Betaine HCl Dosage for Acid Reflux and Poor Digestion

by Anonymous

*Melissa's note - This submission was originally posted in the comments section for my HCl Supplements Effect on Body pH page. I moved it here because I thought the story shared by this anonymous visitor deserved its own page.*

I was recently told I had pancreatitis which I believe is a result of poor digestion that I began noticing two years ago.

It has been a long road and several doctors, but I feel that I am finally figuring it out.

First it was an allergist who told me that I had a host of food sensitivities via blood test and high candida. I followed his elimination regimen and felt better for a while until I started experiencing LPR (a kind of acid reflux) in my throat and ear.

An ENT prescribed me a generic antacid which I took for a while but it didn't seem to do much.

Then I saw a nutritionist who took a more natural approach, and helped me with digestive enzymes and candida support.

All these treatments helped, but nothing really cured me.

Having begun an HCl regimen, I feel that the last of my symptoms are going away- no more extreme fatigue after eating (my energy is actually quite good now), no more yawning all day, no more heart palpitations, no more poor bowel movements, and no more just generally not feeling great as I eat very well.

Your description of what is going on all makes perfect sense to me. If I was not assimilating the food that I was eating properly - if my stomach did not aid in digestion - it would end up stressing my other digestive organs.

I had blood work done today for H. Pylori and some other things the GI ordered, but I am going to have another doctor look at them as he told me to take Nexium the same day I put myself on HCl and refused his prescription- and felt much better for it.

Now my question is....I have taken up to 7 650 mg HCl with Pepsin tablets and felt no burning- why? I have dosed back down to 5 because I feel good when I take 5, sometimes 6 if I feel any reflux, sometimes 4.

I've read on another site that this method is really only testing the strength of the mucosal barrier in your stomach. Is it possible I have low acid and a strong barrier? Or is the HCl just shadowing a different digestive problem.

I'm feeling much better on the HCl, but really just trying to figure out the source of all my problems. Your help is much appreciated.


Good for you for refusing the Nexium prescription. Standing up to your doctor and taking your health into your own hands takes courage.

These acid reflux/heartburn medications that the doctors profit off of actually make the problem worse. I describe why on this page:

Acid Reflux Medications Negatively Affect Body pH Levels

The Betaine HCl tablets will actually address the issue and remedy your acid reflux and poor digestion. It's natural, safe, and inexpensive.

Now, onto your questions. Are you taking the 7 Betaine HCl pills with each meal or per day? Seven per day seems quite reasonable to me (2-3 per main meal). Seven per meal would be high, but not unheard of.

In any case, if you are feeling better taking five HCl pills, then stick with it. It is very important to listen to your body.

Once your alkaline mineral reserves start being replenished, you'll no doubt start to feel a little bit of burning with your current dose (which then would be the signal to lower the dose).

Keep in mind we are talking about just a little burning – it would be easy to miss if you are focused on something else. Don't expect to be breathing fire. :)

It also isn't unusual to need slightly different numbers of tablets each day. It depends on your meal really.

If you are eating a meal with a lot of protein and fat, you'll need to take more HCl then if your main course was mostly carbohydrates. Bigger meals also require more HCl than smaller meals.

Eventually you'll get to the point where you won't need the Betaine HCl supplement anymore. Once your mineral reserves are completely replenished, and your body pH returns to normal, your stomach will be able to make as much acid as it needs.

And, most importantly, you will be much healthier for it.

Let me know if you have any other questions.

Wishing you the best of health,

Approach Wellness

Comments for Betaine HCl Dosage for Acid Reflux and Poor Digestion

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Capsule versus Tablet versus Powder form
by: Marie

I just purchased HCl with Pepsin, but I am hesitant to take it as I have a corn allergy and capsule is made from Gelatin (pork or bovine). Can I take HCl/pepsin in powder form? If so, is water okay?

hernia symptoms
by: phil

My sharp pain under sternum ,extreme bloating bring up bits of food and acid burning pain in lower colon area throughout when area is full ,extreme spinal pain ,stools either rock hard impacted with whippy like mixed hard first runny follows or undigested floating ,sometime yeloow sometimes dark i take tramodol which barely touches the pain,confusion dizzeness fatigue ,my stomach just does not digest food well am so bloated i thought had acities at one point ,am becoming besisdes my self now ,have had stomach issues for 12 years suffer from fibromyalgia,work three days a week doing labouring work which has been killing me,i am at a point where just getting through a day now when at home is hell,not alone work ,everything i eat sets my pain off,if i don't eat my pain flares up,either way i am lost in pain,have to wait 6 weeks jusst for a referal date with gastro department,to aim for yet another endoscopy ,my last was 5 years ago had barium swallow 2and a half years ago ,upper vascular lesion was the result,the doctor was very flippant suggested nothing to worry about despite symptoms,they have put me omeprazole but all the research i have done suggests i need more acid not something to counter act or will make worse so i have invested in hydrochroride betaine and pepsin although am a bit nervous about taking as bottle says 1 tab per meal but reseach dictates find the right level for you and only take with protein meals,supplementing in between with reg digestive enzymes,i need some helpful advice as i am so tired and beginning to wonder now just what is going on as the spinal and bowel pain is beyond what i am feeling i can cope with,is taking me to another level ,feels as if i have a grapefruit stuck behind my sternum and my stomach balloons out to enormous size,pleaase exscuse spelling am so tire that is hard for me typing any advice would be greatful and very much appreciated,thank you phil..

Betaine HCL and steroids?
by: Anna Sanders

I have all the symptoms of low stomach acid. I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's disease (autoimmune hypothyroidism) fifteen years ago, and have been on thyroid medication ever since. For the past four years, I have taken Natural desiccated thyroid, along with 4 mg of Medrol daily for adrenal fatigue.

I have read that Betaine HCL should not be taken if on steroids. However, I have not understood if this applies to everyone on steroids, or just to people on supra physiological doses (4 mg daily is considered a physiological dose)? I have read about people on 12, 16, or even as much as 32 mg of Medrol daily...Also, what could happen if I were to try Betaine while on Medrol?

No bm
by: Carol

Just started taking hcl w pepsin and the first time without knowing how to take it I took 7 well I started to feel like I did when I first had gerd and was a littie scary so after breakfast next day I took one and the burning in throat started and belching so I thought mayb that was all I needed now? But have not had a bm since I started a week ago heard it was to help with this? So should I take more then one or stop ty

by: Anonymous


Great article!!
by: Kimberly

Typically how long can one expect to be on HCL tablets before they start to notice the burning sensation suggesting healing is taking place? Just curious - I just took 4 with my lunch, and I felt nothing... I will try 5 with dinner.

Thank you, Kim

I think I have that too please help
by: Alberto

Well I think I have low stomach acid too.

I get so tired sleepy extreme brain fog after eating.

I was using the hcl pills at the beginning(3weejs ago) I was taking in 13 pills because it made me feel better and lower the brain fog.
But now I can't take hcl pills it seems they give me more brain fog but I don't get it as severe now.

I'm taking acv now after every meal and seems to help. My question is acv enough?

I don't eat grains just meat,eggs,dairy and fruit.

Acid reflux and burning in my throat
by: Mac

Hi, I've been suffering with GERD for about a year now, I've decided that I didn't want to take PPI' s any more and recently started taking Betain Hcl with Pepsi. I been taking one 650 capsule with each meal but have noticed that my reflux and burning in my throat is worse that before. Should I stop taking the Betaine? What should I do?

can betine hcl treat low stomach acid permanantly.
by: rajeev yadav

i i have a problem called indigetion. i taken antacids protonix for about 4 months. now i feel i have low stomach acid. Because i feel fatiuge, nausa headec all the time and feels havyness after a short meal. i am anemic also because i am suffering indigetion for past 4 years. What to do pls tell me. and i want to know about betine hcl that can betine hcl mainten the stomach acid naturally or if this can happen that when we take betine hcl everything is normal and when i stop taking hcl the problem back again. because i take supplement before a.d i have seen their side effect. pls answer i am waiting for you.

Betaine HCL forms and using it with a liquid meal.
by: Adam

Thank you so much for taking a lot of time to help address this serious, yet frequently overlooked disorder, from which I believe to be suffering. The major problem which I have is that I am very sensitive to capsules, as those cause reflux in themselves, so I'm left in a quandary since the HCL only comes in a capsule or sometimes extremely large tablet form. I would ideally like a powder or liquid, but obviously that form would be very caustic and not stable. I currently have osteoporosis, which is entirely abnormal for a 30 year old male, and some kind of malabsorption is suspected. I'm in such a fragile state right now that is even difficult for me to get to doctors so I need to become stable enough at home to make greater steps. I'm wondering if I am using a protein shake as a meal replacement, if I can take my Betaine HCL with that or does it have to be solid food? I think I can manage taking the capsules, but what is crucially important is knowing if I can use them at a liquid mealtime like this. Thank you so much for your help.

My 3 1/2 year old
by: Kerry

My 3 1/2 year old has had multiple issues since birth. Because she seemed to be in pain after nursing she was put on Pepcid. She would become constipated while on the meds so now I'm guessing she had low acid. She has allergies to everything. All the drs we see say her IgE numbers are the highest they've ever seen. She has very itchy, fissured eczema. She had a yeast overgrowth we treated w/ morrinda. She had leaky gut we treated w/ glutamine. She's been on probiotics since 6 months old. She has vitamin deficiencies- vitamin D especially. Since July of this year she's been having asthma attacks. In the last 3 months she's had to be on oral steroids. I'm wanting to start her on hcl w/ pepsin. Any dosing suggestions?


Hi Kerry,

I'm sorry to hear about your issues with your little one. I really do not know what dose would be appropriate for young children with such tiny tummies. As long as she can tell you when she feels burning, you should be able to proceed slowly. If it were me, I would start by opening the capsule and dumping almost all of it out. If you give that to her and she has no burning, increase the amount accordingly. Obviously, she shouldn't take the HCl if she is still on an acid blocking/suppressing drug.

Wishing you and your daughter the best of health,

Approach Wellness

Not sure what's going on?
by: Jordan

Hi, I have had digestive issues as far back as I can remember, but lately they have been much worse. I started to do colonics because a friend told me that they really helped her digestive issues. They really did help until about the third one. I had started my menstraul cycle and as usual the horrible gas and bloating set in, but it seems to have stayed. Even after having three more colonics I still altogether feel like yuck. I have had unexplained fatigue, digestion issues and mineral imbalances ( among other strange symptoms) for a long time now. I have taken hcl off and on but never really consistently. But now I just feel terrible. I have even worse fatigue, after I eat I feel so tired and exhausted, I literally can't do much. Then eventually I get terrible foul smelling gas (sorry, just being honest) with burning sensation. After a while I get terrible bouts of nausea with stomach pans. I feel really exhausted like I could just drop at any moment. I also have been constipated and just have a general uneasy feeling in my stomach. I also seem to one minute not be hungry for hours and then other times, i ate like an hour ago and im starved again, but i dont want to eat because it seems to rob my energy. Could this be low stomach acid? Oh and my ph strips said I was at the highest level for acidity. I appreciate any advice.
Thanks, Jordan


Hi Jordan,

Low stomach acid certainly could me an issue for you. It would be well worth it to give it a try. The pills themselves are very inexpensive.

Wishing you the best of health,

Approach Wellness

So Helpful
by: May

Thanks so much for this explanation. I have just started taking HCI having had a hiatus hernia and IBS for years - the latter having worsened considerably recently. I was a little alarmed having just tested my urinary and salivary PH levels and found them to be 5. I was thinking that the HCI might be having an adverse affect but now I'll keep on with HCI and take a dose with each meal as you advise

Bloating and gas after eating
by: Jon from London

I have high lipase, poor digestion, get tonnes of bloating and gas after every meal.

Do you think taking a HCL supplement would help me?

P.S. - I can't swallow tablets for psychological reasons.


Hi Jon,

The symptoms you describe are indicative of low stomach acid (also called gastric hypoacidity).

Betaine HCl tablets will help, but they are only available in pill form.

You could try unrefined apple cider vinegar as an alternative. It might not be a strong enough acid to give you complete relief, but it should help - and you can drink it.

Wishing you the best of health,

Approach Wellness

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