What is Betaine HCL?
Betaine HCL is Hydrochloric Acid derived from Betaine. Betaine is an ingredient derived from Beets.
HCL is naturally produced by your stomach to facilitate digestion. It is a key component in the breakdown and eventual assimilation of nutrients. There are many reasons one may suffer from Low Stomach Acid. From Blood Type, to use of certain medications, to drinking too much liquid during a meal. Deficiency of zinc or B vitamins may also lead to low stomach acid. These deficiencies may be caused by inadequate dietary intake or by nutrient loss from stress, smoking, or alcohol consumption. Many medications, including birth control, can lower stomach acid.
Bile contains bile acids, which are critical for digestion and absorption of fats and fat–soluble vitamins in the small intestine. Low Stomach Acid, if not corrected, can set your entire system up for failure. While not for everyone, if you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed here, you may benefit from HCl Supplementation.
What are the symptoms of Low Stomach Acid?
Symptoms of low stomach acid are related to impaired digestion, increased susceptibility to infection, and reduced absorption of nutrients from food. Symptoms may include:
- upset stomach
- nausea when taking vitamins and supplements
- oral lichen planus
- adult adenoitis
- periorbital edema
- swollen lymph nodes
- pain on right side of abdomen
- desire to eat when not hungry
- hair loss
- undigested food in stool
- weak, brittle fingernails
- GI infections
- iron deficiency anemia
- deficiencies of other minerals, such as vitamin B-12, calcium, and magnesium
- protein deficiency
- neurological issues, such as numbness, tingling, and vision changes
A number of chronic health conditions have been associated with low levels of stomach acid. These include conditions such as:
- thyroid issues
- chronic autoimmune disorders
- pernicious anemia
Some of the most common causes for low stomach acid include:
- Age. Hypochlorhydria is much more common as you get older. People over the age of 65 years are most likely to have low levels of hydrochloric acid.
- Stress. Chronic stress may decrease production of stomach acid.
- Vitamin deficiency. Deficiency of zinc or B vitamins may also lead to low stomach acid. These deficiencies may be caused by inadequate dietary intake or by nutrient loss from stress, smoking, or alcohol consumption.
- Medications. Taking antacids or medications prescribed to treat ulcers and acid reflux, such as PPIs, for a long period of time may also lead to hypochlorhydria. If you take these medications and are concerned that you have symptoms of low stomach acid, speak with your doctor before making changes to your medications.
- H. Pylori. Infection with H. Pylori is a common cause of gastric ulcers. If left untreated, it can result in decreased stomach acid.
- Surgery. Surgeries of the stomach, such as gastric bypass surgery, can reduce production of stomach acid.
Risk factors for hypochlorhydria include:
- Type A and AB Blood
- being over 30 years of age
- high levels of stress
- ongoing use of a medication (i.e. Birth Control) that reduces stomach acid
- vitamin deficiency
- having an infection caused by H. pylori
- having a history of stomach surgery
If you have questions or concerns about your symptoms or risk factors for low stomach acid production, speak with your doctor. They can help develop a treatment plan that is best for you. In the meantime, here’s a cool article on 7 facts about your blood type that will amaze you.
How do I begin?
The first step is to replace the lost stomach acid until you figure out the root cause. One of the most common methods of supplementing for low stomach acid is using Betaine Hydrochloride (HCL) with Pepsin.
Normal levels of Hydrochloric Acid are imperative for complete digestion of proteins and absorption of amino acids. It is also required for the extraction of vitamin B12 from our food, and in coordination with Bile, the absorption of fat soluble vitamins – A, D, E, K. Betaine HCl is closely connected to the synthesis of B12 and Iron. Betaine HCL helps to restore the proper acid levels in the stomach and maintain healthy GI function.
Eighty percent of our immune system resides in the gut. Stomach acid is a key component of our immune system. Proper acidity aids our system by destroying potential pathogenic bugs in our food. Low stomach acid levels, besides not properly sterilizing our food, prevent our the rest of our digestive system from operating properly. Without proper acid levels the stomach could delay emptying which can cause a multitude of digestive problems.
Many people suffer from hypochlorida or acholorida. They will suffer a litany of health issues and struggle to find the cause.
Unlocking Health Benefits With Betaine HCL
There are many compounds that we are just beginning to thoroughly understand. One of those is betaine.
Betaine has long been studied for its positive impact on heart health, but we are now discovering new benefits, such as digestive support and the improvement of exercise performance and body composition.
What is Betaine?
Betaine is a naturally occurring amino acid compound also known as trimethylglycine, or TMG. Betaine is a nonessential nutrient found in numerous food sources, including sugar beets, wheat bran, rye grain, bulgar grain, spinach, quinoa, brown rice, sweet potato, turkey breast, beef, veal and some seafood, such as shrimp. It was originally discovered in beets.
Betaine is composed of the amino acid glycine. Glycine is attached to three methyl groups. There are two major functions of Betaine. First, it acts as a methyl donor. Second, it is an osmolyte. A methyl group is a special kind of hydrogen and carbon molecule that can be transferred via a process called methylation. Methylation is a critical component of many physiological processes.
Betaine HCL is Hydrochloric Acid derived from Beets for the purpose of adding stomach, or gastric, acid.
Heart health is one of the most researched and verified benefits. The primary way in which is promotes hearth health is by reducing levels of the amino acid homocysteine . It does this by providing the homocysteine molecule with one of its methyl groups; this, in turn, transforms it into an innocuous substance called methionine. Elevated levels of homocysteine in the blood (known as Homocystinuria) can clog and harden arteries by creating arterial plaque, which can contribute to cardiovascular health issues. Lower homocysteine levels also pave the way for improved body composition and muscle gain.
Liver Function Support and Detoxification
The live is one of the most vital organs for optimal health. Betaine may support healthy liver function and liver detoxification. Excessive fatty acid build up in the liver is a problem for many people, especially in western society. Some of these conditions include obesity, a diet rich in fatty, sugary foods, diabetes and alcohol abuse. A liver cannot function properly with too much fat in the liver cells. High levels of fat lead to potential scarring of the liver, fluid retention, muscle waste, cardiovascular issues and abdominal pain.
Betaine has been shown to help break down fatty acids in the liver. There is some evidence to suggest that betaine may protect the liver from hepatotoxins like carbon tetrachloride and ethanol.
Muscle Mass Improvement and Fat Loss
Betaine, in the form of Anohydrous or HCL, may be the newest “must have” for the body building and fitness world. Betaine plays a critical role in fat reduction and the metabolizing of protein. In clinical trials, it has been shown to increase muscular power, strength and endurance, in conjunction with fat loss. The overall result is improved body composition. You may have heard of another popular osmolyte in the health and fitness supplement segment called creatine. Like creatine, it is possible that betaine may hasten muscle and strength gains. Through protein synthesis, betaine is able to increase the growth of muscle. The digestive and cardiovascular benefits are much more established and understood than the body composition benefits; however, much research is underway in this area.
The combination of Betaine Anyhydrous, Leucine, and Creatine is proving to be the powerhouse supplement the body building world has been missing.
How to Calculate Out Your Betaine HCL Dose
Each person will have a specific supplementary HCL dosage. Unfortunately, there is no way to know your individual dosage. Only you can identify that by trial and error until you get to the correct dosage. Failing to get to your correct dosage can remove the benefits of supplementing.
You must find the right dosage for you situation. If you fail to do the trial and error you aren’t experiencing the fullest benefit.
Remember, the stomach is designed to handle extreme acid environments. If your correct dosage is 2400mg and you’re only taking 1200mg, you’re not doing enough. You must follow the process below to figure out the right dosage to get the maximum benefit.
- Eat a meal that contains at least 15-20grams of protein (about 4-6ounces of meat).
- Start by taking 1 pill (650mg or less) of Betaine HCL during the beginning of the meal.
- Finish the meal as normal and observe your body for any changes in feeling associated with the stomach and belly button area. Things to look for: heaviness, hotness, burning, or other GI distress.
- Stay at this dosage of 1 pill for another day of meals with protein and if you don’t notice anything on the 3rd day, try 2 pills. (Supplement with eVolusion Super Enzymes 1 – 3 caps per meal)
- Stay there for another day and then try 3 pills.
- Keep increasing the number of pills taken with each meal until you notice some GI discomfort described in step #3.
- When this happens, you will know your ideal Betaine HCL dosage is 1 pill less. For example, if you felt the discomfort going from 6 pills to 7 pills, then 6 pills is your proper dosage for a normal meal.
I Need to Take How Many Betaine HCL Pills?
Most people stop short of the optimal Betaine HCL dosage. I, myself, was nervous about taking 8 or 10 pills at a meal. I assure you, there is nothing to worry about. A common Betaine HCL dosage range in his clinical practice is 3,250-4,550mg per meal. That means there are people who need above 5,000mg for an effective dosage.
A normal functioning stomach is capable of producing, and handling, extreme acid ranges. If your dosage starts getting extremely high without any GI distress then begin to use your GI symptoms as a guide. These include burping, bloating, farting, and stool consistency. Keep everything else the same in your diet, wait for these indicators to change for the better. While you may be able to take 20 pills, it doesn’t mean you should. It could be that at 12 pills all of your problems disappear.
A Couple Points:
– Betaine HCL is a powerful tool. If you are eating a snack without much protein, such as chips and salsa or some fruit, you won’t need much, if any, Betaine HCL. Start with the lowest dosage and work your way up. Your body is unique. It’s need will change based upon what food you plan to consume.
– If you experience GI discomfort finding your correct dosage, you can mix ½ teaspoon of baking soda in 8oz of water to reduce acid levels quickly.
*WARNING: Do not supplement with Betaine HCL if you have an ulcer, while taking antacids, NSAIDS ( Ibruprofen, Advil, Tylenol, Aleve, Aspirin), or while nursing or pregnant. Consult a doctor for any questions or concerns.