruits and vegetables and avoid all processed food. So the real activator you are referring to in my book is a very nutritious and balanced diet of very healthy food and completely avoiding all processed food. The real long term health benefits of taking HCL can only be apparent when taken in conjunction of a very nutritious meal.

Replied by Jdr
(Johnson City, Tn)

I find this thread really interesting. In the 80s I was tested 2 times for Hypochlorhydria [low stomach acid putput] using the Heidelberg Gastric Analysis test (one done by the famous Dr Jonathan V. Wright MD). I've tried to live without HCl for years and these days, it's not working. I tried a full vegan diet for 8 months of 2011 and it was a big failure. I got my GI tract way over alkaline and a bacterial infection due to all of the fruit, raw honey, ACV, BSM, Superfood, and other alkalizing foods I took in.

For the last 4 months or more I've been trying to recover from that : food cravings, skin problems, mucus in stools, etc. I went on 3 TBS of raw ACV for 2 or 3 weeks, and it made me worse, not better. Then I went on lemon juice for a few days, and it also seemed to cause more trouble than it fixed. Then, I realized I need to up my HCl dosing. I've been taking 1 or 2 capsules of 650 mg HCl per meal and this must not be enough. I did some surfing and Dr Wright seems to say that a typical HCl dose is 1-7 capsules per meal. I've never heard of anyone taking 15 per meal. I don't think I'd take that much. Dr Wright has a good book on taking HCl. They seem to work up to 5-7 caps per meal, and then take lemon juice along with HCl with meals to help produce HCl, and a lot of people are able to lower their HCl doses later on.

Replied by Jacob Sav
(New York, Ny)

Hi I am confused, did you know that apple cider vinegar actually makes your stomach alkaline -- I think. So if you get relief from ACV it is because you have too much acid. So I guess that means if people take ACV and get worse digestion they know they need HCL because this is definitely acid. I would be blown away if learned that HCL actually turned your stomach alkaline. I have never seen any direct tests or scientific proof to what ACV and HCL does in the digestive process. I don't like rolling the dice all the time...

Replied by David
(Albuquerque, Nm)

Mike, I want to start off by thanking you for the information that you have provided about HCL.

I have recently started on a high dose of HCL to help me with the health problems that have plagued me for the past year and ones that I never really thought about. I have always suffered from what I would describe as Candida problems. Jock itch, athletes foot, a variety of skin problems, obesity, etc. Last year I became really ill after some life issues that led to tons of stress. To make a long story short, I ended up in the ER several times with what I thought was a heart attack, gallbladder attack, panic attack, you name it.

After several visits to the hospital and to see many doctors I decided that I was going to have to figure out what was wrong with me on my own. They diagnosed me with everything from anxiety (duh), to depression, to GERD, Hiatal hernia, IBS among other things. I was prescribed antacids, antidepressants, pain meds, anxiety meds, muscle relaxers.... You get the idea. Well I never filled any of them except for the antacids which I thought could be the problem. After one week on antacids I quickly found out that wasnt the problem.

I had been on a Gluten, Dairy, Sugar Free, Low Carb diet for months and lost about 60 pounds. When I eliminated something I got a little better but never felt great. I started to do cleanses and expelled parasites and what I believe to be candida. I tried those cleanses as well with some success but never complete. I had an endoscopy and a colonoscopy done to eliminate anything horrible and they found nothing but a mild case of gastritis. The docs could never give me a straight answer as to what was wrong with me.

Throughout this whole ordeal, not one doctor ever suspected hypoclorhydria. I even mentioned to my Gastro that I had some relief when I tood HCL. I was affraid to up the dose because I didnt know if I had ulcers or anything like that. The Gastro said, "well it cant hurt you" and sent me on my way.

I suspect that my issues didnt come from just one problem but from a series of problems. I wasnt going crazy(but the docs thought I was) and I know what I saw come out of me. My question was always why? Why am I having all these issues?

Well now that I know I dont have ulcers and my stomach lining seems to be fine I decided to move ahead with the HCL. My current symptoms are muscle and joint pain, constipation, yellow-light brown stools, different types of stomach pains, severe back pain and some brain fog. I have since been off my strict diet because the doc said I did need to start consuming fiber again and that I just needed to start "eating" again, which I agree with.

I have been taking 5 capsules of Betain HCL with Pepsin and Gentian Bitters with some good signs. My brain fog went from about a 7 to about a 3. My back pain has gone from an 8 to about a 4. My stools seem to be getting a little darker and my constipation seems to be easing up a bit as well. I no longer seem to be getting any reaction from the food I eat. My skin seems to be clearing up and my fungus problems have gotten better as well. I still havent noticed any type of burning from the dose I am on and I am thinking of increasing it slightly to see what happens. I am also taking several vitamin suppliments to help replenish what ever it is that my body has been lacking for so long.

The one thing that I have noticed that is bad is that I am passing a lot of gas. For me its good and bad because for months I was so bloated that I would force myself to burp to try to find relief. I hope that this is a direct cause of the HCL killing off whatever it is thats making me sick. Parasites, Candida, etc. If so, im glad that something is finally helping.

For someone who has been through this nightmare I can say it has been refreshing to find something that has actually made me feel better. I can feel that I am not 100% but I am miles beyond where I was about 8 months ago. I will continue to take the HCL and I might try to get on a Candida diet again to see if I can fight off the rest of this. I truly believe that my Candida Diet alone wasnt working because I didnt have the final weapon against it......HCL.

Replied by Mike
(Montreal, Quebec)

I am happy to hear that HCL seemed to have greatly improved you health. I would suggest also that if you intend to increase HCL dosage, to take it with yogurt. This might relieve the excess gas you seem to be experiencing and would also further protect your esophagus as well as your stomach from the powerful acidic effect of HCL.

The probiotics in yogurt are known to destroy many pathogens that might be responsible for causing excessive gas.

I have personally seen real health benefits of adding granulated soya lecithin in my diet. This helps the liver in removing excessive cholesterol from my body being a prime source of gallstone that eventually ends up disrupting the entire digestive process.

You should never allow yourself to remain bloated as this is an indication that pathogens are reproducing in large amount inside your digestive system. My suggestion when this happens and that always seems to work for me is plenty of HCL with yogurt. Within 5 minutes or so, you should feel that your digestive system is functioning normal again.

My illness was mainly caused by a clogged liver which I believe prevented sufficient bile flow that eventually lead to gastritis (confirmed case) and the Pylori bacteria (also confirmed case).

It seems that a much healthier diet supplemented with HCL, enzymes and lecithin has brought my whole digestive system back to its natural state. The only way I know is upon examination of the color and consistency of my stool as well as not experiencing anymore excessive gas. I am also free of any chronic stomach pains.

Replied by Lena
(Melbourne, Australia)

Hi All. I hope you can help me to figure out what is going on with me.

I have been suffering from stomach pains which I feel in my throat even after a sip of water, back pains under left shoulder blade which gets worse again after I eat, white tongue, bad breath, burning sensation in my back after food, excessive belching straight after food, skin problems, etc. for 3 years. I have done various tests, three gastroscopies, all looks fine. I have had a Heidelberg test one year ago, which showed overacidity.

Do you think it's possible to have low stomach acids although the Heidelberg test showed over acidity? The thing is that as I was thinking that I have too much acid in my stomach, I was trying to eat alkaline foods, tried various proton pump inhibitors with no relieve. Yesterday I came across this thread and started taking betaine HCl with pepsin 500mg three times a day after food. I am a bit scared to increase the dose yet because if I have too much acid as my Heidelberg test showed and add more acid, I may make my condition worse. Right now when I take one tablet of HCl after about 15 minutes I feel a burning sensation in my stomach and throat. I am not sure if it's HCl or heartburn which I always had before.

Does anyone know if it's possible to have a white tongue while having high level of stomach acids? Or it's a definite sign of low stomach acids?

Replied by Mike
(Montreal, Quebec Canada)

The real problem is not to much acid since you can never accumulate enough acid in your stomach to cause it to "SPILL" into your esophagus.

What really causes acid reflux is "PRESSURE BUILD UP" that is sufficient to cause acid to move up from your stomach into your esophagus.

This has nothing to do with quantity of acid but rather what would cause such a force to be sufficient to move your stomach acid at such an elevation.

Back when I was a kid I decided to make some wine from dandelions inside a huge glass container. I added sugar and yeast and the next morning the entire glass jug exploded in my room.

Do not underestimate the force of gas emission from pathogens that feed on undigested food inside your stomach.

Adding more acid using HCL will have the opposite effect of REDUCING and even eliminate entirely acid reflux because HCL "(CH3)3NCl-CH2COOH" contains chlorine being one of the most powerful antibacterial agent known to man (Javel bleach being a good example) . The less harmful pathogens you have in your stomach then the weaker the forces for expelling your stomach acid into to esophagus.

I would not worry about adding more HCL Betaine as this will sterilize your stomach and prevent any build up of pressure that would cause your acid reflux. Just remember to always take it on a full stomach so as not end up with ulcers. There are no known side effects of taking to much HCL Betaine.

Doctors who prescribe antacid for resolving acid reflux should take a basic course in physics!!!!

Replied by Mike
(Montreal, Quebec Canada)

I have personally experimented the theory that pathogens are indeed responsible for causing this pressure buildup that would lead to all sorts of digestive issues including acid reflux.

I have been taking HCL Betaine very religiously for many years that eventually over time got rid of most of my digestive problems. So I decided to see what happens if I stop taking it just for at least a couple of days.

A decision that in the end I regretted taking because of the consequences it had over my entire digestive system.

In the first 3 days, there were no problems but following that, I began noticing that I was getting bloated almost after every meal. Then after eating a meal with a lot of sugar before going to bed, my stomach felt as it was on fire all night long. I could only have concluded that this was the result of pathogens build up inside my stomach over a long period of time.

The next 2 days to my horror, my stools were completely yellow and seem to contain traces of blood. Prior to that I remember noticing more than the usual amount of undigested food particles inside my stools.

So I panic thinking that I must have some sort of pancreas cancer. I put 2 and 2 together to only realize that the bloating I had experience previously caused a build up of pathogens that could have only been the result of very low stomach acid production.

So I went back to taking HCL Betaine in larger doses and since then to my relief I never got bloated again after a meal and my stool finally went back to its normal color (THANK GOD FOR THAT!!!! )

Kind of makes you think how some people like myself can have a very serious deficiency of stomach acid production.

Its very sad that I would probably have to depend on HCL Betaine for the rest of my life but that being a far better alternative than having my entire stomach destroyed by pathogens over time (colon cancer, pancreas cancer, Pylori invasion leading to ulcers, acid reflux leading to esophagus cancer ... )

I would say that bloating is your best indicator to determine if your body can produce enough acid to neutralize all pathogens that enter into your body from the food you eat. Constant bloating eventually always lead to acid reflux problem.

Replied by Gary
(Edmonton, Alberta, Alberta, Canada)

Hi Mike, where do you live. I just joined this site today and was reading a lot of what you posted last night until 330 in the morning. I checked around and cannot seem to find the HCL with pepsin so that I can alleviate my GERD. Can you help me with that, and tell me where you can get it. Do I have to go to my Doctor to get it? I called several pharmacies and they said they don't carry it and they cannot even order it in. Desperate for some answers. Gary in Edmonton

Replied by Tina
(Houston, Us)

Hi Lena from Melbourne, Australia: This is a super page on how to find out if you do have low stomach acid.


Hope this helps, T

Replied by Alex
(Honolulu, Hi, United States)

Gary, Betaine HCl typically appears in supplement stores. Most doctors have never heard of it. It sounds like you've already read plenty about it, but just in case -- do make sure to start slow with it.

People debate about how to properly take HCl. Some say take it at the start of a meal, others say swallow it periodically during the meal (if you take multiple capsules) and some people say to take it after a meal. I've tried all of these methods. Taking it at the start of a meal can sometimes cause pain, so I stopped that. I took it periodically throughout a meal with no ill effects for quite awhile. Nowadays I take HCl 30-45 minutes after a meal, which has been working out well for me. I heard that certain digestive enzymes don't function after the stomach becomes acidic, so the first 30-45 minutes can be important to the breakdown of certain foods. I can't really say that I notice a difference, except that more HCl is better (for me).

Replied by Gavin
(Manganui, Northland, New Zealand)

It might be worth considering lemon juice, as its about the purest hcl you can get, plus it has many other health giving effects. Diluted about 5/1 and the minium of about half a lemon a day. Probably higher to start off with.. Improvements take about a week.

Replied by Kelly
(Cambridge, Ma)

Hi Gavin - I've meant to ask before, and your mention of lemons in this post reminded me to ask today - I take 2T of ACV in water for high blood pressure with good results. I would like to include the lemon drink (as I believe it was you who mentioned that it improved your vision), but have hesitated, wondering if the having the ACV every day along with the lemon drink every day, wouldn't be *too* much acid in my system?

Your thoughts? Thanks so much in advance.

Replied by Florie
(Austin, Texas, United States)

Tina from Houston, thanks for the link to "heal-thyself. " This looks good also: 14 Steps for Healthy Guts http://heal-thyself.ning.com/notes/14_Steps_for_Healthy_Guts

Replied by Sylviag
(Vista, Ca/USA)

Have not posted in awhile but still having issues with rash/urticaria on face-one Dr said he thought it was POD but doesn't look like it to me---more oval and red/raised--no pimple look to it. Was also told leaky gut---but not sure on that either. Have just seen the thread on betaine and bought it on 3/30---so taking 2 tabs with 3 meals a day. Experiencing headaches, brain fog, extreme coldness all over my body and rash on chin and cheeks that is painful and itchy at the same time. Noticed Mike from Montreal discussing betaine and am hopeful this will help--maybe if you (Mike) can look at my old posts you will have some thoughts for me?

Thank you,


Replied by Gavin
(Manganui, Northland, New Zealand)

I put a capfull of ACV. In a glass of 5/1 dituted pure lemon juice sweetened with honey. and have been drinking it once a day for about three months. The lemon Juice is Hcl. Which is the same acid as stomach acid. The Acv is Acetic... But when it breaks down its an acaline ash so apparently does the honey which is used to sweeten it. So thats two natural cleaning fluids that go into the blood in small amounts over a long period the effects seem to be aculmulative.

The left ear was deaf for at least ten years probably more after a bad head cold where some small amount of blood and pus came out of it. When I started the ACV the ear seemed to try and come back in fits and starts, but with the lemon juice added it just got better and better, its slightly down on the other one but I think the right ear has improved as well. All the red patches on my hands have gone back to normal skin, and the liver spots have gone. I just have normal glasses to operate the computer where before I had to use reading glasses.. But i'm taking a spoonfull of blueberries a day as well which apparently helps the eyes. But the eyes improved before I started that. Im a bit weary of saying its a panacea but its the best thing ive tried so far. I also take 3mgs of Boron and a kelp tablet plus a zinc and potasium. Ive dropped most of the other supplements, as from trying them over a period im sure the synthetic ones are bad for the health as side of the mouth ulcers have appeared twice whilst on them.. and disapeared after I stopped.

The last batch I made up I put the zest in as well, by using a fine grater. Digestion is better, which is obvious by well formed stools. I could go on and on, but give it a try for a few weeks, the heart seems to strengthen up as well with not a hint of a palputation.

Replied by Victoria
(Salisbury, Wiltshire Uk)

I too have found significant benefits in raising HCL levels. Betaine HCL is without a doubt the most convenient way for me. May I point out that while ACV (acetic acid) and lemon juice (ascorbic acid) are both excellent ways of stimulating the production of HCL in the stomach they are not composed of HCL themselves.

Replied by Kk
(Seattle, Wa)

Hi, I understand the benefits of HCL acid. I've ordered probably the wrong vertion of it, it is liquid in drops. I have pills coming too in a week probably. Anybody knows how to take HCL acid drops correctly?

Replied by Pyroluriac
(Alamogordo, Nm)

I got up as high as 20 HCl capsules per meal (only meals including protein) and not only my reflux went away, but my sleep apnea also went away. I am now down to 8 or 10. I think that shows that the stomach can re-learn how to produce its own acid with a little nudge.

I don't like to see dairy and soy advocated, but to each his own. Just do research before you eat dairy or soy.

Also Gavin: lemon juice is CITRIC acid, vinegar is ACETIC acid. What aids in digestion and provides all these other benefits to health is HYDROCHLORIC acid. Very different animal. You can go to the hardware store and buy it (muriatic -label covered with warnings) to clean the caliche (hard water buildup) out of your pipes and inside the washer and stuff like that, but if you drank it you would die. Just thought I'd mention that. I love lemon juice and vinegar, but it's not good for your teeth if not diluted. And I doubt it helps with digestion very much if at all.

Happy eating yall!

Replied by Julie
(Somewhere, Pa)

Can anyone tell me if now that you have been taking Betaine HCL you are now able to enjoy food that previously gave you acid reflux? I don't take acid reducers (unless I am going to drink red wine which is approx 1 or 2 times a month), and pretty much just don't eat anything that gives me reflux, which is the typical tomatoes, garlic, mint, fat, coffee... I miss these things.

Can restoring one's ph level through HCL ever allow me to once again be able to enjo these "forbidden foods", or will I always have probelms with these foods?

Replied by Mmsg
(Somewhere, Europe)

Julie, read up on it here on EC. I do believe people were able to eat the offending foods after a while.

Replied by Lisa
(Thousand Oaks, Ca, Usa)

Hi Julie, I started taking Betaine HCL on Mike from Montreal's suggestions after he started posting about it. At that point, I was having all sorts of issues with my digestion and terrible bloating after every meal that would not subside for hours. I can't say I had acid reflux but some meals I would experience heartburn. After starting on betaine, I found it so remarkable that I have since taken it at every meal without fail! It has made a world of difference for me. I take 2-3 caps with every meal. Before this, I was taking enzymes but not only were they expensive, they didn't give me near the results of the betaine! Betaine is very affordable.

On the other hand, I do have a very clean diet- no soda, sugar, pastries, processed food, etc. Still, I drink a cup of coffee in the morning and enjoy red wine as well. Hope this helps, Lisa

Replied by Elsaeasterly
(Elsewhere, Ca)

Lisa, Do you buy Betaine HCL with pepsin or alone? I only seem to find it combined with pepsin.

Didn't you also say at one time that acupuncture helped you with bloating? Thanks.

Replied by Lisa
(Thousand Oaks, Ca, Usa)

Hi Elsaeasterly, I buy the betaine hcl with pepsin. It helps incredibly with bloating and that unending full feeling.

And yes, acupuncture has helped me with a myriad of issues, one of them being stomach issues. My acupuncturist says many problems begin in the stomach. I have had amazing results with acupuncture. Take care, Lisa

Replied by Sarah

Hi, I am new to this, so excuse me if I have posted in the wrong place.

I have been reading about hcl betaine and pepsin. I want to try this, but I do suffer with what I think is acid reflux (I don't get it all the time, more when I am under stress, which I am now). So I want to try with the hcl, but if I get burn without supplementation how do I know what level to go to, as I read you are supposed to go to the burn level, but I have that anyway. Sorry if I haven't explained that well any advice is appreciated.

Thank you, Sarah

Replied by Lisa
(Thousand Oaks, Ca, Usa)

Hi Sarah, I never followed that rule and have been taking betaine hcl for almost two years now on a regular basis after learning about it here on EC. It has been incredible for me taking care of acid reflux, slow digestion, bloating, etc. I take 2-3 with each meal during the meal and it works beautifully. Hope this info helps, Lisa

Replied by Sarah

Thank you Lisa. So you didn't increase the dose just stuck at two? Yes that is helpful. Also some things say only take with protein meals and some say every meal, does seem a little confusing. Hopefully I will settle on something that works.

Thanks again....Sarah

Replied by Lisa
(Thousand Oaks, Ca, Usa)

Hi Sarah, I usually take 3 betaine hcl with pepsin. Occassionally, only 2 but 3 seems to be the magic number for me. Just experiment. I started with just one and that didn't make a dent! Since 3 works, I just stay there. Try not to get too confused... Lisa

Replied by Sarah

That is great, thanks again. I will experiment and see if I can find a dose that works.

Replied by Kassandra
(Castro Valley, Ca/usa)

I have been having GERD with no heartburn, no burning, and my stools are fairly normal. I am 32 years old, and eat very healthy. I know that taking HCL with an ulcer is dangerous, and I'm wondering, would I know if I had an ulcer? Also has anyone cut out carbs, and sugar to help rid the stomach of bacteria? How, or how not has this helped?

I know I should see a doctor, but I have no insurance, AND all they want me to do is take Prilosec, which I read is bad because it drops your PH level in your stomach to 0!!! I just picked up HCL with Pepsin today, and I'm anxious to start taking it. I have also have had occasional bloating. Any advice would be greatly appreciated : )

Replied by Martin
(Los Angeles, California)

The best way to learn if you have an ulcer is to get an upper GI scope (endoscopy). I was convinced I had an ulcer from my myriad of symptoms to learn after an endoscopy that there was nothing. What is helping me now until I can finish get doctor tests completed is ACV diluted in water (2 tsps) before each meal. It's not a cure yet but a band aid until I can figure out what is causing my chronic heartburn. Good luck to everyone!

Replied by Eliza
(Charlotte, US)

Thank you for your post. I have suffered with digestive issues, weight gain and atrophied muscles my whole life. I am going off gluten and dairy and just started taking HCL Betaine. I have gone up to 5 pills per meal so far with no burning. I will keep going and am trying it in combination with wheatgrass, moringa, multivitamins, concentrated red berry powder, phood, glucosamine methylated b12 methylfolate etc. Etc. I really appreciate your sharing and will try to keep you posted.

Replied by Mr. Ree

Drink 1/2 or full glass of Kefir before breakfast... Also use the Kefir WITH the fat in it. It will set up your body to absorb nutrients.

Replied by Cindy
(, London, United Kingdom)

Hi there, I have low b12, have positive parietal cell antibodies and am on b12 injections. My question is, would betaine hcl and pepsin help with digestion and absorption of b vitamins? Can hcl be harmful? Thanks

Replied by Amy

You don't know how happy I am to have found this post. My naturopath told me that I can't take too much HCL. She said if my stomach is burning and I still have heartburn, or reflux I need MORE. She encouraged me to take six with each meal and I was afraid to do that. I am now, not afraid and I will do what she said. I'm so glad you shared that you take 15. Hopefully I wont' need that, but now I'm not afraid! :)

Side Effects

4 User Reviews

Posted by Art Med (Calexico, Ca. ) on 01/15/2023

I had the feeling Betaine was causing the side effects I'm currently experiencing which include heart palpitations, insomnia, and sweating. I will certainly not take it again.

Side Effects
Posted by Victoria (United Kingdom) on 02/22/2018


Can someone explain to me why when talking betaine HCI one would start belching after a meal and having headaches?

Thank you


Side Effects
Posted by Bernardo (Brazil) on 10/15/2017

Hi, I was reading about betaine hcl side effects. I took omeprazole during several years which has caused me a lot of problems.

So I started taking betaine and I feel good now. Inittially I started with 150mg 3 times/day and my stomach was working too hard to digest. I took 300mg and it got better.

Obrigada month later I'm taking 300mg at lunch, 150mg in the afternoon with some light meal and 150mg during the dinner. I think it's going fine.

What I would like to know is: os that normal to feel some burn/blazing in my tongue and upper stomach and dry lips?

Thanks in advance.

Replied by Art
2158 posts

In reply to Bernardo (Brazil),

You can try a half teaspoon of baking soda dissolved in a cup of water when you feel that burning sensation. If the burning sensation is diminished or goes away, you may be taking too much hydrochloric acid.

I used betaine HCL when I was having poor digestion and it worked great for a few weeks to a month, but then I started getting a burning sensation like heartburn. I cut my betaine HCL down and the symptoms went away. After reading more about it, I found that some people require less betaine HCL after their HCL level gets closer to normal and then a dose reduction may be required.


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