3 Tests for Low Stomach Acid

by Steven Wright

Did you know stomach acid is actually good for you? Dr. Jonathan Wright wrote a whole book on the topic because he felt it was so important for overall health. In fact, most people I talk with who think they have high acid levels actually have low acid levels. This is why it is so important to test and find out for sure.

Proper stomach acid production is vital to unlocking perfect digestion. The digestive process downstream from the stomach is controlled chiefly by pH changes. When the food (chyme) in your stomach reaches a pH of about 2-4, the valve at the bottom of the stomach (pyloric sphincter) starts to slowly release the stomach contents into the duodenum. From here, the pH raises up and down as it travels through the intestines and out the other end.

If the pH is wrong from the beginning, everything downstream from the small intestine to the large intestine will likely be compromised. Think of it like this: chewing your food is the first crucial step to perfect digestion and stomach acid is the next most important.

Low stomach acid can cause diarrhea just as fast as it can cause constipation so don’t think that it’s only confined to one or the other. If you have any digestive problems at all, this is one problem you must rule out or you may never unlock total health.

There are 3 different tests you could do to find out if you have low stomach acid.

Remember, not all tests are created the same. In this case, the more time and money you invest the better your results will be. However, most people won’t need to break the bank to figure this out.

The Heidelberg Stomach Acid Test

The gold standard medical test for low stomach acid available right now is called ”The Heidelberg Stomach Acid Test.” This test is the most costly of the bunch, but it will give you exact, non-biased results you need to analyze your stomach acid. It usually costs around $350 and unfortunately most insurance plans won’t cover it. But always call ahead because prices change and so does insurance coverage.

The Heidelberg test works by using a small capsule with a radio transmitter that records the pH of your stomach as you drink a solution of Sodium Bicarbonate. The result of the test is a graph showing your pH levels at regular intervals of time.

It really doesn’t get any more descriptive than this. Plus, there have been more than 140 scientific studies to back it up.

The Heidelberg Stomach Acid Test Protocol

  1. Fast for 8-12 hours and no acid suppressing drugs for at least 4 days prior to test
  2. Swallow a small pill sized capsule
  3. Drink a solution of Sodium bicarbonate
  4. The test will continuously record the pH in your stomach for as long as needed

Upon conclusion of the test, you’ll have a graph showing your specific stomach response to the challenge solution. From this test, the doctor can determine if you have any forms of hypochlorhydria, hyperchlorhydria, or achlorhydria. This is the best test for all stomach acid related problems.

The Baking Soda Stomach Acid Test

This test works by drinking baking soda and creating a chemical reaction in your stomach between the baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and hydrochloric acid (HCL). The result is carbon dioxide gas that causes burping. Ingesting baking soda is an old school natural home remedy for upset stomachs. This test will only cost you about $3 if you need to buy a new box of baking soda. Many people choose to try this test first because it’s very safe, low cost and you can get started tomorrow if it is in the cupboard.

But, there are problems with this test. Overall, there are a lot of variables to control. Trying to minimize all the variables can be tough and I would recommend performing the test 3 consecutive mornings to find an average. By doing this, you’re looking for more of a pattern than a onetime test of “yes” or “no.” Also, to increase accuracy of the test, you must do it as soon as you wake up in the morning before putting anything in your mouth.

For the record, I’m unaware of any scientific studies that prove this method of stomach acid testing is either reliable or accurate. The results of this test can vary widely and it’s up to your interpretation, both of which are not ideal.

Here’s the Quick, at Home Way to See if You Have Low Stomach Acid

  1. Mix 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda in 4-6 ounces of cold water first thing in the morning before eating or drinking anything.
  2. Drink the baking soda solution.
  3. Time how long it takes you to belch. Time up to five minutes.

If you have not belched within five minutes stop timing.

In theory, if your stomach is producing adequate amounts of stomach acid you’ll likely belch within two to three minutes. Early and repeated belching may be due to excessive stomach acid (but don’t confuse these burps with small little burps from swallowing air when drinking the solution). Any belching after 3 minutes indicates a low acid level.

Because the time frames can vary person-to-person, as well as how they drink the solution, this test is only a good indicator that you might want to do more testing to determine your stomach acid.

This test is not accurate enough to rule out low stomach acid. To rule out low stomach acid you will need to try the Heidelberg test or Betaine HCL challenge test.

Betaine HCL Challenge Test for Low Stomach Acid

The most reliable test you can perform at home is the Betaine HCL challenge test. In fact, if you do enough searching on the web, you’ll find several health websites who will try to sell you a kit to perform the steps below (don’t fall for this duh). This test can be performed safely if you follow the directions below. It will cost you around $20 or less to do this test.

Note: NSAIDs and Corticosteroids increase the chances of ulcers in the stomach and together with Betaine HCL increase the risk of gastritis. Consult a physician before trying this test or supplementing.

Each case of low stomach acid is unique and will require a custom dosage of HCL. But one way you can find out if you have low stomach acid is by using Betaine HCL supplements. Dr. Jonathan Wright suggests using (1) 650mg or less pill that includes Pepsin.

To Perform the Test do the Following:

  1. Buy some Betaine HCL with pepsin (I like these)
  2. Eat a high protein meal of at least 6 ounces of meat
  3. In the middle of the meal take 1 Betaine HCL pill
  4. Finish your meal as normal and pay attention to your body

There’s really only 2 outcomes from this test.

  1. The first is that you won’t notice anything. As you go about your normal life after the meal nothing will change. This means it is very likely you have low stomach acid levels.
  2. If as you go about your normal life and start to feel stomach distress characterized as heaviness, burning, or hotness – then these are signs that you don’t have low acid levels.

This test isn’t completely fool proof either and should be repeated at least one more time on a different day to confirm the first test. One of the biggest causes of false test results is the amount of protein eaten at the meal, so make sure to eat a chunk of meat with the test. If you do get some burning, don’t worry it will pass in about an hour. You can also mix up a ½ teaspoon of baking soda and drink it to help stop the discomfort.

After getting 2 positive tests, it is time to start supplementing with Betaine HCL to get your stomach acid levels where they need to be for good digestion.

I Have Low Stomach Acid Now What?

If you do find out you have low stomach acid, the prescription is pretty simple. In the short-term, you need to supplement your acid levels to allow the rest of the digestive process to work properly.

Natural supplement options include apple cider vinegar and digestive bitters. But usually most people will need to supplement with Betaine HCL as a replacement for the low acid. It is thought that Betaine HCL will retrain your stomach to get to the correct pH levels over time. What is known is it will allow your digestion to work correctly in the interim.

Long-term you need to work on finding the root cause problem and taper off the supplements.

But until then, Betaine HCL supplementation is a safe way to have great digestion and make sure you’re getting the nutrients you need from your foods.

 

 

Have you done any of these tests? Tell us your experiences below in the comments section!

About the author

Steven Wright Steve Wright is a health engineer and author. In 2009, he reached a breaking point when IBS took over his life and the doctors didn't know how to help. Since then, he has transformed his health and started SCDLifestyle.com to help others naturally heal stomach problems. You can check out his story here and find him on Google+, Facebook or Twitter.

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet Works

{ 234 comments… read them below or add one }

Roger Elliott March 9, 2012 at 8:52 am

Hi Steve

What do you think to the ‘string test’ for stomach acid, Where you swallow a length of ph-sensitive string after eating protein and then pull it out?
Cheers
Roger

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Steven Wright March 9, 2012 at 9:08 am

@ Roger – I think your most likely referring to the Heidelberg Test above, the old version of the test used a string tied to the capsule and they had to pull it out (not too pleasant). New versions of the same test don’t use a string. But I believe both ways of doing the test are still in practice around the country.

Short answer – yes great but not fun – try to find one without a string.

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Roger Elliott March 14, 2012 at 4:14 pm

HI Steve – I mention it because it’s a much cheaper alternative, and there’s nothing attached to the end. And actually, it’s really not too bad – I’ve done it twice, once with poor results, once with good (acid wise). It doesn’t make you retch, or at least it didn’t me. I was asking just to see if you reckon it’s a reliable indicator.

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Jamie March 9, 2012 at 10:03 am

Thank you for another excellent article. I can take THREE 650 mg Betaine Hcl/Pepsin tablets/pills. Yeah, I know I have low stomach acid. @_@ I have tried apple cider vinegar, I think it’s an excellent overall tonic, and helps stomach upset too, but just not as effective as the Betaine Hcl pills.

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Steven Wright March 9, 2012 at 10:10 am

@ Jamie – I agree and actually apple cider vinegar is not a substitute for HCL, it won’t give the health benefits of using Betaine HCL with Pepsin.

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Kelly July 12, 2014 at 4:30 pm

THREE betaine HCLs? That’s nothing. I have to take NINE to get any warmth in my stomach. Frustrating and debilitating…

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Maureen March 9, 2012 at 10:41 am

I did the baking soda test. I barely burped after doing it on three different days. I did the test after stopping priolosec, which I had been taking for the last 8 years. My stomach acid is extremely low and I was taking 10 650 mg Betain HcL for a few months and I am now usually at 9 pills depending on the amount of protein in the meal (almost 8 months on SCD!). I actually was having a lot trouble adding foods on SCD until I finally upped my dosage.
It has been hard for me to determine what is a good dosage for me. I actually went as high as 11 pills. I didn’t have any burning, but just some discomfort and I figured that taking 11 pills with each meal is just plain ridiculous so I decided to stay on 10 pills and them moved to 9. I am not sure how long I will have to be taking Betaine HcL and I am not sure how to go about looking for long term solutions. The only help I have received from doctors is a diagnosis of GERD and to take Proton Pump Inhibitors for the rest of my life. In the past I have not had success with naturopaths, but I have thought about trying a naturopath who was recently recommeded to me. Any suggestions would be welcome.

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Steven Wright March 13, 2012 at 5:55 pm

@ Maureen – Your doing great so far, Keep it up. You were on acid suppressing drugs for 8 years… so you may need to betaine at least that long or forever due to damaged receptors. Don’t worry about taking 10 pills you will be fine. The fact that your symptoms got better and you were able to add foods after you upped the dosage. That means you made a good move!

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tama August 30, 2013 at 11:03 am

have you tried homeopathy ? It sounds like its worth a whirl…better than mega pills or proton pump inhibitors…

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Beata May 6, 2013 at 8:03 pm

Hey you sound like me except I’ve lost so much weight n am at 98lbs. Doctors aren’t helping. I just hate having diarrhea, dizziness, nauseau, muscles cramping and the list goes on. What else can I do?

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Terry March 10, 2012 at 1:08 pm

I was wondering if low acid could cause weight gain due to not digesting properly?

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Steven Wright March 13, 2012 at 5:52 pm

@ Terry – I can’t really see a way this would be true, because usually low acid levels cause malabsorption of the foods. You will notice this because most people with low acid levels are prone to creating a lot of gas. This is the bacteria fermenting the foods instead of it being absorbed into the body.

Low acid levels might contribute to obesity due to creating low nutrient status which will drive disease but that’s the only connection I can draw at this time.

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Bob Smith August 4, 2013 at 5:59 pm

Hypothyroid has two common symptoms

1) low stomach acid
2) obesity/inability to lose weight

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Arletta March 16, 2014 at 5:05 pm

Yeast overgrowth causes weight gain – low stomach acid contributes to yeast overgrowth.

Low stomach acid can cause allergic reaction in foods, which, for some people clear up once they can properly digest those foods. Allergies can lead to weight gain.

Low stomach acid tends to cause illness, because, the food is putrefying inside you, instead of moving on through. This can lead to sluggishness and, also, your body shuttling some of the poisons that result into your fat cells. Equaling, of course, weight gain.

There are other things I have read, about how your adrenal glands, pancreas, liver and thyroid are affected by low stomach acid.Your body is a system and that system relies on proper nutrition as fuel. When it doesn’t get it, because of malabsorption, it 1) drives you to eat more 2) becomes unbalanced and starts craving things that produce quick energy (carbohydrates) 3) fails to properly kick off all the reactions that are necessary to keep all the various bits of you in working order.

If your thyroid is malfunctioning due to low stomach acid it is always, or almost always, in the way that makes you gain weight.

So, yes, low stomach acid can, does, and, almost certainly will make you gain weight. That does not mean that if you gain weight that you have low stomach acid, of course.

When I was taking the Betaine HCL and I was eating meat, so that they actually worked for me at that point, I lost a lot of weight, rather quckly, and, I was not dieting, at all.

As I mentioned in my other comment, the HCL does not work for me, most of the time, as I eat mostly vegetables and grains. Then, Apple Cider Vinegar is much more effective.

When I am eating mostly vegetables, the fact that I have low stomach acid is not as painfully important, as meat is harder to digest. However, I still have a far better time of it when I use Apple Cider Vinegar – and, when I do use it, I lose weight, without making any other changes.

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Elle June 11, 2014 at 7:06 pm

Thanks Arletta that was helpful.

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Venugopal March 22, 2012 at 4:29 am

Thanks Steve for great article.

I have been dealing with following issues for last 2 years without permanent remedy from DR’s yet. I have tried antiacids, stool softeners, increase in fiber intake, changing food habits..etc..

Hard stools
Severe insomnia
Wind passing
Tiredness
Dizziness/confusion/memory issues after eating food.
My mind feels good in empty stomach.

1 month ago I had a viral fever, DR had suggested Antibiotic (ciplox az), my fever went away and along with that I see all the above mentioned gastro issues were also cured for 2 weeks and gradually the symptoms are returning back.. I went Gastroenterologist, DR says, its overgrowth of Bactria in smaller intestine which needs to be flushed and I am on 1 month medication but not helping.

At this point I have really lost hope on DR’s and going through the internet to see what could be the problem. Could it be low stomach acid may be causing the above issues? Please comment at your leisure.

-Thanks for your time and help

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Steven Wright March 23, 2012 at 8:42 pm

@ Venugopal – Yes you could have low stomach acid, try the test and find out. But along with it you likely have more problems like SIBO. Best of luck let us know how you do!

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Trisha August 6, 2012 at 1:58 pm

I have the same thing. If u figure out any thing please let me know….

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Kathy Lowery September 16, 2013 at 1:58 pm

I have SIBO and it does sound like that might be what you have. Ask for a hydrogen breath test to confirm. I went through 5 doses of antibiotics before it cleared after I was diagnosed. However it is common for SIBO to come back after medical treatment. It did about 3 years later so I decided to use SCD to treat it this time. I have been on SCD for over a year now and have no more pain or bloating. I also treated my low acid with HCL because I had taken acid reflex medicine off and on for 30 years. I have read those meds can cause SIBO. I now do not get acid reflex. I used the HCL pills for about 6 months and then decreased and went off of them. Good luck to you!

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Mike January 4, 2014 at 1:49 pm

You might also look at articles on Mercola.com for SIBO/chrones, even if you don’t have chrones. My condition has improved but not completely by eliminating preservatives, GMOs, sugars; and eating and juicing vegatables, eating organic and grass fed beef, free range chicken. I’m going to try the HCL now as Istill have some problems. Way better than before. Highly recommend you look into the food you eat.
Mike

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Barbra Thompson February 12, 2014 at 1:36 pm

Couldn’t help replying, I dealt with all the same issues you have and much more before I was finally diagnosed with celiac disease in 2010. I was tired of all the medications the doctors kept prescribing to treat the many symptoms I had without finding out what was causing them. I requested an indescopic procedure to fine out what the problem was. All my issues are gone with a gluten free life style except heartburn, as soon as I lay down in the evening (which I take one Zantac for). After research, I suspect low stomach acid for the heartburn (I do have hypothyroid, another symptom of celiac).

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Elle June 11, 2014 at 7:15 pm

I too have been dealing with that. I am up to 1000mg of magnesium malate.
Am trying a 200 mg of potassium now and thinking that is helping with the being tired part. But I really think that I just haven’t been absorbing the nutrients. In the past I tried betaine HCL and got up to 7 capsules at a meal with no discomfort but didn’t understand as much at that time about nutrition. So now I will go back to that and see if I can use less magnesium and not have constipation. Hopefully I will also benefit by absorbing more nutrients from my food as well as supplement and thyroid med. I had wondered if I was getting maximum benefit from my naturethroid, since low thyroid will really keep you tired.

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Mark Solomon August 20, 2014 at 3:54 pm

Just had to say I can related to the dizziness/confusion/brain fog. The reason I’m commenting is that something that really worked to clear this up almost immediately–no kidding–is oil of oregano (it’s wild oregano in olive oil–not the essential oil–which works also but requires mixing with olive oil due to strength). It was like Christmas tree lights turning on in my head.

I believe it’s also killing the bad bacteria in my gut. I’m doing on off cycles with probiotics and oregano oil.

I believe the type of Oregano really makes a difference. So far the super strength Oil of Oregano from Vitamin Shoppe capsules work. But you can buy other better ones on Amazon for cheaper–I think there’s a 2oz one (same price as the 1oz ones from other brands) that comes directly from Greece which is supposed to be the bomb. Wild Oregano is best. And the oil is derived from a different Oregano plant than the leaf Oregano you put on Italian foods…

—-I know it’s off topic–but it might help some of you—

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Bruce March 23, 2012 at 7:07 pm

I watched a 1 and 1/2 hour presentation by Dr David Brownstein who got fed up with his MD and went the holistic route when he learned iodine is lacking in most people and has since cured cancer and many other problems with 50 mg supplimentation using lugal’s or iadoral. I started on 50 mg and read that low acid will slow down the iodine/iodide breakdown so I will be testing myself tomarro and getting some betaine hcl. Thanks! Also he says the stomach needs iodine to make the acid! How about that angle!

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Steven Wright March 23, 2012 at 7:43 pm

@ Bruce – thanks for the comment, Dr. Brownstein is very smart. Just be careful jumping into 50mg a day, many report reactive hypothyroidism because it is such a change in what was happening in the body before. Most people recommend you slowly ramp up your iodine to these levels and supplement with Selenium. See these posts for more info. http://perfecthealthdiet.com/?p=3621 and http://perfecthealthdiet.com/?p=3650

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Elle June 11, 2014 at 7:17 pm

I think Dr Brownstein is the Guru on Iodine and I have been taking Ioderal, but now have switched to kelp with the kelp capsules coming from the north Atlantic and not Japan (nuclear contamination).

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Lidd March 29, 2012 at 2:24 pm

Ive Been having a lot of health issues for a year I feel full with no food or very little. I have burning in my stomach most of the time. I have dizziness when I stand. I am extremely tired all the time. I have nausea and sickness everyday. I’ve lost a lot of weight. My symptoms are every day. I tried lanzoprozol for excess acid but they did not help. The doctors don’t know what it is. I don’t know if it’s my acid levels. I had my gall bladder removed several years ago. Im 26 years old female. Any suggestions welcome thank you.

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coral March 15, 2013 at 7:07 pm

Hi, have you been tested for iron deficiency anemia? You have a lot of the symptoms and from what I’ve been reading, low stomach acid levels stop certain minerals/vitamins being absorbed properly. Just a thought.

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AlexJ October 17, 2013 at 9:54 pm

Lidd how did you fix your problem?

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Diana September 3, 2014 at 2:32 pm

The day before yesterday (Sept 1) or the Friday before that) Dr. Oz said something about a consequence of having your gall bladder out but I don’t recall what it is. Unless you’re up on all of this as I suspect you are, you might check his website. I’m sure there’s a way for you to return to good health. While you’re hanging in there, visualize yourself healthy. Our imagination and intuition are
our greatest gifts. Diana

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Brad June 22, 2012 at 11:44 am

I’d love to do a Heidelberg test but where would one even go to get the test done? I’ll probably stick with Betaine HCL supplementation testing for now. Thanks for a great post! Informative and helpful for someone like me with severe arthritis and gut issues. I feel like I eat as healthy as possible but may still have malabsorption problems.

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Jordan Reasoner June 26, 2012 at 1:13 pm

Hey Brad, many GI doctors can do the test.

They have to have the testing equipment. Many hospitals have it as well.

Call around in your local area based no insurance coverage, etc.

In good health,

Jordan

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PAMM January 5, 2014 at 8:24 pm

I asked my Gastro doctor to do this test and he said they didn’t do them. So not all doctors will do them :(

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yolzy June 24, 2012 at 6:05 am

I have taken Digestive Plus it has Betaine HCL with Peptin as u said to take it. About 20 minutes later my throat became tighter than usual, i have had squeezing sensation on the right side for a year now, but it got worse after the test, WHY IS THAT??

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Jordan Reasoner June 26, 2012 at 1:15 pm

That’s a tough one. You should probably check with your Doctor about that.

If you have really high Intra-Abdominal Pressure from low stomach acid, it could be that’s what is causing the pain. In some cases, it takes a few weeks of supplementing for those symptoms to subside.

Hang in there and keep working hard to take control of your health.

Jordan

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B Mitchell June 27, 2012 at 3:57 am

Hi Steve

I was so pleased to discover your article. It’s brilliant!

For several years now I’ve woken up in the mornings with huge pockets of trapped wind, and sometimes have sat for 45 minutes to an hour stretching and twisting to release it. Apart from causing stomach problems the trapped wind also aggravated the dizziness I’ve experienced since I suffered from labrynthitis three years ago. My balance has been really affected.

Recently I’ve experienced a lot of pain and discomfort in my stomach and so went to see the doctor. I did ask her if it could possibly be low stomach acid, and straightaway she discounted it. So she put me on Lansoprozale, and I took this for a month, and it really helpd with the stomach problems and the vertigo and dizziness virtually disappeared. However, round about the third week I sarted getting vauge pains in my arms and back, and somedays it was even an effort to put one leg in front of the other, so I stopped the Lansoprozale and the pains went away. Then, of course, the stomach problems and dizziness came bck. So I tried the Lansoprozale again, and this time started with an irritating cough. It wasn’t like a regular cough, so I stopped the Lansoprozale again and the cough has improved, though not gone away entirely.

A few days ago I went to see the doctor again and told her what had happened and she’s put me on Omeprazole! I took two of these and went for a lie down, because I wasn’t feeling too good. When I woke up my throat felt as though it was swollen, my chest felt tight and inflamed, and I could hear myself wheezing slightly. Up to then I’ve never had problems with breathing and am not subject to coughs and colds. Could this be a reaction to the Omeprazole?

I’m now waiting to hear from the hospital to have an endoscopy. However, yesterday evening after reading your article, during my evening meal I took sips of apple cider vinegar and obtained almost immediate relief. So this morning I did the acid test using the bircarbonate of soda, and it actually took 5.1/2 minutes before I gave a burp.

But why do pump inhibitors work when there’s no acid to suppress?

For just over a week now I’ve been taking two heaped teaspoonsful of Bentonite Clay just before I go to bed to detox and to help with my stomach problems. But is this a bad idea if I have low stomach acid?

Sorry to go on for so long, but it’s good to communicate with someone who understands. I really do despair of the medical profession.

B Mitchell

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Karl July 3, 2012 at 8:24 am

So I’m trying the baking soda trials and have come into a curious twist. What does it mean when drinking the solution makes you feel nauseated? Also, Had a “warming” sensation in the esophageal area but no “burp” other than the air I accidentally swallowed while drinking the solution.

-Karl

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thandeka July 16, 2012 at 8:14 am

Is it good to eat too much starch such as bread and pap

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Steven Wright July 20, 2012 at 3:16 pm

@thandeka – If your suffering from Heartburn, GERD or acid reflux it is usually a bad idea to each starches and grains. It usually makes the symptoms worse. There are a few books on it and some posts on our site about it. Try going grain-free or even SCD for 30 days and I bet you’ll feel better

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Elle June 11, 2014 at 8:37 pm

Try getting the book Wheat Belly by Dr Davis from your library.

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Cisco August 10, 2012 at 2:36 pm

Can damaged receptors heal, with things like glutamine and dgl? also can an imbalance of gut flora cause low acid.

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Steven Wright August 13, 2012 at 10:47 am

@Cisco – As far as we know the damaged cells can heal, but the key is what caused the damage? You have to find the root cause and get rid of it for full recovery. There are gut flora problems and infections like H Plyori that will suppress acid production to live. So it’s very wise to get extensive stool testing for all parasites, bacteria and yeasts.

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Simon August 13, 2012 at 1:16 am

Hi All:
Do you know if radiotelemetry-Heidelberg test is a common procedure at GI doctors offices. I can’t find anything on it around Los Angeles area
Thank you

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Cisco August 16, 2012 at 7:01 pm

can low stomach acid cause slow stomach emptying?

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Jordan Reasoner August 18, 2012 at 6:27 pm

Yes it can. The stomach looks for a certain PH level to get the signal that it’s ready for the next stage of digestion. If you’re not producing enough HCL naturally, you’ll never get the PH to the right signal that ships it along and proteins will ferment in your gut.

Try the HCL challenge and see if it improves.

Jordan

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Terri A August 23, 2012 at 3:15 pm

Just found your website from a youtube video you guys did a while back. I have thought for some time my stomach problems might be from too low stomach acid, but my gastro. dr. looks at me like I’m crazy….(he claims it only happens to people in their 80’s, I’m 54) I have had two endoscopies within the last year (different doctors) and a peptic ulcer was found in the first (now healed) and an esophagus ulcer found in the second along with a small hiatial hernia. Was put on Omeprazole and it killed my stomach..I felt it was twisting it dry like a rag!! I took half a dose for a few weeks and gave up, and just take DGL (I really believe it heals them) H. Pylori test was negative.

The only relief I have had is DGL before each meal, and it helps, but I can’t eat hardly any meat without feeling like it sits there all day long. I have tried the baking soda test a few times, but I question if it works for me, I get a few tiny burps at first and then nothing for the rest of the time.

Anyway, I was wondering if you knew it was okay to do the HCL-betaine with having an ulcer that I think is healing or healed. I had read somewhere that you shouldn’t take it if ulcers were present. I’m thinking of just starting out with a low dose and working up.
I would love to get the Heidelburg test done, but can’t find a doctor in my area.

The dr. took biopsies from the duodenum and I have low disaccharide levels and lactose level is 0, but no celiac disease. So I have just started the SCD diet and hope to see some improvements with my intestinal-track symptoms. My biggest complaint is my stomach and how careful I have eat. I live on eggs, chicken broth, and avacados. Sorry this post turned into a book, but wanted to share my story, and hopefully get you imput on the HCL .
Thanks,
Terri

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Jordan Reasoner August 26, 2012 at 12:52 pm

Hi Terri, I’m so glad that you found us!

The best advice I can give you is to read Dr. Jonathon Wright’s book, “Why Stomach Acid is Good For You” which we have a link to in our recommended product page:

http://scdlifestyle.com/recommended-products/

If it were me and my ulcer was healing, I would test a little HCL and see how it went. But we’re not Doctors, so I can’t make any recommendations for anyone. It’s a decision you’ll have to make on your own after doing more research. It might take some more time healing the stomach lining before you can tolerate HCL, but it sounds like you’re a great candidate.

Keep us posted on how you’re doing.

In good health,

Jordan

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Rebecca September 17, 2012 at 3:39 pm

Hi Jordan and Steve
I currently take Betaine HCL but havent really worked out my dose as I eat varied amounts of protein at each meal but I was just wondering is there a way of reversing the effects of proton pump inhibitors and making your stomach produce its proper levels of acid without supplementing Betaine HCL? Is the only solution supplementing with Betaine HCL for life?

Thanks
Rebecca

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Sarah September 18, 2012 at 10:01 am

What happens if you do the Betaine HCL test and even one pill makes your stomach burn? I’ve done the test a couple times and gotten extreme burning in my stomach. I have heartburn/GERD and wonder if I may actually have high acid. However, I also know I have SIBO caused by taking acid reducers. Any input is appreciated!

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Carrie September 25, 2012 at 5:34 pm

I believe supplemental HCL might be helpful for me, but upon researching a few products I discovered it is often porcine derived. I have an odd allergy to most meats, so I am glad I discovered this fact. I have found a Betaine HCL + Pepsin product that is plant derived from beets. Do you think it is as effective as the products derived from pigs?

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Steven Wright September 26, 2012 at 9:40 am

@Carrie – Not sure you’d have to test and find out. I doubt you’d have any problem with the normal Betaine HCL. Sounds like you have a very leaky gut.

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Anita September 28, 2012 at 3:33 pm

“There’s really only 2 outcomes from this test.

The first is that you won’t notice anything, as you go about your normal life after the meal nothing will change. This means it is very likely you have low stomach acid levels.
If as you go about your normal life and start to feel stomach distress characterized as heaviness, burning, or hotness – then these are signs that you don’t have low acid levels.”

Could you clarify the above statements? I’m totally confused (and I’m a physician). 1. If one has low acid, then “nothing will change” would mean burping, pain etc. as “normal” for low-acid condition. 2. If one has normal acid, one betaine HCl pill should not cause all those symptoms, right? Plus, in the post on betaine HCl supplementation, you say not to give up on a lower dosage (but to increase until symptoms disappear), so what would 1 pill show? Am I missing something?

I think my daughter may have this, and your site is very informative. I have not taken her to a GI doc because I don’t want
her to take Prilosec or similar meds as a first intervention. Thanks.

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Steven Wright October 2, 2012 at 3:55 pm

@Anita – Sure so to clarify. If you have do not have low stomach acid meaning you have good acid or high acid levels (not likely) when you supplement with Betaine HCL you should get a deep like middle of abdomen area hotness, burning or heaviness. This also happens when you have low acid and are trying to find the perfect dosage. Sometimes 7 pills causes the pain but 6 results in perfect digestion.

For the same person above if they take 5 pills they are likely to keep experiencing acid reflux pains but not deep abdomen (stomach location) pains.

I wish there were better words in the English language to explain this but I can’t think of any. There is a distinct difference between acid reflux / GERD burning and the kind that results from having too much acid in the stomach. The intensity and location is much different. Also when testing betaine hcl if you go too high my experience has never been the throat/esophagus problems that are normally thought to happen with reflux. It’s always much deeper and doesn’t come up towards the mouth for me. Does that help?

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Daniel C. September 30, 2012 at 11:27 am

So, about 4 months ago I think i had a stomach infection with H. pylori, my doctor never really confirmed what it was but i took two medication in a 1 month period. One was some antibiotic that is common and the other was metronidazole. After i finished the medication, I’ve had stomach acid problems since then. I took nexium and a few others proton pumpers for 2 months but decided to stop because first i didnt want to be on them for the rest of my life, and second i wasnt getting that much better. Since i stopped i havent been taken anything just eating healthier and exercising. But i still have some acid problems with tight throat, sometimes soar throat. I tried the baking soda test and didnt even burp. So do you feel i have low stomach problems?

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Terri R. October 2, 2012 at 5:07 pm

I’ve been wanting to try the Betaine HCL but a little nervous about taking it. Since I’ve been eating a lot more meat, I’ve noticed that my heartburn has gotten worse. Aren’t meats high-acidic? And if they are, wouldn’t adding Betaine make me worse? I don’t have an ulcer but do have a little area in the lower stomach that’s a little red and irritated. I don’t know if I’m reacting to all the acid in the meat or if I’m low on acid. I want to ask my doctor but won’t see him till the end of the month and honestly, he’s a total jerk. Any advice? I’m supposed to be on a low-acidic diet but eating all this meat is starting to worry me since I’ve read that meat is high in acid. I sure hope I’m wrong about that. Thanks!

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Steven Wright October 4, 2012 at 9:18 am

@Terri – What your reporting is exactly what I would expect anyone with low stomach acid to tell me. When they eat more meat (protein) they have more digestion problems. By eating more protein you would need stronger acid levels and more pepsin to break it down. Which doesn’t appear to be happening because you report more heartburn symptoms. That would indicate to me that your food is sitting in your stomach even longer, fermenting, raising IAP and possibly causing your problems. If I was you I would test something to raise my stomach acid levels.

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Serena B. October 10, 2012 at 1:11 pm

I tried the baking soda test 3 consecutive mornings and I didn’t burped until after 7 minutes, each time.. I never had acid reflux nor bloating problems in my life. My stomach fells totally healthy to me. Gas after eating, maybe.. However I lost so much hair due to telogen effluvium and I’m currently suffering from rosacea. I’m from Italy and I eat fruits, veggies, fish, olives.. Never eat junk food. But still having these problems. I wonder if I might have digestion problems, even though I don’t feel like it. Next, I will give a try to Betaine HCl test. Thank you so much for the information.

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Steven Wright October 11, 2012 at 10:27 am

@Serena – It could be low acid levels will cause poor absorption of many nutrients which over time can lead to a whole host of health issues. Let us know how the test goes

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Elle June 11, 2014 at 8:53 pm

Being Italian, I am assuming that you eat bread and pasta. You may want to check out the book wheat belly by Dr Davis. He makes reference to rosacea.
He also has a website.

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shirl October 18, 2012 at 9:49 am

iv been wondering if anyone has really bad sweats when lying down & heart racing, i get this if i don’t take my tabs, doc sayes i have high acid currently on ranitidine 300mg a day…

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Ans March 27, 2014 at 3:23 pm

is it worse when lying on your left side?

Ask your doctor about roemheld syndrome / gastrocardia syndrome

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debbie vick October 23, 2012 at 7:25 am

It is 6:12 a.m. and I have been up most of the night due to acid reflux, and a severe burnng in my throat. I have endured this of and on since 2001. I thought is was one of the symptoms of high epstein-barr titers, but lately I believe it is due to low stomach acid.

My GP sent me to have an Upper GI and the doctor prescribed daily prilosec. Due to my hair literally falling out, I started researching this issue. During the process, I keep finding articles about low stomach acid.

My questions are: could my hair loss be related to the low stomach acid issue? What should I do when I have nights without sleep due to the burning, I am taking the HCL with pepsin during meals.

I did eat ice cream tonight, during the Presidential debates. Needed some comfort food to combat the stress this election is causing me!!! Could this cause the burning in my stomach.

I stumbled upon your webpage and I think what you are saying makes more sense than anything I have read so far. Any suggestions or advice will be appreciated.

debbie

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Steven Wright October 23, 2012 at 11:26 am

@Debbie – Yes, hair falling out could be the result of years upon years of low acid levels resulting in low nutrient status of the body. I’d suggest you check out Dr. Johnathon Wright’s Stomach Acid book. In the meantime, If your having acid reflux you can try some apple cider vingear to relieve it. And you should stop all foods that can trigger it, mainly all grains, starches, dairy and sugar.

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Thomas December 11, 2012 at 6:17 am

Zinc absorption is dependent upon HCL in stomach. So, low stomach acid causes zinc deficiency which causes hair loss. You might want to have a test…

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Alexandraseattle February 25, 2013 at 11:23 am

I was very low in iron (11 out of 22) and low in hcl acid (I went up to 11 pills before each meal before I got better) and my hair was Falling out a lot. My integrative doctor told me if u’re low in acid, you don’t absorb iron. I supplemented for a while and a year later I have a brand new set of hair!

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Elle June 11, 2014 at 8:56 pm

Maybe it would be helpful to read up on magnesium and perhaps zinc also. If you aren’t absorbing the nutrients from your food due to low stomach acid then a mineral deficiency could account for some of your symptoms.

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debbie vick October 23, 2012 at 4:37 pm

Thanks so much for your response. I have spent one small fortune on my health in the last eleven years. Not once did anyone mention low stomach acid. I can distinctly remember the year I started living on acid reducers, 2001. I was a overworked middle school counselor, writing major grants, and putting out any and every “fire” that came my way. My desktop, consisted of a blotter, pens, Mylanta, Tums, Pepto Bismol, and Prilosec. It was the joke of the building, in fact when I was promoted to Principal, no one would apply for my job. My first year as Principal, I came down with what my doc says is the worst Epstein-Barr titers he had ever seen, 20,000. Not once did I know low stomach acid could have been the culprit. From that point on I have had lowered immunity, have fibro, chronic fatigue, etc, etc. This morning I did the acid test, ten minutes after the baking soda, still nothing. I took the HLC with my breakfast, 2 eggs. Had a protein, and the HLC, and this afternoon I have felt wonderful. No burning of the throat, GERD, etc. I am also sipping on ac vinegar.

THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart,

YOU ARE A LIFESAVER

PS: I had a upper GI in February, the works, cost me $1,000.00. Why didn’t anyone mention low acid to me, then? I received an everything is fine, and a prilosec prescription for 1 year’s worth. (duh) Is there any research about hair loss and low stomach acid? All I really want to know is, will my hair grow back???

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Jordan Reasoner October 24, 2012 at 2:22 am

That’s so amazing Debbie, I couldn’t be happier for you. Congrats on taking control of your health, woohoo! It’s a shame low stomach acid isn’t talked about more with western medicine.

Stop by and let us know an update soon.

In good health,

Jordan

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Jennie Deike November 2, 2012 at 11:10 am

If I have such terrible burning, when will I notice a difference taking the HCL? Is it immediate? I took one last night and this morning… still feel it in my throat.. not in my gut anymore, or yet.

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Jordan Reasoner November 5, 2012 at 8:24 pm

It can take weeks for that to calm down, even with HCL. If you’re not feeling it in your stomach that’s a good sign. You might try taking a supplement called DGL to help calm down the burning.

Don’t give up yet.

In good health,

Jordan

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Becka November 8, 2012 at 12:35 am

Steve,
I’ve read the entire article on Stomach Acid. My question is in the case of not having a gallbladder I’ve been told that now all the acid that my gallbladder used to break down for my body is at this point dumped into my stomach and liver. So, I would think that my severe reflux is due to having too much acid in my stomach all the time. Which causes severe GERD, reflux, burning, burping….all those frustrating issues. Am I correct to think this or have I been told wrong info? I only use tums to help with indigestion at this point. I haven’t wanted to take prescription meds for this and I had never heard…until now about Digestive Enzymes. Do u have an article about what happens to our digestive system and gut when we loose our gallbladder and how to work the SCD Diet the right way when dealing with these types of issues? Thanks.
Becka

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Jordan Reasoner November 9, 2012 at 4:40 pm

As far as I understand it, the lack of gallbladder would be dumping bile salts, which aren’t the same as stomach acid, they are very different. If you’re wondering about it get a Heidleberg test done and you’ll know for sure.

Also, you could test Betaine HCL for a few weeks.

In good health,

Jordan

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chet November 8, 2012 at 7:57 pm

I got diagnosed with GERD two years ago and after taking Prilosec for two years I am lactose intolerant, very gassy and get bad stomache pains and everything keeps getting worse and worse. Do you think that is because of low stomache acid? And do you have to go off of Prilosec to do the baking soda test or to start taking Betaine HCI?

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Jordan Reasoner November 9, 2012 at 4:44 pm

Hi Chet, if you’ve been on Prilosec you have very low stomach acid. Those were only approved by the FDA to be taken for 8 weeks or so. I wouldn’t take Betaine until you’re off the Prilosec for a few weeks. It’s not going to be easy to transition, but it will be worth it.

Jordan

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chet November 15, 2012 at 7:54 pm

so do you think that is the cause of being lactose intolerant

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Rebecca November 8, 2012 at 8:15 pm

Hi Steve,

I was hoping you could help me, I started with 1 HCl (504mg + pepsin) with no burn so increased my dose with every meal until I got to 20! I thought this was an unsafe and expensive amount to take so have since stopped. I tested negative for H pylori and was also laughed at by my Doctors for thinking I have low HCl (32 yrs) and they thought I was crazy when I explained what I did.

Main symptoms are belching after meals, gassiness, bad breath, white coated tongue, poor cognitive function, fibromyalgia and fatigue.

Look forward to any suggestions you may have?

Rebecca

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Jordan Reasoner November 9, 2012 at 4:46 pm

Hi Rebecca, that’s not too uncommon. I think in Dr. Wright’s book he talks about some patients taking 10,000mg at meals as being the high end. Steve also experienced no burning and that does happened to some people. I think you just have to pick a dosage that’s affordable for you now and stay there and see how your symptoms do. I wouldn’t go crazy and take so much at every meal everyday, that’s probably overkill.

Also, don’t be afraid to fire your doctor and find someone that will work with you about low HCL.

In good health,

Jordan

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LEISA BEHRENDORFF November 11, 2012 at 5:30 pm

Hi Steve,
I am at my wits end this has gone on so long I don’t know what it is like to feel normal anymore. I suffer from a feeling of choking in my throat after I eat tightness in the chest due to excessive gas constant burping pains in my back . Three years ago doctors told my that I had seven ulcers after an endoscopy, the put me on nexium 40mg made me feel worse yet they couldn’t understand why. I threw them out . Thought it may have bee thyroid related saw a specialist said I was iodine deficient put me on that. Have had fluctuating bouts of this for years trying to stay off meds. But has become really bad lately and have got back on the medical roller coaster have a stress test booked another endoscopy & colonoscopy booked. Just sick of it. The pain I have in my chest and blocked feeling in my throat and bloating and gas is terrible. Are any of these symptoms linked to low stomach acid. I also have a very severe case of candidia in my breasts when feeding my first child and have suffered with candidia since. I am at my wits end my whole family is now starting to suffer because of this.

LEISA

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Jordan Reasoner November 12, 2012 at 5:49 pm

It does sound like low stomach acid Leisa, please read this great article by our friend Chris Kresser:

http://chriskresser.com/the-hidden-causes-of-heartburn-and-gerd

In good health,

Jordan

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Brian November 11, 2012 at 10:24 pm

I’m up to 6 Betaine HCl capsules so far. Still belching. I believe it’s helping bring my ammonia level down, which I believe was causing cognitive difficulties and stimulating my adrenals into the “adapted to stress” range on the usual saliva test. Undigested protein feeds pathogens that produce ammonia.

See comment #1 here:
http://vimeo.com/52606062
Butyrex is used to help a subset of autistics fight elevated ammonia. It seems logical that the root problem is low stomach acid. Elevated ammonia levels will pickle your brain. I had high-functioning Asperger’s Syndrome. Between healing my gut, chelating mercury and arsenic with Andrew Cutler’s protocol, and now getting ammonia under control I’m not doing too bad now. I don’t know what caused low stomach acid but mercury does very bad things to the digestive system. I’m still taking AKG to help with ammonia but going after the root of the problem with HCl seems to be a whole lot more effective.

I hope this made sense. Your instructions on how to properly use HCl have been a big help.

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Jordan Reasoner November 12, 2012 at 5:50 pm

Awesome Brian, that’s great news!

Jordan

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Julie November 14, 2012 at 7:11 pm

Hi Steve and Jordon, SCD ‘cured’ my UC 5 years ago (off all drugs) and since then I’ve been following it about 80% of the time. (Oddly, this is how I ate even before UC). I was dx with GERD a few months before being dx with UC but took medicine very rarely and instead avoided foods that bothered me.

Fast forward to today, my GERD is unbearable and my UC is back (mucus). My problem is this…I know I need to go back to a 100% protein diet for a few weeks to clear up this mucus and then slowly add in the few veggies I could tolerate, BUT protein gives me horrible acid reflux. On the other hand, eating well cooked veggies and smoothies gives me no reflux, and it’s nice to not have that constant burning in my throat, but my colon can’t handle these veggies right now. I do not know what to eat.

I know this must be low acid (and not having enough acid is causing this SIBO that my Dr has labeled “UC”) that is causing these issues and I have tried HCL in the past but still got burning in my esophagus…maybe one just wasn’t enough? So I tried 2 pills tonight with dinner. No burning in the stomach or esophagus and no heartburn!! I thought I was home-free…but 1.5 hours later, and I can feel it in my throat (as usual). Am I to assume that this burning is my same ole’ acid reflux that I experience after eating, or is this from the HCL? Your blog mentions to be aware of burning in the ‘stomach’ as a signal that either one does not need to supplement with hcl or that one has ‘hit their limit’ and needs to taper back one pill with the next meal, but you don’t mention about burning in the throat/esophagus.

Your suggestions are greatly respected. It’s nice to find a blog written by people that suffer from the same issues as I and have tackled it with diet (SCD).

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jeremy November 17, 2012 at 6:46 pm

How do you feel bout coconut oil?

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Francisco November 30, 2012 at 10:12 pm

Hey Julie,

I seem to have the same problem you do. I take the Now brand Super Enzymes which contain a small amount of HCL. It seems to help with digestion but after a couple of hours i start to feel like i have a sore throat. I can only equate it to the way it feels when i use to get acid reflux. I dont really feel any burning sensation in my stomach at all. If i stay taking one capsule at every meal it gets very bad to a point where i have to stop taking them. I cant understand why this is happening and would really appreciate any feedback from anyone who has had this same experience.

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Jordan Reasoner December 1, 2012 at 1:05 pm

Hi Fancisco – the amount of Betaine in those supplements is usually relatively small. You could test out on without the betaine and see if there’s a difference. We like these as well: http://www.giprohealth.com/prozymes.aspx

In good health,

Jordan

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Kim December 1, 2012 at 2:39 am

Hi…..I have a question I am a little confused about. I read your article about determining low stomach acid and I’d like to at least start with the apple cider vinegar method. However, a few months ago and for a couple weeks I took ACV in water right before I took my daily iron supplements because I was told it would help absorption. Then I would eat dinner (always with some sort of meat protein) and got awful burning stomach aches that would last for hours. I would also get these stomach aches before I ever started the ACV, but I got the pain every single day for the 2 weeks I used ACV. Finally determined it had to be the ACV giving me the stomach pain so I stopped using it. The stomach aches went away for awhile and are now back…..most days but not all. So, its really hard to tell if I have low stomach acid or not since the ACV didn’t seem to help the pain (meaning, if I do have low stomach acid then the ACV should have helped when I ate protein meals). Like I said, now I still get the pain and usually within 2 hours after eating a high protein meal. I’d like to try this method you suggest but afraid the pain will come back worse than ever. Not sure if this makes sense…its confusing to me too. Thanks so much for your help…Kim

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Jordan Reasoner December 1, 2012 at 1:04 pm

Hi Kim, that must be frustrating. It sounds like you might have some gastritis or inflammation of the stomach lining. You could try a supplement called Deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) and see if that doesn’t help the pain.

Jordan

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Kim December 1, 2012 at 1:13 pm

thank you Jordan…so does this mean I probably don’t have low stomach acid, but high? And would the DGL eventually heal my stomach lining? Thanks much!

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Jordan Reasoner December 2, 2012 at 12:15 pm

Not necessarily, it just means that if you have gastritis or ulcers you need to heal that up before supplementing with HCL because it tends to make it painful. That’s where the DGL comes in, then you can test HCL again later.

Jordan

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Francisco December 2, 2012 at 7:06 pm

I agree that the hcl is low in this product but my question is would that cause my throat to feel sore and irritated after a couple of hours. I want to try a higher dose capsule but i am worried that the burning in my throat will only get worse. Have you ever seen this happen to anyone before. I know you cant give definite answers but i am just looking for ideas so i can have a better idea of what to try next.

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Vicki December 8, 2012 at 7:14 am

I had an endoscopy yesterday and they found gastritis and polyps. What do you suggest for treating/healing gastritis?

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Jordan Reasoner December 9, 2012 at 2:24 pm

Bone broth and DGL do wonders.

Jordan

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Bet December 30, 2012 at 11:08 am

Hi Steve, this is my second go-round with HCL. I have a long history of IBS and GERD and now gluten intolerance. A few months ago, I had some kind of stomach ailment that put me in the hospital for 4 days on IV only. Nothing was found with three CT scans, an ultrasound and blood tests. After that I had a persistent pain in my left side, right under my rib. I followed up with a GI and had an endoscopy. The only thing that was found was stomach inflammation. Biopsies and blood tests for pancreatic enzymes were normal. The GI prescribed Omeprazole, but I’ve been down that road before and I don’t want to go back.

The first time I tried HCL is when a routine blood test said I had low B12 (my level was at 100). Since I was already taking a supplement, I began investigating and found that low stomach acid could cause malabsorption, and many of the GERD and IBS problems I’ve been having. So I started on HCL. I never felt any burning even with 3 tabs with meals. I tapered it down, thinking I was ‘cured’.

So now I am back, convinced I have low stomach acid again and have been taking HCL the past few meals. I’ve started with one tab with each meal. I can say that I still have the occasional pain, but in taking the acid pill, I don’t have any increased pain or burning, which you would think I would have, if I indeed had too much stomach acid which was causing the pain and needed an acid reducer like Prilosec.

I am now convinced that the low stomach acid has caused an overgrowth of bacteria in my digestive system that is causing a lot of my problems. I am hoping that a longer time on HCL will help resolve this issue.

I do believe that it was gluten intolerance and damage from that that has helped cause this problem. Going off gluten did help with a lot of the gas and bloating I had, which was mostly in the lower intestine. I also think I had/have leaky gut syndrome which could have caused my Hashimoto’s and other problems.

My overall experience with HCL is positive. I think this is an easy and inexpensive and HEALTHY way to solve GERD, IBS and a host of other problems. And it gives me hope that they way to be healthy is not prescription drugs that work counter to the body, but the intake of foods that are natural and good for us and that don’t cause harm.

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Steven Wright December 30, 2012 at 10:11 pm

@Bet – Thanks so much for sharing your story. It’s going to help so many people. You have no idea how common your story is. I hear it all the time. Betaine HCL and low stomach acid is the tip of the ice berg for someone like you. Please work with a local functional medicine practitioner or work with Jordan and I 1-on-1. There is a root cause for your issues and it is likely a pathogen of some type. The diet and supplements will not kill it. They will however give you a much better quality of life than you were having. Please send us an email if your interested in 1-on-1 help.

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JB February 19, 2013 at 3:06 am

>>I had a persistent pain in my left side, right under my rib.

This caught my eye– I had the same symptom, and they found no cause for it on an ultrasound. My doctor thought it might be an ulcer, even though I tested negative for H. pylori.

Later I had a plasma amino-acids panel for an unrelated problem, and it showed below-range levels of most amino acids. Researching low aminos led me to protein malabsorption, which led me to hypochlorhydria. Three or four tablets of Betaine HCl with protein meals, and resumption of occasional red meat intake, seem to have fixed the problem. A follow-up amino-acid panel shows all aminos are now in range. My long-standing GERD is almost gone, and I’m not as fatigued. I also don’t mind eating meat as much as before (I was semi-vegetarian).

The odd thing? I found several references on the web to a “HCl reflex point” for hypochlorhydria. Guess where it is? On the bottom of the ribs, just left of center. This reflex point actually seems to be accurate for me, as the spot used to hurt noticeably, but now I have to really press to feel any discomfort. Here’s a sample article on the reflex point; there are others. http://www.townsendletter.com/April2006/digest_2_0406.htm .

I had also been on a gluten-free casein-free diet in the past, but find I can now tolerate small amounts when I use the Betaine HCl. Perhaps the gliadin, gluten, and casein wasn’t being broken down enough before (?).

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Sharon Napier February 22, 2013 at 12:42 pm

If this is my problem the low acid and i try the betaine HCL i know from this information that i may have to take something for the acid reflux so what would you suggest i take if needed. Do you need to go off of the prevacid or etc. a few days before you start HCL?

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JB March 14, 2013 at 4:11 pm

Sounds reasonable, but I don’t know. :-\ Have you found any other info on this?

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Jennifer Scott January 1, 2013 at 1:16 pm

I was diagnosed with colitis a long time ago and more recently a hiatal hernia. With a hiatal hernia will the same treatments work that do for typical low stomach acid? My doc has me on dexilant and when I don’t take the drug my nausea is even worse. I tried stopping it and sticking to SCD, but the nausea came back even worse and had to use the med again. I’m afraid to stop the medicine.

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Jennifer January 5, 2013 at 2:53 pm

Thanks for the helpful information. Any thoughts on if HCL + pepsin will help w/ LPR rather than GERD? I have tried HCL + pepsin several times but felt it made my throat burning Sx worse. I had been on PPIs and H2 blockers for 3.5 months, just stopped them several days ago. Still having throat burning Sx but getting better w/ paleo diet. Thank you.

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Steven Wright January 5, 2013 at 4:43 pm

@Jennifer – where you trying the HCL at the same time as taking PPI and H2 blockers?

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Janet Browning January 5, 2013 at 3:21 pm

I had been misdiagnosed as having excess acid rather than low acid nearly a year ago after getting really bad bouts of heartburn. It was only after reading about low acid and trying the Betaine HCL that I found the pain went. My question is, more recently I am getting a mucus cough with a bitter taste in my mouth again especially at night like Acid Reflux. Should I be increasing the tablets? I usually take either 1/2 at each meal. (I take Swanson Hydrochloric Acid with Pepsin. I am also suffering with terrible hot flushes with the Menopause.

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Steven Wright January 5, 2013 at 4:44 pm

@Janet – sounds like it would be a worthwhile idea to test upping your dosage. See this post -> http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/03/how-to-supplement-with-betaine-hcl-for-low-stomach-acid/

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rachel January 14, 2013 at 6:52 pm

Hey Steve,

I’ve been reading through your posts and have learned a lot about digestion, so, thanks! I’ve been dealing with Acid-reflux for about a month, treating it naturally—after taking a 2-week does of Prilosec, which didnt work—for a week.
My symptoms are annoying for me—tightness in sternum, feels like food in chest, mild heartburn, but relatively mild compared to other people and I do feel that after some major diet adjustments (no sugar, barely any carbs, greens, enzymes, probiotics) is improving. I’m pretty thin (not sure if this is relevant, but I’m wasting away! ha)

BUT, I been taking HCL with meals for the last few days and having a hard time determining if I do, indeed, have low stomach acid levels. I’ve been trying to figure out my dose. I do always feel some warmness in my belly when I take it, but it disappears pretty fast. It definitely takes longer when there’s less food in my stomach. In general, I think taking is making my stomach feel a bit more ‘normal’ except for some light heartburn instead of that over-stuffed, no movement feeling. I’m worried that I am going to hurt my stomach if I’ve got it backwards. Any suggestions?? Your help is much appreciated.

Rachel Garber

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Nakita January 14, 2013 at 8:55 pm

I stumbled upon this site after typing “Why is my chest heavy when I ate 5 hours ago?”. I can say that I have had many digestive issues and have never known quite why and always chalked it up to both of my parents having plenty of digestive issues. My mother- rheumatoid arthritis, appendix removed and was on prilosec for years. My father- gallbladder removed and what seems to be IBS. I have never went to a doctor for my problems but am considering doing so after reading this, just hoping that they will listen and not blow me off. Over the past 6 years I have gained 80 lbs, 40 lbs of which was in the past year. My doctor ran tests on my thyroid and couldn’t find anything wrong. Aside from me quitting smoking 2 years ago it really doesn’t make any sense to have gained that much weight. Also I have digestive problems- gas pains, gas in general, constipation, diarrhea is even more common, what I call burp up’s because you can taste the food you ate and a little bit seems to come up, most recently nausea when I wake up (I am not pregnant I have been tested), I get full after eating very little. Then today I didn’t eat anything until 2pm, I ate a hamburger and 10 french fries, which I don’t eat greasy food often at all because it makes me sick to my stomach almost immediately, I have been nauseous and heavy chested ever since. I mainly drink water because it seems if I drink anything else I get sick to my stomach…. I do hope you see this and maybe have some suggestions….

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Alejandra January 16, 2013 at 5:53 pm

@rachel…have you figured out your dose yet??.
Hi Steven…im having the same problem as Rachel…i get a warm feeling in my stomach everytime i take the hcl and it goes away very fast..i think maybe the difference could be that when ive had too much the feeling stays??? Also shen the feeling stays i feel a lot of gas and noises in my stomach..is that normal??
I know its low acid what i have because i can feel improvement..
I just have a question.. Even at the right dose (warm fast feeling i think)…does the hcl takes some time to take away all the symptoms???
Should i take the warm fast feeling as a sign of too much even when it goes away quickly?. Thanks and greetings from mexico!!

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Steven Wright January 18, 2013 at 6:20 pm

@Alejandra – It could be the timing of when you are taking them or the brand. Try taking them after you eat. The warm feelings you describe aren’t the same that most point report. The normally last for an hour or more.

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Diane January 17, 2013 at 10:51 pm

Has anyone had chronic hives for many years that is connected to low stomach acid? I have been treated for chronic hives with Zantac paired with either Claritin or Zyrtec morning and evening for many years.

A couple of years prior to the first occurrence of hives, (at age 47; I am now 63) I had a diagnoses of chronic fatigue syndrome. Again, I am wondering now if there is a connection to low stomach acid.

I also have had increasing digestive problems, and have been taking Beano and Lactaid with just about everything I eat. They aren’t very effective anymore.

I saw in Dr. Brenda Watson’s book, “Gut Solutions” that chronic hives and chronic fatigue syndrome are diseases that could be a result of the low acid problem. Has anyone had this experience? I am excited to know that I may be on to something.

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Steven Wright January 18, 2013 at 4:04 pm

@Diane – Could be related to a GI pathogen I’d get some advanced testing to rule out infections.

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Jim January 18, 2013 at 12:19 pm

I just ran across this site and have to say it is very informative… I have a question I read somewhere that Aloe Vera juice is supposed to help with the healing of acid reflux can you give me any feedback on this… it would be very much appreciated.
thank you…

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Steven Wright January 18, 2013 at 3:38 pm

@Jim – haven’t heard this or researched it.

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Marcus January 20, 2013 at 10:35 pm

I’ve been having some pretty bad stomach aches (beneath the belly button area) for the past few months. My stomach only seems to hurt when I’m hungry, it’s definitely not just hunger as I’m eating the same amount I always have. Taking Now Super Enzymes (has 200mg Betaine HCL per pill) mid-meal seem to alleviate the symptoms somewhat but not 100%. My doctor said I have IBS but I find it kind of strange that all of a sudden I’ve become intolerant to many foods I’ve eaten all my life and I’m thinking maybe it isn’t IBS at all.

I tried the baking Soda test and waited for about 15 minutes to burp and then gave up, does it sound like low stomach acid to you ?.

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carol walker January 21, 2013 at 3:03 pm

hi…i am having so much pain…it feels like acid but it may not be…i have drank a full bottle of gaviscon which hasnt helped and am now on rennies…but the flux of pain is unimaginable…i drink milk to cool down…then burning sensation was so bad this morning it made me sick…its constant…just wondering if u know what it could be…hurts when i eat…sometimes the pain actually feels like its running up the back of my neck…

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Jordan Reasoner January 22, 2013 at 8:08 pm
stu lonsdale January 26, 2013 at 3:44 pm

sound like galstones issues to me the bile isnt getting into ya stomache to netralise the acid

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Andrea January 26, 2013 at 8:12 pm

Hi,

Here’s my history. I stopped taking Prilosec OTC a little less than a year ago. Prior to that I was on Prilosec (or something prescription strength during two pregnancies) for about 5 years. I have done a barium swallow/tilt table test and was diagnosed with a hiatal hernia. At that point I was told I would have to be on PPI’s forever.

I’m currently following a Primal Diet and have no heart burn when I follow this diet. I do however still have problems on occasion with eliminations, I’m prone to constipation. I also sometimes see food that is not digested in my stool.

I would like some clarification on the HCL test. So far today I have taken two (650 mg) HCL w/pepsin pills with lunch and three pills with dinner. I get a brief heaviness and feel a little fuller than normal and then I get some light burning in my throat. Should I keep upping the dosage? I haven’t had any burning feeling in my stomach.

Thank you in advance for your opinion!!

Andrea

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Will January 27, 2013 at 3:41 pm

Hi Steve,
Thanks for this post! After reading it and performing the baking soda test, I suspect I might have low stomach acid. However, I must also add that I had friends without symptoms perform the baking soda test as a control group, and it took them way over 3 minutes as well. So now I want to test Betaine HCl, but when I look at the available supplements I see a great diversity, particularly in the ratio of Betaine / Pepsin. The Thorne you recommend has 20mg Pepsin on 520mg of Betaine, while Solaray has as high as 162mg Pepsin on 650mg of Betaine: 6.5 times as much Pepsin. Some others don’t include Pepsin at all and mention Pepsin as a product of Betaine. What do you suggest an ideal ratio to be, and what effect would a higher/lower amount of Pepsin have?
Thanks again!

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Raf January 28, 2013 at 2:15 pm

Hi. I’ve been diagnosed with GERD and acid reflux when i was trying to find the source of my digestive problems. After a course of antibiotics seems like h-pylorii got cleared but i am still experiencing bloating/gas. I am only 33 and normally i wouldnt expect low stomach acid at this age. i’ve started taking hcl and took as much as 3 for each meal. i felt better for a few days but then I ate beef and had a gas attack. I am a little reluctant to increase the dosage as i have been diagnosed with gastritis. is it safe to take hcl with gastritis?

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Jordan Reasoner January 31, 2013 at 3:29 am

Gastritis and Ulcers can be very aggravated by HCL.

Consider doing a few weeks of DGL first to calm down the gastritis and then test HCL.

Jordan

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Binda February 4, 2013 at 9:37 am

Hi Steve / Jordan, great site.

Can you help? I have never had a severe or even mild case of sinus infection but right now i am suffering terribly with one! Also recurring bouts of ear infection / athletes foot!! Sounds like candida / leaky gut?? Feels like food is just fermenting and not passing through or being absorbed well! I have had anti-biotic treatments over the last few years without following up with pro-biotics! My diet is very healthy – 3-4 fruits a day and 6-8 veg a day! I have severe bloating / belly distension issues! This has all but destroyed my life! :( HELP pls!!

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Lauren February 8, 2013 at 12:43 pm

Hi Guys,

Hoping you can help. I have celiac and cant absorb iron to save my life. I have been getting infusions so my iron levels are good now but I am beyond tired. I follow a strict gluten free diet. I just cant find my energy! Do you think this is due to low stomach acid? I dont know what to do anymore, I feel like I have tried everything. I am so tired of being tired! Any input would be appreciated on where to start here..

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Rosie Marie February 20, 2013 at 1:11 pm

I have nausea shortly after eating often, not every time but a lot. I also suffer from bloating and gas. The only thing that relieves it is burping and the burps are smelly and nasty. Sometimes it feels like my food sits in my stomach for a long time and feels really heavy. I’ve had many doctor visits and non invasive tests but my doctors can’t figure out what’s wrong. FIrst they thought it was GERD so I took omeprizole but it did nothing. This is really affecting my life and my mental health. I’ve lost a lot of weight due to not wanting to eat because of my symptoms and I’ve developed this anxiety to food. Does this sound like low stomach acid?

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Steven Wright February 20, 2013 at 3:25 pm

@Rosie – Yep, your story is pretty much the same as mine and most of my clients who have low stomach acid.

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Davis February 20, 2013 at 6:57 pm

hey,
got a quick question, I read your post about finding out acid level in stomach wether low or too much. I have been suffering gastritis for past 5 years and been put on several acid reducer medication by my GI Doc. but with no luck. my question to you is can i have low stomach acid and can low acid cause gastritis. in my case I don’t have H.Pylori bacteria, I had done my upper Endoscopy year ago and doc. told me all is fine just redness and mild gastritis, but burning sensation just does not go away, every single day i have this. sometime immediately after eating or sometime after couple of hours of eating my meal i see burning sensation in my stomach. any guidance will be greatly appreciated.
thanks
Davis

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Alejandro February 21, 2013 at 7:21 pm

Howdy! Someone in my Facebook group shared this website with us so I came to
take a look. I’m definitely loving the information. I’m bookmarking and will be tweeting this to my
followers! Great blog and superb style and design.

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Sharon Napier February 22, 2013 at 12:23 pm

Hello! After reading these comments I’m wondering if this is possibly what I might have. I was dianosed with acid reflux 2-3 years ago and is yet to find a medicine that takes control of my acid reflux. When they try to go up in the dose of prevacid or etc. it seems to aggrivate my condition more. I can have burning when I’ve just drank water or just sitting in a wrong position or etc. It goes and comes sometimes I don’t even have to take anything extra it goes away. I have schlerderma which is a auto immune disease which as right now I only deal with the crest part of the raynaud’s in my hands and these crazy stomach issues of gas, acid reflux, pain in left rib cage either front or back, roasea, sometimes fatigue. I feel alot of time that I’ve got alot of water in my throat and holding it in my esphogus or something then it goes away or you could explain it has holding a burp for awhile and then it releases. Lately have had issues with a dull pain in left side or in the rib cage right behind that comes and goes. I had a CT scan and nothing showed all my doctor did was up my dose of prevacid. I had read about low acid in stomach before and was wondering if this could be causing my problems since I do have some of the symptoms. P.S. One time I did try apple cider vinger and it caused my throat and stomach to burn.

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NEVILLE STRINGER March 1, 2013 at 11:13 am

Hi Steve
HAD A VAGOTOMY AND PYLOROPLASTY OP 33 YEARS AGO, AND HAVE LIVED WITH PROBLEMS WITH MY STOMACH EVER SINCE WOULD TAKING BETAINE HCL HELP? AND IF I TOOK IT FOR LIFE WOULD THAT BE A PROBLEM? also can you advise on this question, when i take different health supplements most are in vegi cap form or coated to protect them from acid while in the stomach, now with my vagotomy and pyloroplasty operation will the tablet/capsule dissolve in time for me to reap the benefit as it enters the intestine much sooner than normal or will it just breakdown later further along the digestive tract and be wasted?
hope you can help
neville

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Steven Wright March 5, 2013 at 6:43 pm

I would ask your doctor but usually it wouldn’t be an issue and might be a good idea for you to test it.

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Kate Donald March 6, 2013 at 3:22 pm

Hi Steven, I’ve been chronically ill for nearly 4 years with severe digestive issues. It started in my first pregnancy when I developed nausea that never went away. My gallbladder then started to dysfunction and was removed about a year ago in the hope it may help my symptoms but unfortunately it seems to have made them worse. I feel constantly nauseated, especially after eating and have a constant sour/bitter taste in my mouth. I have tried everything from medical to alternative. I’ve even water fasted to no avail! Tests show there is some kind of motility issue and in my last endoscopy bile was seen in my stomach. I also reflux my stomach contents spontaneously which is totally out of my control. This started before the nausea. There is never ever any acid in the reflux and I never get heartburn just nausea and fullness. Do you think low stomach acid could be my problem? My but is I have little or no acid to neutralise the bile which is then refluxing upwards causing nausea and bad taste? I have tried betaine hcl and it seems to make sour taste worse but no burning so no improvement in nausea. Wondering if I need to take much more but am a bit scared to. Would you agree with my theory that lack of stomach acid could be the cause of the terrible nausea and sour taste? This has ruined the last 4 years of my life . Any advice would be much appreciated. Kate from uk

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Steven Wright March 7, 2013 at 11:49 am

@Kate – hmm could be, I’d get checked via Biohealth 401h and metametrix 2105 for any gut infections that are suppressing acid function. Likely at this point you have low amino acids in the body which can lead to neurotransmitter problems you can check that via a metametrix organix test. I think the answer is more testing honestly.

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Kate Donald March 6, 2013 at 3:24 pm

Sorry that is meant to release ‘my theory is ‘ sorry!

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Heather March 7, 2013 at 12:00 pm

Would taking a supplement be necessary or recommended for those with type A blood whose acid levels are naturally low? Can you still have good digestion with low stomach acid while eating mostly vegetarian?

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berealyoga May 13, 2013 at 6:31 pm

That’s my question too, Heather!

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jay March 11, 2013 at 4:20 am

im 36 male had lpr and was on om. for 6 years it did work for symptoms but made them worse if not taking, then originally! that tells me it was low stomach acid all along or a muscle valve issue, i had to stop om. , lost insurance and i somehow was cured maybe with diet of low fat, now i have ibs-c, fungal formed candida, maybe dysbiosis, sick and losing weight fast 2-3 pounds a day! eating scd. and im up to 7 pills and noticing burnt throat also, nothing in stomach! Should i feel warmth by the left ribs or the belly button small intestine area ? Also does any one now of a organic hcl source please?

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Lillian March 13, 2013 at 12:31 pm

I asked my doctor to do a ph test and she refused because she insists I have ibs she put me on 40 ml of prilosec and 300ml of zantac and it made me feel worse so i stopped taking it. I show all the symptoms of low stomach acid,nausea, vomiting , feeling of rotting food in stomach and several trips to the E.R upon many other symptoms. I have been so sick for about a year almost to the point of not being able to eat. I have now started to take hcl with pepcin and i can finally eat again! Thanks to this website and my research. It irritates me that my doctor wants to put me on anti depresants to cover up the problem instead of fixing it, guess im on my own. I’ve stayed away from coffee any other suggestions of food I should stay away from.

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Steven Wright March 13, 2013 at 2:55 pm

@Lillian – I’m very happy you found us and can eat again! If you want to take the next step to figuring out the root causes of the IBS come join us here http://scdlifestyle.com/consulting/

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Lillian March 13, 2013 at 12:35 pm

Oh one other thing I forgot to mention I had my gulbladder removed 3 years ago do you think that had something to do with it?

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Jeff C March 13, 2013 at 11:02 pm

Please help. Being a typical male…I have kept a troublesome health issue from family / friends / and doctor. I thought maybe I developed bulimia through body image issues. I throw up almost daily. I have never used my fingers to purge. It just happened one day when I was in my mid twenties. Ate too much and the stomach simply rejected the food. I Stand over the toilet when I feel it coming on and the retch just happens spontaneously. I am now 43 and I am fed up. I have noticed that it almost always happens when I eat gluten rich foods. However it has become a reflex whenever I overeat anything. I naturally have a large muscled frame even though I have not exercised regularily for years, so it would appear as though there is no malabsorption going on with most proteins. The weird thing is I never experience a burning during or after a purge and rarely have your typical acid indigestion symptoms even though it would stand to reason that I am exposing my esophogus to stomach acid daily (for 18 years). In fact my esophogus feels as if there has been no damage done to it at all. When the food comes up it us usually within 15 minutes and it simply looks as if it were food that was in a course blender (no bile). Typically this only happens late in the day. Maybe I have 2 stomachs…one which screens foods that I am allergic to and only the 2nd one has acid. Obviously I am joking…but that is what it feels like. I am going to seek medical help…do you have any sense as to what is going on. It cant be ciliac….my skin is extremely healthy and have all my hair…I look more like 33 than 43. Given the above history..I should look 53.

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Angie March 20, 2013 at 7:54 am

I have been experiencing gallbladder pain and sickness for three years now and have received no help from the medical community. With the pain is large amounts of gas and it’s continuous – starts as soon as I get up and continues until I go to bed at night. It also comes with stomach pain and severe bloating, as well as burping even after the first cup of coffee (no food!). It’s worse with protein, but still very bad with any food at all. I’ve started taking HCL and it helps but the supplements I’m taking are 1300mg each pill. I’m up to 4 tablets, with no burning or other sensation, and I’m afraid to take more – it seems like a high dose. And, it would seem as if I need it for everytime I eat, regardless of protein. How important is it to only take with protein?

I’m assuming that low stomach acid may be linked to gallbladder issues somehow, but not sure how. I’m on a quest to keep my gallbladder but not sure how much longer I can take being sick. Any advice at all would be much more than I’m getting from my doctor!

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Barbara Fletcher March 20, 2013 at 8:20 pm

Hello, I have been reading your site and it looks very interesting. I am at my wits end about my stomach, and fed up with traditional doctors. I was diagnosed with hyplori over 10 years ago now. I took rounds of powerful antibotics. My stomach has never been right since then. At some point I developed “acid reflux” and took acid blockers for many years, but I still have troubles. I have bouts of gastritis with burning stomach and bloating fairly often. Veggies seem better to eat than meat. I eat very lightly, my stomach seems to get somewhat better, I incorporate more food and then the trouble begins again.I have wondered if I still have some bacteria but have been tested for hyplori since and it was negative. I have had two endoscopys and was supposedly tested for acid, which was normal. I was taking prilosec when tested re the doctors orders. These doctors know nothing! I just took an enzymedica PH test strip using urine and this shows I have high acid. So, I am confused and need help. Should I try HCL? I have tried various things like Aloe juice etc. DGL seems to help but the stomach issues linger. Could I still have bacteria! I dont want to end up with stomach cancer. Thanks for you help!

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Dawn March 29, 2013 at 1:24 pm

I had gastritis last September and a gastrocopy in november showed that my pyloric valve is not closing problem. tested negative for h pylori.

My stomach is constantly gurgling/growling/groaning very loudly before, during and after meals….for hours and I get a lots of wind.No burning pain. My bowels are sluggish. I asked my gastro consultant the other day about low acid but he dismissed it. I had a lap nissan fundoplication in 2006 for acid reflux. How can I do the self low acid test, would it still be of use if I did?

thank you

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Steven Wright April 1, 2013 at 10:51 am

@Dawn – If you can do the baking soda test I’d start there.

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Anneh April 8, 2013 at 7:52 am

I heard about low stomach acid from a friend who also gave me an HCl capsule to test myself. But here’s my question: I’ve been vegetarian since 1993, and nearly vegan for the past three years. I have no interest in eating meat again, or any other animal products other than butter (it just tastes too good!). What plant protein sources, and how much, would you recommend in place of 6oz of meat for the HCl test?

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berealyoga May 13, 2013 at 6:34 pm

I’m a vegetarian too, and have all the symptoms of low acid (also type A blood). I too would love to know more about how betaine would benefit me.

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Jeff April 11, 2013 at 10:40 am

I drank the baking soda mixture. In the first 30 seconds I had a very small burp and then nothing after that.

Too high? Too low?

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Steven Wright April 15, 2013 at 9:07 am

My experience is the burp you are looking for is a BELCH! like a man burp for a lack of better way to describe it. Try the test a few more times.

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Mickie January 15, 2014 at 8:52 am

I’d like to try the baking soda test, but honestly, I have never belched in my life. It’s kind of a standing joke in my family, but the best I can manage are little throat noises/gurgles. I have frequent pressure, that a nice belch would relieve, but all that ever trickle up are little tiny “burps” or bubbles.

I guess it won’t hurt to try it.

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Debbie April 22, 2013 at 10:40 am

I am trying to find a way to help my daughter (age 22). She is a singer and is struggling with huskiness of the voice and a sore burning throat, (that gets sorer when she sings). She is B12 deficient, (pernicious anaemia) and has regular B12 injections, (hydroxocobalamin), and has an allergy to dairy products. When she first became ill, twenty months ago, she had trouble carrying on with normal life getting sicker, with more throat and stomach trouble. The acid was a problem, she continually complained that her stomach felt nasty and left her weak and with a sore throat. As we’ve brought her jabs closer together she doesn’t get quite as ill as before, but the symptoms do flare nearer the re-jab time, and the acid is causing problems. We recently went through over four months of no burning and nasty churning stomach pains, but then it started up again. She had been to Italy and found it near impossible to refrain from dairy products, which cause respiratory and stomach problems, and that may have kicked off the problem, I don’t know; but for the last two and a half months her acid reflux has been continual, and she is having problems with her voice. She’s tried raising the bed, drinking plenty of water, avoiding dairy, avoiding acidic foods like tomatoes and citrus, and now is trying to cut out gluten thinking that may be bloating her, (she is not celiac). I have a ENT referral, but the doctor insists that my daughter has high stomach acid and want to prescribe a PPI, (she is also testing for H Pyloric Bacteria). I suggested that my daughter may have LOW acid and tried to explain what I knew, but she insists that acid reflux is caused by too much acid and she’d never heard of low acid causing it; when I suggested a test to confirm it I was told it was not pleasant and too expensive, (for the NHS I guess). My daughter is that desperate about her voice that she’s considering the PPIs to help her throat heal, (although she doesn’t want to, and was quite irritated at the doctor). My questions are;
Could the B12 deficiency or jabs be one cause of the acid problem, because the symptoms and severity change?
What is DGL? (I’m in England)
She can’t risk making her throat worse, so will adding HCL cause more problem to begin with? She’s scared about it.
How does she add the acid and protect her throat allowing it to heal at the same time? (I read that it may take some time to get things right.)
Will apple cider vinegar aggravate the sore throat?
How can she tell whether the acid is too high or low? She did the bicarb test when her stomach was settled and it took well over 5 mins to burp…she barely did. But recently with the acid flaring up it was almost immediate.
We don’t want to make this worse and the throat is of paramount importance to her urgently as she is recording at present. If we try the acid, should we take something to stop the acid hurting her throat..bicarb? But wouldn’t that defeat the object. But it seems the best thing to let the throat heal.
Please help us know what to do for the best here..and I’m sorry for the length of this post.
PS; I remember that she often complained of burning as a child, which I interpreted as heartburn, and gave her milk, being unaware of the allergy at the time.

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Mike Smith April 24, 2013 at 9:03 pm

Thanks for this post! I’ve been suffering with mouth issues and I believe it’s low stomach acid. I have a couple red bumps on the back of my tongue with a white coating, not thrush. Also, it feels like there is always something in my throat.

Just started taking Betaine HCL 600 mg for 3 days now and no stomach pain.

Think I have low stomach acid?

Thanks

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Edward Powell April 28, 2013 at 11:08 pm

Wish to start Betaine HCL w/pepsin just stopping Pepsid AC 20 – should I allow some time to lapse or begin.

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fred May 4, 2013 at 8:17 pm

As an infant I developed an unknown infection and was placed in the hospital on an i.v. until I appeared better. My mom told me that I was never quite the same baby after that incident. For the next 30 years I suffered with digestive issues and never felt really well. Melancholy, tired, symptoms of every vitamin deficiency I read about. I surmised that I had contracted a stomach ulcer that over 30 years, had done some serious damage to my stomach lining that greatly reduced my stomach acid production. I discovered your book concerning stomach acid deficiency years ago. It gave me back my life. Thank you and best of luck to all the sufferers.

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joshua May 12, 2013 at 4:45 am

Hello…for 3 years i have had chest and stomach pains….no burning in chest just pain which is sometimes worse when breathing hard….get very full feeling if i eat a normal size meal and cramp up….sometimes hours later i can taste it again in my mouth and burp alot…..sounds like low stomach acid but i dont understand the chest pains? got a ct scan and no hiatal hernia

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Betty Hook May 12, 2013 at 6:07 pm

I am 80 yrs old, have had diarrhea for almost 2 months, started after upper resp. virus in March, Labs and stool cul. o.k. Taking Keopectate per doc, goes away, then comes back when stop taking. Had a paraesophageal hernia with Nissen wrap repair in 2008, have had loose ish stools ever since, now all of a sudden after the virus, daily diarrhea. Do have bruning in the throat at times before eating usually in the a.m. Am wondering if I have too much or not enough HCL? What to do next?

Thanks for your help, Betty

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Trish May 17, 2013 at 12:59 pm

I have food allergies to wheat/gluten/grains, egg and dairy too. All,have been removed from my diet for some time now.

With no grain, I have less fiber in my diet. I drink a green juice daily, and meals are typically steamed vegetables and some protein.

I have a small ulcer at the base of my esophagus. I wanted to heal it naturally with diet and supplements. Turns out two times the ulcer bled when I took a supplement and I coughed up clear mucous with red streaks. I was at first taking an enzyme capsule with digestive enzymes and hcl, but it wasn’t dairy/gluten free. I was recommended raw enzymes, high in protease. I’ve read both hcl and protease should be avoided if one has an ulcer.

I also have loose stools, which I thought was from no grains/low fiber in the diet, but now I’m seeing that loose elimination may be due to low stomach acid.

Since I’m already restricting allergens, and drinking healing juices, how can I heal an ulcer and digest foods well??

Thank you :)

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KristyS May 18, 2013 at 11:42 am

This may be a new one for you. I am a 3 year BC survivor. Right before my diagnosis my mouth broke out with hundreds of mouth ulcers. Mostly on the back of my throat and along my tongue and my mouth literally tasted like I had been sucking on aspirin!. I never had chemo or I, just a lumpectomy and my ovaries removed and am now on an anti estrogen pill. Anyhoo, about 1-2 times a year this will happen. They would last 2+ weeks and were accompanied with belching and severe fatigue. All my docs say aphthous ulcer. Stress induced, possibly vitamin b issues. I have tried Pepcid. hi B vitamins. PH Buffer, L-Lysine, probiotics, acidiphelus, etc. Well my last episode lasted 2+ months. I have researched extensively and finally read about low stomach acid. My question, can low stomach acid cause severe mouth ulcers? It seems like everything I am able to eat causes that horrid taste in my mouth, like I have acid all over it and it causes my soft tissue to “burn” resulting in the ulcers. My throat literally looks like it has been peeled away when this happens. I have dropped 12 pounds this last episode. I quit taking all supplements for now. I have been oil pulling and rinsing with a hydrogen peroxide wash. The sores have eased up a lot, but after I eat, I still get that taste in my mouth and slight burning in my stomach. What do you think? Could it be low stomach acid?
Thank you so much!!!
Kristy

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NEVILLE STRINGER May 19, 2013 at 2:44 pm

if betaine HCL works can I take this supplement for LIFE without any serious side effects?

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Kay May 21, 2013 at 7:57 am

Hi, love your site, thanks guys!

I’ve tried the baking soda test, and I don’t burp, but as soon as I start drinking coffee after the test, I belch. What’s the difference between the cause of these burps? What can I learn from this? I think black coffee is pretty acidic?
Thanks!!

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chuck May 24, 2013 at 7:38 am

Hello, I have had Rosacea since 2009 and am wondering if there could be a low stomach acid correlation? In 2007 I had really bad burning in my throat. the doc said I had GERD and put me on Protonix. 1 a day for a year, then maybe once a week for another year. I also had SIBO 2 years ago after a month of antibiotics from the dentist after wisdom teeth were pulled. the gastro doc gave me Cypro(antibiotic) to help it. The GERD and SIBO symptoms are much less now maybe only once a week with burning feeling, but the Rosacea remains constant. Overall I eat a fairly healthy Mediterranean diet and feel ok otherwise. The Rosacea is a constant bright redness in my cheeks, nose, and neck. I dont have any of the normal trigers except heat and exercise and i love to work out. Please help, the dermatologist is useless and just says more antibiotics. Could this be low acid or any other thoughts? Your site and info are great and very refreshing. Thank you

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Donna June 19, 2013 at 7:46 pm

I first want to say thanks for your website. I too am frustrated with my GI specialist. When I mentioned the possibility of low acid, she said it’s not a problem, and if anyone has it, we don’t usually treat it..WHAT?? (Is there no pharmaceutical drug for low acid, so they are not interested in this theory?lol) I’ve always preferred natural remedies and getting to the root of a problem, not covering it up with drugs that have serious harmful effects. I’m 51, not overweight, began having a burning feeling in my stomach 2 1/2 months ago..assumed it was an ulcer, doctor put me on Prilosec, which I expected immediate relief, but not much difference, then was tested for h.pylori..negative, then had endoscopy, and it showed stomach lining was ok, but had some irritation in esophagus.Then she actually wanted to up my Prilosec to 4 a day instead of one! Against my gut feelings on this(after reading many websites explaining the negative effects)..I tried it for 3 days, then stopped completely on Sunday..and threw them out. So, I’ve come to my own conclusion that I either have low acid(for whatever reason) or my lower esophagial muscle is weakened and causing acid to rise up into esophagus which I don’t believe you can strengthen? I’ve been drinking ACV for 2 days and seem to feel a little better, and have been drinking Aloe Juice since this started to heal lining. I’ve decided that my drinking for many years finally relaxed my muscle too much and caused the acid to come up, otherwise wouldn’t I have an ulcer if I had too much acid?..So, I’m ready to try HCL, but wonder if it will hurt if I still have some irritation and make it worse.How can I heal the irritation with food still fermenting in my stomach? I was feeling really light headed last night and am guessing it’s from being nutrient deficient now. I know..lots of questions, and now I am worried about any bacteria that might be thriving now since the acid has been low. Asked my GI specialist about the Heidelburg test and she says they don’t do anything like that. More propaganda? Ok..thanks for letting me vent. I do realize that our bodies are made to heal themselves if we take care of them. I just miss fresh fruits and chocolate sooo much! I actually have no desire to EVER drink again. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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Randi Hacker July 2, 2013 at 2:37 pm

You say betaine HCL can help in cases of hypochlorhydria but it is necessary to find the “root cause” of the problem. How? What might it be? If there is a root cause for low stomach acidity, how do you resolve it?

Thank you.

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alvin leung July 3, 2013 at 7:44 pm

Hi, happy that I stumbled across this.
I’ve been dealing with constant belching, deep burping, and pressure in my throat area since February 2013.
Tested negative for H Pylori, tried PPIs, all haven’t helped me.
I have changed my diet to eliminate all the irritating foods like spice, chocolate, caffeinne. Those foods seem to make my symptoms worse. It hasn’t eliminated my symptoms.
My doctors can’t figure out what is wrong with me. They think it is gastritis.

Could I have low stomach acid? When burp, I can faintly taste the food I ate. My symptoms get worse at night before I sleep, I do not eat late at night.

I hope I could hear back. Thank you so much for your help!

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Steven Wright July 5, 2013 at 12:24 pm

Yep the burping is probably the strongest signal I know of. Test the supplements and let me know what you notice. Read this to begin http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/03/how-to-supplement-with-betaine-hcl-for-low-stomach-acid/

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Alvin Leung July 5, 2013 at 2:45 pm

Hi Steven,

All these symptoms started suddenly after a massive Superbowl meal (hot fried wings, pizza, ice cream) I had. The next day I was constipated and belching severely, and I continued to drink coffee, lots of water.

Thank you for your response. I will test out the supplements and I am seeing my GI doctor tomorrow.

I forget to mention that my symptoms seem to get worse in between meals and at night before bed. I do not have symptoms while I eat. Have you ever encountered this? Does this still point to low stomach acid?

Thank you so much for your help

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Michael July 8, 2013 at 11:15 pm

Just a quick question – could eating too much salt with meals be responsible for low stomach acid? I can’t seem to find an answer to this simple question anywhere.

Thanks for your help.

Mike

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Steven Wright July 10, 2013 at 11:22 am

No I don’t see how salt would lower HCL. But if you’ve found a article on it I’d love to see it.

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Michael July 10, 2013 at 6:34 pm

Thanks for the answer – nothing really like scientific research – but I did stumble across this link: http://www.modernherbalist.com/betaine.html, which states:

“Unfortunately, much misinformation regarding the use of salt in the diet has been circulating for the last three decades or so. The body needs salt (NaCl) and cannot function adequately without it. Low salt diets can make it very difficult if not impossible for the stomach to produce adequate amounts of hydrochloric acid. The problem is not salt per se, but the quality of the salt. Using unrefined, highly mineralized sea salt is perfectly safe and healthful to the system.”

So how reliable it is I have really don’t know – but I would love to know more about this area too. Since on the SCD you’re making 100% of what you eat, it would be great to have some guidelines as to how much should be used. 10g/day is suggested for an adult male – I’m now starting to wonder if that sort of regulation does more harm than good?

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Steven Wright July 11, 2013 at 9:06 am

Hey Michael – My thoughts are that people on SCD and Paleo are typically eating too little salt. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a reliable amount to shoot for but Chris Kresser has a good series on it. Also the CDC is now finally admitting they made a mistake in recommending a low salt diet http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=18311&page=R1

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Michael July 11, 2013 at 10:18 pm

Interesting stuff Steve… I did a search for Chris Kesser and found this:

http://chriskresser.com/shaking-up-the-salt-myth-healthy-salt-recommendations

No word on it’s relation to stomach acid, however.

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Beverley July 25, 2013 at 11:18 am

Hi Steve,

What are your thoughts? I did the baking soda test and did not burp at all and it’s now 10 minutes since I drank the solution. I did it first thing in the morning nothing to eat or drink. Last week I started the Betaime HCL test and started at 2 pills went up to 4 pills and experiencing constant symptoms burning etc. So, I had stopped it and now taking Beta Carotene to hopefully give the mucosal lining a bit of vit A. I was going to do this for a week and then give Betaime another try.

Thanks for your help,
Bev

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Steven Wright July 29, 2013 at 10:32 am

Sounds like you’re on the right track make sure to read this http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/03/how-to-supplement-with-betaine-hcl-for-low-stomach-acid/

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Alison July 29, 2013 at 4:44 pm

Hi Steve – fantastic info! Suddenly this year, I’ve experienced fullness up to my throat and in my chest/stomach, pain under right rib (thinking gallstones?), pain under left rib that travels around to my back and areas are sore to touch. Currently, I have persistent lower back pain (not sure if this is related). Anyway, I am trying Betaine HCL + Pepsin; was up to 8 tablets but am pretty confident I got the “symptoms” as you describe, so have dropped down to 7 with every meal. Very early days, but already I think I’m feeling better. What I want to know is, should I keep fluid intake to a minimum when eating meals and if so, is it just a case of drinking enough to take the tablets? I’m thinking too much liquid will dilute any stomach acid? Is this true, or is it a good idea to take plenty of fluid when eating, does this encourage acid production? I’ve read many conflicting ideas and it’s confusing! Thank you :)

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Dale August 4, 2013 at 1:52 am

I was dx in 2009 with UC and prescribed sulfasalizine for it.
About two months later I started noticing that I was having a lot of “heartburn” and was prescribed a PPI for that problem.
I have since determined that I don’t want to be on a PPI for the remainder of my life and have discontinued it. Is it possible that I am simply allergic to sulfasalazine, and/or not producing enough HCL?
I haven’t done any testing for stomach pH at this time.
I also haven’t discontinued the sulfasalazine (yet).

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Lee August 6, 2013 at 9:21 am

Steve, 2 questions please about the home test. Does the amount of water with baking soda affect the outcome? i.e. would one be more prone to burp if they drank 4oz vs 6oz? (I read somewhere to drink 8oz). And, if someone has adequate acid levels, should they belch several times within 3 minutes? I had a small burp just once and wonder if that’s considered enough… thanks you!

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Steven Wright August 7, 2013 at 9:51 am

I’m sure the water amt might slightly affect the test. But that’s why I advocate to try it 3 times. The burp should be a belch. Not small.

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James August 6, 2013 at 1:58 pm

I have a question I can’t find the answer to. If someone has low stomach acid and something like apple cider vinegar helps it, then why wouldn’t it make sense to ingest other acid producing foods and drink- like citrus fruits, coffee, even alcohol? They increase stomach acid and isn’t that the goal? Can anyone please answer this? Thanks!

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Anne August 30, 2013 at 11:19 pm

After beginning supplementing with HCL how long before your digestion begins to straighten out?

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Steven Wright September 3, 2013 at 10:00 am

That all depends on the severity of your problems. Follow the my Betaine HCL dosing article to make sure you get the right HCL and also try digestive enzymes.

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James September 4, 2013 at 3:43 pm

I still have this question I can’t find the answer to. If someone has low stomach acid and something like apple cider vinegar helps it, then why wouldn’t it make sense to ingest other acid producing foods and drink- like citrus fruits, coffee, even alcohol? They increase stomach acid and isn’t that the goal? Can anyone please answer this? Thanks!

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KELLY BATTISTA September 6, 2013 at 8:53 pm

I have abdominal swelling ( I refuse to use the word bloat since my stomach looks 6 months pregnant). This has been going on for nealy 9 months.. and 11 doctors later. Right now I am on the second week of Amitiza and Miralax and I am still having the swelling every day. I have tried a gluten free and dairy free diet for three months. At once point they thought maybe SIBO, so I followed that diet of just water, chicken, spinach.. and still continued to have the same swelling. I did try for two weeks digestive enzymes (digest gold) and pancreatin and HCL. I did see some ok days, however still had swelling at night or in the morning.. it would come and go. My question is what HCL do you reccomend and how much would be in a 1 pill dose? The one I have is Unikey Health HCL+2 and contains Calcium 35mg, Phosphorus 30mg, Betaine Hydrochloride 1.08g, Pepsin 58mg, OxBile Extract 130mg. I know the health food store near by carries one, this one I ordered online. I only took two pills after a meal for two weeks so Im thinking that maybe I didnt take enough. My second question is an article I read suggested to take it a half hour before a meal, the directions on the bottle says during or immediately after a meal. And my last question, is the same for digestive enzymes, before during or after a meal? I just want to feel better already ……

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Amanda September 6, 2013 at 10:22 pm

Glad I found this page – I feel like my symptoms fit very well with the smptoms of low stomach acid.

Question – could a long round of steroids (prednisone for 2 months) concurrent with 2 months of constant NSAIDs use, along with 2 rounds of antibiotics (all together over the course of 8 months) possibly cause (or at least partially cause) low stomach acid?

Thanks for your time!

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Kim September 11, 2013 at 7:12 pm

The Betaine HCL tests says to take it with meat. I’m vegetarian. Does that mean the test won’t be accurate? And if there’s discomfort before I take it, and after I take it it’s no worse or better, do I still increase it the next time?

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Lynn September 12, 2013 at 11:25 am

I don’t belch from the baking soda test, so maybe I have low stomach acid. But then why do I belch after drinking a carbonated drink??

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Anna September 21, 2013 at 12:37 am

Hello! I am a 22 year old female who just had her first experience with acid reflux as I mixed stress with an early morning coffee with a mid day snack which had tomato paste undiluted. I thought I was having a heart attack, I really did. I am overweight by 50+ pounds and I have no insurance to see a doctor. What should I do?

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Heather September 21, 2013 at 12:24 pm

Thank you for the informative information. I have been suffering with GERD for the last five years, controlled for the most part with 80mg of nexium per day, except for a few weeks of flare ups here and there (which I am having now). I would like to do the HCL test but am wondering if it can be done while on my PPI? I’m quite concerned about coming off of it given how bad the flare ups can be sometimes even when on it. Your advice/clarification would be most appreciated. Thank you

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Heather September 22, 2013 at 3:00 pm

Hi Guys! I have your book and your protocols, I bought and read through your package. I have completed the indepth food allergy test – no allergies. I have done hormone testing twice, levels of E in range, Pg slightly low and I supplement with bioidentical progesterone, Vitamin D levels in the optimal range. I have had a colonoscopy and endoscopy- no Celiacs, Chrohns, etc. and gallbladder is fine. I had Hpylori 6 years ago, I was tested again this year and it was negative. I have cut out sugar and grains, hoping it was SIBO, no improvement. My only issue is extreme and excessive bloating- intense bloating that makes me look 6 months pregnant- to the point I have to take my pants off. I do not have diarrhea or constipation, just super extreme bloating. When the bloating occurs I often have an almost “allergic” reaction–feeling super tired and needing to lay down. I stay a little bloated all the time, but after I eat ANYTHING it gets worse.

I give you this long history to ask if the 1 hour counseling would still be beneficial?
PS- I am taking Betaine HCL and digestive enzymes. I took probiotics in the past, but stopped, they seemed to make things worse.

Thanks- Heather

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Heather September 22, 2013 at 3:02 pm

I left out a huge piece- my doctor thinks I may have Fructose Malabsorption–I definitely have extreme reactions to fructose, but without fructose I still stay bloated and bloat after meals that are all protein..so..

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rat1928 September 25, 2013 at 8:15 pm

Hi. Thank you for all of the good information. I have had stomach issues for about 3 months. I have had a history of GERD, and have taken omeprozole and pepcid off and on for years. I had an endoscopy and no signs of an ulcer. The pain comes and goes, but seems worst after eating meat. I have very little gas or bowel problems, but the stomach pain continues and is getting worse. I am starting to think maybe I have low stomach acid. Is this possible, given my only symptoms are stomach pain and VERY rumbly stomach? It seems my stomach is constantly gurgling, which it never used to do. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much

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rat1928 September 26, 2013 at 11:46 am

I just got results from the doctor saying the biopsy from the endoscopy shows chronic gastritis. Could this still be low acid? My heartburn issues seem to be improving but not the stomach pain. I am afraid to try the HCl if it will cause worse gastritis

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sydneyguy October 4, 2013 at 9:09 am

Hi, I have question, I hope you can help me with this, I have been suffering heart burn since 3 weeks ago, the heart burn is not very bad, but it is there everytime, and morning is the worse. I decided to take my first HCL today. I ate it after my first bite of the food, then until I finish eating, nothing really happened. But 1 hour after, my throat is hot inside and my tummy feels warm even I touch it from outside. Does it mean that I have enough acid? so HCL is not for me? What should I do then to get rid of the heartburn?because it really annoys me and sometimes I had to take day off.:(

I hope you guys can help me with this problem, really appreciate your reply.

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Tanya October 7, 2013 at 9:36 pm

Hi, Steve,
there is another method to measure the stomach acidity. This method was widely used in Europe (still my grand mother was diagnosed with her hypoacidic gastritis 50 years ago, in Belarus). This year, I surprisingly knew from my neighbor, former nurse, that she and her colleges regularly used this method 10 years ago while working in a children hospital to diagnose the level of stomach acidity by children with GE issues. Finally, I found this method on-line. It calls “Stomach acid test” or ”Gastric acid secretion test” alternatively :
“After not eating for a period of time, fluid is all that remains in the stomach. This fluid can be removed via a tube inserted into the stomach through the esophagus (food pipe).
To test the ability of cells in the stomach to release acid, gastrin may be injected just under the skin, into a muscle, or into a vein. The stomach contents are then removed and analyzed.” (50 years ago insteed of gastrin doctors used meat broth or cabbige juice).

This test is used :
“To check if anti-ulcer medications are working
To check if material is coming back up from the small intestine
To test for the cause of ulcers”.
On-line sources (the content is similar, from one sourse):
http://www.walgreens.com/marketing/library/contents.html?docid=003883&doctype=1
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003883.htm
http://health.nytimes.com/health/guides/test/stomach-acid-test/ etc.
I don’t know if this test is still alive or already became a history? If it is still alive the patients schould have the symptoms of ulcer to be diagnosed. I’m going to ask about it my GE- (works with Blue Cross Blue Schield insurances inside of a Medical Group). I have an appoin. in one week.
About the Heidelberger test. In Illinois there are only two chiropractor have this device. Cost is $500. Guess, how many people come to them to measure they st. acidity?
There are doctors who perform this test in U.S. :
http://www.phcapsule.com/drref.htm

Thanks.

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Marcus October 19, 2013 at 10:17 am

Steve and Jordan,

First of all I’d like to say thank you. I appreciate the work you do and the information you provide. I started having digestive issues shortly after age 25 and I’m now 31. Never realized that low stomach acid was one of the culprits, but after testing myself and finding my dosage at four 650mg capsules, I’m feeling much much better after meals.

I had a horrible diet back in college which I’m sure contributed to this whole issue but I’m researching now to find out what steps the body uses to actually create stomach acid. I had already assumed that a deficiency of nutrients and minerals was the cause, but three things in study that were specifically named as thing needed are zinc, thiamine, and B vitamins. Is this true? I’m thinking that if it is true and I have confirmation from experts like yourselves, supplementing with those may give my body what it’s missing so it can start creating it’s own HCL again. I’m also thinking an SCD diet would be the right way to go for me as well so I’m going to give it a try. Thanks again.

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Collin November 2, 2013 at 11:15 pm

Hey there
my doctor recently prescribed Prevacid for me – just started taking it only 2 weeks ago – doctor thinks I have acid reflux… basically I don’t have pain in chest or burning in the throat (unless I drink starbucks on an empty stomach) BUT what I do get in the evenings about 1 hour after supper is an occasional burp where I can feel a small amount of liquid (or even tiny bits of food) in my burp – don’t know if that makes any sense… this was what I did tell my doctor about before he prescribed the prevacid. He sent me for some blood work too (high cholesterol, low vit D) as well as the H pylori breath test (which came back negative). Im not really sure if I do have reflux or if im just paying too much attention to something that could actually be normal (I tend to be a bit of a Hypachondriac, which doesn’t help my stress – sometimes I panic over things like this!!). On the other hand my mom owns a healthfood store in town, she thinks it could be low stomach acid that’s cause my burps with the ocassional tiny food and liquid particles coming up, my older brother actually told me the same thing – he worked in healthfood for a bit too. I feel a bit concerned about taking the PPI’s too just because of what ive seen on the internet… I tried an acid test that Dr Brenda Watson suggests involving apple cider vinegar on an empty stomach in the morning, basically I didn’t feel a warming sensation until my second or third teaspoon (which she would say means I have low stomach acid). What advice could you offer me – not sure that I want to be on PPIs for the rest of my life, which my doctor is suggesting… but then again if it is reflux and I don’t take the PPIs he says it can lead to esophageal cancer… need advice here

Sincerely, Collin

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Steven Wright November 3, 2013 at 10:25 pm

Well step one would be to change your diet to SCD or Paleo and then step two would be try some of the tests above. Let me know here how it works in a week or 2.

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Kelly C. November 8, 2013 at 2:14 pm

I’ve found this site (and Chris Kressler’s) very informative. I’ve had a horrible cough for 2 years and was diagnosed with acid reflux a couple months ago. I was put on Omeprazole and even asthma inhalers, both of which worsened my symptoms and weakened (in my opinion) my immune system. I took myself off all meds a month ago and started a gluten-free, relatively low-carb diet, and my cough improved substantially. However, now I’m starting to get frequent heartburn, a symptom I didn’t have before. I guess a gluten-free diet wasn’t the cure-all I was hoping it’d be.

I want to try taking HCL but am slightly apprehensive because I was on Flonase (a corticosteroid) for six weeks – been off it for six weeks now – and drinking apple cider vinegar or kombucha or taking vitamin C drops burns my throat and makes my throat hurt for 1-2 days. I’ve taken DGL licorice tablets for a few weeks but am still getting the sore throat and now heartburn….What to do? I’m afraid the HCL tablets are going to burn/irritate my throat; should I try them anyway?

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tambecka November 14, 2013 at 1:59 pm

I have a dysbiotic gut with many worsening health problems.
When I tried the baking soda test–I belched about 10 minutes later and then began sneezing many many times. This is some type of allergic reaction, but does it mean I have low stomach acid. I’m going to see a functional medicine doctor that specializes in gastro problems.

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Limi November 21, 2013 at 7:19 am

Hi Steve,

Thanks for the great article. I did the soda test and did not seem to pass (didn’t belch in the first 5 minutes), so I am now trying the HCL test. I took one pill during a high-protein meal. My issue is that, due to some acidic issues I am probably suffering from, I am used to experiencing some hotness and heaviness after a meal anyway. So how would I know if the HCL is doing this or if it’s just my “regular” digestive system? Should I be looking out for more severe symptoms than I usually feel?

Thanks!

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Lyn November 24, 2013 at 12:02 am

Is it ok to take HCL when pregnant? I started taking it and it has helped me but I recently found out that I’m pregnant. What do you recommend?

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Mike November 26, 2013 at 5:28 pm

Great information on this HCL – definitely worth taking the test. Ive been on Omeprazole for several years now for AR. Along with the this struggle with heartburn Ive also had chronic headaches and migraines. Ive tried numerous avenues pursuing the migraine treatments and prevention but the after repeated trends the headaches seem to come after meals – especially heavy meals. Defintiely seems digestive related. So I tried a test and stopped the Omperazole for several days and started up on a Probiotic / Acidiophilus supplement and also some Enzymes during mealtimes. I went over 10 days without a headache! Coud it be the lack of acid in my stomach and poor digestion after meals that is causing the headaches? Drinking Coke or Dr Pepper during the meals has also helped with preventative. The problem is that Ive started back up with Omeprazole because Ive been getting bad hearburn again – now the headaches are starting to comeback! Im considering the alternaitve remedies and preventatives for heatburn including this HCL test. Any thoughts / suggestions?

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James Brown December 4, 2013 at 5:11 pm

Hey guys, I’m writing you for some insight and hope on my quest to find a solution. Back in 2005 I began experiencing a constant burning in my throat almost everyday. I went to my doctor and was told I had acid reflux. Not a single test was performed and I was given a prescription and sent about my business. I took Prevacid for several years and it seemed to help. I still had the burning sensation on occasion. I later switched to Nexium. I didn’t last long on Nexium because of the horrible effects it caused me. Each day before taking my pill I felt great. No burning, nothing! Then after I took it I had the worst burning sensation. It would last all day until it worked itself out of my system, I was miserable. So, I switched back to Prevacid and I started feeling better. However, I still suffer from that burning sensation in my throat on occasion. I can eat something and immediately feel the burn. Perhaps that is from the irritation of reflux? Something else that confuses me is that I can eat certain foods that should bother me but don’t. Like something spicy. Also, I eat things that I would consider not bothersome but they do bother me. I’m starting to wonder if maybe I don’t produce enough stomach acid. I’m usually really gassy and often feel bloated. I especially feel this after eating. Also, if I go all day and don’t eat much I can expect gas and burning in my throat. I’m getting tired of playing this game and want to get it under control once and for all. How do I ween myself from Prevacid and try taking HCL with Pepsin? What should I do to get myself feeling like a human again, thanks!!

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Karla December 26, 2013 at 12:17 pm

Hello Steve,

I came across your article about low acud in the stomach, which I find interesting as it may be what I’m suffering from. I realize that you cannot diagnose me, however, you could provide me with an opinion, here are my simptoms:

I have suffered stomach issues for the past 10 years
8 years ago, I had my first endoscopy. They said I had acid reflux and started taking Prevacid…It did not treat/cute my situation. I’ve also had the ph test, where they but a camera thru your nostril and is in for 24hrs(very painful!) it was inconclusive, as another dr. Said that the dr. who had me do it had me on Prevacid while I did the test and he told me that I should’ve been off for at least 2 weeks! I’ve had endoscopy at least 4 times in the past 10 years, had colonoscopy at least 3 times as well..cat scans/blood work/X-rays and so on… All have been normal..through the years my condition has gotten worse; now, every time I eat my right side hurts, my stomach is bloated, I can’t seem to pass gas and constipation has always been an issue for me. I have been told I have IBS…last June, I had an endoscopy, which he said there was nothing wrong, other than a little gastritis…he said no concerns at all..I had a colonoscopy November 2012. He said all is well, just a lot of bloating/gas. I keep having pain on my right side if the stomach, I was thinking its my liver, they say liver is working well and that is due to gas bring trapped…I need to release more. I loose about 5/7 pounds when I’m going through this, also I feel the acid in the back of my throat and even a bitter taste in the mouth. Dr. Doesn’t seem concerned at all! He just prescribed reglan to help the spasms in the intestines. On my own, I’m taking probiotics. I blood work shows my digestive enzymes are low, so I’m taking digest gold. My stomach is always making sounds, it’s embarrassing! I always have that bitter taste and I feel I need to eat something sweet to counter that taste. I’m trying to eat gluten free, mainly fish and chicken. Red meat seems to hurt by stomach and it constipates and makes me feel bloated…I need help and I feel that the dr.s have discarded me and feel I just need to deal with it! I have been to 3 dr.s and they’re done with me..please help me! Sorry for the long version. I have also done a 2 week course for antibiotics for treating possible bacteria in the gut. Thank you.

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Theresa December 27, 2013 at 12:58 pm

Thank you for this! Can I substitute eggs or plant protein for the meat in the Betaine HCL test? If so, how much?

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PAMM January 5, 2014 at 8:56 pm

Hello I Take Steroids for a Adrenal Disease 5 years now, So I was always scared to take HCI. However I Had all the signs of Low Stomach Acid Over The Years. On the Baking Soda test I wouldn’t burp any. Hair Loss, Constipation & Peeling Fingernails, Can’t Tolerate Supplements, Fatigue, Hair Loss, Hard to tolerate Protein. But these symptoms can overlap so much with other issues. My Main Issue Now Is I have Experienced a Extremely Tight Feeling under my Breast Bone all the way across more so on left side & My Ribs are Very Painful to touch. With Bloating. The Pressure Is all the way through to my back. It came about when I got Stomach Flu. Right after the Stomach Flu I was burping alot & had acid reflux for 2 weeks. I don’t have those anymore, just the tightness and sore ribs. I don’t Burp after meals either. Could this be low acid or candida or high acid? I just feel more tightness under chest after eating. Grapefruit Seed Extract Has Helped a Few Times. I Have Developed Low Blood Sugar After Supplements & Eating started about 9 months ago. I am Desperate For Answers. Especially With The Sugar Problems. By Reading this Do you think I Have Low Stomach Acid & If So Do You Think It Could Cause Low Blood Sugar Issues? thank you very much…

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Courtney January 13, 2014 at 7:52 pm

Hi Steve,
Thank you so much for writing this article. I have found it very useful in my attempts to regain my digestive health.
I an 24 years old and have been suffering from chronic constipation (we’re talking 3 weeks – month long bouts of constipation) for 2 years now – basically since incorporating more protein into my diet. I literally tried everything for 2 years and nothing/nobody could help me.
I recently read your article and began taking HcL pills (the Thorne brand with pepsin) under the supervision of my naturopath. I started with a low dose at first and instantly say digestive improvement. I then did the loading test and took 20 pills without feeling much. I slowly backed off before the holidays (gradually down to 1 pill) but then experienced the same symtoms all over again. I did drink some coffee and wine which I don’t normally have, and at a bit of gluten and some dairy as well as spicy food.
I’ve since gone back up to 20 pills and still don’t feel any burning. It has been a few days at this dose and I finally had a somewhat normal bowel movement today.
My question for you is is it strange that I nee this much acid to have a normal bowel movement? Should I be worried that there is a serious underlying cause to my problem?
I am so worried. Just when I thought I found the anwer to my digestive distress my symtoms came back and I am at my wits end. Any advice, insights or guidance would be greatly appreciated.

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Kelly September 3, 2014 at 8:18 pm

Courtney,
It’s been a while since you posted and I hope you have improved. I’m certainly no doctor but from everything I’ve read, if you don’t experience the burning or warmth you should take approximately 7-8 capsules with meals. You may need to keep with it for months before your body starts to produce enough HCl so that you notice warmth and slowly back down a capsule at a time. I’ve been taking HCl for over a year now and still need it. Definitely avoid gluten and possibly dairy too.

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Brent Kovacs September 4, 2014 at 4:14 pm

We talk more about finding your correct dose of Betaine HCl here, as many people do not experience the burning: http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/03/how-to-supplement-with-betaine-hcl-for-low-stomach-acid/

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Steve January 17, 2014 at 8:44 am

Finding it somewhat of a chore to swallow so many capsules at once. Along with the other supplements I am taking, it adds up to a lot of capsules and namely the necessity of swallowing quite a lot of fluid to get them down, which I understand to be counter-productive for digestion on low stomach acid. Might I possibly dump out the contents of the Betaine HCL capsules into a glass and mix them all together with a little water and take them that way? Any reason not to?

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Jasmine January 26, 2014 at 6:56 am

Hi Steve,

I have been diagnosed with inflammation of the Esophagus… My problems all started with a sore throat.. which I was told must be due to reflux.. I tried to take PPI’S and was very ill with severe stomach pain just below the sternum, also as soon as I started taking them I was burping every couple of seconds.. it was incredible.. I was even burping in my sleep! and I have never suffered from wind. What I would like to know is, is it safe to try the HCL supplements for the acid test if I have inflammation in the Esophagus.. could this make it worse? Thank you for your help and the good work you are doing!

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Camille February 3, 2014 at 8:49 pm

Hello,

I have had digestive issues most of my life. I was diagnosed with IBS about 20 years or more; but, have been able to control it or it disappeared…up until this past month. I have been miserable the entire month of January. I have been researching supplements/herbs to try. I am extremely constipated and I bloat up from just about anything I consume. I have a burning sensation in the middle of my stomach, right under my rib cage and nothing takes it away. I take a dairy free keifer probiotic every morning and a digestive enzyme with meals and they don’t seem to be helping. I used to drink apple cider vinegar; but, I can’t seem to tolerate that anymore; so, I stopped. It seems to make the burning worse. Do you have any suggestions on what it could be and what I should do or try? Much appreciate it! Thank you!

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Kevin February 9, 2014 at 10:27 pm

Hey,
I have a question is this is under the case of low stomach acidity. I present with constant bloating, gas, and occasional constipation. I’ve been taking enzymes for the past 2 years and it has helped a lot, but now they seem to be working only minimally. I rarely get heartburn, but I do get the feeling of food still being in my stomach all the time after I eat. I have a couple nights of regurgitation of food even hours after my meal. I can’t eat a lot in one sitting, and end up being hungry in an hour or so. And its a constant cycle of eating multiple times, taking enzymes with my meals, and feeling full all the time in my stomach, but constantly hungry.
I do not know if trying HCL would be beneficial since I don’t have heartburn symptoms.

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Matt February 28, 2014 at 6:56 am

Hi

I tried taking Betaine HCL with a meal and I only took 1 tablet. Straight after I had a lot of wind and was constantly belching as well as feeling a bit hypo. Does that mean that I don’t need to take HCL and that my stomach was already producing enough acid? I also gave up alcohol 1 week ago so i’m not sure if that has a role to play.

I look forward to your guidance on this.

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Teniel March 6, 2014 at 6:49 am

Hi, I have so many questions for you guys. I love your page and am learning so much.
Can you use a vegan protein to do a test with the HCL tablets? Something like quinoa or chia etc… If so how much?

Are the digestive bitters also known as swedish bitters? Because I have a huge bottle of that in my cupboard but it has a strong alcohol content. From what you have written Im under the impression this can be used instead of the HCL tablets as it helps with the digestion of the food. Correct? I guess then I have to work out how much to take. 10ml 15ml???

When should you take HCL tablets before a meal/on empty stomach and how long before?

How much Pepsin per HCL capsule is needed? What do you think of the NOW brand?

Is it safe to take HCL and also digestive enzymes with a leaky gut? IM in Australia so cant get a hold of all the brands you recommend.

Thanks so much, Any questions you can answer will help me out tremendously.

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Peleg March 11, 2014 at 3:18 am

Steve, I will try to make this short.

September 2013, I got diagnosed with Gastritis/GERD/IBS. I didn’t know much about this stuff. The Doctor put me on PPI and H2. I lost 40 lbs in 4 months since I couldn’t eat solid foods. I healed the Gastritis with GastroVen.

After I fired my Doctor and the constipating drugs he gave me, I went with another Doctor who put me on antibiotics and anti-spasmatics, I fired him too.

I got tested for food allergies via IgG, IgA, IgE blood tests. It turns out I’m allergic to casein, gluten, beef, egg yolk, sugar, honey and coffee. I changed my diet, the heartburn is gone. The GERD used to make my throat constrict, but that’s just about gone too.

The IBS is the toughest one to beat. I’m waiting on the results of my comprehensive stool tests (bacterial, parasites and yeast) I have a feeling it’s yeast. I get bloated and constipated. My descending colon is bloated and painful. Can yeast overgrowth cause these symptoms and cause low production of stomach acid? I can take 3-4 HCL pills after a meal and not feel much.

By the way, the Rhizinate 3X DGL is a great product.

Also, would food allergies go away, or do I have to depart from dairy/bread for good? I was kind of bummed about it, although everyone tells me I look great.

Cheers,

Peleg.

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Jessica March 14, 2014 at 3:05 am

Hi Steve, I do not eat meat, but do eat fish…would salmon suffice for the at home Betaine HCL test?

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gaurav March 19, 2014 at 2:37 pm

Sir,whenever i take my meal my stomach filled with gas plus i dont even get burps and fart..it create a lot of problem for me sometime i could not talk properly then i take a pill which help me to digest my food then i get some relief this problem continues after every of my meal…please help me out

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Dominik March 24, 2014 at 1:52 pm

Dear Steve!

My diagnosis is:
GERB
Gastritis peptica
Ptosis ventriculi
Bulbitis erosiva

Can I take the HCL test or not due to erosions? Thank you!

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Cynthia March 26, 2014 at 10:04 am

I was wondering if I can continue with my apple cider vinegar pills and the Betaine HCL?

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Clair March 30, 2014 at 4:36 am

I have severe reflux and an endoscopy revealed a hiatus hernia. It also revealed that my stomach was full of breakfast that I’d eaten 7 hrs previously. I have been thinking about HCL but I’m concerned that the hernia will allow too much acid through. I recall the doc saying everything looked sore and inflammed and that he could see a lot of acid. Any advice? Many thanks, C

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Dick March 30, 2014 at 8:50 am

Interesting stuff. I just did the soda test and guess what? I did not burp whatsoever. Instead I have had liquid coming back up my throat. Granted this only the first test but it seems telling to me. I was always told I had GERD and put on proton pump inhibitors. I’ve been off them for a long time but had some bad acid attacks and lots of frothy white liquid that kept coming up my throat (I have had this before many times). I think my stomach sphincter is not closing properly anymore and allowing the stomach contents to come back up because of the pressure from the bloating. I also have lot so pain in various regions of my bowels and have IBS symptoms. I also had my gall bladder removed a few years ago. But I had the stomach problems before that. I’ve seen a gastro on a few occasions and all they did was a camera down the throat and a sample taken. I have had gastritis on a few occasions. Can you get gastritis on low stomach acid? It’s all very frustrating.

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Marissa April 17, 2014 at 2:43 pm

I decided to quit soda. I never had all that much, about 3-4 a week of regular soda. I quit at the begining of March, by March 11 I had horrible reflux/heartburn and had to go to a walk in clinic. I thought I was having gallbladder attacks. I did not have gall stones. I have been prescribed prilosec (since I could not afford the Nexium I was prescribed) I have started a few sodas again because I found when I drink one, it relieves my heartburn rather than making it worse. Is this crazy talk? I am still only at 3-4 a week but since I started drinking them again, I havenot had severe reactions like I was having when I quit.

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Brenda Boyce April 23, 2014 at 1:00 pm

I am delighted to have found this info on Betaine HCl, although just a day late!

I have had problems with food sitting in my stomach overlong, sometimes waking with a foul taste in my mouth, presumably from rotting food that hadn’t yet been digested. Yuk. Because of this, I had assumed I had low stomach acid. My assuming was mistake number one! I took the Betaine HCl and Pepsin last night prior to a meal (HCl 648mg Pepsin 130mg) and woke up this morning having burned the inside of my upper lip. Not nice! The extra acid had obviously made its way up my esophagus whilst I slept. I didn’t connect this with taking the HCl initially so tried another with a protein meal today and my stomach was literally burning!

I am 70 years old and had always assumed that acid levels decreased with age. This doesn’t appear to always be the case.

So what could be causing food to remain in my stomach? I have been taking digestive enzymes for a month and don’t appear to have much of a problem when I do. I wrongly thought that extra acid would help as well.

Any comments greatly appreciated.

Thanks and blessings to you both for this info turning up just in the nick of time. :-)

Brenda

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Gabby Friedman April 23, 2014 at 1:37 pm

Hi, I’ve been suffering from GERD for years and have answered “yes” to your low stomach acid questions. I stopped my Pepcid and want to try HCL, but have been on asthma steroids for years (Advair). Is it safe to take HCL while taking inhaled steroids? I’m taking bitter herbs, apple cider vinegar and lemon juice right now, which help a bit, but not entirely. I still feel heartburn. I really want to try HCL, but am worried about the steriods. Any advice is much appreciated. Many thanks!

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Brenda April 24, 2014 at 2:52 am

Update on my post of yesterday which suggested I had plenty of acid in my stomach: I did the baking soda test this morning and I didn’t burp once in twenty minutes, which tells me I don’t have any (or enough) stomach acid! None of this is making sense… ????

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Jeff April 25, 2014 at 11:52 am

Diagnosed with Hyporia after oral medicine taken for rash on chest caused from yeast infection, followed by very strong antibiotic taken for acne, while taking ibupropin for sprained ankle. I’m guessing the above combinations brought on the hyporia. Doc wants to start me on suitcase of meds/antibiotics – do I need to take all that and not sure if I have low acid or high but they are treating me for high – prolasec,etc. Horrible heartburn, burping, neck burning, have to sleep sitting up, hurts to eat. If I take the medicines prescribe, I will take probiotics 2 hours before I take the antibiotics (4 of them), if you think that is a good idea? Eating grilled fish, chicken, eggs and fresh fruit and veggies, cranberry juice. So, is the above the best way to treat hyporia and get rid of it? Thanks, Jeff PS, my dog had ghardia, don’t think I got that from him though.

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Holly May 2, 2014 at 6:42 am

I went to sleep one night and in the middle of the night i had some massive stomach pain i have not felt before then shortly followed a fever of 105 that lasted a day and now my stomach wont even digest water i have to make myself regurgitate and i am not sure what to do now cause drinking a half a glass of water will keep me full for a week but i get dehydrated so i have to force an emtying so can drink more water. I dont visit doctors

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pina May 24, 2014 at 11:20 pm

I’ve been following Paleo diet for a while and overall I feel great. However, I’ve been getting bad heartburns after eating anything with coconut oil or coconut milk. Before I went Paleo, I hardly ever got hearthburns, and if I did it would be from rye bread, pizza or pineapple. But why coconut? I have been reading, that saturated fat should help the heartburn- not cause it. Could low stomach acid be the blame???? I don’t have problems eating meat. Should I stop eating coconut or try HCL?

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rhina May 29, 2014 at 11:58 am

hi my son has acid reflects glutein problems thyroid he is a dowm syndrome child he can’t communicate he can’t sleep coughing and burping doctor only given protonic Prilosec what can I do to helping a put ing in a diet for glutein and acid please help

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DJackson June 5, 2014 at 12:26 pm

I am going to take the Betaine HCL test this wkend. Ive been on the SCD for 6 mths now It started out excellent but, Im having diarrea again. (doing 4 Horsemane to find problem). However, If I eat or drink even water my stomach cramp so bad I have to stop working or whatever I’m doing and let it pass. It cramps up right after I ingest anything then goes away. I thought it might be fruit/honey so I stopped eating that then I drank water and the cramping is intense. My stools are watery again so I decided to start the SCD Intro all over. I’m desparate to get on track because I know the SCD iwill work for me. If you have any advise please write back. Thank you

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Jade June 6, 2014 at 6:22 am

Hi Guys, thank you for this its interesting. However with the amount is it 1/4 level tsp or 1/4 heaped tsp…would really appreciate to find out. Thank u, Jade

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mpho June 6, 2014 at 12:36 pm

I need help, I can’t eat anything with salt,acid,all fruits,raw carrots and raw cabbage,apple make my heartburn worse,is like I ate poison,and feel hot in my stomach,no spices,citrus etc. Ant acid like Gaviscon and omeprazole make the condition worse. Is this a low acid or high acid. Doctor please help me.

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Jenna June 12, 2014 at 12:01 am

I have always been a bloaty type person, and never really paid attention, as I thought it was just the food and not me. As I have got older I have got sicker, now I have digestive upsets, reflux, upset stomach and almost immediate bloating when I eat and and lower bloating for the rest of the day. I am new to SCD, and hope to resolve whats going on. I decided to do the test with bicarb with no response, not even one burp. I have since got digestive bitters which really releived the discomfort. I am now have an aversion to meat(was a big meat eater) and worried about protein, as I have been told I am protien difficient along with anemia. So I would really like to try the Betaine, and see how I feel. I am so over stressing about what I should eat on a daily basis due to how it might make me feel. Thank you for you very informative site :)

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Ingrid Walker August 27, 2014 at 2:57 am

Hi Steve, I love your article. I suffer from Fibromyalgia and find betaine HCL helps boost Methylation, which is always deficient in FM (MTHFR def) and many other chronic health conditions. I have practiced Applied Kinesiology for more than 25 years and find Thompson’s Betaine HCl consistently AK tests very well for me and everyone I test. It only costs $3.42 for 90 Tabs at Interestingly, I always test best to take HCL 20 to 30 minutes after my protein containing meals, never before, during or right after. It’s my understanding that if one takes HCL too early, they could dilute (or diminish) the ability of other enzymes (amylase, lipase etc.)to work efficiently. Taking HCL has made a massive difference for me and my health. Hope this helps someone. God Bless!

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Darren August 30, 2014 at 7:18 am

Hi SCD team

Hi SCD Team

Great article and great comments – I’ve learned a lot.

Question: Do you have to NOT like eating / or have issues eating meat to have low stomach acid?

I don’t have any issues with consuming chunks of meat or any foods.

However, I’m up to my 3rd day of testing, now 3 x HCL tabs[650mg+pepsin] and no burning or problems. I’m taking the tablets in the middle of the meal and is usually the first meal of the day [lunch]. I am having these with a large bunch of non-starchy veggies, fat and ~400g of meat [today chicken].

Is the large meal diluting the HCL? Should I just eat the meat and try the HCL?

FYI. The only health issues I have is food intolerance to gluten/salicylates/amines/lactose [recently discovered over the last few months through RPAH Elimination Test procedure], that leads to ezcema and dry skin [but only minimal on 2 fingers]. I did have asthma all my life but cured that a few years ago with a ‘liver cleanse’, followed by a 3 day fast [I’m not kidding!]

Thanks in advance for the response

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Lori Jo Berg September 2, 2014 at 10:56 pm

Hi Darren, thank you for reaching out! There are a number of reasons for needing HCL and here are 3 common signs you may have low acid levels: Hypochlorhydria: 3 Common Signs of Low Stomach Acid. We suggest following the guidelines here on how to properly supplement with HCL: http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/03/how-to-supplement-with-betaine-hcl-for-low-stomach-acid/

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Mary October 13, 2014 at 12:29 am

Wow…Thank G-D for the internet and pioneers like yourselves! I need to come back in the a.m. and read more. My Tibetan doc said I had low acid and recommended the Betaine HCL. I do think he is amazing but have been anxious about taking too much. Reading your input has calmed my thoughts about that. Have had Type 1 DM for >45 years so the belly is a bit sluggish. That said- my only s/s are a persistent acidic taste in my mouth, post nasal drip in the a.m. a cough and gas. Silent reflux is what I have read it to be. Have been taking 2-3 caps of the B HCl each meal and am wondering when the acidic taste will go away? Also, I think I saw DGL mentioned- how do I know which to use? Should I incorporate both maybe? Also have some bitters to try later…One thing at a time I think. Thank you all so very much! What a gift to find you Steve, Jordan et al!!!

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Lori Jo Berg October 13, 2014 at 9:48 pm

Hi Mary, thank you for reaching out! It is always a good idea to consult with your practitioner about any symptoms you have. As you have read in the article, we do have many people that need varying amounts of HCL tabs. Some may only need 3 while some may need quite a bit more.

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