Betaine HCL Remedies: A Natural Supplement for Health

| Modified on Jan 16, 2023
Multiple Cures
Posted by Mike (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) on 01/24/2011
5 out of 5 stars

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"

Posted by Bill (San Fernando) on 12/10/2014

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.

Betaine During Pregnancy
Posted by Katzie (Calgary ) on 11/04/2021

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.

Posted by Sam (Uk, London) on 07/17/2015
5 out of 5 stars

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.

Posted by Bill (San Fernando, Philippines) on 03/20/2015

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.

Betaine During Pregnancy
Posted by Joseph A. (Stockton, Ca ) on 11/11/2021 75 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.

Side Effects
Posted by Jkw (Monterey, Ca) on 07/21/2015
0 out of 5 stars

About 5 days ago I re-tried starting Betaine HCL. I have been taking it while eating with protein, I don't take NSAIDS/steroids - I felt immediate relief the first 2 days. Unfortunately, then I started getting bad stomach aches and reflux in the throat. I was taking 1-2 pills per meal.

I do not know if I have an ulcer (I have only been diagnosed with gallstones and GERD). I can feel though that my digestion is very slow. I suspect Candida (positive with questionaire though the last time I had antibiotics was well over 20 yrs ago as a child) or SIBO. I was taking 5% iodine for awhile, but have had to stop due to bad hyper reaction (also with borax).

I feel rather discouraged at the moment because the supplements I feel would help are currently causing bad reactions.

I would appreciate any advice for repairing the stomach lining and taking some milder anti-bacterial/fungal so that I can eventually take these stronger supplements. (I started glutamine 2 weeks ago and have heard bitters - especially one from Germany starting with an 'I' - would help. I will also adhere to a strict diet, perhaps only vegetable soup for a few days or week as protein is currently difficult. I have restarted being no sugar, no dairy, low carb.) Also do you think it is imperative that I stop coffee? It seems to really help with constipation - I can take 1500mg magnesium chloride and still no bm.

Thank you for your help.

Side Effects
Posted by Art (California ) on 10/16/2017 1577 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.


Posted by Kaija (Kampala, uganda, Central) on 10/27/2012

Hi Joe, Would you consider sending me some of those betaine HCL! ? I have been down since 2007 thanks to allergies caused by protein indigestion, in this part of the world, those things are hard to come by. Please help!

Posted by Bug Bunny (London, England) on 04/20/2012
5 out of 5 stars

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

Posted by Pat (Grants, Nm) on 11/06/2015

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?

Posted by Joe (Melbourne, Australia) on 09/09/2012
1 out of 5 stars


I have been taking Betaine HCl for the last six months or so. I have had to stop taking it because it has been giving me severe migraines. I've been getting dry skin on my hands too. Stopping the Betaine HCl has ended the migraines and my skin is slowly returning to normal. It's a pity that the Betaine HCl has all these side effects, because it was working well for digestion before the side effects kicked in.

Posted by Margret (Toronto, Ontario Canada) on 08/09/2012

How do you know if you have low acid?

Posted by Pyroluriac (Alamogordo, Nm) on 03/05/2012

I take Betaine HCl w Pepsin, and it really helps me to feel better over all. I'm glad I found this warning. I know from experience that OTC meds like @dv1l will strip the stomach of its protective mucous lining.

1. People using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (NSIADs), cortisone-like drugs, or other medications with the potential to cause a peptic ulcer (a break or sore in the tissue lining the upper digestive tract) should avoid supplementation with Betaine hydrochloride.
found here:

Posted by Liz Paddon (Milton Keynes, Uk) on 05/03/2014

Please test it for yourself and remember that the main reason something is removed from the alternative health availability is because pharmaceuticals want to reduce its ability to work, patent something else and sell the inferior product as being as good as the original. They cannot patent what the creator created. So now they are raising the prices of even cook from scratch ingredients for everyday meals forcing those on low income to buy doctored foods with little or no nutrition. Thereby reducing their life energy. What is their bigger picture. I like Gods picture. Betaine HCl works, you just have to find the quantity level that works best for you. So always start low and rise slowly. Once you feel better all the time, then start reducing slowly until you can maintain feeling good by diet alone. Go for sugar and sweetener free nutrition for the rest of your life. Live long and eat to live, not live to eat. :)

Multiple Cures
Posted by Bill (San Fernando, Luzon, Philippines ) on 01/25/2011
5 out of 5 stars

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:

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:

Multiple Cures
Posted by David (Albuquerque, Nm) on 01/31/2012

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.

Betaine During Pregnancy
Posted by Madelyn (Idaho) on 10/28/2021

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 :)

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.

General Feedback
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?

General Feedback
Posted by Earthye (Minneapolis, Mn) on 02/08/2013

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.

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

Posted by Lisa (Thousand Oaks, Ca, Usa) on 08/19/2012

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

Posted by Bruno (Westland, Michigan) on 12/12/2012
5 out of 5 stars

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

Posted by Mmsg (Somewhere, Europe) on 12/10/2014

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

Posted by Colleen (Baltimore, Md) on 10/09/2012

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.

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.

General Feedback
Posted by Faith (Forest Park, Ohio) on 02/20/2012

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 Mike (Montreal, Quebec) on 09/16/2011

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.

General Feedback
Posted by Oliver (Dallas, Tx) on 03/30/2012

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


General Feedback
Posted by Andy (Dallas, Texas) on 05/02/2012

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.

Multiple Cures
Posted by Bill (San Fernando, Luzon, Philippines) on 01/27/2011

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.

Multiple Cures
Posted by Bill (San Fernando, Philippines) on 03/06/2012

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.

Multiple Cures
Posted by Pat (Philadelphia, Pa) on 01/24/2011

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.

Multiple Cures
Posted by Mike (Montreal, Quebec Canada) on 03/25/2012

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!!!!

Multiple Cures
Posted by Julie (Somewhere, Pa) on 08/26/2012

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?

Multiple Cures
Posted by Mmsg (Somewhere, Europe) on 08/26/2012

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

Multiple Cures
Posted by Lisa (Thousand Oaks, Ca, Usa) on 08/26/2012

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

Multiple Cures
Posted by Amy (Wisconsin) on 12/30/2016

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
Posted by Art Med (Calexico, Ca. ) on 01/15/2023
0 out of 5 stars

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.

Betaine During Pregnancy
Posted by ThatOrganicPanic (United States of America) on 10/27/2021
0 out of 5 stars

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!

Side Effects
Posted by Victoria (United Kingdom) on 02/22/2018
0 out of 5 stars


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
0 out of 5 stars

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.

Posted by Sam (Miami, FL) on 12/11/2014

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.

General Feedback
Posted by Ironbutterfly (Buffalo, Ny, Usa) on 01/14/2013

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.

General Feedback
Posted by Ironbutterfly (Buffalo, Ny, Usa) on 01/17/2013

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?

General Feedback
Posted by Steve (Las Vegas, Nv) on 01/17/2013

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

General Feedback
Posted by Yvonne (Boston, Ma) on 01/17/2013

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:

General Feedback
Posted by Anon (Anon) on 01/19/2013

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!

General Feedback
Posted by Ds (Nwa, Ar) on 01/19/2013

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).

General Feedback
Posted by Ironbutterfly (Buffalo, Ny, Usa) on 01/23/2013

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!

General Feedback
Posted by Anon (Anon) on 01/23/2013

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?

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