Uncovering the Health Benefits and Side Effects of Betaine HCl

General Feedback
Posted by Joseph (Medford, Oregon) on 09/25/2011


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.