Healthy people with strong digestive function do not need more HCL (stomach acid). Unfortunately, in today’s world of high stress, fast and processed foods, antibiotic use, prescription, and over the counter drug side effects, many people have a deficient supply of HCL.
Many digestive problems are caused by too little stomach acid. It may seem like there is too much HCL acid because of heartburn, sour stomach, or overall stomach upset, nausea, and pain, but having too little stomach acid can cause exactly the same symptoms as too much acid.
How does hydrochloric acid deficiency affect your health?
- Malnutrition – reduction of absorption of nutrients from foods
- Iron deficiency anemia, owing to poor iron absorption
- Osteoporosis, resulting in part from decreased calcium absorption
- Periodontal disease – receding gums
- General allergies and food allergies
- Leaky gut syndrome
- B12 deficiency
- Gallstone risk – more than half the people with gallstones show decreased HCL secretion compared with gallstone-free patients
- Diabetes – elevated blood sugar
- Impaired tissue repair
- Skin problems – eczema, psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis, vitiligo
- Increased number of bacteria, yeasts, and parasites growing in the intestines
- Lowered pancreatic secretion – which contains the majority of enzymes that actively break down foods, which then further contributes to poor assimilation and nutritional problems
- Heartburn and acid reflux (commonly thought to be due to too much stomach acid and if there isn’t enough stomach acid the valve that closes the end of the esophagus at the stomach won’t close properly)
- Ulcer formation – lack of protection from infectious agents such as H. Pylori
- Rapid aging – HCL is necessary for restoring cellular methylation reserves
- Fermentation and putrefaction
- Reduced liver function
- Reduced oxidation of lactic acid
- Reduced white blood cell activity
- Retention of carbon dioxide
- Bloating, belching, and flatulence immediately after meals
- Indigestion – heavy feeling in the stomach
- Upset stomach
What do you do if you determine that you need to increase your stomach acid and enzymes? Betaine hydrochloric acid (HCL) is one of the most important supplements for improving digestion. However, if you are taking prescription medications consult with your physician, as Betaine hydrochloride supplements can cause adverse reactions in tandem with certain medications.
- The strategy is to gradually increase the amount of Betaine HCL until you have too much acid in your stomach (burning sensation in the stomach), then back down slightly to the correct maintenance dose.
- If no burning or indigestion was experienced with one HCL, then the next day take 2 capsules in the same way.
- If still no burning or indigestion, take 3 tablets in the same way the next day. If still no burning or indigestion, then you need more HCL. Keep adding an additional capsule with each meal until you get heartburn or irritation.
- On your next meal after irritation was achieved, take one capsule less than the amount that caused the irritation—this will be your maintenance dose.
- Whenever you have a meal of mostly carbohydrates (no animal or dairy protein) take only one-third to half of your full dose.