Uncovering the Health Benefits and Side Effects of Betaine HCl

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.


Multiple Cures
Posted by Mike (Montreal, Quebec Canada) on 07/29/2011

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.

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Posted by Chloe (East Greenwich, Ri) on 07/27/2011

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

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Posted by Mike (Montreal, Quebec Canada) on 07/23/2011

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

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Posted by Paul (New York) on 07/23/2011


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

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Posted by Mike (Montreal, Quebec Canada) on 07/23/2011

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

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Posted by Florie (Austin, Texas, United States) on 07/22/2011

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!

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Posted by Bill (San Fernando, Luzon, Philippines) on 02/28/2011

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.

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Posted by Paul123 (New York) on 02/28/2011

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.

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Posted by Ryan (Aldie, Virginia U.s.) on 02/05/2011

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?

Multiple Cures
Posted by Mike (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) on 01/27/2011

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.

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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.

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Posted by Mike (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) on 01/26/2011

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

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Posted by Mike (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) on 01/26/2011

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

Multiple Cures
Posted by Pat (Philadelphia, Pa) on 01/26/2011

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.

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Posted by Peter (Chicago, Il) on 01/26/2011

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

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Posted by Lon (Stanhope, Nj) on 01/25/2011

Thank you for very helpful information about HCL!

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Posted by Mike (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) on 01/25/2011

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?

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Posted by Pat (Philadelphia, Pa) on 01/25/2011

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

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Posted by Mike (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) on 01/25/2011

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.

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Posted by Pat (Philadlephia, Pa) on 01/25/2011

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.

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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:

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

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

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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.

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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"

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