Hypochlorhydria: 3 Common Signs of Low Stomach Acid

by Steven Wright

Hypochlorhydria: 3 Common Signs of Low Stomach Acid

Hypochlorhydria or low stomach acid, is a commonly overlooked problem that is linked to other diseases like stomach cancer, asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. It’s a serious problem that needs to be investigated. If you’re having symptoms such as acid reflux, heartburn, burping, gas, bloating, or nausea after eating, then it’s very likely that you have a stomach acid issue.

People diagnosed with gastrointestinal issues, especially inflammatory bowel diseases, Celiac Disease or IBS, are at a higher risk of having stomach acid problems. If you’ve made several diet and lifestyle changes and you’re still not seeing the results you want, low stomach acid might be holding you back.

How hypochlorhydria hurts you:

  1. Proper levels of stomach acid are needed to adequately absorb many nutrients including minerals (iron, copper, zinc and calcium), vitamin B12, folic acid and proteins.
  2. Stomach acid is also a crucial part of the immune system. The acid barrier of the stomach during normal states of health easily and quickly kills bacteria and other bugs that enter the body. It also prevents bacteria in the intestines from migrating up and colonizing the stomach.

Appropriate stomach acid levels are crucial for our immune system and for adequate nutrient status, both of which support total health. Today, I wanted to shine a light on the three most common patterns of hypochlorhydria that we see.

  1. You Don’t Feel Good When You Eat Meat

A pattern is an observation linking several clues together, and this pattern is much more typical in women than men. So what’s going on here? I think it’s a two-part problem. The first is a physiological problem of low stomach acid. The second is a belief system that is created to cope with the symptoms of the physiological problem.

Here’s a typical scenario:

Mary is very in tune with her body. For as long as she can remember, she doesn’t like to eat red meat or large amounts of any meat. When pressed about it, she responds with “I just don’t like meat, never have. I don’t like how it makes me feel.”

I think she’s totally justified and validated in her feelings. I BELIEVE she feels bad, sluggish or nauseous when she eats a large portion of meat. And the reason is because she doesn’t have the ability to digest it. She needs more stomach acid to properly break down the protein structures. And without it, red, white or any kind of meat will probably make her feel worse than when she eats other types of foods that contain less protein.

If you’re someone who believes that you don’t like meat, I challenge you to test for low stomach acid, supplement with Betaine HCL, and regain your desire to eat meat again.

  1. You Experience Frequent Acid Reflux After Eating

This is an especially paradoxical pattern to experience. On one hand you have stomach acid reaching unprotected areas of the esophagus causing burning pain. Then, if you take an antacid the pain usually goes away. Therefore, if A=B and B=C it is easy to make the jump to A=C. In this case, it’s easy to assume that high stomach acid levels cause heartburn or GERD. But that is simply untrue.

The modern media and drug marketing campaigns have brainwashed us to believe that acid reflux, or GERD, is due to high stomach acid levels. This is nothing more than propaganda from people who make money when you believe their message. In 2009, there were 110 million prescriptions filled for acid suppressing drugs! Would Mother Nature create a situation in which almost 1 out of 3 people created too much acid to be healthy? I don’t think so.

I’ve talked about GERD / heartburn before but I want to give you a quick summary. A leading theory of GERD goes like this. Insufficient stomach acid leads to a host of conditions that encourage the increase in intra-abdominal pressure (IAP). When IAP increases it pushes against the lower esophagealsphincter (LES). When the LES opens because of the pressure and even a microscopic amount of acid touches the inside of your esophagus it can produce large amounts of pain and burning. This is because the esophagus is not protected like the stomach from high acid levels.

As someone who formerly suffered from heartburn and acid reflux, I know how painful and distracting it can be. Please know that no one needs to suffer from acid reflux or GERD.

  1. You Burp, Fart, or Get Bloated After Eating

After eating a meal, do you experience any of the following symptoms?

  • Several burps shortly after finishing or burps later that taste and smell bad?
  • Experience gas 1-2 hours after eating?
  • Do you get bloated after eating that lasts for a few hours?
  • A heavy feeling in your stomach – like your food just sits there fermenting?

If you’ve answered yes to any of those questions, it’s likely that you are suffering from low stomach acid levels. These symptoms are good indications that your digestion is suffering. I wish I could point to some conclusive models or studies on what’s happening but I can’t. Unfortunately, all we have to go on are observations and theories.

So, what are the theories? The likely situation is the food you ate is being fermented by bacteria and the byproduct of their feast is gas. If your acid levels are low enough and bacteria are surviving the stomach, most people will get repeated burps after eating. Sometimes, you might even burp several hours after eating and taste ruminates of your meal. This is a strong indicator that the food is still in your stomach when it should be in your small intestine. The pH levels aren’t low enough to begin dumping the food into the intestines.

Bloating and farting following a meal could be explained by several problems. One of which is bacterial overgrowth in the stomach or upper small intestine. Lower acid levels would contribute to this by allowing these bacteria to live in the stomach or upper intestine. There also could be a slowing of the speed of digestion affording the bacteria longer access to the food.

I wish these problems were better understood. But what I can tell you is based on extensive self-experimentation and working with personal clients. When someone reports any of the problems above, there is a high chance they have low stomach acid.

How to Rule Out Hypochlorhydria (It’s Cheap)

I know you care about your health, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this. That’s why I want to urge you to test for low stomach acid.  It is cheap and easy to get a good indication if you need to invest further into this potential health problem. Therefore, I think it’s a no-brainer to rule it in or out if you’re trying to take care of your health.

Tell me, do you suffer from any of the patterns of hypochlorhydria above? Have you started digging deeper to fix them? Did Betaine HCL supplementation help?


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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.

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{ 329 comments… read them below or add one }

Amber June 12, 2012 at 8:32 am

This sounds SO much like me. I never thought the issue could be low stomach acid, but I’m doing more research now and it seems like that could be the case. My doctors put me on Prevacid a while back and it made my issues 100x worse. I’m also on antibiotics a lot and I read that could be a cause? SCD was working great for me for a few months, then all of a sudden it totally stopped, and I would love to find the cause.


Steven Wright June 22, 2012 at 9:37 am

@ Amber – anytime you take antibiotics you wipe out huge portions of your gut flora. Eating SCD doesn’t protect you from antibiotics nothing does except massive amounts of probiotics. Which sounds like you should be heavily experimenting with at this point.


Charmaine Lilley September 4, 2016 at 6:11 pm

I suspect my 2 year old boy has low stomach acid. How can I test for sure and what can I give him to increase it?


Mariel Heiss September 6, 2016 at 4:33 pm

Hi Charmaine – we really urge to to talk this over with your son’s doctor – all of our supplement suggestions are for adults over 100 lbs.


Janel September 26, 2016 at 8:49 pm

Hello Steve! I bought The Elimination Diet book to use to guide me on my journey of figuring out why my stomach bloats making me look 4 months pregnant after eating! I went on the strict diet and kept having the problem so then I took it a step further according to the book and even eliminated foods high in FODMAPS to no avail. A lady at a health store said I might have parasites so I’ve been taking a supplement for that and another supplement w enzymes and probiotics. Still bloating! I noticed it seemed to happen a lot after dinner when I had protein. I decided to take the next step suggested by the book and used the betaine HCL w Pepsin supplement to test if my acid levels are low. I’ve done it three seperate times now and it’s seems to be clear that this must be my problem! So what do I do now!?


Mariel Heiss September 27, 2016 at 10:55 am

Hi Janel – you can read here about how to supplement with HCL: http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/03/how-to-supplement-with-betaine-hcl-for-low-stomach-acid/

Most people find that using HCl over time leads to them needing less and less – and eventually their stomachs acid levels are normal again


Angel April 16, 2014 at 11:12 am

I can have an almost normal life most of the time, except after I take antibiotics. Then my problems become unmanageable. I get reflux and IBS symptoms all the time, my stomach won’t leave the food go and I get asthma (my peak flow readings fall from 650 to around 450). So yeah, for me antibiotics seem to be the cause.


Jeans June 15, 2012 at 7:01 am

Hi Steve…
Take a look at this website:
The conclusion: CONCLUSIONS–A high frequency of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth was found in patients with RA (rheumatoid arthritis); it was associated with a high disease activity and observed in patients with hypochlorhydria or achlorhydria…

Another site:


Steven Wright June 22, 2012 at 9:33 am

@ Jeans – Thanks for that awesome study! In Dr. Pimentel’s book “A New IBS Solution” he talks about RA and Fibromyalgia patients suffering greatly from SIBO which we know hurts stomach acid production. The lowstarchdiet site is interesting… seems like a copy cat of SCD or GAPS or Paleo. Funny how so many people can come to the same conclusion’s and yet not talk to each other about it!


Teresa July 2, 2012 at 3:13 pm

I know so many people with arthritis issues young, old & very old. Does this mean that probiotics will make a difference or should they consult a Dr for more medicine with it as well ? Please see if you could find me an answer ! Further I would like to ”stress” 🙂 that Celiac Disease causes stress. Stress kills the good bacteria. If you are under stress and you have Celiacs Disease you will experience ”more symptoms” = you will definetly need probiotics. But remember that the capsule of most probiotics contain gluten !!! So many things to think about & to remember, especially when you are not feeling well. (I have Celiacs.) Further I wish I knew more about blood types, especially with this (for me) new topic of acid in the stomach. I experience issues with my stomach, but though I need meat, because I thought I had to much acid in my stomach – now I have to investigate. Thanx for bringing it under our attention !


Steven Wright October 9, 2012 at 1:55 pm

@Teresa – I try to get everyone that will listen to me (like my family) to take probiotics. I think they are very helpful and important to everyone. But as you said you have to find the reputable high-quality products.


niraj October 10, 2012 at 5:20 pm

do not take probiotics if you have low stomach acid. I took align ( bifidus ) and caused malabsorption. I m really sick now.


Katy January 2, 2016 at 2:57 pm

Due to autoimmune conditions rapidly manifesting, severe osteoporosis ( I’m 38), poor digestion and repeated gut flare ups, pain, GERD, over decades, put on very restrictive autoimmune and anti-inflammatory regime. 10 months on, I’m orange from only having orange root veg as carbs.. Lost a stone I couldn’t afford to (BMI now under 17), hair falling out…Now extreme bloating 24/7, after given a food challenge of 1 parsnip over 4 days. Been 2 weeks, getting more and deeper gut pain…So, do I quit the probiotics, the digestive enzymes, the vitamins and minerals? Just need the pain to stop, the extreme bloating. Was veggie for 20 years, now live off 10 egg yolk, 6 chicken thighs ( not grass fed or organic), lots oily fish, and the orange root veg, with courgettes literally the only green veg that doesn’t cause severe gut pains…This is every day for past 10 months.. Is it the chicken causing pain and bloat? Didn’t want to eat red meat, and autoimmune problems meant I lost most my teeth. Only just had bottom ones replaced, can’t have top teeth due to osteoporotic bone loss, so chewing an issue…Need sound advise, as nutritional therapist seems clueless.


Mariel Heiss January 4, 2016 at 1:55 pm

Katy – we are so sorry to hear you’re going through this. From what you’ve written, we think you need the guidance of an expert, like one of our recommended practitioners. Here’s a link to more info: http://scdlifestyle.com/practitioners/

I hope you’re feeling much better very soon.


Malissa June 26, 2016 at 12:58 pm

I have idiopathic gastroparesis and all the symptoms you mention.There are some great videos on YouTube for learning about it. I have a very limited diet and have to puree my foods due to no full teeth left. I am curious about the low acid because I vomit and very little bile or stomach content comes up before it’s empty. Meat eating causes horrible nausea and takes days to digest.


Irene August 19, 2016 at 11:17 am

Hi Katy. I too am suffering from autoimmune disease, SLE and Hashimoto’s. I also went through a period when I felt severely bloated, nearly everyrhing I ate cause me to feel ill. THEN I CAME ACROSS AN article on Lauren Gertseen’s website on how to naturally increase stomach acid. I could’t be more grateful because a lot of the things she covered on her article seems to describe what I was going through and the recommendations she gave seem to help relieve my symptoms somehow. I believe everything that is said on this website as well. Chronic low stomach acid seems to be the culprit of a lot of autoimmune diseases.


blackbass July 26, 2012 at 8:18 am

why not raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar? i use the Bragg brand…unpasterurized…suppose to help with candida too


Steven Wright October 9, 2012 at 1:54 pm

@Blackbass – If it works for you then use it. It just won’t correct the underlying problem based on my research.


Robert January 23, 2013 at 10:00 pm

There is an organ in the stomach that produces the acid. It like all of your body’s organs and glands needs nourishment. Try 2 tbls of apple cider vinegar with “mother” (braggs), 2 tbls of localnatural honey with 4-5 oz of distilled 3x/day. It may take 1 day or 2 wks but continue untill condition is corrected and it will be corrected. You might also try not drinking any liquids 45 min before meal, none during meals and none for 45 min after meals. The liquids will dilute the stomach acid even more. In 15 years of herbal practice, this simple remedy has worked remarkably well. BTW, the vinegar works well as a probiotic. For the arthritis, your body is probaly acid. You most likely need to bring your pH in balance. Drink alkaline beverages and eat an alkaline diet.Your problem should go away. Get some litmus paper and check your saliva and urine pH. 7.0 is neutral and where you want to be. Hope I have not over stayed my welcome. To everyones good health.


Paula June 6, 2014 at 11:55 pm

So, if I have RA the vinegar/ honey is NOT recommended? What would an alkaline diet consist of?


Melanie June 12, 2014 at 2:15 pm

Where can I find Bragg’s vinegar from


Miranda H July 3, 2014 at 1:22 am

Hi, I have absolutely no stomach acid. I know that sounds extreme but it is not an exaggeration. My condition varies with my stress levels, and is slowly deteriorating. I currently take HCL w/ pepsin every time I eat anything and take supplements as well. I am also hypoglycemic so when I am not digesting and absorbing properly it becomes immediately apparent. My symptoms extend to hair loss, malnourished skin, nails, and now my teeth are beginning to be threatened. I will absolutely try your suggestion here and was wondering if you had any further thoughts. I discovered this issue with my Traditional Chinese Medical Dr and acupuncturist (thankfully) after all of the Dr’s I’ve seen said “you’re fine. Here’s our weight loss specialist”

Thank you for your time and suggestions


Carrie July 19, 2014 at 11:28 pm

Miranda , I have not been able to digest protein(meat ) , im also hypoglycemic im losing my hair , nails splitting vertically, how did you find out you have no acid ?

amanda October 3, 2014 at 1:10 pm

I am so glad to hear I am not the only one suffering from this. After years of agony I did enough research and realized its because of no stomach acid. The cause of this is not 100 % clear but my suspicions are that when I was pregnant with both my children I vomited continuously . I suspect it could have caused damage to my stomach lining.

debra November 17, 2014 at 9:31 am

Hi Miranda. I think you might consider having your thyroid tested. Take care

Kim August 25, 2014 at 12:03 am

Thanks Robert. I started this today. I was wondering if there are any symptoms to expect such as increased bloating at first and or bowel movements? Just wondering what to expect.


Ellena July 12, 2015 at 4:03 pm

I would like to try this as Betaine HCL burns my stomach. Your recipe is not clear. I presume it is 4 – 5 oz of distilled water? How much and when does one drink of this?
So can one drink this if your body is acid? I am not clear whether the stomach can be acid and the body alkaline?


Mariel Heiss July 13, 2015 at 12:18 pm

Hi Ellena, thanks for commenting. You can take a shot of the ACV or mix 2 tsp in 1/4 cup of water. After these substances are processed in the body, they can have an alkalizing affect systemically. Locally, they help balance PH in the stomach and therefore promote optimal digestion.

David May 27, 2016 at 4:00 am

Robert an alternative model for you to consider which I came across recently and sounds convincing. Mostly people who suffer from low stomach acid do not have blood that is slightly acidic but rather slightly alkaline. Taking vinegar lowers blood pH bringing it back into the normal range. Many experts say you cannot go by saliva or urine pH as they fluctuate too much and only a very special blood pH test gives you an accurate reading but this has to be done by a qualified health professional. This theory comes from Dr Berg check him out on youtube.
I would be curious to know your opinion. Like you, I have always assumed that people mostly suffer from over acidity. Dr Berg reckons that most people suffer from alkalosis. Also check out the list of symptoms associated with alkalosis and acidosis. The symptoms of Alkalosis is the one that appears to corresponds closest to those who suffer from alleged acidic blood.


Danielle September 13, 2012 at 4:01 pm

I was wondering if I can test my five year old for low stomach acid. She was complaining about having burning in the back of her throat and her tongue has a white coating (I’ve read that this could be a sign of low stomach acid.) She also has swollen adenoids and problems with snoring at night–something which I’ve suspected may be due to allergies. I’m just not sure where to go to find out more or if I could help cure her by doing my own research and changing her diet. Can you help here?


Steven Wright September 14, 2012 at 11:42 am

@Danielle – With children you should definitely seek out a qualified holistic practitioner to help out. To answer the burning question in your head yes she could have low acid levels, actually sadly we are hearing more and more of children who do. But again you need to work with someone get some testing and change her diet to reduce toxic foods in it.


cathy January 26, 2013 at 12:42 pm

Hello Danielle,

I’m having the same issue with my 5 year old. He’s been having these silent little burps for a year now. We took him to GI peds dr. She had us try him on miralax but he was still burping then we had the endoscopy done. He had minimal gastritis and duodenitis and some GER or avid was seen on biopsy. The dr. had us put him on zantac for the gastritis only not the acid. We tried it for 3 weeks and he was still burping so she had us stop it. She’s convinced it’s his constipation. She said we need to keep him on miralax for awhike so that he goes everyday. We are on and off that stuff and still can’t keep him going everyday. He will skip a day or two every other week. But I’m not sure this is whats causing his burping. Was wondering if your child is still going through this? Worried mom.


Malissa June 26, 2016 at 1:17 pm

Hi there, we have 3 little ones that are suffering from the same constipation issues if not worse. They can go up to a week without going if I only use the Miramax. I have found that prunes are very helpful to the symptoms and still use miralax. At first to regulate the boys we did 3x a day 4to6 oz. Of Gerber Apple prune juice and 2oz. Purified water. Within a few days they would be going a lot to get all the overdue potty out. Then I reduced to 1 8oz bottle of juice name water a day. 4to 6 oz of the juice and 2oz of extra purified water. The 4oz juice is for babies under 18months. My boys are 9yrs, 2yrs & 11months now and we have had no bloated painful tummies since starting this. I don’t know if it will help but I believe it is natural enough to not hurt to try. Good luck, it’s the hardest to see our children suffering in anyway. I pray you find results.


Tanya October 10, 2013 at 11:23 pm

Hi, Danielle,
there’s a link about gastric test that is suitable for children:
In Europe, decades ago, instead gastrin patients used 1 cup of meat broth or cabbage juice appr. 30 min. before test (according my grand mother).
Actually, this test was used not for the ulcer presence diagnostic, but for the stomach acidity level diagnostic.
Secondly, the Comprehensive Stool Analysis can show if stomach acidity is low or not : http://www.greatplainslaboratory.com/home/eng/stool.asp
How I know, the Heidelberg test is not suitable for children under 14 years old:


Jessica July 5, 2016 at 8:15 am

Hi Tanya,
I have little hopes that you might see this reply as your original post was about 3 years ago. The link you provided to test for children doesn’t work.
I’m looking to test my 4 year old for low stomach acid. Can I do the baking soda test with her, or is that not appropriate? In a smaller dose?

She tested positive for SIBO about 6 months ago, she’s had an endoscopy to rule out celiac and other abnormalities (all came back normal). I just started restricting the HIGH FODMAP foods 3 days ago, and her stool now sank for the first time in a LONG time. She also has had a significant reduction in her abdominal distention. Problem now is, she’s passing really small stools, and they’re more difficult to pass. Wondering if low stomach acid could be the root of all these issues. Forgot to mention doc also thinks she might have gastroparesis.


Kelly anderson March 27, 2016 at 3:20 pm

Danielle she could possibley have Thrush. It is a mouth fungal infection.


Jacqueline K October 21, 2012 at 2:25 pm

Wow…..not sure what to think…..very confused now. For someone like me, unable to afford the tests, what should I do to get some relief from my gut problems? I live in OKC area and no insurance…is there a doctor ANYWHERE that would be willing to help me???


Jordan Reasoner October 21, 2012 at 8:11 pm

Hi Jacqueline, start with the low cost baking soda test we talk about here:


In good health,



Tanya October 10, 2013 at 11:09 pm

Hi, Jordan
did you heard about this test :
http://www.walgreens.com/marketing/library/contents.html?docid=003883&doctype=1 ?
It’s looks like very suitable for children.


Brooke October 31, 2012 at 3:00 pm

I’ve been wondering for awhile if I have acid reflux. whenever I ate greasy foods I would have bad gas to the point my stomach hurts and constant burping and nausea. I had gone to the doctor recently for my stomach issue and prescribed to me omeprazole 20mg for acid reflux. I thought it was working with abdominal cramping because I was also having that along with the other symptoms but instead I ended up having really bad constipation causing my stomach to hurt much worst. The doctor had told me to take it for a month but I stopped because of the constipation being bad taking it after two days. now reading about low acid I’m not sure if I have that instead of acid reflux.


Jordan Reasoner November 1, 2012 at 1:30 pm

Hi Brooke, so glad you stopped taking it.

Please read this article on testing for low stomach acid: http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/03/3-tests-for-low-stomach-acid/

In good health,



Sophie November 10, 2012 at 10:42 am

I represent parents whose children are put on antibiotics when they are born, then the children are diagnosed with acid reflux and prescribed Gaviscon and Ranitidine and then the child becomes even more unwell, experiencing a lot of cold symptoms and easy bruising from normal handling. The child is then referred for a child protection exam which will include an X-ray. The X-ray shows periosteal reaction on the bones – typical of trace element deficiency, which the radiologist diagnose as ‘probably’ abusive fractures unless trace element deficiency is proved. When the Expert Paediatrician says there is “no evidence of trace element deficiency” due to no testing, despite there being no evidence at all of abuse by the parents, the child is adopted. It would be so helpful if there were experts who knew about hypochlorhydria reporting to the family court. If you know of anyone then please let me know. Thanks.


Jordan Reasoner November 10, 2012 at 11:33 am

I’m so sorry to hear that Sophie. Maybe you could reach you to Dr. Wright, the author of “Why Stomach Acid is Good For You”


In good health,



anna November 15, 2012 at 6:12 pm

I’ve been treated for too much stomach acid for 10 years now (PPI’s)
I am worse not better. I now realise that I have too little acid. I’ve taken cider vinegar, which helps, but it’s not enough. I tried betain HCI .It helps, but I seem to need more and more. How much is it safe to take? Also I can’t find betain with pepsin, is it important! I have awful Burps, wind, and bloating, I feel so uncomfortable after eating,
especially at bedtime. Is there any hope for me!!


Todd November 18, 2012 at 5:51 pm

So glad and encouraged I found this site. I probably take antibiotics twice a year but this past year was particularly difficult so I did three runs of antibiotics since May. During that time my stomach was always upset so I was consuming tons of Pepto, laxatives and anti acid tabs. The past month the bloating I experience is overwhelming. Nearly everything I eat now produces massive bloating that pushes on my diaphragm and spine and makes breathing a challenge in addition to making me look 25 pounds heavier. Had an upper GI which showed mild acid reflux and doctor said eat in moderation carbs/fat/protein and take Prilosec and probiotics. But during all this time I rarely if ever feel heartburn. Tons of belching — deep gurgly burps, bowel movements not regular, just eaten food feels stuck at the top of my throat, but no heartburn. I’m very active, don’t drink, don’t smoke, and I don’t eat a ton of carbs but I’m at wits end here. I do have a very stressful life which I am working on. I have ordered digestive enzymes and HCI and will check back in. I guess my only question is should I stay on Prilosec or Zantac when I don’t have any burning sensation?


Marlene February 6, 2015 at 3:06 pm

Hi their my name is Marlene and I have been going thru the same thing with the addition of major hair loss. I have been tested for everything with no answers. I feel this may be my problem.have you been tested for low acid and if so how?


Lori Jo Berg February 10, 2015 at 11:54 am

HI Marlene, thanks for reaching out! We do suggest testing your HCL levels and supplementing if needed. Please see both articles here:
About low stomach acid:http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/03/3-tests-for-low-stomach-acid/

How and what Betaine HCL to supplement with:http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/03/how-to-supplement-with-betaine-hcl-for-low-stomach-acid/


Jennifer November 19, 2012 at 12:52 am

I have a lot of gut issues-bloating, gas, burping, etc. and my biggest problem is my rosacea. I have felt for a long time that it is linked to diet and digestion. I have been reading a lot about this low stomach acid theory and it makes so much sense to me. I started the testing with the hcl tablets with pepsin that I’ve read so much about. I started taking 1 pill with a meal with meat and then moved to 2 pills the next day and then 3 pills the next day and so on. I took 7 hcl pills with my lunch today with 4-6 oz of meat to see if I would get that burning and I still have not. Once I figure out how many pills to take before I get that “burning” feeling, do I start taking that many with every meal? Every snack? I’ve started juicing also and wondering do I take the hcl pills when I juice? Should I be taking additional enzymes and a probiotic along with the hcl pills? I am on a desperate search for answers as my skin & gut condition are terrible! I would appreciate any advice you can offer.


kathryn January 8, 2013 at 7:36 pm

Jennifer, I too have long suspected my roscea is connected to digestive problems. I have also observed that people who have been prescribed Proton Pump Inhibitors often talk about athletes foot and yeast problems and also cold sores etc which surely shows the immune system is involved. Leads me to believe that low acid is more likely to be causing the bloat than too much acid. I also think some research could be done into all the above and the occurence of pylori bacteria in the gut.
Hope you get it sorted, think we need to be proactive and link our observations.


Theresa Rogers November 24, 2012 at 4:20 pm

I’ve never had symptoms from anything but dairy, not meat. Meat has never bothered my stomach. I originally thought I had developed a recent intolerance of lactose, so I cut those out for a couple weeks, and my symptoms went away. But before taking that extreme measure,(I ate 2%milk/bran cereal every morning) I took the apple cider vinegar for my symptoms, and It also worked immediately.
So, if I try the HCL, should I use it with milk since that is what causes my symptoms? Or is too little acid only cause by meat? I’ve eaten dairy products all my life.(52yr old female) The intolerance to it is so sudden and I miss my cereal & frozen yogurt. 🙁


Jordan Reasoner November 25, 2012 at 4:12 pm

Stomach acid supports the digestion of meats (mainly protein) in the stomach. The milk issue likely had more to do with the inability to digest the milk sugar called lactose.



Bet December 30, 2012 at 2:08 pm

Theresa, you should try going gluten free. Many people who think they have late onset lactose intolerance really have gluten intolerance that has disrupted their digestive system so much, they can no longer tolerate dairy. Switch out anything with wheat (your bran cereal may be the issue, not the milk) with rice or corn cereal/flour. Until you are able to tolerate dairy, you can try lactaid milk, coconut milk, almond milk and coconut ice cream which is very good. Or you can get a lactase supplement that you take when you eat dairy that will help you digest it.


AmandaonMaui December 18, 2012 at 2:15 am

I have been gluten free for five years. I ate something in late July that I later suspected to contain gluten after having my normal gluten reactions of diarrhea, brain fog, and anxiety. However, after 12 days of diarrhea and upper abdominal pain (stomach area just below the junction of the ribs) I saw multiple medical doctors. I took omeprazole magnesium 40mg for one month along with sucralfate. The pain was greatly reduced, and I was able to eat a mostly normal diet. However, after that month I stopped taking the drugs and my stomach pain returned. I switched back to a bland diet and began taking DGL, Slippery Elm and Marshmallow Root for a couple of months. I just saw a gastroenterologist. Did a fecal fat test, an ultrasound and an endoscopy all which came back normal. The doctor had no ideas to offer, and suggested I just take the omeprazole magnesium again. I have been on it for three days with no improvement. I wonder if my stomach problem is related to hypochlorhydria or achlorhydria instead of hyperchlorhydria.

How can I find out if my stomach acid is too low? What tests can my medical doctor run? Should I stick to the PPI even though I don’t know for sure whether my problem is too little or too much acid? What would you do?


Jordan Reasoner December 18, 2012 at 7:39 pm
Christine Horning December 22, 2012 at 6:04 pm

I had to have a total gastrectomy 6 years ago. Since then I feel like someone has sucked all the energy out of me. I now have compression fx’s in T 9 from osteoporosis along with other health problems. How could I have any HCL, let alone low HCL


Chris January 4, 2013 at 10:37 pm

Could low stomech acid also cause some weight loss due to not being to digest food properly ?


Steven Wright January 5, 2013 at 10:21 am

@Chris- Yes it’s about what we eat but about what we absorb in the GI tract. Malabsorption of foods which is common for those with low stomach acid can cause a range of problems from brain stuff down to weight loss.


Chris January 5, 2013 at 11:24 am

Thank you Steven. I have been dealing with digestive issues for almost a year and a half now. I woke up one morning after eating a bunch of roasted peanuts the night befor when my gut felt horrible; it was like everything was just sitting there and never digested. I thought this would be gone in a couple of days after a good bowel movement. Wow, to my surprise nothing but problems since. I have had CT scan, ultra sound, endoscopy and Gastric emptying test. All came back clear. My problem has been nothing but digestive issues. My food does not move or digest like it once did. I have lost weight due to this problem and I hate it because I love food( good food). Sometimes I will have a good day; every now and then I can eat with a little happiness. It’s not often enough to gain the weight back that I have lost. Sorry I’m going on forever but I would like to know from you and those you have spoke with in regards to this problem of low acid, is it risky to take a supliment if you have high acid. I do get some burning discomfort if it is a really off day, so I’m confused. Also, is it normal for my stomech to feel so bloated only after a small snack or a few bites of food? My intestinal track feels like it is inflamed or something; this constant feeling of food just sitting there. I do not have any IBS issues but my stool does have I digested food in it, and is loose. Sorry for being grafic, I’m just trying to figure this out already as it is a big interference for daily living. I’m sure you have heard this a few hundred times. Thank you kindly Steven. 🙂


Steven Wright January 5, 2013 at 4:41 pm

@Chris – You’re in a cozy environment nothings to graphic around here… it’s the new normal 🙂 You tell a common tale, you will need proper GI pathogen testing to make sure nothing is causing your problems. What your experiencing isn’t normal and there is a root cause. Jordan and I work with clients one-on-one if your interested email us at [email protected]


Laura February 5, 2013 at 2:29 pm

Hi Chris, Six months ago I was having a similar problem. Losing weight at over a pound a day with stomach pain and esophagial discomfort and voice loss. I follwed the advice from healingnaturallybybee.com and I am so much better. I have gained back my weight and I am able to eat more foods than before. I also feel happier and look better than I have ever looked. On Bee’s plan I ate organic unrefined coconut oil, organic butter, 84 mineral salt (1 tsp per day). homemade organic chicken stock with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice in the stock. Bee’s site gives the easy recipe. Cook vegetables well and eat with the butter at every meal. Organic free range eggs up to four a day. Meats include: lamb, beef, chicken etc. Cook with coconut oil, ditching all other oils except olive oil but don’t cook with it. No bread, potatoes, rice, cereal, carrots, tomotoes. Eat at least two meals per day and up to three per day and eat enough of the foods she mentions. Drink the home made stock with every meal. This diet helps a lot of health issues. I am able to digest more foods after six months on this diet but I had to stick to Bee’s plan to the letter for at least five months. She does state that some people will still need HCl too but I did not take it. I purchased it but I wanted to see what my digestive system would do. I was a raw food vegetarian before so the diet changes were hard for me but after experiencing the results I will never go back. I did see doctors first but the barium swallow for the X-rays made me worse also. The GI doctor’s nurse cancelled my appointment as the doctor had never heard of low acid. The ENT doctor said keep taking the prescribed Prilosec which was making me quite ill. I know how scary it is to be getting thinner and weaker every day. This was my answer and I sincerely hope that it will be yours also. I saw a few doctors first to rule out other possible causes.


Beata May 6, 2013 at 11:18 am

Hey I’ve been suffering with diarrhea and nauseau and upper stomach pain for the last year. Can’t seem to process fats or sugars. I do have low stomach acid and on top of that h pylori, yeast parasites in my stomach. Have been on many herbal treatments in the last year and nothing is helping. I exp a lot of dizziness, swelling of my throat, extreme cryn n irritation, headaches, muscle cramping, my chest squeezing in, undigested food. I just started blending greens n fruits. Can I take acid pills with just veggies n fruit? It’s a living nightmare.


Jason brown February 3, 2014 at 5:01 pm

I’m really struggling to understand why doctors are denying this exists??? I’m losing weight struggling to eat have constant indigestion and a sore throat and taste of acid in my mouth. Doctors are meant to be there to help us it’s very worrying


joe bloggs July 7, 2015 at 2:22 pm

some might say it’s cause the additives in supermarket foods are the true cause or at least the trigger of most people’s digestive issues and we all know who owns the lawmakers and politicians.


Mal October 3, 2016 at 3:24 am

Hi Chris.

I have read your post about your stomach digestive issues. I know the post is a few years old, but I would like to know if you have resolved your stomach problems, as everything you had mentioned is what I have been dealing with for the past year. Would love to hear what worked or didn’t work for you.


Marcia Russell January 7, 2013 at 1:10 pm

Please help!! I stumbled onto your website and after years of taking antacids have begun to rethink that I have a problem with high acid and that it is a low acid problem. I have weaned myself off of Prilocec OTC and just did the baking soda test today. No burping. I will be going and getting some Betaine HCL with pepsin and trying that next. My question and problem is that not only do I have severe acid reflux now, without the prilocec, but also the end of my esophagus where it joins the stomach is now in severe pain. It kind of feels like a spasm, cramping pain. Is that from the pressure building up? Is it from acid? I’m at a loss as to what to do next. I have also been drinking apple cider vinegar and that helps some but the cramping is still there. Thanks for all your information!!!


Tanya October 11, 2013 at 12:02 am

Hi, Marcia,
you got the rebound effect:”Antacids are medicines that neutralize stomach acid. … antacids show the most rapid onset of action, but may cause “acid rebound,” a condition in which the gastric acid returns in greater concentration after the drug effect has stopped”(http://www.healthline.com/galecontent/antacids). If you stopped with taking your antacids abruptly, you will face this effect. Doc. Wright in his book “Why stomach acidity is good for you” recommends to decrease the dosage gradually.
I stopped with my antacids abruptly as well and had this effect approx. one month , but severity decreased significantly in one week. Apple cider vinegar (1 teaspoon with a cup of water before every meal- use a stow to protect teeth) marshmallow root, slippery elm, grated organic carrots, papaya enzymes. Write a diary to check how your symptoms will change. I believe you should be fine. You just need to find the appropriate dosage of Betaine HCl with pepsin and pancreatic enzymes. I don’t have heartburn any more.


Tanya October 11, 2013 at 12:24 am

Marcia, did you make the endoscopy? If you pain will stay on the same high level you need to check the condition of the esophageal lining.


gshan January 8, 2013 at 1:39 am

excess gas has taken a toll on me for the past 1 week,because of it i wasnt able to go out with friends for the new year party.
i have been to the ER twice in the past five days.
it starts with my abdomen inflating ,then there is pressure on my chest and because of the uncomfort my pulse increases and a situation like a panic attack ensues(drymouth and hyper breathing,light headedness)
My whole tummy bloats but i can hardly pass out gas.
the magnitude is such that i have been rendered dysfunctional for work.
I hope the problem ends soon, rabium and a relaxant have been prescribe for now but i have been wondering now that is it due to low acid levels or the opposite.


erik February 19, 2013 at 5:15 pm

Hi gshan–
I had/have something very similar which sent me to the ER twice. I’m now convinced it’s hypochloridria -> bacterial fermentation. When I eat carbs at night it’s particularly bad. But now I take a couple simethicone (e.g. Gas-X) tablets if I have trouble and the problem goes away in about 30 minutes. I can start burping, then the racing pulse, night sweats, panic, confusion etc. subside.


selva kumar July 17, 2016 at 11:10 am

Hai gshan
I am also having same problem like you..Tell me its due to low or high acid secretion.I m totally helpless..


patty m January 8, 2013 at 5:45 pm

I have been suffering with fire burps for almost a year if I eat tamales. I can eat eggs or drink milk without it freezing up my stomachn causing me to puke as soon as it hits my stomach. If I eat corn it numbs my stomach n taste rotten. If I eat now four hours later the food is sitting heavy in my stomach. I burp repeatedly all day. And if I fall asleep after eating before 4hours i’ll wake up choking. I dnt know what to do since I dont have medical card. Im 22. Pls help n explain what else I could do without getting a high bill from the doctors.


Jordan Reasoner January 9, 2013 at 1:33 am

Hi Patty – first avoid eating those foods. Next, test for low stomach acid:




Martin @ Leaky gut research January 9, 2013 at 11:26 pm

Betaine HCL is good for moderate to severe cases. Drinking water with lemon juice worked for me just fine. Any other natural remedies?


Stephanie January 27, 2013 at 1:03 am

My daughter was recently diagnosed with gastroparesis. I’m not convinced that’s the true culprit of her symptoms. I have been to two doctors that won’t give my thoughts of low stomach acid any validity. I was told by one that she was too young for low acid (she is 20) and the other was ready to ship her off for a gastric pacemaker! She has a lot of stomach pain after eating meat. I’m scared for her to try the baking soda test. She vomits frequently. Acid reducers make her symptoms worse but the doctors say it’s necessary to protect her esophagus. It’s very frustrating not knowing which way to go.


Tammy January 27, 2013 at 3:49 pm

and, will the tests for low stomach acid work foe me on all that zantac? I take so much because a medicine I take (the Dr. says) causes acid reflux.


Jordan Reasoner January 31, 2013 at 3:39 am

Most people have to taper off over a 2-3 week period and it won’t be easy. From there, you can begin testing HCL.



joe bloggs July 7, 2015 at 2:29 pm

you’re not a doctor so don’t go giving bad advice.

correct advice would be to speak to a doctor about it first


Mariel Heiss July 9, 2015 at 12:00 pm

Hi Joe, thank you for commenting. You’re right, Jordan isn’t a doctor. He bases his recommendations on his years of helping people with digestive issues and his own experiences with healing his gut. We always recommend people keep their doctors informed, but we also support people being proactive in their own health


Rebecca O. July 28, 2015 at 2:52 pm

Yes we have to be proactive in our own care. I have gotten nothing from the Doctors but a script for ranitidine and a fight because they want me to take a PPI. I do have Barrett’s Esophagus and I am afraid. The meds are not good for our health long term and the Doctors do not understand or care about that little fact. We have to be our own advocate because we are up against the drug companies who would love us to stay on these meds forever.

atwitsend January 28, 2013 at 11:27 am

Hi Steven, Jordan,

Great info here and certainly want to try this to rectify my gas issues. Some history, I had GERD and hiatus hearnia tested almost 10 years back. I was given Nexium which was a great relief to be honest and since then I used to pop over the counter omeprazole 20mg occassinally say once in 3-4 days upon discomfort. I also tried 40mg but once in a week. However, I started having flatulence issues late 2011 and the whole of 2012 have suffered badly. I stopped taking omeprazole and haven’t taken it since more than one year now. But I think it has done some damage. I started taking ACV last summer ( around may/june) with two spoons before a meal. However, I continued to have flatulence issues. After few months, I felt little better and got little lazy with taking ACV ( on and off ). The flatulence issues have come back very hard and I feel it has worsened my situation to the extent that I am afraid to eat especially in my office. After the meal, in a sitting position, my tummy starts making noises and it gets relieved only after passing out the gas. Strangely I found was that taking boiled eggs and Chicken doesn’t give me gas (or atleast not within 1 or 2hrs). I also found that my flatulence issues mainly occur in the evening suggesting that whatever I eat takes few hours before churning it to GAS. Going through the tests currently, however I strongly suspect the flatulence issues are connected to my GERD and taking Omeprazole for long time. I will try the Betaine HCL test. Though I am unsure on the meat intake. Do I need to eat Meat to take HCL tablets? I don’t eat Meat regularly so any guidance on how I can take HCL tabs would be great. can I try the same thing with ACV?

I am ATWITSEND ! Appreciate your help.


Jordan Reasoner January 31, 2013 at 3:30 am

Only take HCL with protein heavy meals… so yes, with meat only.



Dawn December 12, 2014 at 6:50 pm

Great article


Dave March 6, 2013 at 9:59 am

Just take the Betaine HCL it has been a life changer for me. I had all of these symptoms and more. It had made me feel old and feeble,LOL. Once I tried the Betaine HCL I could tell a difference during the first meal,and a few days later I felt better than I had in 5 years.


Tessa March 9, 2013 at 5:37 am

Hi I was tested and although didnt have any of the above mentioned symptoms, I do have low stomach acid…I started taking bhcl and now I am struggling so much with the above mentioned symptoms! Any suggestions?


Jeff C March 14, 2013 at 1:09 am

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 regularly for years, so it would appear as though there is no mal absorption 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 esophagus to stomach acid daily (for 18 years). In fact my esophagus feels as if there has been no damage done to it at all. When the food comes up it is 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 can’t be celiac….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.


Steven Wright July 5, 2013 at 12:45 pm

Jeff I’m glad your ready for change brother! Start with your diet switch to SCD or Paleo right away. Then create a support structure for total health which should not only include medical practitioners but someone who can work with you on your mindset and psychology. Health is an intersection of both physical and mental strength.


Nicole Cox August 4, 2014 at 12:22 pm

Jeff, have you found any answers about why you are throwing up regularly? I have a client that is experiencing the same thing and I am trying to figure out how to help her with her diet. I suspected low stomach acid but I am worried it could also be something more serious. Any information would be appreciated.


Jeff C March 14, 2013 at 1:11 am

Hypertrophic Pyloric Stenosis in the Adult

could this be it???????


Marc March 14, 2013 at 4:58 am

Hi guys,

Great work – and huge respect to you both for helping to turn the lives of so many people around.

Your articles on HCL supplementation are really interesting and I’m following your guidance get the right dosage. But can I ask a couple of questions?

* Do you still need HCL if you are drinking health protein shakes? I mix protein powder, almond butter, greens, flaxseed etc along with water to make a high protein/calorie shake for after the gym. The blender breaks the food down into an easy to drink meal – but will I still need the HCL to absorb the protein and other nutrients?

* How long does it generally take to get digestion – and general health – back on track once you are taking HCL? I feel I have found the right dosage (6-7 tablets) and my stool no longer has undigested food in it…..however, my tongue has still been white and breath a bit bad after eating. Is this die-off, will it improve after continued use? of HCL?

* Lastly, how are you guys getting on with your HCL supplementation? Do you still take the same dosage and is it still working well?

All the best, Marc


Steven Wright July 5, 2013 at 12:42 pm

Hey Marc thanks man!

– Not always as the protein powders are generally already broken into amino acids which is one of the actions of pepsin. However the only way to know would be to test it. Everyone will likely be different and it probably varies per protein powder and source.

– HCL can only do so much, a white tongue and other symptoms are likely related to the root causes of why the stomach acid is low to begin with. More testing is where you need to head after you’ve figured out how to create good digestion.

– Jordan takes a lot less now, mine still varies based on my stress levels, travel and overall health. Still working on the root causes. Always new levels to shoot for


christina March 21, 2013 at 2:54 am

I have had hiatal hernia, small bacterial overgrowth, GERD, gastroparisis, you name it. I have Celiac, although never diagnosed officially. I feel worst now eating supposedly better. I haven’t cut out all grains though. Beef is the hardest to digest and I am just taking medicine for pancreas. I also have hypothyroid which effects so much too.


Brenda Nettleton March 27, 2013 at 2:00 pm

Thanks 4 the info! Could this be causing my total protein levels yo be low?


Hali LaFountain April 22, 2013 at 1:56 pm

Hi I have all of these symptoms of low stomach acid and it makes perfect sense. I have Achalasia, which is a disease that kills all the nerve endings in the esophagus so then the sphincter doesn’t open properly resulting in food getting stuck in the throat. I had surgery 10 years ago for it. They removed my sphincter and did a partial stomach wrap to stop the acid. the surgery helped some but i still struggle to get down every meal. To help my food down i have to drink tons of water, which i know is bad to do, but that’s the only way i can eat. Because of this i have awful digestion problems..heartburn, bloating, gas, constipation and also my joints are staring to feel inflamed. I have all sorts of “tricks” that help and try use natural remedies but i tend to reach for the tums a few times a day. I know diet/lifestyle/stress affects my swallowing/digestion so much. I haven’t tried the SCD diet 100% yet but i’m curious if it could help. I take digestive enzymes but haven’t tried HCL. I’m willing to give anything a chance if it can help.


Connie Dula April 29, 2013 at 5:35 pm

I started HCL 2 weeks ago and have not had to take a Prilosec or antacid since. Also, diarrhea has all but gone. I stopped GLUTEN intake and lactose intake as well. Started juicing. Feeling SO much better.


Penny May 8, 2013 at 12:27 pm

i am 65, not overweight, exercise,and take lots of vitamins, and eat a low carb diet. I was forced to go to a gastrointerologist to get my acid reflux in check, and I am still having acid reflux. Yesterday I got on the Internet to look up this problem, and that is where I read about too low gastric acid. That is exactly what I think I have, so I did not take my prevacid this morning. I drank lemon water and took some digestive aid, and I have had no acid reflux today. Do you think gall bladder disease could be related to low gastric acid? For the past 5 years I have had gall bladder attacks, and now treat it with diet. I have no stones, just a malfunctioning gall bladder.


mypoorboys May 13, 2013 at 5:17 am

Hi, just wondered if babies can be born with low stomach acid?

Both my boys have reflux in varying degrees, my eldest is 3 and still has many digestive problems and ongoing gerd. He was on a PPi for almost a year when a baby. My younger son is 8 months and he also has reflux. zantac for him, but while his brother was a ‘silent refluxer’ as a baby, he regurgitates all day long… can a baby this young have low stomach acid.

It seems to make sense to me (i suffer on and off with digestive probs, could I have passed on probs to my babies?) but I know any GP or Paed I speak to will laugh in my face. What kind of practitioner should I try see? Nutritionist? Homeopath?

I’d really love to get to the root of my babies problems. Any thoughts?


joyce saint May 18, 2013 at 12:20 pm

I have read all the comments with much interest as i have similar problem.
I do not know what all the abbreviations mean such as scd, hcl,gerd,acv,gi tract,btw,
and what is baking soda test.
From Joyce Saint


Sandy Linton May 22, 2013 at 5:02 pm

After reading your site,I don’t know where to start.Low acid I’m thinking.I have had stomach issues all my life.Dr.s tell me that I have IBS,I’VE HAD ulcers,polops. But for a while now I have nausea,bloating,stomach pain,and lately horrible vomiting,it feels like nothing is moving or digesting,it is food that I ate days ago sometimes.it’s awful,and the acid reflux too,horrible headache also.I am literally can’t keep anything down! I am at my wits end.I don’t know what to do.so should I try to go the low acid way.I’m just so sick right now, I can’t think straight.Help me Please!! Thank You!! S.


carmel July 23, 2013 at 7:38 am
Angel April 16, 2014 at 12:26 pm

I’m sure many of us would like to hear from you Sandy. How are you doing after the low stomach acid treatment?


Kate March 22, 2016 at 8:28 am

Have you been tested for gastroparesis?


karen dow May 31, 2013 at 8:23 am

I have stumbled across this website and found it extremely helpful. I have suffered all my life from symptoms that I am now learning may be associated with low acid levels in my gut. I think I will test for it and see what results are.


Andrew June 29, 2013 at 11:29 am

Hi Guys, I’ve been on SCD for a year now. I’ve made a lot of progress, but still am pretty symptomatic and seem to still have trouble breaking down food. I’ve tried a couple of digestive enzymes, but haven’t noticed any significant improvement while on them. I recently purchase the GI Pro Health enzymes and am hoping for better success with those.

Anyway, I found this article really interesting. I have had reflux and heartburn issues ever since my health crashed about 2.5 years ago. It drives me nuts. I though, like everyone else, that it was related to too much acid. As a result, I’ve taken about every acid blocker out there. None of them really work minus Zantac (and only it a little bit). Once I started SCD, I dropped all my medications and know now how bad acid suppressor are for one’s health.

I still am not entirely sure that I have low HCL. about 1.5 years ago I took an enzyme with HCL and Pepsin in it and it made me sick (nauseated, burning). However, it’s possible that there’s was something else in the product that caused those symptoms. I also did not realize that HCL really needs to be taken with a chunk of meat. I’ve noticed that when I eat red meat I just burp and burp and burp for hours on end. Actually, I burp for hours on end anyway, but red meat makes it far worse. I’m guessing you guys would suggest trying some HCL?

It just seems like I’ve bought so many supplements and very few of them actually work. Thanks for your help.


Steven Wright July 5, 2013 at 12:39 pm

Yes the burping your describing is the golden symptom that is showing you that it’s highly likely that your HCL levels are low. Causing the food to sit around and ferment in the gut. Try using the Betaine HCL dosing article I wrote to find your dosage. Use HCL only pills for it.


Nick July 6, 2013 at 3:19 pm

I am currently on Prev-Pack (14 day treatment) to treat Helicobacter pylori. As part of the Pack, Prevacid is a PPI I believe that helps reduce excess stomach acid. My question is does Prev-Pack eliminate all stomach acid, along with bad and good bacteria? If so, what can I do to restore good bacteria/flora to the gut once the treatment is over? My Gastroenterologist said I may have IBS, however, not sure if it is C or D. In the morning, I go at least 2-3 sometimes 4-5 times. This, however, is basically the food that I consumed the night before. During the day, I may be go once or twice. The motion is somewhat hard to pass and the stool is soft. Could it be that I am irregular? Any advice on both questions would help a great deal. Thanks!



Eleanor July 8, 2013 at 12:00 pm

Hi Steve,
Just curious, I know that you said after one year, you were feeling frustrated that your stomach acid did not return. Any progress in that area? did you stomach acid return to normal?


Steven Wright July 10, 2013 at 11:25 am

Not completely fixed as of July 2013. Still working on it. Getting closer each month, but stomach acid is one of the last things to return it appears.


Brittany July 18, 2013 at 1:52 pm

So both low and high levels of stomach acid can lead to acid reflux?

And if pH is 7 is that normal to still have acid reflux? If ulcer is present in esophagus HCL should not be used?
Thanks guys


Steven Wright July 29, 2013 at 10:41 am

Yes, but it’s thought to be about 90% of the time low acid levels. Check this post out http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/03/3-tests-for-low-stomach-acid/


carmel July 23, 2013 at 7:36 am

I am at my wit’s end with this. To make it worse I live on my own and hvae no family or friend who can truly help. I became ill about a month ago. In the past I had a lot of sinus and ear problems and every so often would take a medicine called MUCODYNE which thins the mucus so that it leaves the ears and you can hear again.
I took some and it hurt my stomach . This had never happened before. I stopped taking it but then felt very quesy and out of sorts down there in my belly for a while.
The doctor said it was an ulcer and gave me medicine for that. For a few days it relieved it but then it did not. The second doctor said it is a urine infection (even though I have none of the other syhmptoms that go with that). The third said
acid reflux and gave me something for that. I am not satisfied ith any of them and unable to go to someone else – I live in the Uk and I do know what I am talking about. I am waiting for results on various tests which I have insisted on.
My belly is always hurting and it makes no difference what I eat or drink.
It is very uncomfortable and makes it hard to do anything, even just sit and watch tv .
Painkillers either do not help or seem to turn it into a different sort of horrible feeling.
I wondered if my mucus from my ears and nose had run down into my stomach
and started this. I am very much a believer in alternative health and usually eat quite healthily. Would appreciate your input and thoughts please.


Kate November 3, 2013 at 9:25 pm

Hi Carmel, The mucus from your ears and nose does run into your stomach and if you have low stomach acid, your stomach cannot digest the mucus and it makes your stomach feel really sick. Good Luck – I feel for you.



Chad August 3, 2013 at 12:33 pm

I’m simply in shock. I have suffered from acid reflux for the past 3 years. During that time, my only chance at survival was to take Prilosec daily. During my time on Prilosec, I tried several times to quit. Each time, my acid was roaring back by day 3. But since reading about HCL supplementation, I recently stopped Prilosec and began HCL. It was completely bizarre. Here I was previously taking something to lower my acid, and now I’m actually taking something to increase my acid! Well, after the first day I had no discomfort, but I attributed that to Prilosec still being in my system. Day 2 also went by without a hitch… as did days 3, 4, 5. Still all along, I was thinking this must be a fluke – it can’t possibly be real. I kept thinking any day now, I was going to get slammed with acid reflux. Well.. those days turned into weeks, and now it’s been 5 weeks and I’m still experiencing no acid problems! This is simply unreal to me. How can this be true??? Sure sure… I read all of the science behind it, but I’m still shocked! Looking back, I not only had acid reflux, but all of the symptoms of low acid: gas, bloating, burping. It’s incredible to me to think how dependent I was on Prilosec (and how much money they made off of me) during that time. Now… I think about all of the other people who are in the same situation I was previously in.

PS: Not sure what this means, but the HCL and Pepsin didn’t seem to work as well for me. Only taking straight HCL (no Pepsin) is my magical cure.


Alyeska August 13, 2013 at 12:20 pm

I started taking a digestive enzyme supplement with Betaine HCL and pepsin 3 days ago and my acid reflux hasn’t improved. When I tried increasing the dose, the reflux became worse. I’m concerned that I may have an ulcer, in which case, would the HCL be doing more harm than good? Should I continue trying different dosages? Or could I be reacting to something else in the product?
Thank you in advance for your help!


Louise August 20, 2013 at 8:10 am

I have had a cough with mucus since 2005. I’ve been given antibiotics and steroids to knock it out but it always returns. Lately I notice I only cough after eating, or if I recline. My doc says its acid reflux. I do not burp or pass gas much and recently i had a crohns flate which maybe was brought on by the antibiotics. As part of trying to treat the cough I’ve taken Prilosec but it did nothing. Two Tums after I eat helps but I don’t want to take Tums all the time. Could this be from low stomach acid? I have not seen any posts from people who have the cough as a symptom. Thanks.


kartik September 7, 2013 at 3:15 am

I have a few of these symptoms like acid refluxes , stomach ache and the others you have mentioned. But I have another problem that is burning sensation in the urine. Can this be related to Hypochlorhydria? Please help!


bobM September 9, 2013 at 9:38 am

Very interesting topic, with hugely important “downstream” implications into many other potential GI problems.

But, doesn’t it seem better to try discover the individual causes for someone’s hypochlorhydria and address those, rather than just supplement?

My worry is that by supplementing, the natural sensors and mechanisms that are meant to turn on and off the HCL pumps and regulate the timing and production volume will end up toned down, exacerbating the requirement for supplementation, or at least a making it a more permanent condition.

What does the research suggest and what do the experienced and knowledgable clinical practitioners have to offer us on ways to get our natural HCL production ramped up and more sensitive to the real-time needs in the digestion cycle?

This kind of question may be pushing the limits of our understanding of how all this works, but it seems to me to be the best way to go if possible. Any thoughts on this anyone?


Cisco September 18, 2013 at 5:08 pm

I have had some success with hcl capsules, (Super Enzymes) by NOW. I take them with meals and i dont get so bloated and feel a little better. The problem i am having is 2 or 3 hours after the meal my stomach gets tight. At this point i try a little lemon juice and for some reason my stomach starts making crazy sounds and i feel better again. I feel that the citric acid in the lemon juice is causing is. Do we always have stomach acid in our stomach, even a little? Should i be taking alot more hcl with my meals instead of one Super Enzyme with meals?


michael rosen October 4, 2013 at 11:31 am

Hi Steven & Jordan!

Great work and great blog. However, only briefly do you discuss one key factor, that being what do you do to get one’s stomach acid back to normal function (w/o betaine hcl)?

I’ve tested positive for low stomach acid and have been using betaine hcl, but when I go off it, I still have the same problems, any tips/ideas? In one comment you said yours still isn’t back either? What are you doing to get it “back”?

Thanks so much keep up the good work we all really appreciate it!


Francisco October 9, 2013 at 4:26 pm

Hi all,

How much hcl is typically needed during a meal? I know it depends on how much protein you are eating but is their a base guideline that one should follow. Also the more hcl i take the better i burp. Is this common?


Steven Wright October 11, 2013 at 3:03 pm

It could be if you still under dosing. See this post to answer your question http://scdlifestyle.com/2013/10/4-common-betaine-hcl-mistakes/


Cisco October 12, 2013 at 10:00 pm

Really need help. I have been diagnosed with gastroparesis. I have lost a lot of weight but I have found thru trial and error that Hcl helps me. The more I take the better I feel after a meal. The real problem is that after 2 or 3 hours I get the worst heartburn you can imagine. Have you had any patients go thru this and is there anyway around this. I have tried digestive bitters but that really didn’t help. I have also used ACV but it just doesn’t work as well as the hcl.


Francisco October 14, 2013 at 5:20 pm

Is there a way to increase the strength of your stomach acid without increasing the amount. I take hcl and it seems to help right after a meal but 3 hours later i get the worst heartburn ever.


Linda Griffith October 27, 2013 at 2:29 pm

Where do I find HCL?


Esther November 16, 2013 at 11:28 am

Ok. Here we go. I am 55 years old and have been a vegetarian most of my life but eventually gave up meat permanently 25 years ago (humanitarian reasons and also was always repulsed by it). I do eat dairies but no fish, no chicken or beef (no flesh food), and an occasional egg a few times a year. But recently (the past year and a half) I have become addicted to Cherry Coke Zero: one small bottle a day. I know, I know how stupid that was. About 2 weeks ago, I developed a putrid taste in my mouth but only when I swallow and not all the time. It comes and goes during the day. My throat feels irritated and I also get vey small little belches. I do not have any other symptoms besides those. No burning or pain of any kind, no bloating, no gas at all, no constipation, very regular bms. Last week I had what looked like a food poisoning attack: nausea and throwing up. I had stopped the Cherry Coke Zero a couple of days before the food poisoning and have been very strict with my diet since then. I do not drink alcohol or coffee or tea (never have, no desire for it), no smoking and no drugs (also no desire for it), no medication of any kind. I suspect I have GERD but can’t tell if it’s from too much or too little acid. And since the HCL seems to require a high protein intake which I never do I am at a lost at what to do. Otherwise I am pretty healthy. Any ideas???


lucy 286 November 22, 2013 at 5:26 am

Hi There,
I was diagnosed with LPR after after having a constant sore throat and sore esophogus. I had no idea how this had come about as it all just seemed to happen one day.. I had never experienced burping or indigestion and my diet was very good always organic and healthy stuff.. When I went to the Doc with the sore throat he gave me a drug called Fluconazale to which I had a bad reaction and became very ill with chest pains and neurological problems.. I was in a state of fear and panic and did not realise it was the drug reaction.. My Doc then referred me to a cadiologist but that all checked out ok.. My symptoms then got progressively worse as the whole ordeal had freaked me out..I was taking lots of Vitamins and wondering what was wrong with me.. When I has the endoscopy I was told that there was damage to the stomach lining in 3 places and that it must be acid burning me everywhere including my throat.. Still I found this hard to believe as I had never experienced problems with digestion before taking the Fluconazole drug for my throat.. I had however taken a lot of Anti-inflammatory tablets due to having a ligament tear in my shoulder and had little chice.. The Doc said that over the years Anti-inflammatories can cause damage..He gave me a drug called Lansoprozole to stop the burning in my throat and esophogus.. When I took this drug it was the worst experience I have ever had..I became very ill and was just burping constantly.. I mean about 200 burps in one evening after trying to eat just a small amount.. My stomach hurt and gurgled and I felt sick,dizzy and disorientated.. In fact it became impossible to eat almost anything at all… I went back to the Doc and said these pills are no good for me and he replied that if I do not take them my symptoms will only get worse and my esophogus and throat will be badly damaged.. I explained that I could not eat and how ill they made me feel.. I also suffer with having very small red blood cells so nutrition and Iron etc are very important to me especially and I had rad that PPI’s could make that situation worse..He said that was not true as they only partially eliminated acid.. I now do not know what to do.. I have stopped taking the Lansoprozole but the whole experience with all the drugs etc has just messed me up completely.. My digestion is now a mess and I cannot eat solids really at all.. I do not know what has happened and the GI Doc has told me it is either PPI’s or basically he does not want to know.. My question is if the Anti-Inflammatories were what caused the damage in my stomach, does this mean that I maybe do not have too much acid.. would I have not noticed if I had some symptoms of LPR before all this started which was about 7 weeks ago, out of the blue.. I have never woken at night with Indigestion or reflux etc.. I feel like I am going mad and nobody understands that I cannot take PPI’s..My Doc just says if you wont take what they give you then you wont get well and there is nothing we can do..PLEASE HELP! any advice would be appreciated.


Jay November 24, 2013 at 1:19 am

Hi Steven,
I think i have low stomach acid but i have a couple of symptoms that throw me off that suspicion.

1 – Sometimes i feel sour in my stomach whether it is from drinking raw ACV in water, taking a digestive enzyme, or lemon water. It does not always happen but i notice i have to quit drinking and taking these things for a week or so because i will feel this sourness. Which makes me think maybe i produce enough acid after all.

2 – The other thing i have is the reflux issue, except never any burning or pain in my throat. After a meal if i bend down or burp, etc. i will feel food coming back up my throat and sometimes wind up with throw up in my mouth. Or it just feels like it is sitting in my esophagus. But i have never ever felt a burn – like acid or bile is in the my throat, chest, etc. totally pain free. Can people have reflux/GERD with out it burning in their chest and throat? I am very careful to not over eat as well. I notice it is not anywhere near as bad if i am eating a no grain meal, versus a meal with starch/grains. But it still happens with bone broth soups, steak and salad, etc.

3 – I will burp some foods as soon as i eat them – apples, etc. raw or cooked, but no always. Some days are fine others are not. On days i do that i notice i also get hiccups, like the 2 symptoms go hand in hand (i can go weeks with out but when i do get them it is off and on everyday for 2-3 days). I definitely think that hiccups are linked to my digestion issues. Do you or any of your readers have this experience, any information i can read up on?


Kevin February 9, 2014 at 11:31 pm

Hey Jay,
It seems you and I have similar problems. My difference is that I don’t get any hiccups, mainly the burping rift after a meal, or sometimes I have real trouble breathing and my wheezing acts up again.

How are you now? same problems? did you find out low acidity to be the culprit?


Faisal November 27, 2013 at 7:53 am

I never thought that it is low acid. I always tried to treat it as i have high acidity. And end up eating less for few days and things turns normal. Now i releaized that it actually low acid. and thats why drinking coke after a meal helps and releaf heartburn. thanks for guiding in right path.


Jess December 10, 2013 at 8:03 pm

Hi Guys,

Thanks to my own research and finding you guys, I have started on the SCD diet (a few months now) and have started taking the Thorne HCL tablets and they have really been helping. I am now taking 14 of these tablets with every main meal and not feeling the burning. I am really reluctant to go higher than this but am still having symptoms. Is this a normal amount to need to take?

Thank you


Seamo October 18, 2016 at 8:47 pm

Hey Jess, I’m taking 14 half way through every meal as well and don’t feel the burning at all. I’m starting to think I don’t produce and HCL. I good the Solgar brand to be the most effective ones because they are powdery/sour tablets. I’ve struggled to get this brand of tablets recently so I’ve used other brands and feel like I’ve slowed up where my digestion is concerned. Look forward to hearing from you.


Mariel Heiss October 19, 2016 at 12:13 pm

Hi Seamo – absence of HCL is a real condition your doctor can test for. Some people NEVER get the burning feeling – even if they have adequate stomach acid. Do you notice improvement of any other symptoms when taking the HCL? You want to take the smallest dose which gives you relief of symptoms like bloating, gas and constipation – whether or not you get a burning feeling. This could be a lot of pills or as few as 1 or 2


maya December 21, 2013 at 1:18 pm

Hi Guys,

I have lost a lot of weight ,had a loose stool almost 3 months , like a 3 times a day, malabsorption,burping ,indigestion,gas,bloating,undigested food, and i have I start scd diet 2 days ago and i have H. Pylori. im on diet gluten,dairy ,sugar, all sweet free.
start taking wobenzym, probiotics, calcium lactate,chlorophyl. my stool became more loose and i start to loose weight very fast, became very week and and look like anorexic ,sweating a lot.
2 days ago started scd diet, and start taking betaine hci, 1/3 dose with chiken soup and 2 eggs. not burping any more,but have burning sensation in my throat became tighter than usual, and my stool became more loose and more then 3 times ,also last night with watery stool came out little fecal stones with green color, this morning it was just yellow liquid. Please help don’t know what to do.


Kelley Light January 14, 2014 at 5:12 am

Hey Steve and Jordan…I happened upon your website after googling why I’m gassy after eating wheat, assuming this had a lot to do with causing my gas along with possibly other foods…what I’ve read so far on your website is very interesting and informative and makes a lot of sense…I recently began eating a Vegan diet and am pleased so far with the results…I’m on day 14 of a 21 day challenge after watching the Netflix Forks over Knives documentary and reading the book 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart by Neal D. Barnard, MD, both of which are excellent!!!…I wonder if you’re aware of these and what your thoughts are about eating Vegan! Thanks for any help…I have felt a whole lot better eating this way and only seem to have issues when eating certain wheat/sugary items. I’m still trying to figure it all out…I’ve been told years ago that I have IBS and GERD and a nutritionist said I have digestion problems and put me on a digestive enzyme…I have weaned myself off of my supplements and only take Juice Plus supplements and have started back on a probiotic called Dophilus (sp?) Plus…I had been taking it for many years and decided to stop taking it thinking I wouldn’t need it eating Vegan…I was only off of it for a few weeks then decided to go back on it after reading something that made me think I should stay on it…then I read your article about what certain probiotics can do if I do have low stomach acid…I order my supplements from LifeSourceVitamins which I’m very thankful to have learned about a couple years ago…very reputable and helpful company! I’m thankful for your info and am hoping to figure out my body without having to have certain tests performed to “diagnose” my issues due to cost! Thanks for any help/info/suggestions/advice you might care to share with me.


deborah johnston January 28, 2014 at 3:37 pm

Have crohns disease…started scd diet one month ago,,stools back to normal i am taking 3 hcl and pepsin with each meals and a digestive enzyme from biocare…my only problem is my reflux is bad with uping my fats,,yet wasn’t as bad with the carbs…i obviously have to cut my cabs out to heal my crohns but need my fats for energy and maintain a healthy weight….feel confused now anyone any suggestionsk


Geetika January 31, 2014 at 8:56 am

Hi Steve,

Thanks for the information!! I am suffering from Chronic Urticaria for past 15 yrs….just happen to read an article from Dr. Jonathan Wright where low stomach acid could be the reason for the problem and at the same time read your article about low stomach acid. If I look at the one year where I tried few natural remedies along with ayurvedic medicines and the symptoms listed by you I can assume that I suffer from this problem only. I am going to try Bitter Gourd (as you said digestive bitters help!!!) and Indian Gooseberry (Amla). Wish me luck that I get a cure 🙂 🙂

Thanks a million for sharing the info!!



AEcklundy January 31, 2014 at 10:35 am

Your website is so important. After experiencing terrible reflux symptoms for a year or so, having tests and trying all of those awful prescription meds (which made me feel worse), I happened upon articles recommending apple cider vinegar and the idea that the problem could be not enough acid in my digestive system. I began using it 1 1/2 years ago and it has been a life saver for me. I consider it my medicine. It took a couple of months and perseverance, but it was so worth it. Unfortunately my Gastroenterologist refused to accept the possibility saying that scientific studies didn’t support it. Many of the medical community are doing such a disservice to people. If I had continued their treatment I would probably have ended up in the hospital or worse. Bless my regular family MD though who is now recommending that some of her patients try it.


Nick February 21, 2014 at 7:42 pm

Hi there I get alot of burping and when I eat I get stomach acid reflex allso I have constpation and doc said I got ibs.


Maria February 26, 2014 at 10:00 am

So, would it makes sense to say that gastritis and ulcers COULD work like this:

1) not enough stomach acid
2) food enters turns but food isn’t broken down thus, pH remains acidic
3) the acidity eventually causes an erosion??

(this is when ulcer/gastritis is not caused by H. pilori bacteria)


Karin Panyko March 13, 2014 at 12:55 am

As long as I can remember since a young teenager after eating my stomach always was bloated very sick as a child lots of antibiotics.I have horable sinus allergys infections and asthma as well which i developed in the last four years..I have all of these symptoms and if im not constipated my stools are on the soft side.I would like an alternative solution besides a scope down my throat or up in my rectum .how could I treet this or if I go to a health store what should I ask for.and am I to understand that a lot of probiotics are not gluten free Thank you, Karin Panyko


Sunny March 16, 2014 at 3:15 am

Omg I have soo much pain in my stomach, so much bloating I can’t think straight and constant heartburn I’m sitting here hating everything at the moment. But what I can’t understand is that I had to take antacids a few months ago because of h. Pylori. And I had constipation also. I don’t get it wasn’t my h pylori increasing acid. I’ve been to so many doctors and can’t live my life. I’m only 15! Help!


Lynne Edwards March 20, 2014 at 3:02 am

Hi, My mum had an endoscopy 8 years ago and had stomach inflammation and slight duodenal leigions. She was diagnosed as having high acid levels and perscribed medicine accordingly. She also has low bone density and is on calcium pills. She has just had another endoscopy a few months ago and she has got the same symptoms but they have slightly worsened. she didn’t/doesn’t suffer with heartburn or reflux. I have just found out by reading website articles that low acid levels are more likely the cause. Could this be the case? only from what i can gather if you are given med’s to lower your stomach acid (if diagnosed with high) then your stomach should start to heal itself and recover – however hers is getting slightly worse!
Any advice would be greatfully received


Marla March 22, 2014 at 11:14 am

I am in urgent need of some advice please.

I am 27 years old and I am 5-6 weeks pregnant, which is the reason for the urgency, as will become clear. Since July last year, I have been suffering from severe acid reflux symptoms, for which my GP prescribed me 40mg of Omeprazole daily. After a month with little improvement I was prescribed Zantac (Ranitidine) 300mg daily in addition to the Omeprazole. I have taken this medication continuously since then (9 months), with various GPs advising me that this was “absolutely fine”.

I make every effort to eat sensibly (cutting out meat and most processed foods, for example), and do not drink or smoke. However, even with all the medication and the lifestyle changes, my condition has, if anything, worsened. My weight has dropped from 58kg in October to 48kg, which for my 165cm height means my BMI is 17.7, the lowest I have been since adulthood. It has seemed like weight is just dropping away, as if I was not getting any of the nutrition from my food. This is especially worrying due to my pregnancy: if I am not getting sufficient nutrition, is my baby? Without going into exhaustive detail, I have nearly all the symptoms listed in yours and similar articles (heartburn, thinning hair, brittle nails, excessive burping etc.). Yesterday, I then discovered your online articles about low acid, and this has really opened my eyes to what I am potentially doing to my body with this medication. I did an online questionnaire, and it came back with the result that I was 83% likely to be suffering from LOW acid, not high.

I apologise for you having to read this long message, as I’m sure you get many such messages and are very busy, so I will cut to the chase: I want to get off Omeprazole as soon as possible, but nowhere online (including in your articles) can I find a straightforward, authoritative plan for how to stop. Going “cold turkey” seems to be inadvisable, which is confusing, as I was under the impression that the drug is not helping me whatsoever. I want to start putting on weight again, and protect the health of my unborn child, but my GPs don’t seem to be listening, and you are my only hope at the moment. Just to be clear, I am still taking the Omeprazole 40mg daily (although I have stopped the Zantac, due to the pregnancy) even though I am now almost 100% certain that it is not helping (my symptoms are getting worse, not better) and is only causing me harm.

All I need to know is what is the best way (methods, timescales etc.) to completely stop this medication, and can I already begin to use other complementary aids such as yoghurt and cider vinegar, or should I hold off on these until I have stopped the PPIs? I hope you can understand why I am confused, and so worried.

Many, many thanks in advance. Looking forward to hearing from you,


Cheryl April 5, 2014 at 7:49 am

Hi Steve,

I love this site. I have been taking Betaine HCL for about 1 month now and it is helping immensely. Sometimes I still get some heartburn. I am wondering if I should be taking a digest supplement that includes digestive enzymes like amylase, etc. as well? If I produce low acid does that means I am not producing the necessary digestive enzymes as well?


Christine April 7, 2014 at 12:57 am

HI, I suffer with bloating constantly and was diagnosed with low stomach acid. I started taking Betaine HCL with Pepsin a week ago and am already on 9 tablets per meal and have not felt that burning sensation yet. Do I keep on increasing the dose or stop at 9? I have also not see a change in the bloating, is this normal? How long does it take before you see a change in the bloating?


Mia May 8, 2014 at 9:13 pm

I did the test with the Betaine HCl and then started supplementing with it. I had to take the maximum dose (8 capsules) for days before I noticed a burn. I then reduced it and by the time I got to 6 capsules a meal I ran out.
I wonder why it took so long for me to feel a burn and if I should give it another go. My problems are worsening by the week. I have had problems for 2 1/2 years and am literally falling apart in every way, my liver isn’t doing to well either. Doctors can’t offer me solutions though, they think I am crazy for taking enzymes and HCl, they don’t believe that it helped me. They just call it IBS…. and say that nothing can be done about it. I am a mother and it has become very hard taking care of my child.
This info reassures me that I am doing the right thing, so thank you very much.


Adam May 12, 2014 at 2:51 am

My partner was told she was suffering from IBS for the last 7 years, extreme bloating and stomach pain, we went to my family doctor which practices in kenesiology http://www.meridiankinesiology.co.nz/ there is the link. So she was diagnosed from my doctor with low stomach acid, seems like something no medical practitioner knows about. For 3 weeks she was to take Betaine HCl, 2 pills a day, not sure of the dose, and she is a lot better, we are due to revisit the doctor to see if there is anyhting else, but this has made a world of difference to her life.


dee May 27, 2014 at 2:32 pm

This sounds so like me right now. My problem has to be this has to be I love meat and every time I eat a large portion I has gas my gas stinks really bad either way im feeling nausea and the bloated its hard. This been going on for 4 days and I just finally used the bathroom I feel like throwing up. I just hope this anit get really bad need to see a doctor


Mysterious Stranger May 30, 2014 at 5:43 am

Slice lemon in half, juice it into half a cup of water 20 minutes befora a eal and behold!!!

Solved my digestive frustrations of past 2 years after first 2 “injections.”

Please share if this helps you, it’s sad to read people suffering and restrictions they need to put on their diets.


Laura Sigley July 11, 2014 at 9:03 am

Hello! I am so glad I found this site. I have been on acid reflux meds for about 10 years now and they are not as effective anymore. No shock there! I know that my gut is a mess. Anyway, I have started taking HCL with pepsin and I need to wean off the prescription meds. How on earth do I do that? I know I am doing myself no good taking them both. Do I just stop the meds cold turkey? I am so scared because I have serious pain without the meds. What is the best way to go about this?

Thanks so much! 🙂


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Kate July 22, 2014 at 9:26 pm

Can I supplement with HCL when I’m pregnant?


Lori Jo Berg July 23, 2014 at 12:51 pm

Hi Kate,

Thank you for reaching out to us! While we are not doctors and cannot give medical advice, we do suggest reading this book “Why Stomach Acid is Good For you”, by Jonathan Wright. This has a ton of great information on this subject. It is also a good idea to find a functional medicine practitioner to oversee your health decisions and you can do so here: functionalmedicine.org


Clarice August 5, 2014 at 4:57 pm

Found this site while looking for a Wikipedia reference to hypochlorhydria, part of an article on Intrinsic Factor (Bit B12). Wow! This is excellent–thanks so much. I was diagnosed, at age 6, with Anemia. Drank a hideous Iron tonic for I don’t know how long, and it went away. Here’s a surprise: when I was little, I craved Cider Vinegar, and would ‘steal’ a spoonful or 2 from the kitchen pantry daily! Also have lifelong craving for citrus–when pregnant, ate 7 or 8 oranges every afternoon and still not satisfied.

Diagnosed 20 years ago with GERD and prescribed PPIs. They helped, but not entirely. Integrated Medicine doc tested me with Heidelberg test about 8 years ago, discovered I have NO stomach acid. My grandmother died, in 1933, of Pernicious Anemia, caused by lack of Intrinsic Factor, and I’ve been doing internet research on that. It’s genetic, and may be the cause of my Restless Legs Syndrome, Peripheral Neuropathy, and my son’s high fat buildup around his cardiac arteries and his liver problems.
PA is a genetic, autoimmune disease like arthritis, which also runs in my family. Guess what? It can also cause lack of stomach acid. And of course that affects digestion as it adversely affects the parietal cells which are supposed to line our stomachs. Since automimmune diseases cause antibodies to develop, it might be good for some of your readers to get tested for the presence of parietal cell antibodies.
IM Doc diagnosed me with extremely low C-Reactive Protein, and I take daily Vit C now. Constant burping, farting and a feeling of bloat have continued to bug me. I have 3 or 4 morning BMs and 1 or 2 p.m. I think it is from eating too much fruit, doc agreed, says only eat in the morning. So I am eating more protein, mostly eggs, and more veg, less fruit. Tummy probs decreasing, as are BMs. Taking tons of Vit B12 now, for a month, to see if that solves the “idiopathic” leg probs. If burps continue, will try HCL.

Bottom line: Trust your instincts, listen to your body, find an Integrated Medicine practitioner and make a LIST of all your problems to give your doc, or at least find one that listens. And don’t take antibiotics for viruses. Antibiotics don’t fight viruses, only bacteria. Try to get a Heidelberg Test–at least you’ll know that much for certain.


Craig August 25, 2014 at 8:54 am

Firstly what a great site!!

I have been suffering with Acid Reflux for around 10 years, I am now 34 years old and to be honest got a little fed up with doctors not really helping me to fix the cause, I have been on various doses of Lansoprazole over the 10 years – and ended up having an endoscopy earlier this year, after reading many different stories on the internet I am starting to think that I have low stomach acid.

I recently went to see the doctor to ask his advice because I had so many questions: I had been taking alkaline water, should I stop? Should I try to increase my stomach acid? should I come off Lansoprazole? should I be retested for H.Pylori (which i had before) Should I continue on low carb diet?

I am now wondering if h.pylori could survive in correct levels of stomach acid – and therefore have I had low levels for the entire of my acid reflux?

My doctors answer was to increase my medication – I refused to do this and he told me to come off lansoprazole for two weeks so i could have a h.pylori test and in the meantime he would contact my stomach specialist with all my concerns?

I asked him if I should try Betaine HCL with Pepsin, and he said not yet and also to come off the alkaline water.

The stomach is a complex thing but it is fairly obvious that my issues are digestive, my doctor visit was last week, since this I have purchased some really good flora probiotics and also some digestive enzymes which contain betaine hcl, I have started taking the probiotics and will monitor any progress before introducing the digestive enzymes.

I have tried Paleo, Manuka Honey etc, all this testing and diet changes are very costly and to be honest I am not 100% sure how much time to give each trial – at the moment I am sort of half Paleo and am going to see what happens with the probiotics and possibly digestive enzymes, I have been off Lansoprazole now for around 5 days and have got heartburn/reflux and the usual throat clearing trying to swallow (the latter was there even on Lansoprazole) I am also considering a chinese doctors consultaion – which will be more costly, but I am at the point now where I have to find my own cure, if that makes sense.

Theres so many different opinions about what could cure acid reflux – my doctor only seams to know surgery or PPI’s, apple cider vinegar seams to be another popular aid, so it is difficult to really decide what to do.

The Heidleberg test doesn’t seam to be available in the UK – I just want to get back to normal health, I had testiculr cancer in 2007 so cancer is always at the back of my mind.

Thank you for providing such a great site.


Jordan Reasoner September 3, 2014 at 3:50 pm

Hi Craig, thank you for sharing your story. It sounds like you are in need of a functional medicine practitioner to help guide you on this journey back to health. From what you have said, it seems you could benefit from some digestive tests to help get to the root of the problem. You can find one here if you are interested: http://scdlifestyle.com/practitioners/


Paula September 4, 2014 at 10:16 pm

I believe I suffer from low HCL as I have many of the symptoms discussed on both this website and a website called gallblladderattack.com. I was blaming my symptoms on a bad gall bladder, but now realize its more likely low HCL. My questions is: if I drink coffee several days in a row, I’ll experience a burning in the stomach, almost like a stomach ache. Thought at one point I my have an ulcer, but I don’t have ulcer symptoms. Cutting out coffee has helped for me. Coffee is very acidic, can someone explain to me why I don’t feel good after drinking it, especially if I have low HCL. BTW – my dad had all of the digestive problems I have, he even had eczema and sinus infections all of his life which recently ended from Alzheimer’s. I am worried that there is no real cure for this problem, and am I destined for continued suffering?


Jordan Reasoner September 5, 2014 at 9:21 am

Hi Paula, thank you for reaching out! You are correct that coffee is acidic, and though it seems it should be OK if you do suffer form low HCL, this is not the case. We want adequate HCL levels with in our stomach, not our entire body. For coffee to be digested it must be neutralized by a buffer as well as processed by the kidneys. Continue to test your HCL levels and follow the dosage instructions in the article, as I think you will find help in this. Continue to work with a practitioner who you can trust and that will help oversee your health decisions.


Paula September 6, 2014 at 8:44 pm

Thank you for your quick response. I am seeing my doctor next week to further discuss this. I fired my last doctor who told me to take PPI’s. I had the good sense to refuse. I wish more practitioners were more educated about low HCL levels. Thanks for this website, it will be a reference for me going forward.


Rayca September 12, 2014 at 4:54 pm

I have LPR, straight up (oops, a pun). Am I low or high acid? It seems GERD is pretty easily answered but LPR is quite different and never seems to be addressed, just glossed over. Your points are pretty generalized. Bloating, burping, all of it can be from something as simple as not chewing your food enough, which I would think sets the stage for healthy acid levels. At any rate, it’s pretty confusing not to have clear-cut answers on at least whether I have low or high stomach acid. I’m an older female so it’s likely low but why then would my throat care, if it’s not acidic? I just don’t get it.


Lori Jo Berg September 28, 2014 at 3:02 pm

Hi Rayca, thank you for reaching out. My first suggestion is to find a functional medicine practitiner that is trained in these types of conditions. Secondly, LPR can occur for the same reasons that GERD occurs and we suggest reading the following articles to learn more about stomach acid and possible dysfunctions:


About low stomach acid:http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/03/3-tests-for-low-stomach-acid/

How and what Betaine HCL to supplement with:http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/03/how-to-supplement-with-betaine-hcl-for-low-stomach-acid/


Alyssa September 17, 2014 at 2:02 am

I was told I should be taking a Betaine HCL w/Pepsin supplement. I am already taking a digestive enzyme with Pepsin in it, so from your experience and knowledge do you think I need to take a Betaine HCL w/Pepsin or just Betaine HCL by its self? Thanks for any input on this 🙂


Brent Kovacs September 18, 2014 at 1:13 pm

Hi Alyssa, it’s recommended to still take Betaine HCl w/ Pepsin.


Mr Lynn DeVault November 7, 2014 at 5:21 pm

I had used up my TWINLAB HCL and ordered Swanson’s HCL. I immediately had an allergic reaction to Swansons brand. The difference in the ingredients was that Swansons has a magnesium stearic acid and TWINLAB has vegetable stearic acid. Back on vegetable stearic acid ingredient. I seem to be allergic to any thing metalic.


Tara November 11, 2014 at 4:11 pm

After seeing your site, my husband has many signs of low HCL. I was wondering if we tried him on the lowest dose, if there are chances of him having problems if he happens to NOT be low HCL? In other words, can it hurt to try out HCL if you aren’t low?


Lori Jo Berg November 15, 2014 at 11:17 pm

Hi Tara, thank you for reaching out! We certainly suggest you speak with your physician if you have any concerns about trying out beta
ine HCL. If you are in need of a practitioner, you can find one here: http://scdlifestyle.com/practitioners/


Bridgitte November 12, 2014 at 2:07 pm

Hi there, This is an absolutely intriguing article!
All three categories relate to the symptoms I have been experiencing for about 6 months.
The one main thing I am very concerned with is my breathing issues, it is almost as if after meals I am having an asthma attack. It has caused me to have sleepless nights, feelings of not being able to breathe and feeling dizzy along with making me extremely tired. I notice whenever I eat vegan, the breathing problems ABSOLUTELY disappear no matter how much coffee I drink (which is bad for acid reflux). I need answers, and I am sick and tired of taking medication that is costly and doesnt work! Help:) Thank you!!!


Lori Jo Berg November 15, 2014 at 11:16 pm

Hi Bridgitte, thank you for reaching out! It would be a good idea for you to speak with your treating physician about these concerns. If you do not have one, you can find one here: http://scdlifestyle.com/practitioners/


ss November 17, 2014 at 9:20 pm

My husband had chronic decades long problem with heartburn. He could not tolerate untimely meals, coffee, tea, many types of foods etc. He tried DGL, zinc carnosine and glutamine as recommended by Dr. Hyman. He confirmed no H.pylori. He eats other vitamin and mineral supplements. He healed himself for good after maybe 2-3 weeks initially. Now if it recurs rarely because he drank coffee at work some times, he eats zinc carnosine and glutamine for a week. Then he eats 1 DGL before each meal for 2-3 weeks and he is okay again. Eating DGL before eating any offending foods liek coffee helps. Avoiding coffee altogether helps as well. All these products are available on amazon.com


For me, I had lactose intolerance which manifested as gas etc. I took the Garden of life ULTRA Probiotic which package should say helps with lactose intolerance and that fixed the lactose intolerance issues. My IBS liek issues were related to gluten, nuts, seeds, corn, peanuts and other proteins in food. Now I am experimenting with eating these foods with apple cider vinegar for past 2 days and it seems like atleast so far it has helped with the nut sensitivities. SO I am thinking low stomach acid could be reason. In the pastwhen I ate adaptogens like rhodiola, siberian ginseng, licorice root etc. it unexpectedly fixed a problem I had with recurring sinusitus caused by peanut consumption!

Good luck


ss November 17, 2014 at 9:24 pm

And for H.Pylori, oregano oil capsules may help?


Lori Jo Berg November 19, 2014 at 8:28 pm

Hi, Thank you for reaching out! Some practitioners may include this in a protocol against H. pylori, but we suggest you work with a practitioner to attack the problem. If you are in need of one, you can find one here: http://scdlifestyle.com/practitioners/


cindy ostrom December 12, 2014 at 11:30 pm

I have had years of stomach issues and have Hashimoto’s and possibly Raynauds. I currently take about 6-8 HCL per meal and 1 with Fish Oil twice a day….the other night I took 6 HCL with my meal and then took 2-3 more when I had another piece of meat. It never seems to burn my stomach at all so am believing that my stomach acid is depleted. I was told 20+ years ago that I had low HCL but stopped them after a couple of years. I think I did more damage. Now I have some parasites and had hookworm last year. Just wondering if I should be taking a probiotic or not and what foods I should eat? My symptoms are bloating at times, and lots of gas at night and in particular first thing in the morning. The bloating is better if I take enough HCL. I do have leaky gut, gluten intolerance, and don’t eat much dairy at all as it seems to cause inflammation. I eat a fairly healthy diet. Thanks for any help you can pass on to me.


Lori Jo Berg December 15, 2014 at 3:12 pm

Hi Cindy, thank you for reaching out. Getting healthy often times takes a pleiotrophic approach, while adding in one supplement or changing a few things in your diet are most likely not enough. Please check out our Solving leaky gut program, as it contains all of the necessary steps to get healthy: solvingleakygut.com


Chris Kann December 18, 2014 at 6:23 pm

After recovering from being sick in early November, I have been blasted with bad heartburn for the first time in my life at the age of 31. The information here is a breath of fresh air as it isn’t just the “you have acid reflux, support big pharma” rhetoric.
This should be filling in so many blanks I didn’t think about and definitely was told about by docs. After reading about people getting treated for sudden acid reflux and then having to deal with it recurring constantly for years after just seems wrong.
Thank you for this site


Melinda Lueck January 3, 2015 at 2:39 pm

I was diagnosed years ago with GERD, but none of the things they prescribed ever helped with anything! I’ve been on the hunt for these pills, but I’m wondering something. Most of the time the food I eat goes right through me, and I’m hungry again soon thereafter. I still experience burping and bloating and whatnot after eating though. I’ve tried apple cider vinegar in water for the bad acid reflux and it just made it worse. Might this mean I have too much acid or would I benefit from taking these pills?


Lori Jo Berg January 5, 2015 at 9:54 am

Hi Melinda, thanks for reaching out! We suggest adapting a new diet, such as the SCD diet, as just taking HCL will not fix all problems you may be having. Also, please read this article here: http://scdlifestyle.com/2010/04/the-specific-carbohydrate-diet-cures-gerd/


Dewy Gulati January 6, 2015 at 2:28 pm

for the last 20 + years of my life I have been a drinker, 8 1/2 weeks ago I went out , I binge drank and the next day I woke up with stomach burn (and burping)..it usually goes away, after a week It not go, so I panicked and went to the walk in doctor, who simply prescribed 40 MG of PPi–not sure if this did anything
I took the pills for about five weeks, and then slowly started to wean myself off of it.
Last week I woke up every day with crazy nausea, I even ended up fainted
This week has been a lot better in terms of Nausea
I wake up a bit nauseated, but I still feel dizzy, I am bloated and crampy after eating
And I burp, the burping kicks in in the morning or about an hour after eating
(Before the binge drinking incident I was experiencing burping –but no bloating)
My throat has been soar

How dumb are doctors to simply prescribe medicine without more investigation, I think the medicine has confused my symptoms more, I wish I had let my body figure this out … instead of trusting a walk in clinic doctor

Anyway do you think I have Low Acid or High?
In general what is a good diet for Acid Reflux ..


Lori Jo Berg January 6, 2015 at 10:20 pm

Hi Dewy, thanks for reaching out. It is hard to say, but if you have the signs of low stomach acid, as noted in the article, you can follow the steps as directed. The SCD diet is great for GERD and I suggest reading this article here: http://scdlifestyle.com/2010/04/the-specific-carbohydrate-diet-cures-gerd/


Ruel January 9, 2015 at 8:16 am

Hi. Does the frequent burping occur only after a high protein meal? I feel bloated even with a meal consisting mainly of vegetables and rice. I tested negative for H. pylori btw, so I’m wondering if hypochloridia is causing my symptom


Lori Jo Berg January 11, 2015 at 3:43 pm

Hi Ruel, thanks for reaching out! Burping can happen after any meal you consume, and we do suggest testing your HCL levels out, just as you had mentioned.


Jessica January 20, 2015 at 12:09 am

I am wondering if you have any experience with patients diagnosed with gastroparesis. I am a type 1 diabetic and my endocrinologist is ready to diagnose me purely on the fact that I have no hunger and lots of nausea, but from what I’ve read hypochlorydia is also common among diabetics, has the same symptoms, and is a much more common disorder overall.


Lori Jo Berg January 21, 2015 at 9:42 am

Hi Jessica, thanks for reaching out! We do have experience in this area and we encourage you to test your HCL levels if you feel it may be low. As always, consult with your doctor and continue to be in communications with him or her.


Kelly April 8, 2015 at 1:20 am

Do you have evidence that gastroparesis is linked with low stomach acid levels, or I guess to put it another way, does increasing stomach acid cure gastroparesis?

Thank you.


Lori Jo Berg April 9, 2015 at 9:59 am

HI Kelly, we suggest reading this article from our friend Chris Kresser: http://chriskresser.com/the-hidden-causes-of-heartburn-and-gerd


Patricia January 23, 2015 at 8:25 am

I’m blown away by the response to this post! So many people are suffering with unresolved symptoms and searching for answers. I was finally diagnosed with Hashimoto’s after suffering with hyper/hypo symptoms for almost 30 years. I’m also diagnosed with Hypoglycemia and IBS. I’ve been gluten free for about ten years and have been helped enormously by a multitude of nutritional supplements prescribed by my doc. Last June I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease and began a course of Doxycycline. I haven’t been the same since even though I took the best probiotics I could afford. I found your website because I’ve been searching for a solution to my inability to tolerate any of my supplements anymore. Within minutes of taking them, I become extremely nauseous and remain that way for the rest of the day. This has had a major impact on my symptoms and especially my energy levels. I tried the baking soda test and failed miserably (took 20 minutes to produce a tiny burp)! I feel as though this new understanding about Hypochlorhydria holds great promise for me. Thank you!


Brent Kovacs January 25, 2015 at 5:22 pm

Well, thank you very much Patricia for sharing the love and for sharing some of your story. Keep up the great work =)


Pranali February 10, 2015 at 2:39 pm

Hi had under gone sleev gastomay 7 years back but past 3 years started getting acid reflux and now am on antacids which i find if I forget to take then refux starts , I don’t understand what’s happening please help


Lori Jo Berg February 10, 2015 at 3:39 pm

Hi Pranali, thanks for reaching out! Please read this article, as it will help you understand HCL: http://scdlifestyle.com/2014/02/stomach-acid-really-is-good/ You may consider changing your diet as well, as this is part of regaining the right balance of HCl in the stomach. The best place to start is here: http://scdlifestyle.com/scd-quick-start-guide/


Kim March 2, 2015 at 11:05 am

I’ve been taking an hcl supplement thats 600 + mg. with my main meals (lunch and dinner) plus a digestive enzyme. I recently started drinking a protein shake for breakfast that is made out of beef protein, it’s JJ Virgin’s All In One Shake. For some reason it makes me burp right after drinking it. I have not had that problem with plant based protein shakes. I eat a paleo diet and wanted the beef protein to work instead of having to do pea/rice protein. I tried taking a Thorne Biogest with the protein shake one morning but that made my stomach hurt for a few minutes. So many of the plant proteins have guar gum which I have an allergy to. Also allergic to dairy and I won’t do soy. Any suggestions or causes for the burping?


Lori Jo Berg March 11, 2015 at 3:40 pm

Kim, thanks for sharing. We suggest addressing you our diet first, as it seems your body is reacting to some of the foods you are consuming, including the shake. This is a great place to start: http://scdlifestyle.com/scd-quick-start-guide/


anna March 4, 2015 at 6:43 pm

I know now after many many years of being sick that I have low stomach acid. My holistic dr. gave me Biotics Hydro Zyme (hydrochloric acid) to try. A bit nervous but will try. However I have had high amylase/lipase enzymes (blood work) since at least 2003 when the bloating started (from perimenopause). The Hydro Zyme has pancreatin in it. She says it does not have amylase or lipase in it. I am nervous. I took Cytozyme Pan by Biotics last year for several months to support my pancreas and my amylase enzymes went up to over a 1000 = catscan and ultrasound were normal. But I am concerned to have this possibly happen again. any advice? By the way the Cytozome Pan is a pancreas glandular suppleme. thank you for your help.


Lori Jo Berg March 11, 2015 at 3:45 pm

Hi Anna, it sounds like you need to consult with a trusted functional medicine practitioner to help oversee your health issues. Also, it is imperative that you not only address supplements, but dietary needs as well. The SCD diet has helped many people in your same shoes regain their health.
The best place to start is with our Free quick start guide here: http://scdlifestyle.com/scd-quick-start-guide/
From here, we highly recommend following the directions in the eBook for best results: http://scdlifestylebook.com/


Michelle March 7, 2015 at 7:58 pm

I suffer from heartburn, food sensitivities, bloating etc. after certain meals, and sometimes not until the next day. I am having a bout this past month so I’m back on ppi’s so i can function but want to get off. I tried Betaine hcl and had no problems until the next morning when my stomach was terribly acidic, more than usual. I tried just a had the next day and had the same problem. does this mean i dont actually have low acid? Thanks in advance! By the way i dont eat gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, coconut, peanut, Processed foods, food additives, etc.


Lori Jo Berg March 11, 2015 at 3:55 pm

Hi Michelle, is sounds like you need to heal your gut with the SCD diet or something similar. The HCL supplementation is a great start, but we need to address the diet first as well: http://scdlifestyle.com/scd-quick-start-guide/


Mary April 2, 2015 at 3:34 pm

I just started the Paleo diet to reverse my autoimmune diseases – gastritis and Hashimotos. Since i have the antibody to the parietal cell, I produce no stomach acid. I was taking Betaine HCL with pepsin prior to being diagnosed last summer and then stopped because I’m afraid it will do more damage to my stomach lining. But, even on the HCL, I registered high in fat and protein maldigestion. I never had any burning feeling when taking the HCL (I was taking alot — approx 5 grams/meal). Also, the stomach acid might help alleviate my constipation (now taking milk of magnesia to help move things along) and keep me from getting SIBO again. Can I resume taking the HCL so as to help digest the fats and proteins so I can heal my leaky gut, which will allow my stomach to heal and start producing acid again? I feel like I’m in a catch 22 situation. Help!


Lori Jo Berg April 7, 2015 at 10:06 am

Hi Mary, yes, you can continue to take the HCL along with your other supplements. Also, you should look into some digestive enzymes to assist with fat digestion. Secondly, it is a good idea to address your dietary needs first and then add in the necessary supplements.


Greg Carney April 2, 2015 at 4:06 pm

I have diabetes and was concerned that I might be experiencing symptoms of low stomach acid. I’ve experienced some of the aforementioned issues. Any thoughts would be welcomed.



Lori Jo Berg April 7, 2015 at 10:03 am

Hi Greg, please test your HCL here along with consulting with your physician. These articles can help you here: About low stomach acid:http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/03/3-tests-for-low-stomach-acid/

How and what Betaine HCL to supplement with:http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/03/how-to-supplement-with-betaine-hcl-for-low-stomach-acid/


Elizabeth Reinbold April 2, 2015 at 5:38 pm

Hi there guys, I just started betaine HCL. For a long time I couldn’t figure out why I felt so awful after eating; esp. Certain foods. Now since I started taking this stuff has answered some of my questions. Thanks for posting this!!! Blessings…..Elizabeth


Barbara April 2, 2015 at 5:52 pm

Hi I have been having trouble with my stomach since I had pneumonia 20 plus years ago and I was in the hospital with antibiotics for 1 and 1/2 months. My symptoms are that when I – for example – eat meat or protein – I get spasms in my pelvis and rectum. I feel like I have to go to the bathroom but nothing moves. I have to do enemas to stop the pain and go to the bathroom. Could some of my problem be low stomach acid? The doctors call it levator ani syndrome but they don’t know what to do. I stopped eating meat and I only eat vegetables and juices and I amsome better but I still have the same problem. Any help is greatly appreciated.


Lori Jo Berg April 7, 2015 at 10:11 am

Hi Barbara, it is best to adapt to the SCD diet or something similar as well as test your HCL levels:

About low stomach acid:http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/03/3-tests-for-low-stomach-acid/

How and what Betaine HCL to supplement with:http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/03/how-to-supplement-with-betaine-hcl-for-low-stomach-acid/


Susan April 8, 2015 at 9:17 am

Recently I heard about low stomach acid in connection with osteoporosis. I have been taking good quality plant based calcium/D and am quite conscientious about my diet. Have been having gut issues for over ten years, but they are on and off. Sometimes I’m fine for months and then all of a sudden may have bloating, gas and very heavy feeling in my gut, sometimes lasting only days, or lasting for months. Like I’ve just eaten a box of rocks. Bloating can occur with first sip of coffee…. Used to take antacids with no results. I can’t see any direct connection with a particular type of food, tho I tend to avoid heavy rich meals and any fried foods which tend to make me feel icky. I generally eat only small amounts of food at a sitting. (I am very small, tiny frame, weigh 100 lbs). I don’t have burning issues or terrible belching, but am very gassy. *sigh. Could all of this be a result of low stomach acid? So tired of these gut problems!


Lori Jo Berg April 8, 2015 at 10:05 am

Hi Susan, while we do suggest testing your HCL levels, we also suggest starting with diet first. The SCD diet has helped many people in your same shoes regain their health.
The best place to start is with our Free quick start guide here: http://scdlifestyle.com/scd-quick-start-guide/
From here, we highly recommend following the directions in the eBook for best results: http://scdlifestylebook.com/


Alex April 12, 2015 at 2:52 pm

I take Coca Cola 30min after meals and it reallly really help to digest my foods. I Might have low stomach acid ?


Lori Jo Berg April 12, 2015 at 6:11 pm

HI Alex, thanks for reaching out! Yes, we suggest testing for low HCL levels to see how it affects your digestion in this case.


Shiloh Meisler April 12, 2015 at 10:31 pm

I have a pre-cancerous condition called Barrett’s esophagus and was told there is nothing I can do but take antacid pills (and keep upping them) and go in every 3 yrs to make sure it’s still okay. Is there anything that you know that I could do that conventional Dr’s don’t know. Nutrition doesn’t work.
Thank you,


Lori Jo Berg April 14, 2015 at 8:09 pm

Hi Shiloh, we highly suggest listening into our call on May 19th all about Stomach acid: http://heartburnhelp.scdlifestyle.com/ Secondly, you may consider working with a functional medicine practitioner as well: http://scdlifestyle.com/practitioners/


Meg April 13, 2015 at 3:39 am

I’ve got SIBO and amine and glutamate intolerance with symptoms controlled fairly well a low FODMAPs, low amine diet, but my gut symptoms are worse since I tried to introduce FODMAPs following a course of Rifaximin. I should say now that most of my symptoms relate to my bowel. I have few symptoms of indigestion – no pain or discomfort, no nausea, no bloating, only some funny hiccuping at times, and I can eat any amount of protein and fat and feel fine.

I really want to get rid of the SIBO totally, not just mask the symptoms and I am considering starting on the SCD. However I read that SIBO won’t resolve unless the root cause is treated, and that root cause might include low stomach acid. So I thought – okay, I’ll test it. To cut a long story short, I can swallow five HCL tablets and feel not the slightest discomfort – which seems to indicate I do indeed have very low stomach acid. But is it possible to have low stomach acid and have no symptoms? I feel exactly the same whether I take HCL or not, and it seems silly to spend a lot of money treating something that I don’t have any symptoms of.


Lori Jo Berg April 14, 2015 at 8:11 pm

HI Meg, we suggest continuing to increase the dose, as falling short of the right amount will not allow for positive effects of the HCL. Please read this article here: http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/03/how-to-supplement-with-betaine-hcl-for-low-stomach-acid/


Kate May 8, 2015 at 9:01 pm

I tried a tiny bit of a Betaine HCL/Pepsin capsule after eating ground chicken. Started experiencing stomach and esophageal burning 10 minutes later. Does that mean I have too much acid or that I reacted to something in the supplement? I have gastritis too and could the HCL/Pepsin make that worse?
Thanks, Kate


Lori Jo Berg May 13, 2015 at 3:42 pm

Hi Kate, it is going take some tweaking and adjusting to find the right HCL dose for you. Gastritis is a very broad diagnosis and can be due to many things such as stress or a gut infection. We definitely suggest changing your diet, as this is the first step in addressing these symptoms: http://scdlifestyle.com/scd-quick-start-guide/ You may also consider the help of a practitioner: http://scdlifestyle.com/practitioners/


Kate May 9, 2015 at 11:02 am

I am in Canada. I just started the SCD diet as I have had increasing food allergies, bloating, rosacea and other skin rashes, silent reflux, burping, belching and gas over the years, to the point where nothing I eat seems to agree with me. I am sure that rosacea is a gut problem. As my gut problems have gotten worse, so has my rosacea. Enzymes used to literally stop it in its tracks before I became intolerant to them. I seem to get fevers after eating and headaches every time. Also I have sinus infections all the time. I have not eaten gluten nor dairy for 7 years. I was on antibiotics for about 8 years for various infections that I kept on getting which I suspect ruined my gut flora etc. I think my stomach ferments everything and enzymes used to work for me, as did probiotics but now even those do not seem to help much. Probiotics even the SCD friendly 3 million, give me terrible headaches.

I recently discovered that my cortisol is very low, and I failed an ACTH test, the Doctor put me on corticosteroids but these gave me the worst heartburn and made my head aches worse. Although my constant back pain and leg pain improved and I had more energy, I had to stop due to the headaches and my rosacea spread like wild fire plus I felt angry all the time.

Since I started the SCD diet my belching and burping have increased, I feel weaker, legs hurt more than ever and I am still getting headaches. I am at a complete loss as what to do. I feel like every part of me is falling apart. I am young. In the last 7 years I have gone from being an athlete, excelling in academia and career, to a very ill and tired person.

It is strange because I eat healthy organic foods, lots of non-processed meat and vegetables. I have eaten paleo on and off for 2 years but decided to start SCD as I used to eat lots of sweet potato, quinoa, flaxseed and other such things. I do not drink nor smoke, I meditate, I exercise when able to and try to eat organic where possible. I have paid so many naturopaths and Doctors a lot of money to help me but nobody has been able to. The allopathic Doctor’s gave me meds which seemed in the long run to ruin my gut more and the naturopaths gave me supplements that either I was allergic to or that had no effect.

I feel very lost, alone and if it were not for a loving husband I would not want to stick around much longer. Constant aches and daily pains make living a burden. I cannot eat without feeling sick from food, cannot sleep without headaches and fevers coming on, I have to constant sinus issues, my legs hurt, my back hurts and yet I am young!!

SCD is my last hope. If this does not work then I see little point in staying on this planet! I never thought I would say that. Everybody seems to think the world should be my oyster given my qualifications, resume, youth and former athletic achievements but this is what my life has become.


Lori Jo Berg May 13, 2015 at 3:47 pm

HI Kate, thanks for sharing. It sounds like you are in need of a trusted functional medicine practitioner to get some testing done and figure out the root causes of these symptoms. If you are in need of one, you can go here: http://scdlifestyle.com/practitioners/ we also suggest registering for one of our Free Solving Leaky gut webinars, as this is a comprehensive program that addresses diet, lifestyle and supplements. Please go here for more information: http://solvingleakygut.com/webinar/live/?inf_contact_key=feb10c4385dfede8ad010c6546ad98f55f5c89ac8065688ae0901838e0a81588


Nishtha May 21, 2015 at 2:57 am


I am suffering from some disease which is similar to what you have described in addition to somethings. I have this problem of vomitting since childhood. But it was irregular and not critical. But since I have got married i.e. last 1.5 years, i have this regular issue of irregular gastric troubles like burping, constipation, bloating, farts, acidity and vomitting. When I talk about vomitting, the situation is worse. Its like its a very regular thing now. In the morning when I drink two glasses of warm water, I vomit. Even when i eat fruits like banana or watermelon or cucumber, I vomit out even then. Sometimes milk and sometimes every damn single thing including water!! In fact when I drink water the vomitting increases..I also get that constant feeling of acid rising sometimes… I am really worried about my digestion..Please help..


Lori Jo Berg May 22, 2015 at 12:10 pm

Hi Nishtha, it does sound like you may need the help of a practitioner and if you are in need of one you can go here: http://scdlifestyle.com/practitioners/ You may also consider addressing your diet and this is a great place to start: http://scdlifestyle.com/scd-quick-start-guide/


Koushik karmakar May 30, 2015 at 10:18 am

Hi Steve, i liked your post. For past one year i m having stomach issues. I have been diagonised with endoscopy but doctors didnt find any ulcer or any issues. I was told to continue 2 40ml omaprazole per day. I was good for 4 to 5 months but recently i am having the pain again. I intentionally puked to get relief and i see food particles are intact after few hours. Recently i had a ultrasound and doctors didn’t get any issue with golbludder. Do you recommend me any medication to resolve this issue?


Lori Jo Berg May 31, 2015 at 8:48 pm

Hi Koushik, we definitely recommend taking the holistic approach (diet, supplements, lifestyle) to attack the root of the problem instead of just cover up symptoms. It is important that you consult with your doctor about the medication you are currently on, though, as we are unable to give medical advice surrounding prescription drugs. We suggest starting by addressing your diet and the best place to do that is here: http://scdlifestyle.com/scd-quick-start-guide/ Please email us at [email protected] if you need further assistance.


kinsley June 2, 2015 at 4:47 am

Hi Guys,

Please help with my query.
I am 25 year old men and i have constipation problem means i will empty my stomach only if i do some exercise earlier and my stool is narrow, yellow color, less consistent and sticky.

I often get lower bottom pain especially while sitting and now it’s getting worse.

I need to losen my belt and paint then only getting some relax from pain and not completely.

please advice about my problem.!!1!11


Lori Jo Berg June 2, 2015 at 11:19 pm

Hi Kinsley, thanks for reaching out about your digestive issues today. The SCD diet has helped many people not only with diarrhea, but with constipation as well. We suggest starting by addressing your diet with our free quick start guide here: http://scdlifestyle.com/scd-quick-start-guide/

Also, please read the following article on constipation, as it can be very helpful on your journey: http://scdlifestyle.com/2013/07/real-food-tips-constipation/
We also have an entire section of constipation related articles on our site, and these can be found here: http://scdlifestyle.com/category/constipation/


Deana June 12, 2015 at 7:08 pm

I have just started taking betaine along with a digestive enzyme before each meal on the advice of an RHN. Previously I was having a terrible time with bowel movement being loose, thin or wet with undigested food. I gained about 60lbs over two years and had no energy, brain fog, arthritic like pain especially in me feet and knees. I was depressed, not sleeping well and tired all the time. I was taking Aleve and Zantac for pain and acid reflux. It was horrible. I have eliminated gluten and dairy in my diet and drinking a prebiotic additive in my water as well as taking milk thistle and I can feel a huge positive difference. I’m having better BM’s which truly is one of life’s simple pleasures after two years of undiagnosed problems and noticing that a rash on the back of my hand that wouldn’t go away with any of the creams that were prescribed by my physician has healed. I have also noticed that my BP has gone down as well, whether or not it is related to the changes I have made, I couldn’t say. My biggest complaint was the poor quality of my bowel movements. I think I was getting very sick from the lack of them and poor quality. I’m hoping that things continue to improve.


Alliyah June 22, 2015 at 6:03 pm

Hi I really ned a help i am 37 weeks pregnant and filling pain in stomach like burning some time even come up from my stomach like burning oil and I think small amount of blood but not shore about blood.but it been almost all day the pain with heat.any advice what i should do


Brent Kovacs June 23, 2015 at 5:04 pm

Hi Alliyah, it sounds like it would be best to consult with a physician. Sorry to hear that you’re having such a difficult time right now. Wishing you the best.


Kay June 28, 2015 at 9:52 pm

I stumbled onto this site as a last ditch effort to find comfort. I’m not positive that it’s low acid but it seems like it and I have issues with ibs (I’m the tooty one post dinner) ad fibromyalgia. I’ve changed my diet and am working on eliminating more. Part of my story is I’ve had acid reflux in the past where they’ve done a Nissen and fundoplication (wrap my esophagus around my stomach base). I can tolerate some dairy but sensitive to it, no maple or cilantro. I can have mint (after 15 yrs of being deprived since that would trigger the reflux). My mornings start now with smoothie w/ pineapple, kiwi, apple and coconut milk. I’m cutting back on gluten and sugar (except in natural forms). I’m having a hard time drinking water and anything not acid (lemon water/lemonade is best right now). I never heard of the meat issue – question: does grass fed make any difference? When going thru dietary chages for the ibs I noticed it does make a difference. ($ is my inhibitor right now) Or is the option to go vegetarian/vegan?? Insights would be appreciated. TIA!


Mariel Heiss June 30, 2015 at 7:40 pm

Hi Kay, thanks for commenting. We have found that food quality really does matter, and we recommend you purchase grass-fed meat if you can. Based on what you’ve written, I think our Solving Leaky Gut Program could help with the issues you’re having (including candida). Since you have fibromyalgia, I recommend you check out this article: http://scdlifestyle.com/2015/06/natural-vaccine-for-autoimmune-disease/


Kay June 28, 2015 at 10:07 pm

Add on if possible: I do have Candida issues and am working on it naturally.


Kim July 6, 2015 at 4:49 pm

What about those of us who had our gallbladder’s removed many many years ago? THe bile duct is hooked up to the stomach and dumps bile in I was told. Would Bentaine HCL w/ pepsin help offset the excess bile? One site said it might help.


Mariel Heiss July 6, 2015 at 6:19 pm

Hi Kim, thanks for commenting. Digestive enzymes can help you break down the fat you eat. You can see which ones Jordan and Steve recommend here: http://scdlifestyle.com/recommended-products/ You can learn more by watching this video: http://scdlifestyle.com/2013/07/who-needs-digestive-enzymes-and-how-to-take-them/
HCL Betaine helps with the digestion of protein. Many people take both HCL and Digestive Enzymes. I hope this information helps, Kim.


Colin aherne July 25, 2015 at 12:40 pm

Hello there I have being on protium ppis for 6/7 years always had slow digestion due to it recently I had appendix out 9 weeks ago ever since my digestion is bad I had loads of gas after what ever food I eat I changed to a chicken and Turkey diet and I have burping and loads of gas again have lost 1 stone recently and feeling awful, does the ppis cause very low stomach acid and make it hard to digest food? I’m struggling my energy is bad and my diet has gone bad and not in form to eat cause I know ill be bad my intestines feel like it’s like a washing machine and used to cramp is the ppis issues for this?? Thanks very much


Mariel Heiss July 27, 2015 at 12:11 pm

Hi Colin, thanks for reaching out. We’re sorry you’re struggling right now, and we want to help. I recommend you read this article as a starting point: http://scdlifestyle.com/2015/04/the-multi-billion-dollar-ppi-malpractice-mystery/

You may also consider testing at home for low stomach acid and trying an HCL Betaine supplement: http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/03/3-tests-for-low-stomach-acid/


John brand August 1, 2015 at 12:46 pm

I thought I would chime in on this. I’ve had a cough for 4 months and went to an ENT and he almost immediately diagnosed me with GERD. He said that 85% of people with GERD or reflux have no symptoms. Interesting. THEN he prescribed me Prilosec and said to take for a couple of weeks and I would feel better. I was on them for 10 days and didn’t notice any difference. I also began researching and wasn’t comfortable with the possible side effects of Prilosec, cancer being one of them. The Prilosec prohibits the production of acid which supposedly will make me feel better. HOWEVER, I just went to a chiropractor who is gifted in Kinesiology. He adjusted me and tested me. SAID I HAVE LOW STOMACH ACID and the food was sitting in my stomach too long causing me problems. In addition he thinks my body is trying to expel something foreign from my upper respiratory system. He prescribed me several supplements from the Standard Process brand. One of them is “Zypan” which contains: Betaine hydrochloride, bocine pancrease cytosol, pancreatin, stearic acid, pepesin, ammonium chloride, bovine spleen, and ovine spleen. I’m on my 1st full day of taking them. He said my cough should go away in about 10 days.


Mariel Heiss August 3, 2015 at 7:35 pm

Thanks for sharing your story, John! Based on their experiences working with clients, Steve and Jordan have found most people have low stomach acid rather than high. We hope your cough is gone soon!


Sweet magic August 4, 2015 at 6:38 pm

Steven,I’m a 14 year old girl who had been suffering from a history of anorexia,now that I’m at my healthy weight range,still in hospital they feed me 6 meals a day and I have very serious problems with my reflax,heartburn,intensive burping and feeling like wanting to vomit,wherever I eat and then 6 hours passed I feel like the food is still in my stomach because I can taste it and smell it when I burp,my throat is aways burning and my stomach bloats for,hours after I’ve eaten and these feelings appear very strong after eating meat,salmon,burlun rice(reflaxes with that),olive oil,tomato,tomato sauce in food and lots of food,I need to take tests beacause I’m really worried.Every time after food I bend and want to vomit,sauces always come out of my mouth and its a horrible feeling.plese help me on what treatment I should receive and what I should do or what I should eat or do during meals to avoide burping,heartburn,to metabolism food quicker:) thank ypu


Mariel Heiss August 4, 2015 at 7:33 pm

Hi! Thanks so much for reaching out to us. It sounds like you could be suffering from low stomach acid, but it also sounds like you have some great doctors who are helping you get well right now! We recommend you bring these worries up with your doctors – you might even show them our articles on low stomach acid. We don’t recommend you try any supplements without talking to your doctors first. They can perform a test for low stomach acid, too – learn more here: http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/03/3-tests-for-low-stomach-acid/

If you have more questions or need support, you can always reach us directly at [email protected] 🙂


Pam Alexandra August 14, 2015 at 1:50 pm

Hi, I have had acid reflux on and off for years. I was just diagnozed with acute gastritis (painful under left ribs, tighness in chest and abdomen.. I’ve had a sore throat for six weeks now, and can feel the acid in my throat. I have a presription sitting here for a PPI Pantoprazole (it’s like a prilosce), but would prefer an alternative method. I’ve been trying apple cider vinegar for a few days, but I’m worse.

I took the baking soda in water test. No burping during the 5 minutes. Haven’t had anything to eat or drink today (before or after the test). About 35 minutes later I had one burp.

Any thoughts? I am thinking maybe I have too much stomach acid. My doctor wants to do an edoscopy (or whatever it’s called) but I would prefer not to go through that.

Is it possible that the very late burp, after the baking soda test, indicates high stomach acid?


Mariel Heiss August 14, 2015 at 3:26 pm

Hi Pam, thanks for commenting. A burp after three minutes indicates low stomach acid. We recommend you try Betaine HCL – learn how here: http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/03/how-to-supplement-with-betaine-hcl-for-low-stomach-acid/

You might also want to check out our Heartburn presentation to learn how to treat the underlying causes of your gastritis without PPIs: http://heartburnhelp.scdlifestyle.com

I hope this helps and you’re feeling better soon 🙂


Juanita August 15, 2015 at 3:49 pm

Ive been experiencing gas, heartburn (not all the time) and a sense of nervousness like somethings about to happen in strange feeling in my stomach not in pain though, could this be related to hormone level out of wack still as i jus had a baby 7 months ago?


Mariel Heiss August 17, 2015 at 6:36 pm

Hi Juanita. Hormones and your gut health are closely related. IF you’re experiencing a lot of nervousness, we recommend you consult with your doctor. Our gut truly is our second brain and there is a reason we have expressions like “gut feeling” or “butterflies in your stomach.”

I also recommend you check out this quiz, which can help you determine if you have leaky gut: http://solvingleakygut.com/myquiz/

It only takes a few moments to complete! Leaky gut can be related to your hormone levels as well.

You should consult with your doctor about your hormone levels if you have any concerns 🙂


obat asam lambung September 6, 2015 at 10:32 am

disease stomach acid is very dangerous if not immediately treated?


Mariel Heiss September 6, 2015 at 2:07 pm

Hi Obat, thanks for asking. Steve and Jordan’s experience and research shows that chronic low stomach acid can lead long term to a ton of problems like nutrient malabsorption, weight loss or gain, and acid reflux. We do recommend testing to see if the supplement could be right for you! Test here: http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/03/3-tests-for-low-stomach-acid/


ricardo September 10, 2015 at 7:59 pm

red cabbage juice ,dgl licorice and d limonene , help me a lot plus once here and there I take digestive enzymes


Sue Duke October 6, 2015 at 2:51 am

I spoke to my consultant about low stomach acid and he said it was not possible as I had had an endoscopy and this would have shown up. I have not read anywhere that endoscopy results can diagnose low stomach acid. can anyone help.



Mariel Heiss October 6, 2015 at 11:24 am

Hi Sue – thanks for commenting.

We recommend a test called the Heidelberg test for low stomach acid. You can learn more here: http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/03/3-tests-for-low-stomach-acid/

You can also perform a baking soda test at home on your own.

I hope this helps!


michelle andi October 9, 2015 at 2:02 pm

Hi Steve,
Im 40 years old and i have been experiencing burping is hard for me i rub my stomace and it helps me burp but if not its not coming out on its own. I noticed certain foids i eat i feel it heavy in my stomache and its hard for me to burp later on. Dr put me on 20mg omprezole and i used it for 2 weeks felt better and its back once again, i hate feeling not normal at times i feel like i have something stuck in my neck or throat, what can i do.


Mariel Heiss October 9, 2015 at 2:54 pm

Hi Michelle – I’m really sorry you’re experiencing these symptoms.

It’s likely an HCL supplement could provide some relief.

Please read here on how to test if you have low stomach acid yourself: http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/03/3-tests-for-low-stomach-acid/

How and what Betaine HCL to supplement with: http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/03/how-to-supplement-with-betaine-hcl-for-low-stomach-acid/


Raffay October 26, 2015 at 6:17 pm

Hi , i want talk about my probelm and im really hoping for some answers here. I have been facing this excruciating uncomfortable feeling since the past 4 months now in my stomach , when ever i eat or drink any thing i have buzzare feeling as the food just sits there and it drives me insane as i want to burb but i camnot . I was goinf through the article and found some very helpful pointers. I have been to the doctor and he put me on pantoprazole after using it for2 months and no sign of releief at all i shifted to nexium and it didnt help at all. After getting fedup with every thing i gave up taking them and after few weeks i could feel i was getting better , but this feeling lasted only 20 days and here i am again with the same probelm. As i did some research these PPI reduces the stomach acids , may be im starting to wonder my stomach acids are low probably ? Im sorry but im in a desperate need for seeking some answers, i reeally cant take this feeling any more. Thank you.


Mariel Heiss October 27, 2015 at 4:42 pm
mike November 1, 2015 at 2:32 pm

I had bad heartburn and reflux and was often tired after eating no realizing laying down after eating made things worse. I had coughing from the reflux and acid coming up. Felt like i had asthma. Drs did tests etc put me on prilosec. It helped a lot to mask the problem but the leg cramps were crazy after 3 or 4 weeks on it. The possible side effects my body seemed to get at least half of them so I couldn’t take it. Tried another ppi that wasn’t as bad but still never felt great on it and had headaches. Finally got off the suppressor type meds and tried the hcl. After 3 days the bloating after meals was much better. The reflux and breathing is much better also. Not perfect yet and I get a little reflux in the throat still but I’m on my way to getting better and I already feel ten times better. The sluggishness is gone also. Eating better has made a big difference also. The part that surprised me the most was how much better I feel on hcl when compared to ppi. The first time I took hcl I ate a salad and that burned and hurt in my stomach and throat. I cough alot. When taking with a nice protein meal the hcl was much better and produced a lot less burn. After the second day I’ve only had good improvements and nothing bad.


Mariel Heiss November 2, 2015 at 3:53 pm

Mike – thanks so much for sharing this story!

We’re so happy to hear HCL is helping you. I know your story here will help a lot of other people wondering if HCL can help them.


Kim November 3, 2015 at 10:48 am

I have had digestive issues for years and I am so miserable. I was recently diagnosed with a mild intolerance to Dairy, Egg, Wheat Glulten and Beef and went on a very strict elimination diet for 6 week and took suppliments. I recently started taking Zypan to help with breaking down food. I am eating mostly salad and vegetable and taking 2 zypan before meals and it is not helping. Should I be taking a larger dose? I am miserable.


Kim November 3, 2015 at 10:52 am

My acid reflux is gone though after the 6 week elimination diet.


Mariel Heiss November 3, 2015 at 2:00 pm

Hi Kim – I’m so sorry you’re feeling poorly right now.

It sounds like you’re on the right track by eliminating some foods you’re intolerant of. However, raw foods like salad are still hard to digest. You also made need a more powerful digestive aid than Zypan.

Here’s what we suggest:

1. Start the SCD Intro diet and follow the phases to help introduce new foods. On the Intro diet you’ll eat easy-to-digest cooked foods (still no gluten, and you can easily keep out egg, dairy, and beef) and give your gut a chance to heal. You can download the quick start guide for free here: http://scdlifestyle.com/scd-quick-start-guide/ and then you’ll want to move on to the guide in the eBook here: http://scdlifestylebook.com/

2. With the diet, you’ll want to consider using separate digestive enzymes and HCL rather than a combination product like Zypan, which will be more powerful.

Here’s info on how to use HCL: http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/03/how-to-supplement-with-betaine-hcl-for-low-stomach-acid/
And Digestive Enzymes: http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/03/how-to-supplement-with-betaine-hcl-for-low-stomach-acid/

I hope this helps! Anytime you have questions about the diet or how to customize it to work for you, you can ask us at [email protected]


Henry November 27, 2015 at 11:13 pm

Where do you consult, when it seems every doctors/specialist you go to always prescribe the same medicine for high hcl which clearly doesnt work. Even some dont want to accept it. From Jakarta, Indonesia.


Mariel Heiss November 30, 2015 at 6:08 pm

Hi Jakarta – you might want to talk to one of our recommended practitioners here: http://scdlifestyle.com/practitioners/ Hope you find the help you need!


Gloria Rey December 1, 2015 at 7:14 pm

I hear a lot of gurgling sounds in my lower stomach, and I’m not pooping very much. I eat fairly healthy, drink lots of water, and exercise at least five days a week. The gurgling isn’t followed by any pain. In fact, usually, I don’t feel anything. It occurs usually after meals so it’s not gastric. The gurgling started about two months ago. I do do a lot of ab exercises, but that is something I’ve always been doing. Sometimes in the middle of the night I might feel randomly hungry even if I’ve eaten a big dinner but usually I feel full again after a couple minutes, but this has only happened two or three times. Any insight would be great!


Gloria Rey December 1, 2015 at 7:18 pm

I forgot to add I’ve been having a LOT of very stinky farts.


Mariel Heiss December 3, 2015 at 5:04 pm

Hi Gloria – have you tried the baking soda test here yet? http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/03/3-tests-for-low-stomach-acid/ That could give you some insight on if you’re dealing with low or high stomach acid, to start!

Hope that helps!


Maria José December 15, 2015 at 11:08 am

I’ve been taking Nexium on a daily basis for a very long time now for severe acid reflux (I take 1 daily but some days I even take it twice per day). I wish to try the HCL test but how do I transition from the medications to the HCL. Should I stop the Nexium at all? Will I get severe reflux pain while I find the correct dose of HCL?

Thank you,


Mariel Heiss December 16, 2015 at 11:08 am

Hi Maria – thanks for commenting!

First, we don’t recommend you start using HCL if you’re taking a PPI like Nexium. However, it is dangerous to stop any prescription medication at once without talking to your doctor first.

We suggest you take this info in to your doctor and talk about weaning off your PPI – once you’re no longer taking Nexium, then you can try a HCL supplement. If you’re worried about reflux pain, make sure you start with the smallest dose of HCL and build up slowly, or start with apple cider vinegar before meals instead.

Hope this helps!!


Kaitlin December 25, 2015 at 10:47 am

I LOVE meat. But recently over the past year I can’t eat it. I hurt and get rancid burps. I have to throw up to feel any sort of relief and it smells HORRIBLE. There are times when I am good for a month and then bam…back to feeling horrible. I tried switching to all natural meats which made things better for a bit but not anynore.


Mariel Heiss December 28, 2015 at 5:20 pm

Hi Kaitlin – based on what you’ve described, it sounds like you could definitely be suffering from low stomach acid.

You can do an easy at-home test following the directions here: http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/03/3-tests-for-low-stomach-acid/

I also recommend this article for more info: http://scdlifestyle.com/2015/05/your-body-might-be-starving-for-protein/


rob December 26, 2015 at 7:04 pm

Hi I started about a month a go. I started to have bloated, full, tight throat after eating. I started to take dgl which seemed to help. But then it finally went to next level with acid reflux coming up in my mouth. It would constantly want to come up in a silent manner all day. Let me say, I have had severe insomnia for a while so Im pretty sure this is a main cause….I also have yeast and probably a little bit of sibo issues per breath test. The acid is pretty severe, so I have started to use some tums which is not great. I have tried prilosec a couple of times and Zantac a couple times. All not perfect. Even baking soda which can help. I started hcl a couple of days. I was up to 2 caps no problem. I have tried acv a couple of times Bute my throat is really tender from refux, and so is my mouth…I think my les has become weak and therfore leaking to much acid. My hormones are out of wacky from insomnia, I am a male 46…I notice that after eating, pretty quickly the acid burps come and then the flow of acid does. I’m just not sure what to really do. I don’t want to surpress my acid but I have to do something on the Imediate moment for the acid…..I would love some advice.


Mariel Heiss December 28, 2015 at 5:25 pm

Hi Rob – I recommend you check this out: http://heartburnhelp.scdlifestyle.com

Dealing with heartburn and reflux likes yours requires treating the root cause as well as the symptoms – and Steve and Jordan’s heartburn program does just that 🙂


Rick January 3, 2016 at 4:15 am

I have developed this condition over the past week… Burping after eating, bringing up liquid into my esophagus with a burning feeling whether I’m standing, sitting or laying. I also have a Bloated stomache like food or drink is swimming around in it, I can not go to the toilet for a couple of days then when I do I have Diahrea for a couple of hours which is Yellowish in colour.
So it’s down to LOW acid, food not being digested and not reaching the intestines, and harmful bacteria is being developed in the area. Obviously MORE acid will kill the bacteria off and aid in having a healthy lifestyle again.
Reading that taking a Zinc supplement and apple vinegar will help, however I have also read that fruit can cause this ailment, fruits contain acids don’t they? So dentists say (tooth enamel rot) As per usual with anything health wise it all becomes contradictory and confusing. In Layman’s terms can someone give me 3 foods/supplements/drinks as A. B. C. that I can take that will increase my stomache acid and destroy the bacteria and this horrible feeling I have. Thank You.


Mariel Heiss January 4, 2016 at 1:38 pm

Hi Rick – in our opinion the best treatment for low stomach acid is a Betaine HCL supplement. We explain exactly how to pick one and how to use it here: http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/03/how-to-supplement-with-betaine-hcl-for-low-stomach-acid/


A.J. Loggins January 7, 2016 at 7:41 pm

Serious question here. I had been throwing up from a cold for a few days, and had severe heart burn all night. I’m 38 and never had medical conditions. I went to the ER yesterday morning, they said all my labs were perfect and chest was clear. That I had a respiratory infrection, and gastritis from the vomiting. They gave me fluids, nausea medicine, And a drug called pantoprazole, in an iv, and script for the pills to take every day at home to reduce stomach acid. Now every time I eat anything, even four chicken nuggets, my stomach immediately, visibly swells, and is very tight for hours. Please tell me if this is because of this medicine is causing low stomach acid! This is really uncomfortable and I can’t eat.


Mariel Heiss January 11, 2016 at 7:27 pm

Hi AJ – we can’t tell you if the meds are causing this but we can tell you they could be – we recommend you go back to your doctor right away and see about weaning off the PPI ASAP. You might consider taking this article with you and asking your doctor’s opinion on it, too! Don’t make any changes without talking to your doctor first, though – that is REALLY important.

Hope you’re feeling better soon.


Alan January 9, 2016 at 11:12 am

I’ve been suffering burping, bloating and gases specially after eating for the last 3 months. Also when I wake up in the mornings I have mucus and bad breath in my throat. I have sore in my upper-right back and I think is because gases. Only things that helped me was Apple cyder vinegar. But still not feeling 100% depends what I eat some days I feel better than others. Do you think I could have low acid levels? Should I try Betaine HCL?
Please I need and advice.


Mariel Heiss January 11, 2016 at 7:20 pm

Alan – thanks for commenting! That apple cider vinegar has been helping you is a good sign that you could have low stomach acid. We recommend you try HCL according to the instructions here: http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/03/how-to-supplement-with-betaine-hcl-for-low-stomach-acid/

Hope you’re feeling better soon!


Robin Thorley January 31, 2016 at 2:59 am

Hello. I suffer from achalasia and have two heller myotomies with dor fundoplications to help my severe swallowing disorder. My last surgery was 3 yrs ago. I have to drink anywhere between 30-40 oz of water only with every meal to force the food down my throat. My hair is falling out, I have poor memory problems, and vitamin deficiencies. I have had gastric emptying studies done but they won’t let me consume water as I normally do to get an accurate reading. I have no choice but to drink so much water otherwise my food sits in my esophagus. I truly believe I have low stomach acid but trying to get a doctor to listen is like pulling teeth. I am unable to take vinegar, lemon or anything else that is acidic because of my surgeries. I truly don’t know what else to do at this point. It is so frustrating! Any advice?


Mariel Heiss February 1, 2016 at 4:46 pm

Hi Robin – I’m so sorry to hear what you’re going through.

I encourage you to seek out a functional medicine practitioner who can work with you one-on-one and really look at your complex situation closely.

We have two recommended practitioners: http://scdlifestyle.com/practitioners/

Some others resources for practitioners:

http://chriskresser.com/ccfmed/ – Dr. Amy Nett has trained with and works with Chris Kresser. Dr. Nett is currently accepting new patients who live in the continental United States. An in-person visit to Dr. Nett’s Menlo Park, CA office is required for the Case Review appointment. Follow-up appointments can be completed by phone or Skype.

http://drruscio.com/consult-dr-ruscio/ – Dr Ruscio is a highly successful and trusted practitioner. He accepts new patients from around the world.

You can also search for a functional medicine practitioner near you here: http://www.functionalmedicine.org or a Kalish-certifed practitioner here: http://kalishinstitute.com/practitioner-directory/


Crystal February 5, 2016 at 12:48 am

My 7 yr old was in the hospital recently due to vomiting & diarrhea for 5 straight days. Although he was admitted for dehydration & testing what could be causing it with no fever, they found he had enlarged lymphnodes in his abdomen. Dr. Said it was a nasty viral bug & pushed the probiotic idea. I went and spent a lot of $ on the chewable kind. But 2nd day into taking them he is complaining of his stomach hurting after eating them. Today would be day 3 and again saying the same thing. What should I do? Why would probiotics hurt his stomach if they are supposed to be good?


Mariel Heiss February 5, 2016 at 5:43 pm

Hi Crystal – I’m so sorry to hear your son has been sick!

Probiotics are a powerful tool, but not every strain is right for every person.

I recommend you read this article for more info: http://scdlifestyle.com/2011/08/scd-probiotics-what-you-really-need-to-know/


Cal February 18, 2016 at 6:17 am

When I eat I feel heavy and like my stomach is protruding, my burps taste like food I ate several hours ago, and have had diarrhea. I stopped eating breads & pasta and it helped but I’m experiencing the same issues again.


Mariel Heiss February 18, 2016 at 2:25 pm

Cal – you might be experiencing some symptoms of low stomach acid. This article is a good next step in finding out more: http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/03/how-to-supplement-with-betaine-hcl-for-low-stomach-acid/


James February 23, 2016 at 9:19 am

Hello, I’ve been on Prevacid for several years and don’t think they are doing me any good. Years ago I started getting acid reflux on a daily basis. I went to the doctor and he wrote me a script. It was that easy, like handing out candy to a kid. Basically, it’s like putting a band aid on the problem. Nobody cared to investigate why I felt like I did. It angers me that doctors don’t warn you of the possible side effects. I often get reflux after I eat. I also feel bloated and get a lot of gas. In general, I just don’t feel good after eating a meal. I’m tired of being another statistic and I’m determined to get my life back. I’ve been doing a lot of research about acid reflux and I’m reading more and more that it’s not having enough acid. I’m ready for a change but need some solid info to get me started. I need advice on getting off ppi’s. I’ve heard you can suffer acid rebound quitting these types of medications. My goal is to wean off PPi’s, get my digestion in better working order, and then start taking supplements to better me in the future. That being said, I have some questions.

1. First and foremost, I need to wean myself off of PPI’s. What is the most effective way to do this? I know it’s different for everyone but I’d like to make it as simple as possible with little rebound.

2. I’d like to give HCL with Pepsin a try to help aid in getting my digestion back on track. When could I start this process?

3. Diet is important and I’ll admit I haven’t had the best diet. However, I have been trying to make better choices. I don’t eat as much junk like I did in the past and it helps. Once I get my digestion on track can I eat a balanced diet with meat? I don’t want to go vegan.

If someone could help me out and give me some advice I’d appreciate it. Going to my medical doctor would result in getting the run around. I need to do this myself if I want to get anywhere and improve. However, I need some real advice and that is why I’m here. Thanks!!


Mariel Heiss February 24, 2016 at 9:16 pm

Hi James!

It is really important to work with your doctor to wean off PPIs – please don’t just quit cold turkey without their supervision (this can have bad side effects)

Once you’re off PPIs, you can give HCL a try using the tips here: http://scdlifestyle.com/scd-quick-start-guide/

What to do about diet (includes meat!!): http://scdlifestyle.com/scd-quick-start-guide/


shirley February 25, 2016 at 4:33 pm

Hi there! I keep reading more and more about how low acidity is what causes gerd and not high acid levels. Everything I read applies to me!
As of now, I’m suffering from Gastritis, IBS and GERD and I can’t stress how miserable I am. On top of that, I am 3 months pregnant and have learned that my symptoms will only get worse which my mind can’t grasp since my quality of life is at its lowest.
Now, I’ve tried the most strictest of diets based on what I have read and what my body tells me. It has been years and nothing. FYI, I’ve never taken pills. I juat don’t see the pointing in coating the proble instead of fixing it.
What I do take to alleviate my symptoms is kefir milk.
Is there hope for me?


Mariel Heiss March 1, 2016 at 3:37 pm

Hi Shirley – there is DEFINITELY hope for you!

First, I’m not sure why anyone would tell you your symptoms would get worse with pregnancy. For many people, pregnancy alleviates digestive symptoms. For others, they stay the same. There is no way to know what will happen and dreading the future will only put a damper on the present.

HCL doesn’t necessarily mask symptoms. HCL supplements can help your body eventually produce more acid on its own so that you don’t need to supplement. However, since you’re pregnant, you need to talk with your doctor before starting any supplements.

I hope this info helps! Hang in there 🙂


Michele February 27, 2016 at 10:58 am

Hello All!I have been suffering with health issues for the past few years.Seem to occur after two back to back c sections and lost of my Father.I was diagnosed with Hasimotos.Still not feeling well with other symptoms and sent to one doc to another.I then had some deficiencies on top of Aneima.I was feeling somewhat better but have this crazy swelling after I eat or drink anything.I eat well and workout 6 days a week.I am always tried and just not my perky self.Endo Docs are no help at all.I been seeing Gi for 2yrs test after test.Treated twice for SIBO and now what?!Idk they just keep saying they can’t kill off the bacteria cause they can’t seem to get me going.I do not move my bowls property.I have extra adominal weight in my stomach.I feel I should be at the weight I need.Muscle tone everywhere but belly that grows and makes me look 6 months prego.I am so sick of these docs quick apts and paying specialist Co pays to years later be no where.I had to see a spine specialist and he was more considered then gi docs.He said your body is telling you something and ypu need to get a new doc or make then see they need to look into this more before more serious things occur.Right before x mas I had pain in my sides.Cat scan done and I had a kidney infection which they think maybe I had passed some stones.I have no clue how this could happen out of no where.I do my best to take care of my self and not getting proper direction over the years.I could tell you a few more things I encountered but would make this post even longer.I research as much as poss cause these bad experiences with health care.After I heard what the spine specialist said I Thanked him for caring.It also made me do more research about my belly.This is a matter that emotional effects me and I want to know what’s going on.It’s not normally.I have so many pics.So the other day I bummed into this.I thought omg wow this was never brought up as a possibility and seems it maybe!I don’t want to get to excited but I did the baking soda thing 2 days in the row now.I work in a science lab so I decided to use my Daughter as a control.Well so far took me 15 mins to burp both days and my control today 3 mins and it was a nice one.I really am think this could be it.I don’t want to get my hopes to high but will be buying these supplements to see if this cures the stomach bloat pain and nausea I experience on a daily. Maybe the constapation and tiredness and weight will improve also.Thank you so so much for this information!Do you think it could all be low acid n clear up once using supplements???


Mariel Heiss March 1, 2016 at 3:33 pm

Hi Michele – thanks for reaching out!

We love the scientific approach you took to this test 🙂

We can’t make any promises, but if you’re experiencing low stomach acid, correcting that issue can have an amazing impact on your health!

Please let us know how it goes!


David February 29, 2016 at 12:55 pm

I believe I have low acid and here’s why. I had an upper GI done which indicated acid reflux. I don’t get acid up the esophagus, just at the valve. It is a very localized pain with bloating and gas several hours later. The dr recommended ppi for 2 weeks but it didn’t phase it at all. After 7 days I went off ppi and started HCL with pepsin. Found that I could take 4 tablets (1300mg ea) and that seemed to provide enough relief through out the day. I’ve been on HCL for 2 weeks now and have had two days where I took the normal dose but had the same severe pain at the lower esophagus. The pain happened after breakfast and after eating eggs. If I don’t eat eggs I’m less likely to have any issues while taking HCL. I don’t see taking HCL forever and am wondering if I’m not fixing the underlying issues with taking HCL…like how did I get here in the first place. I have autoimmune diabetes. I have been on a 6 month gluten, dairy, soy free diet under close monitor by dr. These low acid symptoms just started 6 weeks ago. Do I keep sticking it out with HCL or see a gastro dr?


Mariel Heiss March 1, 2016 at 3:19 pm

Hi David – we think both. HCL can help re-train your body to produce more acid on it’s own so you can eventually taper off it completely. However, if you’ve been using HCL for six months and you’re not seeing any improvements and you haven’t been able to lower your dose, it is time to look for root causes of the low acid (like a gut infection) that a practitioner can help you find.


dd March 5, 2016 at 10:12 pm

So I’m going around the internet trying to find all the places where low stomach acid is being talked about to find an answer to this problem. My wife NEEDS to take Betaine HCl pills but she has a big problem swallowing pills. I’ve gotten three different brands of pills and they are all too large for her to swallow comfortably. She will likely need to take at least five 650mg pills at first. She did the challenge and was able to take seven pills without any warmth or burning. But actually swallowing the pills was extremely difficult for her and there’s NO WAY she could do this every day. She also has a problem drinking liquids with meals which also makes taking numerous large pills very difficult. The nature of her stomach problems requires her to keep her stomach as dry as possible around the time of eating.

So my question is, does anyone out there know which brand of Betaine HCl pills are the smallest in size and most easy to swallow? She takes a vitamin D supplement that comes in tiny pills and she’s able to handle those. Is there any form of Betaine HCl that comes in that size? I haven’t been able to find a way to figure this out and it’s driving me up the wall! There doesn’t to be any kind of “search engine” for Betaine HCl products where you can search by physical pill size. Her stomach problems seem to be connected to low acid so she really needs to take these pills! HELP!


Teena March 11, 2016 at 1:34 pm

Hello my name is Teena. I have been experiencing stomach pain and issues for a while now. I have had a colonoscopy and an endoscopy done. I have a diapramatic hernia and a spot in my stomach that the took biopsies off with nothing out of the ordinary. I need help here if anyone has any information I can’t eat and when I do try I can only eat a little. My stomach sweets up and makes me feel sick. After I was cleaned out with the su-prep before surgery I felt a little better for about three days and so I started taking Metamucil and probiotics thinking this would help but no three days after my procedure it started all over again. No one will listen to me and I am going to bed them to do a stomach emptying test but what else could this be. Please help!


Mariel Heiss March 14, 2016 at 5:29 pm

Hi Teena – I’m so sorry to hear what you’re going through. A diet like SCD is easy to digest and can help your gut heal. Here is how to get started: http://scdlifestyle.com/scd-quick-start-guide/


Tom April 24, 2016 at 4:39 am

Find yourself an intergrative doctor. They’re expensive but they will listen and understand what you’re going through. Trust me, I felt like nobody was listening to me as well. It was incredibly frustrating.


Debbie Keeble March 26, 2016 at 6:37 am

Just wondering if taking Apple cider vinegar every day has a negative effect on stomach acid levels?
Also has anyone ever heard of Vitamin C powder or magnesium powder causing reflux (and burning vocal chords)?


Barneyearle March 28, 2016 at 5:45 am

Hi I’m a 28 year old male fit healthy but often stressed
Iv been having stomach issues for about 6 months , started with usual heartburn gas bloating and a course of omeprazole . Drugs made me worse and when I had to stop them prior to my endoscopy i tried digestive enzymes along with a good dairy free and gluten free diet . 3 weeks later 100 times better , endoscopy showed gastritis but little else and i was advised to take the omeprazole for 2 weeks to rid the last bit of stomach inflamation , did 10 days of it before heartburn started . 6 weeks later still got heartburn , I’m back on the digestive enzymes along with hcl and pepsin and a probiotic for the last week , no bloating burping or gas but still got the heartburn . It generally kicks in 2 hours after I eat . I’m certain I have low stomach acid as a bad heartburn flare up is eased by acv or just an hcl capsule . Anyone got any ideas or similar experiences it’s really starting to get me down thanks in advance


Mariel Heiss March 28, 2016 at 12:26 pm

Hi Barney- sorry to hear what you’ve been going through. It can take time for the HCL to help you restore normal stomach acid levels on your own (Jordan and Steve both used it for years). If you don’t see any progress or improvements after a couple months of using HCL, then you should look for a root cause of your low stomach cid, like a gut infection like h pylori. More info here: http://scdlifestyle.com/2015/05/the-h-pylori-controversy/


Barney Earle March 29, 2016 at 7:57 am

Thanks for such a quick response , iv had a test for h pylori that came back negative . I have been on the hcl for a week now 3 tablets at 300mg each with each meal . I worry that this heartburn will cause me more serious issues if left to long , my throat feels tight all the time . I’m wondering if eggs maybe a new allergy I eat about 5 a day ATM . My typical day is 3 egg omlette home made soup of squash or carrot etc and 2 egg omlette and evening meal of meat or fish with roasted veg , peppers and courgettes / zucchini etc I only drink water and ginger tea . Heartburn is mostly mild but very irritating and as I say is starting to cause other issues , the omeprazole looks like a tempting prospect ATM but do you think perseverance with hcl will work with enzymes and probiotics many thanks Barney


Mariel Heiss March 29, 2016 at 11:51 am

Hey Barney – you might want to look into our heartburn program here: http://heartburnhelp.scdlifestyle.com


Kendra lovell April 5, 2016 at 11:28 pm

I need help!!!
I got pregnant and threw up so much, some days I would heave and drink water just to be able to throw something up! Well one day while pregnant my heart rate went to 260 after eating and I haven’t been the same since!. Every since that day when I eat my chest (right in the middle of my boobs) hurts. I feel lightheaded, and like I’m going to pass out along with an excel erased heart beat. Test after test has shown nothing! After not eating for almost 2 months they put me on 2 over the counter acid reducers. These 4 pills I take a day allows me to eat in a small time frame. Even drinking without the acid reducers can cause me to feel like I’m gunna pass out and my heart rate to excel. My question is could this be low acid? Sometimes when I eat afterwards I feel like this gas (fumes) are coming from my stomach to my throat. Ever since this problem started I can not stop burping either!


Mariel Heiss April 6, 2016 at 2:26 pm

Hi Kendra – it sounds like you have some pretty serious symptoms that are really impacting your quality of life. I’m sorry that you have to go through this right now. I’d recommend considering working with a practitioner who can help you find the root cause of the digestive symptoms and high heart rate. We recommend these practitioners: http://scdlifestyle.com/practitioners/


Bella April 11, 2016 at 10:18 pm

I have been misdiagnosed for months by my doctor. I was put on Domperidone, and Losec, alprazolam, and rabeprazolam. I am to go for a gastric emptying test next week. Then this weekend we looked up belching problems and this site came up. I have every symptom, belching, vomiting after I eat, can not eat dairy products, my stomach bloats like I am pregnant after eating. I get severe stomach pain. My nails have been chipping and cracking for a year , my hair is falling out. I have lost 75 pounds in six months but because I was over weight my doctor does not care I am at the top of my BMI and still they do not care. Unless I lose 60 more pounds. It is just disgusting. No one gives a damn in Canada. Our doctors suck here. Going to the USA is impossible due to money cost. I have got major health issue I have RSD -a nerve disease, fibro, arthritis, previous bowel cancer, chronic constipation due to meds. I live on Restorolax for regularity. \I also have had breast cancer 5 years ago. I haven’t been able to eat anything but broth for months. I am so hungry I am miserable. I saw this info about HCL and digestive enzymes. I took three yesterday and today I ate a 1/3 of a mashed banana and a glass of Almond milk. I took my domperidone and enzymes . first time in a year no bloating, no belching. I actually feel like there maybe hope. I am going to start on HCL , hopefully things will improve. Made homemade soup today and hope to have half a ladle tommorrow. Thank you everyone for your info like I said I feel like there’s hope of being normal. my question is how long will it take to get my stomach acid back to normal. I live on Opioids for pain so really need to feel normal. Will this help me sleep I only get 2 hours a night.Again thank you bella


Mariel Heiss April 12, 2016 at 3:44 pm

Hi Bella – we’re so glad you found our site! Please read this article: http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/03/how-to-supplement-with-betaine-hcl-for-low-stomach-acid/

Please be sure read the section about who shouldn’t be taking HCL and make sure that it is OK with the other medications you’re using – talk to your doctor about it

If you can’t take HCL right now, you can start with Apple Cider Vinegar (1 tablespoon) in some water before meals – you can also use lemon juice. Another option is digestive bitters.

Hope you’re feeling better soon and this info helps


Matina Alston April 12, 2016 at 8:32 am

Where to start?? All three of our children 4 and under have digestion/gut issues. And I’m completely overwhelmed with where to start. We’ve done Igg tests, seen chiropractors, aided with supplements, had them on Juice Plus, and recently went to a naturopath who diagnosed them with a yeast, parasite, bacteria, vital issues. Almost all pathogens? I’m pretty sure they all have leaky gut (how is this possible??) and I’ve been on the hunt to find what the root cause is and how we can heal them. They ALL have had acid reflux as babies and we put them on meds? Each one is also on a gluten free, Df, grain free, nightshade free, only organic fruit, veggie and meat diet. We honestly don’t know what tests to run or where to go at this point..supplementing and diet have NOT healed there guts. researching on our own we’ve thought about mold, or a histamine intolerance, low stomach acid, an all vegan diet, or having them tested for NAD (P) H…does anyone have advice??? HELP!!!


Mariel Heiss April 12, 2016 at 3:50 pm

Hi Matina – I’m so sorry to hear what you’ve been through. It is so scary to see your kids sick.

It sounds like you’ve been working very hard to help them. While we don’t think having your house tested for mold is a bad idea, we think it is also important to remember that healing takes time – your kids are very young and you’ve made a lot of changes, seen a lot of doctors, and done a lot of tests already. A healthy diet and the right supplements can be very powerful, but you have to give them time to work.

It may just be that you’re doing the right things at this point and all you need to do is give it a bit more time as your children take advantage of the great nourishment you’re giving them and heal 🙂


Matina April 15, 2016 at 4:22 am

Thank you Mariel! It seems too overwhelming at times ? It seems that with children there are no tests, or doctors who are willing to them. It’s frustrating to not know the root cause of their leaky gut..wondering if I can give anything to test my 3 for low stomach acid. The baby is on anti acids now and I’m slowly trying to wean him.


Mariel Heiss April 15, 2016 at 12:01 pm

I know it can seem overwhelming – but it sounds like you’re doing the right things to help your get kids get healthy and heal. You are planting the seeds of health for them – now they just need to time to absorb the sunshine and grow and blossom 🙂


Renee April 12, 2016 at 10:58 am

I just came upon this site , I had been praying just to take the best care of myself because it is a gift from God and not give up. I have RA, and have been having the battle too, not as hard as some of you though, and my heart truly goes out to you all as I read your post, but the truly one thing that really keeps me going is , not the fact that every sickness on earth will be cured in this life, God told us to look to the future, (His original purpose) to fill the earth with life & happiness (Psalms 37: 9-11) Revelation 21: 3-4 no sickness no death Jeremiah 29:11
I thank all of you for the information, it has already helped me, just knowing the link between the autoimmune and the gut, and I hope for the best for each of you.


M April 17, 2016 at 10:56 am


I was hoping to get some advice/suggestions on what I’ve been experiencing lately. A quick back story. At the beginning of the year, I was relatively fine. My diet wasn’t great, but I wasn’t having any major digestion issues that I could tell. I had occasional minor, bright red bleeding after a bowel movement which I suspected was a hemorrhoid from being slightly constipated. I went to the mountains on vacation and had a large bowel movement which caused a much larger volume of bleeding (and stress).

Once I got back home, I started having pain in my tailbone/low back area and was extremely constipated. After a few days of not feeling well I almost blacked out. I was light headed, dizzy, heart racing and thirsty. So I went to the ER. They did urine and blood tests. They ran Xrays and CT scans. They said everything looked pretty normal other than I was dehydrated and had what looked likely probably chronic constipation. They have gave magnesium citrate and colase, and said to call a GI Dr if problems persisted for more than a couple of weeks. I now believe the blacking out was due to a panic attack as I’ve had several since then that I’ve been able to mostly control better. Having these issues has also done quite a toll on my mental health.

Two months have gone by, and I’m still having problems. I have cleaned my diet up considerably (although still probably not perfect), I have been seeing an acupuncturist and taking chinese herbs. I’ve also been taking lots of probiotics and digestive enzymes.

Today my symptoms are slight constipation although I still go every day. I also have side and low back pain that keeps me up at night. It appears to be in the location of the large intestine. I have a lot of gurgling in these areas, and it just feels tense and stressed. Mostly everything I eat seems to cause cramping, bloating and gas that won’t escape leaving me uncomfortable most of the day. I

I’ve started looking for a doctor that specializes in functional medicine and GI problems. I’m considering getting more testing done, but I’m cautions of how doctors’ can sometimes be by prescribing worthless/dangerous medicines.

Yesterday I found this site and read an article about low stomach acid. I decided to try the at home test with baking soda. I didn’t burp until 10-15 minutes into the test. As such, I figured I might have low stomach acid. A lot of the cause and effects of this condition matched what I was going through. So I went to a store and bought some Solaray HCL with pepsin. One pill has 650MG HCL with 129MG pepsin I believe. I tried some with a somewhat heavy meal. I had a slight burning sensation in my stomach and some gurgling for the next few hours. However, my lower left side and back pain diminished greatly. I had a heavier dinner (more meat) for dinner and took another. I didn’t notice any burning this time and generally felt ok. I did have quite a few burps and gas which normally get trapped.

I got up this morning feeling pretty good. I slept better than I have in quite a while. I had my normal bowel movement only this time it was much softer and somewhat flaky looking. It was also much lighter in color. I’m assuming that the HCL sped up my digestion. I don’t hurt too bad, but I do feel a bit crampy in the intestines.

I’m wondering if my dosage of HCL is too high and if I should back off some or even be doing it at all. I don’t want to cause more damage. In such a short period of time I do feel better overall. I just don’t want to cause irreparable harm to myself. Is it relatively safe to experiment with a dosage without seeing a doctor? I don’t have a formal diagnosis. The ER has only told me everything looks normal.

Any help or insight would be greatly appreciated. Sorry for the long post, but I wanted to be thorough.

Thanks for the help.



Mariel Heiss April 18, 2016 at 5:22 pm

Hi M – great questions 🙂

First, yes we think it is safe to experiment with HCL as long as you aren’t one of the exceptions described in the article here: http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/03/how-to-supplement-with-betaine-hcl-for-low-stomach-acid/

I also recommend reading this: http://scdlifestyle.com/2013/10/4-common-betaine-hcl-mistakes/

It sounds like even though you’ve just introduced HCL you’re having a good reaction. We’d encourage you to continue trying it out, but keep paying attention to how much you need to take – you’ll need more at some meals and less at others and will probably be able to slowly taper off of it over several weeks.

I hope this helps!


M April 19, 2016 at 7:46 pm


Thank you for the response. It’s been a couple of days now that I’ve been trying the HCL. I’ve only been taking one pill because I can’t tell if I have a burning sensation in my stomach, or if it’s still gas building.

After I take it, I still sometimes get a full feeling in the stomach with some gurgling and occasional burps. I’m still on the constipated side, but I’m going every day. Does that sound like I need to increase my dosage, or could that full feeling be the burning signal I need to be looking for?




Mariel Heiss April 20, 2016 at 4:20 pm

You’re welcome!

Some people never get the burning feeling. In that case, you’ll need to look for other signs of improved digestion like less bloating, gas, better stool, etc.

Also remember that the average dose is between 3,000 and 4,000 mg – here is what Steve and Jordan say:

“I Need to Take How Many Betaine HCL Pills?

It’s very common for people to stop short of their needed Betaine HCL dosage. In fact, in the beginning I was nervous about taking 6 pills at a meal. But trust me. there is nothing to worry about. Dr. Wright reports that the common Betaine HCL dosage range in his clinical practice is 3,250-4,550mg per meal. That means there are also plenty of people who need above 5,000mg for an effective dosage.

Remember, a normal functioning stomach is capable of producing and handling extreme acid ranges. If your dosage starts getting extremely high without any GI distress (step #3), you must use your GI symptoms as a guide instead. These include burping, bloating, farting, and stool consistency. Keep everything else the same in your diet as you wait for these indicators to change for the better. Just because you can take 20 pills, doesn’t mean you should. It could be that at 11 pills all of your problems disappear. For this group of people try to find the minimum dose needed to help your GI symptoms and for Pete’s sake go get more testing to figure out what is going on!”

More info here: http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/03/how-to-supplement-with-betaine-hcl-for-low-stomach-acid/


Tom April 24, 2016 at 4:54 am

Question: Is there a difference between gelatin and vegetable capsules and when they should be taken? I’ve read online that vegetable capsules can take 20-30minutes to digest, whereas gelatin capsules take 5-10minutes? I have been taking the capsules at the start of every meal (with first few bites) regardless and am still not sure.

I am also not quite sure of when to take the capsule (before, during or after a meal)? I know this website recommends at the beginning and so does the bottle. But some bottle labelling suggests during the meal and I even found a website that suggest taking it after the meal, as far as 30-45 minutes after in fact! I am just not sure.

I am expermenting with low dosages to see if I can notice a difference at the moment. But I do not want to get it wrong and be treating it ineffectively when there is in fact a best suited time to take the pill according to the digestive function of our system. It would be much appreciated if someone could shed some light on this.


Mariel Heiss April 25, 2016 at 5:37 pm

Hi Tom – you can see our recommended HCL and when to take it here: http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/03/how-to-supplement-with-betaine-hcl-for-low-stomach-acid/


Will May 5, 2016 at 9:00 pm

I have low HCL. I started taking apple cider vin. before and after meals. I also see that zinc can help also, but everytime I take a zinc supplement it makes me feel great at first, then it crashes me.I’ve read somewhere that it can crash someone who has Adrenal fatigue. I get very tired. How then can I (a vegetarian) increase my zinc intake ?


Mariel Heiss May 10, 2016 at 2:21 pm

Hi Will – we recommend beans (soaked overnight before cooking) and nuts


Bethany May 16, 2016 at 1:47 pm

Yesterday I failed the baking soda test (took it before my ppi meds), which would indicate to me that I have low stomach acid. I also took 650 mg of HCL at dinner with protein and felt no ill effects. I took no ppi’s yesterday.
Now today I took a 20 mg ppi in the morning, and feel terrible.
I’m currently on 40 mg of omneprozol per day, and wondering how I would go about switching from ppi’s to the HCL. Do I just quit the ppi’s cold turkey? Or do I need to wean myself off them? Does it sound like I would be a good candidate for the HCL?


Mariel Heiss May 16, 2016 at 3:35 pm

Hi Bethany – thanks for reaching out to us!

First, and most importantly – please don’t stop any meds your doctor has prescribed, and especially don’t quit cold turkey. You’ll need to work with your doctor to develop a plan to wean off the PPI before you start HCL. That is really important!

Once you’ve worked with your doc to get off the PPI, you can use the suggestions here to try HCL: http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/03/how-to-supplement-with-betaine-hcl-for-low-stomach-acid/


Jeff May 25, 2016 at 7:24 pm

Hi Steve, I am sick on my stomach as I write this. I had my gallbladder removed a couple of years ago and now every morning when I eat anything for breakfast I get very nauseated for hours. If I don’t eat breakfast I will have a dull ache in my stomach on top of hunger. It’s a doubled edged sword. I too have been diagnosed with gerd and if I stop taking my Prevacid I will suffer unending severe heartburn. However I have noticed that I can eat anything I want without stomach pain if I stop taking Prevacid but will have to suffer from severe never ending heartburn that gets so bad it feels like a heart attack. I was hospitalized once because of this. I thought I was having a heart attack but after days of testing the doctor said that I have Gerd and started me on Prevacid. That’s when the severe morning stomach aches started but if I stop Prevacid I start having severe heart burn and chest pain. I am trapped and feel so unhealthy I don’t know what to do. Any suggestions?


Mariel Heiss May 26, 2016 at 2:42 pm

Hi Jeff – I’m so sorry to hear what you’re going through.

I really recommend you check out our heartburn program here: http://heartburnhelp.scdlifestyle.com


Gooding June 1, 2016 at 1:04 pm

Hi Folks, stumbled upon this article and recognized that the little things that we practice will be of great benefit to someone.
Here are a few natural tips you can try, if done faithfully great results will spring forth.

Avoid eating while stressed or anxious – pray thanking God for the meal before you eat
Avoid eating if upset or excessively tired – take a nap just before mealtime
Eat at set times – 5 to 6 hrs apart
Chew food thoroughly – masticate till milky with saliva
Do not eat in a hurry – take time to enjoy your meal
Avoid overeating – eat in moderation only that which is sufficient for your body’s need
Avoid eating to great variety at one meal – eat no more 3 kinds at one meal, and no mores than 4 simple dishes
Avoid eating and drinking – No liquid should be consumed with meal. Drink water ½ hr before or 2 hrs after meal.
Avoid hot or cold foods – eat food at warm or cool temperature
Avoid laying down after eating – take a moderate jolly walk after meals for about 15 mins
Avoid mentally or physically taxing exercise immediately after meals – Do something the is of little consequence to bring cheer
Avoid eating in between meals – Drink only of cool pure water in between meals
Avoid late night snacks or large meals at night – have a fruit or cracker but preferably a cold glass of water will stop the desire for food.
Avoid chewing gum – chew your food thoroughly instead.
Maintain healthy weight – practice a healthy lifestyle using the eight laws of health
Avoid tight belts, bands and clothing – wear belts, bands and clothing that allow your respiration to be full and free
Do not drink or use alcohol in food – refrain from vinegar, alcohol, wine, brandy, beer, bitters, etc.
Do not smoke – breathe deeply of the pure air
Avoid drug medication – use natural remedies for ailments, avoid aspirin, steroids, antibiotics
Raise the head of your bed – If you experience nighttime heartburn, try raising the head of you bed 6 inches, you can also try lying on your left side rather than your right.

Feel free to contact me considering I did not give reason the the many tips. There are reasons underlying every tip I would share as requested. However the tips are all within the reach of everyone, there is truly nothing to lose and much to be benefited if adopted.


Maria August 25, 2016 at 1:13 pm

I was wondering if you’ve had any clients/patients with parietal cell antibodies. Has it been possible to eliminate this? I have hashimotos too. Because of the parietal cell antibodies I have low/no stomach acid. I don’t get any burning sensation even with 8 Betaine HCl capsules (1 cap = 650mg betaine HCl, 25mg pepsin).


Mariel Heiss August 25, 2016 at 2:38 pm

Hey Maria – we have seen people with all kinds of autoimmune disorders get helped by healing their gut. This is because, based on our research, all autoimmune diseases are related to gut health.

I recommend checking out our free informational webinar on the gut and autoimmunity (and how you can heal both!) here: http://solvingleakygut.com/webinar/internal-autoimmune/


Brett September 17, 2016 at 6:23 pm

I’ve had reoccurring stomach problems for the past 12 months. Extreme bloat and acid reflux. The first time it started happening my Dr treated me with nexium. After the nexium my problems came back worse than before. I then treated myself with betaine hcl with pepsin. It worked almost immediately but I worked myself up to about 6, 650mg pills of hcl before I felt any burn. Fast forward 7 months later, I’m having the problem again. No acid reflux this time. Just extreme bloat after a protein rich meal. I’m on the betaine hcl with pepsin again but this time it’s not helping. I’m up to 7 capsules before a meal and I’ve felt no burn and no relief. Again I don’t have any acid reflux, just bloat. Even if I drink water too fast I start to swell. How much hcl is enough? It’s the worst after a protein meal. How much hcl is enough? Should I try digestive enzymes instead?


Mariel Heiss September 19, 2016 at 4:01 pm

Hi Brett –

First, we suggest you have root causes of your low stomach acid looked at (like a gut infection) and then we suggest healing the gut while using HCL.

This program covers everything you need to know (even if you don’t think you have heartburn): http://heartburnhelp.scdlifestyle.com


Sandy September 27, 2016 at 11:52 pm

I was wondering if you guys could help me or lead me in the right direction. I was diagnosed with Duodenitis and gall stones in 1994, i had my gall bladder removed. And I’ve always had issues with indigestion, bloating and gas after eating any oat cereal like Cheerios or Lucky Charms and any kind of smoked meat. For the past couple of years I am all of a suuden experiencing acid reflux after drinking tea. Anyone have similar issues or any ideas on what i should do next?


Mariel Heiss September 28, 2016 at 12:04 pm

Hi Sandy – sorry to hear you’ve been struggling with this for so long!

First, we’d recommend cutting out these processed foods. Do you experience the same issues with whole foods (oats or fresh meat?)

If you’re interested in learning more about why you react to foods and how to heal your gut and feel better, I hope you’ll come to our free webinar. You can register here: http://solvingleakygut.com/webinar/live-qva/


NinaP September 28, 2016 at 12:54 am

I have Celiac Disease been tested and everything.

I’ve been gluten free for months.

I think I may have this also..

Constant pain, feel lie my stomach is twisting being pinched All the time.


Mariel Heiss September 28, 2016 at 12:05 pm

Hi Nina – I’m so sorry to hear what you’re going through – but it isn’t uncommon. In our experience, those with Celiac need much more than to just avoid gluten to regain their health. You can learn more about how Jordan overcame Celiac disease here: http://solvingleakygut.com/webinar/internal-autoimmune/


Holly September 28, 2016 at 7:17 pm

I just wanted to thank you for putting this information online. I don’t normally post on websites, but in just two months, I’ve seen major improvements. I actually started feeling better in 3 days!

Many people on this site are suffering from severe IBS and other major issues. But even though my symptoms were very mild, I knew I wasn’t in optimal health so I kept looking for a solution. For several years, off and on I’ve had problems with slowed digestion (gastroparesis). And about nine months ago, I started burping excessively, even between meals and first thing in the morning. I also stopped being able to drink alcohol– the smallest sip would make me feel nauseated and sometimes create a histamine response. I had gone to doctors and even had contrast dye tests to see if there was a blockage somewhere. Because I’m generally healthy and a good weight, the doctors just dismissed my symptoms or offered to write a prescription for Prilosec, which didn’t seem right.

Thankfully, I stumbled upon this site. I very much related to the story of “Mary” who stopped eating meat because it didn’t agree with her. I decided it was worth it to spend $12 and start taking the HCI Betaine. I’m so glad I did! The first week was tricky with trial and error, but I honestly felt an improvement within 3 days. Now I’m two months in and the excessive burping is gone. I can drink 1 alchoholic beverage with a meal without any problem, though I do feel the effects more strongly. Also, the increased protein in my diet has given me much more energy, fewer cravings for sugar and snacks, stronger fingernails and more muscle tone. I’m a pescatarian, so I am worried about mercury from canned tuna– which is an easy high-protein snack– but I switched to chunk light and limit myself to a few cans a week. I’m also considering adding organic chicken into my diet. In any case, I take the NOW supplements, generally 1 pill for every 10 grams of protein I’m consuming and that works for me. Thanks, SCDLifestyle.com!


Mariel Heiss September 29, 2016 at 3:26 pm

Thanks so much for sharing this Holly!!

This kind of story makes us so happy!


Jennifer McCarrick October 2, 2016 at 4:18 am

I’m 42. Hysterectomy at 34, gall bladder removal at 22. Diagnosed with hemochromatosis, and thyroid disease. Years of fighting bad gas but increase even more so last few years to the point I won’t go into a resteraunt at times. Also I avoid red meat most of the time because I don’t like how it makes me feel/does afterwards. I get the same feeling with milk, cheese, ice cream and yogurt. Aching and night sweats, along with bloating and yucky diahreah when it finally hits…


Mariel Heiss October 4, 2016 at 11:38 am

Hi Jennifer – so sorry to hear what you’ve been through. It sounds like digestive enzymes and HCL could really help you.

Here’s info on both:


anja October 16, 2016 at 2:15 am

Please help! I’m from Serbia and desperately trying to find the cause of suffering my son.he has 4.5 years and reflux for anyone wakes up early in the morning, when he starts crying that eat.no eating gluten, dairy products, eggs, mahunarke.that did not help or nekium .Endoskopija showed mild esophagitis or a doctor not to take any further treatment of our already sent to another institution where we have to wait to review long time.he has SIBO but only the stomach is no longer bloated and gases .refluks, belching, bad breath and rumbling in the intestines are stronger than ever.b12 he was elevated folate at the lower limit. what analysis can do to help doctors directed towards the treatment of low stomach acid? vitamins, minerals, hormones? the child suffers a lot 🙁


Mariel Heiss October 17, 2016 at 11:40 am

Hi Anja – I’m sorry to hear your son is suffering!

Because he is so young, we’d suggest you work one-on-one with a functional medicine doctor. Our recommended practitioners take new clients from around the world: http://scdlifestyle.com/practitioners/


Anne-Sophie. Houdek October 20, 2016 at 6:11 pm

I am 63 years old. I have been takin HCL for a couple of years..two with each meal., in addition to digestive enzymes and a slew of other supplements. Two HCL’s were sufficient for a while. Lately I have begun to experience nausea, burping and a heavy feeling in my stomach. My stomach is also very noisy and uncomfortable all the time. Do you think this is a case of too little HCL? Also, I was tested for SIBO, as I have a history of it, but the test showed no methane. Thanks in advance for your response.


Mariel Heiss October 21, 2016 at 11:56 am

Hi Anne-Sophie – thanks for asking. It is possible you need more HCL, but it might be that it is time to drop your dose down by 1 pill. Try taking just 1 HCL and see if you notice an improvement. If you’ve changed the brand of HCL you sue, that could have an impact too


Holly October 23, 2016 at 9:59 am

I’ve had this for about a year now, I’m in my 30’s and after eating meat and not chewing it properly I get acid reflux.
Take cinnamon vitamins. Cinnamon seems to work better than those tums or heartburn meds


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