4 Common Betaine HCl Mistakes

by Jordan Reasoner

Supplementing with Betaine HCL

This might seem crazy, but stomach acid really is good for you. Without it, your health suffers.

In fact, taking Betaine HCl to improve my stomach acid saved my digestion.

And if you’re unknowingly suffering from Low Stomach Acid like I was, it could help you too. Here are some signs that you might be suffering from low stomach acid:

  • Indigestion
  • Gas
  • Bloating
  • Undigested food in your stool
  • Acid reflux
  • GERD
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Malabsorption
  • Nutrient deficiencies

If you have these symptoms and you’re not sure if you have low stomach acid, please read this:

Hypochlorhydria: 3 Common Signs of Low Stomach Acid

It seems counter-intuitive, but supplementing with Hydrochloric Acid (HCl) in the form of Betaine HCl can dramatically help people with low stomach acid. If you’re one of them, it’s about as close to a “magic pill” as you’re ever going to get.

But supplementing with stomach acid is not your ordinary run-of-the mill grocery store supplement.

Taking Betaine HCl is Serious Business.

I made a lot of painful mistakes taking Betaine HCl over the years… and what’s worse is I’m seeing those same mistakes in our private 1-on-1 clients.

These mistakes can cause Betaine HCl not to work and make symptoms much worse than they already are.

So in this post, we’re going to cover four common mistakes people make supplementing with Betaine HCl. Because this simple supplement can dramatically help those that need it, but hurt those who don’t use it properly.

Mistake 1: Using Betaine HCl When You’re Not Supposed To

In Dr. Jonathan Wright’s book, Why Stomach Acid is Good for You, he explains that:

“HCl should never be taken by anyone who is also using any kind of anti-inflammatory medication such as corticosteroids (e.g., Prednisone), aspirin, Indocin, ibuprofen (e.g., Motrin, Advil), or other NSAIDs. These drugs can initiate damage to the GI lining that supplementary HCl might aggravate, increasing the risk of gastric bleeding or ulcer.”

He goes on to warn:

“A much greater proportion of ‘newbies’ have taken, or are still taking, medication that could adversely interact with HCl and pepsin supplements. The same medications (mostly anti-inflammatories, but other medications, too) can seriously weaken the stomach lining to the point where it cannot handle HCl even if it is really needed.”

This warning is especially important for many of us with Inflammatory Bowel Disease because we’re highly likely to be currently taking Prednisone, or to have taken it in the past.

Dr. Wright does point out that several of his patients have taken Betaine HCl while on corticosteroids, but where does that leave you if you’re in this high risk group? 

Solution: if you’re not sure if you should take Betaine HCl, work with a skilled practitioner that knows about low stomach acid. And when in doubt… don’t use it. Instead, consider trying Digestive Bitters, which are a safe, natural stomach stimulants that can restore normal stomach acid production in some cases.

Mistake 2: Taking Betaine HCl without Pepsin

There’s a huge selection of Betaine HCl supplements on the market right now. The strange thing is many don’t contain Pepsin.


The above screencap is part of one of my crazy digestion mind maps. In it, you should see that a stomach that doesn’t produce enough HCl also won’t make enough pepsin.

And without pepsin… we can’t break down proteins into the peptides required for proper absorption (that’s really important).

I will say, I have read a few examples of people that were sensitive to pepsin and if that’s the case for you, taking a Betaine HCl supplement without pepsin could help. However, from what I can tell in the literature it’s extremely rare.

So, if you’re taking Betaine HCl without pepsin, you may be wasting a lot of money and not seeing the full benefit you could experience from using one that does contain pepsin.

Solution: Stick with Betaine HCl brands that contain pepsin, like the one from Thorne Research.

Mistake 3: Taking Betaine HCl with the Wrong Food

If you’ve ever taken Betaine HCl when you didn’t need it… you know how painful it can be.

While all foods trigger the release of gastric acid via the brain and expanding the stomach, proteins will stimulate stomach acid production more than any other food. And that makes sense, because proteins require stomach acid and pepsin to break down the food, whereas it’s not as important for non-protein foods.

That said, if you eat a meal lacking protein, you probably don’t need Betaine HCl because even a healthy stomach wouldn’t have naturally secreted much gastric acid anyway.

For example, if you eat a salad for lunch without any protein… taking Betaine HCl could prove painful and unnecessary.

However, if you eat an 8oz chicken breast for lunchBetaine HCl can help you digest that protein.

After making this mistake a few times, I fondly nicknamed it, “The stomach ache of death.” Take my word for it and avoid the stomach ache of death if you can.

Solution: Don’t take Betaine HCl unless you eat at least 15g of protein with your meal.

Mistake 4: Taking the Wrong Dosage of Betaine HCl

Going back to Dr. Jonathan Wright’s book on stomach acid, he noted that:

“The most effective adult dose of Betaine HCl is 5 to 7 of the 650 milligram capsules per meal, with pepsin.”

This is important for two reasons:

1) This is an average, so many people need to take more Betaine HCl and many people need to take less. You have to figure the custom dosage that works for you (more instructions on that here).

I know taking a supplement like this can feel scary. I was scared when I started testing it out years ago.

But if your body is the type that requires 6-8 pills and you’re only taking 1-2 pills, you may be missing the benefits.

So, it’s very important to find the custom dosage that works for your body by working with a skilled practitioner and following the instructions I linked to above this paragraph.

2) You don’t need the same dosage of Betaine HCl at every meal.

I fell into this trap. For years I took the same amount of Betaine HCl at every meal, no matter what I ate. Granted, I always eat protein at every meal so I needed SOME stomach acid, but here’s the rub: no two meals require the same amount of gastric acid to properly digest.

A healthy stomach will produce a custom amount of gastric acid specifically designed for each individual meal.

So, by taking the same amount of stomach acid with each meal, I wasn’t truly mimicking my body’s natural process. In fact, for some people, it may be why they digest some meals better than others even though they’re still taking stomach acid.

Solution: Vary your dosage of Betaine HCl depending on how much protein you ate.  It’s all about how much protein you eat for a specific meal. If you eat 12oz of beef versus 6oz of beef, you probably need more Betaine. Keep testing out different amounts to see what works for you.

Betaine HCl: The Magic Pill?

If you’re someone with low stomach acid and you take Betaine HCl properly, it can be a “magic pill” for you. It can be the one supplement that dramatically improves your digestive symptoms.

But it’s one of the most complex supplements out there and I’ve never worked with any two people that used it exactly the same way. We each have a custom protocol that will work for us.

The important thing about Betaine HCl is this: use it carefully and work with a practitioner that knows about low stomach acid. And more importantly, know that the only real way to use it properly is to keep testing and tweaking it until you get it right.

What mistakes have you made with Betaine HCl? Please share them in the comments below.

– Jordan

Note: we earn a small commission if you use the links in this article to purchase the products we mentioned. We only recommend products we would use or that we have used. Your purchase helps support this site and ongoing research.

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About the author

Jordan Reasoner Jordan Reasoner is a health engineer and author. He was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2007 and almost gave up hope when a gluten-free diet didn’t work. Since then, he transformed his health using the SCD Diet and started SCDLifestyle.com to help others naturally heal stomach problems. You can check out his story here and find him on Google+, Facebook or Twitter.

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet Works

{ 467 comments… read them below or add one }

Asrael May 23, 2018 at 11:31 pm


Thanks for all the info- I wish I found it before I took my first dose of HCL. I thought I would share my story and get some feedback from you. I have never had acid reflux/GERD or any symptoms until about 2 weeks ago. At that time I had a coughing fit when water went down the wrong pipe, it was a bad episode, where I almost choked and vomited, after that I developed a dry cough.. 2 days later the acid reflux started.. At first it was just regurg.. and then turned a little acidic. A week in, a friend said I must have had a hiatul hernia. She showed me how to do stomach adjustments/massage and it got 300% better overnight. I was still having a little regurg 3 hours after my lunchtime meal but other than that was fine. Wasn’t taking any ant acids.. and just dealing with a little regurg.. well someone at a local health food store recommended that I take HCL Betaine (no pepsin). They did not tell me about any side effects- and I did not ask or look it up (stupid me). The first day I took 1 tab with a meal and i felt a little warm, but nothing uncomfortable and it was 2 hours after the meal. Yesterday I took one with an egg/sandwich and followed with yogurt. 2 hours later the heat started.. I was on fire all last night- burning in the chest, throat and esophagus.. It has subsided a bit during the day- but is still painful over 24 hours later. Suprisingly there is no regurgitation.. Just heat and pain. I have been taking slippery elm, marshmallow and licorice, chamomile and aloe vera and taking some tums to help… I looked for DGL at the local store couldn’t find it. will get some in 2 days when I go to the bigger centre.

I am just hoping the inflammation will subside soon- baking soda does not seem to help.. thinking it is just inflammation and not acid-

Anyways- just wanted to share my story- and any feedback or thoughts (even just about how long this may last) will be much appreciated.

Thank you so much

ps. I am healthy, regular healthy bowel movements (even through this all), not overweight and active.

Asrael May 24, 2018 at 9:38 am

Me again- I took baking soda last night= 2 doses of 1/2 tsp and that really settled the heat down- Will continue with my soothing routine, but wondering if then its not inflammation that I am really dealing with but too much acid from the HCL..

Anyways just wanted to add an update.
Thank you

Valerie May 31, 2018 at 2:33 pm

Asrael, it sounds like your issue may just be the hiatal hernia and not low stomach acid. Someone with low stomach acid would not have felt a reaction on the first dose of betaine hcl. The fact that you felt tons better with hiatal hernia massage and worse with betaine may mean a trip to the GI doc for an evaluation. Your regular GI docs seem to have a better handle on treating hh, whereas with issues of acid, they can be more apt to offer options that can often prove opposite of helpful. Hope this helps (?) Wishing you all the very best Asrael!

Lori Jo Berg May 24, 2018 at 10:20 pm

Hello! It’s hard to say what might be going on – I think time and a healthy diet will be your go to remedies here:)

Susan May 21, 2018 at 11:59 am

Hi, I just started supplementing w HCl w pepsin from Bio Care. The first and second day I took 1 capsule to every meal (lunch only sallad), third day I upped to 2 caps per meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner). Today, the fourth day I took 2 caps w breakfast (green smoothie w 1 scoop collagen poweder and 1 egg), then at 10.30am I had a green apple and got very nauseated after which I usually not do. The rest of the day I have felt like a lump in my throat and bloated and like I need to go to the loo all the time but nothing is coming. Did I do it wrong taking it with the breakfast? Is it to little protein? What I understand it only is recommended to take Hcl w protein – but isn’t brown rice containing proteins? And, how do I know how much protein I eat? 20g is quite a small amount.

Lori Jo Berg May 22, 2018 at 9:32 am

Hi Susan – great question. Here is what we’d suggest: Find your max dose while consuming at least 15-20 grams of animal (meat) protein. Once you find that number. you can cut it in half for non meat protein meals (like protein powder, etc). Essentially, you’ll have 2 different doses depending upon which type of protein you intake.

Susan May 22, 2018 at 4:37 pm

Ok, thats great! Thanks. Also today I took 3 capsules and I am so, so tired. Even more tired than yesterday, Is this normal in the beginning of supplementation? I can fall a sleep in seconds. A bit worried it won’t go away. I don’t want to stop HCL.

Georgia May 14, 2018 at 10:04 pm

The doctor diagnosed me recently with GERD and had me on PPIs which did not help me. After research I found out about low stomach acid and how betaine could help me. I have been taking betaine HCL (2 tablets) with meals and taking slippery elm for inflammation and I would say symptoms are 80% gone but I am still waking up with a sore throat in the mornings. I am worried it might be something worse like throat cancer. Any ideas?

Lori Jo Berg May 15, 2018 at 1:15 pm

HI Georgia – definitely get checked out if you have any fears along those lines. HCL is great for GERD, but it takes a multifaceted approach to completely heal from it. This is why we suggest dietary changes along with the supplements. THe SCD diet is a great place to start to reduce inflammation and heal the gut: http://scdlifestyle.com/scd-quick-start-guide/

scott May 3, 2018 at 11:55 am

Does protein from organic peanut butter count when taking HCL, or is it just protein from meats? – Thanks!

Lori Jo Berg May 3, 2018 at 5:36 pm

Hi Scott – you’ll need your max dose when consuming meat, as it is a bit harder to break down than other protein based foods like peanut butter. If peanut butter is the main protein in a particular meal, you’ll likely need less HCL>

Tim April 25, 2018 at 10:25 am

Suffering from brain fog and some digestive problems for 5-6 years. Tried to fix so many things and nothing ever helped. Parasites, candida, leaky gut, SIBO, neurotransmitters. I addressed it all. Changed my diet 2 years ago and it definitely helped with digestive problems, but not with brain fog. My lab tests are normal and my doc says I am healthy as a horse. However, I can’t say so. Also my platelet count is low (110), which suggests autoimmune. Genova comprehensive stool analysis, which I did year ago showed almost perfect gut condition, with no parasites or candida. IGG blood test though suggested some high reaction to candida. High doses of antifungals and candida diet never affected my brain fog in any way.
So now I came up with low stomach acid..
Yesterday first time I took Betaine HCL supplement 700mg. 10-15 minutes later it made my brain fog much worse. Didn’t affect digestive sympthoms though, no burning, no heartburns or acid reflux. That horrible brain fog lasted for couple hours and then back to “normal”. This morning I took 1/3 capsule with meal. Again bad brain fog. Should I keep pushing it?

Lori Jo Berg April 26, 2018 at 1:37 pm

HI Tim – I’d recommend having your thyroid checked. As for the HCL – that is a tough one. If you have one major complaint and it makes things worse, it’s probably not the best idea. You could try apple cider vinegar for better digestion, too!

Tim May 5, 2018 at 4:32 pm

Thank you for suggestion. I just checked thyroid, blood test came back perfect, even no Hashimoto.
But… I think I figured out. My health slowly started to decline since the year, when I did root canal. Since that I’ve been feeling some weird pressure in that tooth from time to time. Also when they checked all my teeth couple years ago, my new dentist told me he might see some infection in that tooth on the x-ray and that he would need to redo it, if I decide to put crown there. I never took it seriously though, but now I think that must be the reason of some hidden inflammation/infection, which causes brain fog. Also I have a rotten wisdom tooth, which I wanted to address once it starts hurting. Time to make dentist appointment I guess.

Eric May 6, 2018 at 2:09 pm

You need to look into Lyme Diesease. I would bet good money that it is Lyme affecting you. Do more than just a western blot test. Go to a serious Lyme literate dr.

Kk April 10, 2018 at 7:13 pm

The Betaine HCL with Pepsin has been so helpful. The only time I get a bad reaction is if I consume lemonade with my protein meal along with the HCL. Have you found this true as well?

Lori Jo Berg April 12, 2018 at 10:18 am

Hello – I can’t say we have but it’s great to notice things like that! Your’re on the right road to figuring out what works for you:)

Sandy March 25, 2018 at 5:31 pm

I’m trying to wean myself off somac and take thorne betaine every second day and then a somac the other day. Can I mix the 2 medications taken on different days. I can seem to stretch the betaine to 2 days i think i need to take more on the day.

Lori Jo Berg March 26, 2018 at 11:40 am

HI Sandy – we won’t be able to answer that for you, unfortunately. You’ll need to consult with your physician, as we can’t give medical advice.

Sha March 8, 2018 at 4:25 pm

I’m having a slow digestion food setting in my stomach wat does it means is it low stomach acid?

Lori Jo Berg March 9, 2018 at 12:34 pm

Hi Sharon – it sure could mean that. You can learn how to test it with this article here: 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/

Sha March 9, 2018 at 2:16 pm

Does low stomach acid make you lose weight?coz I’m losing couple pounds since I started to have a slow digestion!my stomach takes longer to digest the food every time I eat.

Lori Jo Berg March 11, 2018 at 6:34 pm

Hello sharon – it can….we need adequate stomach acid to break down and absorb nutrients. If we can’t do that, it’s hard to gain weight from the food we eat. Hope that helps!

Sha March 12, 2018 at 5:15 am

Hi Lori,I just want to ask how to test apple cider vinegar for low stomach acid? Coz in the morning on empty stomach I took 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar in 1/4 cup of warm water.then after I took it I feel warm in my stomach.should I continue to drink apple cider? By the way thanks for the reply I really appreciate it.

Denis April 3, 2018 at 12:50 pm

I took 1 betain capusle and after 40 mins i got muslce pain and fatigue and like alergys any reson way?

Dewi February 22, 2018 at 7:51 am

Hello.. Love your article it has been very helpful.
I have hashimotos and low acid stomach. My thyroid panel test are in the normal range. But I still have bloating and bleching.

Today I just try 1 capsule Betaine Pepsine HCL with gentian bitters before my protein meal (chicken). 2 hours later I feel the burning sensation on my stomach and my waist. Should I stop using it and try it again in the next few days? Or should I continue at least until tomorrow? Thanks

Dewi February 22, 2018 at 8:08 am

Sorry I forgot also to mention that my H pylori is active and is still being treated with probiotics. The dose of the betain HCL is 650mg. Before trying the HCL today, my concerns that are still there are bloating, belching , join/body aches. I am gluten free, min sugar/soy/dairy. My protein meal are chicken and zucchini. Should I wait to try HCL again until all my symptoms above disappearing? Or should I try HCl for at least 2 days and watch for the symptoms? Thanks

Dewi February 22, 2018 at 8:22 pm

When I woke up after 1 pill yesterday, I felt so great. But, when I tried again 1 capsule dr best betaine pepsin with my protein meal for breakfast, an hour later I felt the warmness again on my stomach that radiating to my waist and my knee.. Is it normal? I really want to try betaine again since it gives me the best feeling when I woke up since a long time ( More energy, no joins pains )

Thank you

Lori Jo Berg February 23, 2018 at 3:07 pm

HI Dewi – make sure you’re consuming at least 15-20 grams of protein when you take the HCL. I’m guessing that might be the difference!

Lori Jo Berg February 23, 2018 at 3:10 pm

HI Dewi – you can try it again and just make sure you have at least 15-20 grams of protein w each meal. IF the HCl seems to be too much, you can try apple cider viinegar.

Dewi February 24, 2018 at 8:14 am

Hi Lori.. Thank you for your response. I stop using betaine hcl for now. However after a meal today, I still got burning sensation, a lot of burping and random pain on my chest and upper back. Is it mean I have gastritis/ ulcer/ GERD? If yes , can I still take the ACV? I tried lemon juice before and it gave me bad reflux.. What should I do?

Lori Jo Berg February 27, 2018 at 12:56 pm

HI Dewi – it sounds like you are experiencing some GERD symtpoms. We’d suggest testing out the ACV along with all the dietary changes we’ve talked about. Getting rid of GERDD takes a multifaceted approach. IT’s also possible you could have a gut infection making things worse and you can read more here: https://scdlifestyle.com/2015/05/the-h-pylori-controversy/

Tegan January 30, 2018 at 9:44 pm

Hey for better absorption of hcl can I empty the powder out of the capsules and mix it in a little shot glass of water, and drink it with my meal?

Lori Jo Berg January 31, 2018 at 12:24 pm

HI Tegan – we wouldn’t recommend it! it is very acidic and will be uncomfortable:)

Liz November 29, 2017 at 10:59 pm

I have terribly low stomach acid but I also have horrible reactions to methyl donors. I end up having problems sleeping and I have problems with my brain being overstimulated etc. and I don’t know how to correct this. I need at least six or seven (650mg) capsule per protein meal but that just about kills me. It seems like my limit before it really affects me is seven pills in an entire day. It’s very dose dependent with me. Shall I just take my high-dose HCl with one meal a day and include all of my vitamins and minerals at that time and just leave it at that so I can absorb them? Will I eventually start to produce my own stomach acid only taking my HCl for one meal a day? This truly breaks my heart because I’ve been so sick for four years and I am B12 deficient and severely iron deficient anemic and I don’t know what else to do.

Lori Jo Berg December 1, 2017 at 2:16 pm

Hi Liz – can you take the maximum HCL dose with your high protein meal and then only take a couple HCL pills with the other meals that maybe aren’t as high in protein?

Liz December 2, 2017 at 9:37 pm

Hi Lori! Thanks so much for your response. I’m going to try doing that and see if it helps. I am also increasing niacin because it mops up excess methylation and that might help me as well with my symptoms I get. There’s just no way of getting around it I will never be healthy unless I increase my stomach acid so I have to take it as best as I can. I am hoping that eventually my stomach will start producing its own acid when it absorbs acid producing nutrients from the supplements I take and I could start to back off of the HCl. I think that’s a problem for a lot of people they don’t realize that you need certain minerals and vitamins to produce stomach acid in the body and they’re just taking HCl with food hoping that’s enough but you really need to take zinc, iodine, B1 and B6 etc. to make stomach acid and they all need stomach acid to be absorbed. It’s a vicious cycle I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.

Said November 2, 2017 at 12:02 am

Hey guys, I have been diagnosed with H pylori couple years ago and went through the treatments of the antibiotics, shortly after that my symptoms still continue which were bloated with meals, extremely brain fog, extremely tiredness, gas, weakness to the point walking and small activity was challenging. Blood work after blood work “your fine”. After that I was so miserable that just small food will make me bleaching the whole day and very painful stomach. Then I did more research and found out about the low carb diet, I tried it for the first night, just veggies and eags and milk. And like a miracle all my symptoms subsided. 4 days into the diet I doing great except tiredness and weakness, then I knew I had to have small carbs or sugar with it, original symptom retured. I went to my gastro doc and explain everything, she gave me breath test and found out that I had SIBO and sugar intolarance, I was happy and took the treatments, Antibiotics for the SIBO, sucrose Enzymes for the sugar intolarance. Waited 1 month, symptoms still there but bit better. Then I tried digestive enzymes, and they were exactly what I was missing this whole time. I started doing further research and found out abou HCL with pepsin, tried them and i can eat as much CARBS, SUGAR, PROTEIN. Without any problems. Now I know I must have low stomach acid. I’m started taking the HCL with pepsin 650 1 pill per meal and made sure I had enough protein with each meal, 2 days later added 1 pill and now started taking 3. As soon as I tried 3 pills I saw some signs like urgent bowl movement and urination, but it did digest my food a lot quicker and was extremely hungry in 4 hours. My question is, all though I didn’t fell any worm sensation in my stomach should I continue to dose up 1more and is it save to take that much dosage?

Lori Jo Berg November 2, 2017 at 2:55 pm

Hello – congrats on your journey back to health! Feeling the warmth is just one sign you’ve reached your HCL limit – as is a change in bowel movements. It sounds like 2 is where you should stay for now:)

Filip October 16, 2017 at 5:41 pm

Hi guys,

Last year I started to cough chronically. After many tests I was diagnosed with h. pylori and successfully get rid of it using antibiotics and PPI. However, gastroscopy has shown that h. pylori caused me chronic gastritis and some of my simptoms are acid reflux, candida, etc…. Since then I tried many different things and nothing doesn’t help. Lately I started researching more and I found out that there is a big possibility that I have low stomach acid. Can you tell me how can I test for low stomach acid? If some test confirms my suspition, can I start using betaine HCL even though I have chronic gastritis?

Thank you in advence for quick response!

Lori Jo Berg October 17, 2017 at 4:06 pm

Hello! Gastritis basically means inflammation of the stomach lining…and taking HCL can be really painful for those with gastritis. Thus, we’d suggest some sweedish bitters and DGL (licorice) and baking soda to let the lining calm down and heal. You can then try testing it out later on. For future reference, here is how to test your HCL levels: http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/03/3-tests-for-low-stomach-acid/

Vanessa Webster September 30, 2017 at 4:09 am

Is anyone going to respond to me? I posted over a week ago asking about DGL and Swedish Bitters

Lori Jo Berg October 3, 2017 at 4:52 pm

Hi Vanessa – we apologize! I don’t see any comments from you, so it’s possible it didn’t come through. Please let us know how we can help!

Carol Brooks September 8, 2017 at 11:01 am

I am one of those people who seem to naturally produce little hydrochloric acid which produced an enormous variety of symptoms – Terrible moods, extreme swelling ( just thought I was hopelessly overweight), sensivity to heat, constipation etc. When I started taking HCL it was like someone turned the lights on. The pounds fell off, I was actually happy and on and on..
When you say “Vary your dosage of Betaine HCl depending on how much protein you ate” it simply does not apply to everyone.
Regardless of how many HCL capsules I took (As many as 24 with a meal) , it was never enough to digest grain, especially wheat, and I went without eating bread, oatmeal, cereal for years. If I were to eat a single slice of toast without a considerable amount of HCL, I would have been in deep trouble.. On the other hand, Meat never has been a problem and requires far fewer capsules.

On the positive side, I recently discovered that low levels of zinc can contribute to low HCL I started a zinc supplement and immediately was able to cut my HCL down by more than half AND eat some grains.

Lori Jo Berg September 11, 2017 at 12:42 pm

Thanks for sharing, Carol! We’re happy to hear you have found what works for you:)

Flavien July 23, 2017 at 2:27 pm

Hi, I would like to have an advice on my supplementation of betain HCL. Why, after taking just one pill of Betaine HCL 648mg with 150mg of pepsin from NowFoods, i go to the toilet with a diarrhea? I have IBS but I am sure that this supplement causes me diarrhea every time I take it. But, to cure my IBS (and probably SIBO) I want to take Betaine HCL. What is your advice on that?

Lori Jo Berg July 24, 2017 at 2:13 pm

Hello – Having IBS doesn’t necessarily mean you 100% have low stomach acid. Yu can try a smaller dose (find a pill that is less than 648 mg) and see how you do with that. At any rate, we’d also suggest enzymes to help stop the diarrhea.
First, here’s a video where Jordan talks about digestive enzymes and how to use them: http://scdlifestyle.com/2013/07/who-needs-digestive-enzymes-and-how-to-take-them/

Here are some digestive enzymes we recommend:

Digest Gold – http://amzn.to/XHZOjS

Gi Pro Helath Prozymes – http://www.giprohealth.com/enzymes.aspx (SCD Legal)

Thorne Dipan 9 – http://amzn.to/1bQ6aHM

Flavien July 25, 2017 at 2:43 pm

Thank you very much!
I have already bought a product with enzymes and less betaine (https://www.amazon.fr/dp/B0013OXKHC/ref=pe_3044141_185740131_TE_item)
I will experiment a bit with this for the moment and will try to have the ones that you gave me.
Thank for the advice, I did not found much about a link between diarrhea and consumption of betaine HCL.

Another question, can a patient have SIBO and have a healthy stomach acid production at the same time?

Lori Jo Berg July 26, 2017 at 3:45 pm

Hi Flavien, I suppose it’s possible but not likely. A low stomach acid sets the stage for SIBO to thrive and we typically see the two go hand in hand.

Flavien July 28, 2017 at 8:14 am

Thank you very much for this information and for your help!

Phillip Y July 17, 2017 at 8:34 am

Hello, is it ok to take Betaine HCL if you have gastritis? It does say alot that gastritis and GERD is caused by low acidity.

Mariel Heiss July 17, 2017 at 12:49 pm

Hi Phillip – if you have gastritis, you might experience some burning from taking Betaine HCL – you need to heal the gastritis first. Our heartburn course walks you through healing gastritis and then supplementing with HCL: http://heartburnhelp.scdlifestyle.com

Troy May 24, 2017 at 10:36 am

I have been taking HCL for years and has been really helpful. However, recently I take lite salt to supplement potassium and am finding the return of heartburn. Now I dont know if continuing taking HCL is a good choice? From what I have read, potassium can increase acid in the stomach and that is what I am doing with HCL? Have I got it all wrong?

Lori Jo Berg May 25, 2017 at 8:16 am

Hi Troy – you can certainly back off the HCL and see how you do. IF your body doesn’t need as much, it will tell you:) So start by taking one less HCl pill and see how that goes.

B. May 14, 2017 at 12:59 pm

I take HCl for SIBO and dysbiosis, and the effect of the HCl has been incredibly good.

The only thing is that now that I am taking HCl with every meal, I am experiencing reasonably serious diarrhoea.

Is there anything I can do about this, short of stopping the HCl?

Lori Jo Berg May 15, 2017 at 10:18 am

Hello – you can try to back off the HCL by 1 pill at a time and see if that changes the diarrhea symptoms. It will also be important to rule out the HCL as the cause of the diarrhea, so a food journal may help there.

Emily April 25, 2017 at 10:31 pm

*silent gerd… silly auto correct!

Emily April 25, 2017 at 10:30 pm

Thank you for this comprehensive information!
I have had silent feed for a while and was diagnosed with Barrett’s esophagus. I still suffer inflammation of my digestive tract. I have weaned myself off PPIs and we are cautiously adding in HCL (1 or 2 with pepsin , I also used Digest Gold). I am fine after meals, but about 2-4 hours after eating I get horrible heartburn and with Barrett’s, it’s scary. I don’t know if that means I need more, or less HCL or something gentler like bitters.

Anyone with Barrett’s with experiences to share or advise?

Mariel Heiss April 26, 2017 at 10:39 am

Hi Emily – I can’t tell you the right answer, but you can find out by experimenting with all of the options you listed and seeing what works with you.

If you take too much HCL, you can use baking soda for immediate relief: Mix ½ teaspoon of baking soda in ¼ cup of water. Drink it. Wait 5-7 minutes. If you still have pain, repeat until burning is gone.

More tips here: http://scdlifestyle.com/2015/04/4-quick-and-natural-heartburn-remedies/

Michelle April 20, 2017 at 3:37 pm

When I consume one capsule of HCL betaine with pepsin, I get side-effects like a burning sensation in my rectum/vagina area. (Sorry for info) why???? Can I be sensitive to Pepsin? Or to HCL betaine overall. I eat a high protein vegan diet, lots of beans and legumes. Maybe I don’t need pepsin? Or is it die offs? I believe I have lots of candida, parasites and bacterias in my body, and they are getting killed when I use HCL.. I’m afraid that I have a so extreme low stomach acid that Swedish bitter will not help and be strong enough. What can I else do!!? I even do apple cider vinegar and ginger before meals, but it seems like I only get worser symptoms, more belching and gas. I also do probiotic drink like water kefir.

Mariel Heiss April 24, 2017 at 2:47 pm

Hi Michelle – sorry to hear you’re experiencing this.

We normally only recommend HCL with pepsin if you’re eating meat.

Have you given digestive bitters a try? They may work better for you.

jonathan April 26, 2017 at 12:53 pm

I tried ACV pills and they made me worse as well. Also, DGL seems to do jack as well.

Jane Lee March 30, 2017 at 2:34 am

I had a stomach ulcer in 1978. I believe I am developing one now. I read that h pylori can be gotten rid of with Pepsin. It seems counterintewitive to take the Betaine Hydrochloride with Pepsin since stomach acid is what’s causing my problem. I’m confused. What do you suggest?

Lori Jo Berg March 30, 2017 at 12:08 pm

HI Jane – H Pylori can cause an ulcer and we recommend a specific protocol to get rid of it. Too much stomach acid most likely is not causing your issue, as that is rarely the case. We’d recommend treating the ulcer with diet and supplements such as DGL and digestive bitters. If you still have the ulcer, HCL will most likely cause uncomfortable symptoms so we don’t recommend that at this time.

Anne March 22, 2017 at 10:59 am

I have GI trouble which an endoscopy showed to be a gastritis. I think it developed during a period of intense stress. I tried ppis but I reacted badly to the first one (bloating, belching, cramps,…) and the second and third didn’t have much of a positive impact either. For some time now I noticed hair falling out, muscle twiching and other symptoms, which I think derive from a lack in minerals. Considering that various anti acid methods I’ve tried didn’t allow my symptoms to get better, I’ve now arrived at the conclusion that I might be suffering from a lack of stomach acid. I did the baking soda test and I didn’t have a reaction until around 8 minutes passed, so seems like my new hyptohesis is correct.
The thing is, I ordered betaine hcl with pepsine capsules, but since I’ve been taking them (I don’t have apparent GI discomfort and I’m up to 3 tabs now), I’ve been experiencing what I think is acid reflux (though not heartburn). I’ve got a hoarse voice, sometimes a sore throat, once in a while an acid taste and I still have to belch after eating and drinking (still water), sometimes directly after, sometimes some time later (an hour or so).
Is that an indication that I should stop Betaine hcl, or is that something that might be occuring during the process of gastric re-acidification? I thought that heartburn could arise due to low stomach acid, but since (taking symptoms into account and the test results) I suffer from low stomach acid, reflux shouldn’t happen after supplementing with Betaine hcl?

Sorry for the grammar and vocab mistakes, I’m not a native speaker.

Hope you guys can help me, because I’m kinda confused…

Lori Jo Berg March 22, 2017 at 4:11 pm

HI Anne – we recommend going off of symptoms when trying to decide if HCL is right for you. For example, if your taking it because you have gas, bloating and hearburn continue to look at changes in those symptoms as you test out the HCL. IF they are better, stick with it. If things get worse, that may not be your issue. I hope that helps you in deciding whether to continue or not.

T. Tiger March 20, 2017 at 5:22 pm

Hcl has been a life-changing supplement that has corrected a 30yr digestive problem. These articles and this website have helped immensely when it came to knowing how to use it successfully. So thankful! Am puzzled by one thing, tho: when I first started taking it several months back, I had to take them by the handful at every meal and barely got results. After a few weeks they started kicking in. How does one know if the stomach acid begins to replenish itself? I’ve had three spells in recent weeks of sudden onset violent trembling, bowel emptying, and the kind of shakiness you can get when you haven’t eaten in awhile. All three episodes took place when I hadn’t eaten in about 4 hours but had taken 5-6 capsules of hcl. Is it possible that my body doesn’t need as much and is causing some side effects?

Lori Jo Berg March 22, 2017 at 12:37 pm

Hello – we only recommend taking the HCL and pepsin with high protein meals. This may have occurred because it was taken on an empty stomach.

Chris January 14, 2017 at 12:26 am

What is the best way to increase stomach acid without irritating the bladder (interstitial cystitis)? HCL irritates it, along with lemon juice, citric acid, and ACV…. Looking for another way to get protein in…

Lori Jo Berg January 16, 2017 at 4:52 pm

HI Chris, if you’re looking for additional digestive support you can try enzymes. http://scdlifestyle.com/2013/07/who-needs-digestive-enzymes-and-how-to-take-them/

Digest Gold – http://amzn.to/XHZOjS

Gi Pro Helath Prozymes – http://www.giprohealth.com/enzymes.aspx (SCD Legal)

Thorne Dipan 9 – http://amzn.to/1bQ6aHM

Cheryl January 1, 2017 at 9:03 am

I suffer from Gastroparesis. And several other GI issues, especially Gerd and severe Candida. I know my stomach is paralyzed which I believe is caused by long term low stomach acid. I’m positive I also have a bacterial overgrowth. 20 years ago I was diagnosed with Hpylori. It all went down hill from there. I have had major issues with my respiratory system. Mainly my sinuses because of long term acid erosion. I don’t remember what it feels like to be hungry. I have the lump in the throat. Crazy regurgitation of some crazy thick horribly smelling substance coming up into my esophagus and mouth. Especially after I try and eat. No matter how many times I brush my teeth I can smell my breath and its rancid. My teeth are rotting faster than I can type this. It feels like it’s going to suffocate me. I’ve tried so many natural products and nothing works. Going to the doctor is a waste of time because they either prescribe another med or turn their backs on me. I do have one doctor that cares. But his hands are tied due to my insurance coverage being so poor. I really want to try this product. But I’m hesitant. I am now experiencing having allergic reactions to perfumes and chemicals. I am antibiotics resistant. The only medication I take is Dexillant. It did help me gain 10 pounds in the beginning of 2016 but I recently suffered from an abscess tooth and lost 10 pounds in 2 weeks from having allergic reactions to the medications prescribed. The Candida has been the worst. I can’t kick it. I need a miracle at this point. I’m 38, 95 pounds, and 5’3″. Amy information will be helpful. Thank you for taking the time to read my post.

Lori Jo Berg January 2, 2017 at 9:39 am

Hi Cheryl, sorry to hear you’re suffering so bad right now. From what you’ve said, I do believe a trusted functional medicine doctor whom we suggest to nearly all tough cases would be the best thing for you. You can find more here: http://scdlifestyle.com/practitioners/ In the mean time, a dietary change is going to be imperative and we’d suggest starting here: http://scdlifestyle.com/scd-quick-start-guide/ You can also try digestive bitters to aid in digestion if the HCL or enzymes are too much at this point. For starters, please watch Jordan’s video on enzymes: http://scdlifestyle.com/2013/07/who-needs-digestive-enzymes-and-how-to-take-them/

Will December 11, 2016 at 11:59 am

Hey, Excellent article!

My own problem started with self-medication. I was really healthy with my full hair but 6 years ago I did a lot of detoxification and water colon cleansing, after a month, I lost all my hair and I haven’t been able to grow it back, and also lost so much weight. I’ve also been struggling to gain weight. Since then my stomach has been burning and my stomach no longer tolerates avocados, almonds and so many other foods. I just recently went to do blood work and waiting if it’s ulcer or other stomach related problems. Before I started taking HCl/pepsin, I was taking probiotic and enzymes, but always getting a burning sensation in my stomach and genital. I just started taking HCL/pepsin two days ago and I haven’t felt any discomfort except my stomach felt empty like nothing was in it after a couple of hours. I have increased it to 4 pills, still no discomfort but I don’t know whether it’s the solution to my problem it will make it worse. I took HCL with iron and fish oil vitamin this morning with no discomfort. Is it advisable to take hcl with vitamins?

Lori Jo Berg December 12, 2016 at 5:22 pm

Hi Will – you can go ahead and take the HCL at the beginning of high protein meals. In general, taking it with other vitamins should be fine as well. Here is an article for you on how many HCL pills to take: http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/03/how-to-supplement-with-betaine-hcl-for-low-stomach-acid/

Will December 13, 2016 at 11:03 am

Thanks for your response! I just checked my blood work which I did before I started taking HCL/pepsin, it shows 7.0 and says normal. Does that mean I do not need Hcl but like I said in my previous post, I haven’t felt any major discomfort taking it except when I went to up to 8 pills

Lori Jo Berg December 13, 2016 at 1:00 pm

HI WIll – We suggest monitoring your symptoms and let that be your guide. IF the bloating, gas, burping, etc decreases while on HCL, you can assume it’s helpful and needed. If you don’t feel any different on it, it’s probably not the right supplement for you at this time.

Jasmin December 6, 2016 at 4:16 am

Hello so in order to take this hcl betaine with pepsin it is after tou eat meat right?
I thibk i may be suffering from low stomach acid been having really bad acid reflux bloating discomfort in my belly and burning sensation in throat and tums is not working!

Lori Jo Berg December 6, 2016 at 9:51 am

HI Jasmin, thanks for reaching out. We’d suggest taking the HCL w pepsin at the beginning of high protein meals and work your way up until you feel an uncomfortable sensation that lets you know you’ve reached your upper dose.

Prakash December 1, 2016 at 7:31 am

Hello Sir,
I have a mild antral gastritis. I experience bloating always. I think i have low stomach acid. My diet is rice with vegetables fry. Should i use betaine hcl ??

Lori Jo Berg December 1, 2016 at 11:33 am

HI Prakash – thanks for reaching out. It sounds like low HCL may be some of your problem, but not all of it:) Changing your diet is going to be just as important as supplementing with HCl and we’d suggest the SCD diet or something similar. http://scdlifestyle.com/scd-quick-start-guide/

Dee December 1, 2016 at 4:36 am

i see the diagram above about if your body has enough hcl, it makes pepsin. wouldnt then if you take hcl, that results in your body making pepsin?

Lori Jo Berg December 1, 2016 at 11:32 am

HI Dee – we advise taking HCL with pepsin because in the meantime, we need it to break down the protein molecules. More research is needed on the manufacturing of Pepsin via HCL so we always advise to supplement with it for adequate digestion.

Kevin Gibb November 23, 2016 at 4:02 am

Hi I have been taking betaine hcl with pepsin for about 1,5 years. The need really varies a damn lot for me. For a long time (probably 6 months or so) I only needed 0,5g per meal or 0,3g depending. Now I need about 3,5-4g and sill sometimes have diarrhea. ´can longterm use actually make things worse for me? Or what the hell is going on?


Kevin Gibb November 23, 2016 at 4:03 am

OH and I forgot. Does tingling in the abdominal muscles mean I’ve taken too much? I have felt burning before, but not now. Just tingling in the abs sometimes. Thanks.

Lori Jo Berg November 23, 2016 at 3:07 pm

The feeling that accompanies your dose limit is often described as a burning, increased pressure type feeling. Tingling could be a sign as well, as there really is not black and white answer – just an uncomfortable feeling. Experiment with it by decreasing the dose and monitoring digestive symptoms at that dose. It just takes some tweaking to find your limit.

Lori Jo Berg November 23, 2016 at 3:05 pm

Hi Kevin – great question. There are many things that contribute to our health, including sleep, diet, stress, exercise, and much more. It’s possible that you’re needing more right now because the quality of your gut has decreased or you’re under stress, to name a few. We’d recommend implementing hte dietry changes noted in the article and also increasing the HCL dose so that it can be effective for you.

Mia November 17, 2016 at 11:22 am

I visited a naturopath who suggested HCLs for my low stomach acid. She did not seem to think there was a limit to how high I should go as long as I did not experience burning. I am now taking 12 650mg capsules with every protein-containing meal, and still no feeling of discomfort or burning. I worked up to that amount very carefully, increasing by one 250mg capsule every two days. I am really wondering if I will hurt my stomach lining by taking so many now, and if I should cut back. I do not experience any other signs that I have enough stomach acid yet. I appreciate any advice you can give me!

Lori Jo Berg November 17, 2016 at 12:16 pm

HI Mia, great question. 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.

Rick November 10, 2016 at 9:49 am

Thanks for this article. I have been taking Betaine HCl w/ pepsin for 3 years now and it has done a great job of calming my stomach and improving my digestion.

Suggestion (if it’s correct): add ‘steatorrhea’ as a symptom of low stomach acid. This was a symptom I recognized, but did not know was a bad thing. After HCl, my poop no longer floats, meaning I am now digesting fats.

Suzanne DeWees October 31, 2016 at 9:08 pm

I feel like I just received the “mother load” coming across your website. Thank you for being educators and healers in this world. I put HCL with pepsin in a search engine and was led to scdlifestle.com. I’ve been using Swedish Bitters for many years, and stumbled upon HCL as the next step to work with low stomach acid. You answered so many critical questions and I will read your referenced article also. Thank you for your kindnesses.

Mariel Heiss November 1, 2016 at 12:11 pm

So glad we could be there to support you!!!

Hansen Juliette September 8, 2016 at 8:10 am

Hi and thanks for your post. I started taking hcl betaine with pepsine from solaray for my lack of stomach acid, I found my dosage at 8 pills of 250mg. But I have a problem! Whenever i take it, it makes me feel very very sleepy, and it is really hard not to fall alsept. Very hard to cope with daily activities. It may have to due with my genetics (I should avoid methyl things). Now my question is : is there an alternative to hcl betaine for those with low stomach acid? Specially it would be great if there is am alternative which isn’t a methyl donor

Mariel Heiss September 8, 2016 at 4:28 pm

Hi Hansen – interesting question! We recommend trying digestive bitters or a shot of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice before meals!

Liz November 29, 2017 at 10:57 pm

I was so happy to read what you wrote because I have the same issue! I have terribly low stomach acid but I also have horrible reactions to methyl donors. I end up having problems sleeping and I have problems with my brain being overstimulated etc. and I don’t know how to correct this. Did you end up finding anything that works? I need at least six or seven (650mg) capsule per protein meal but that just about kills me. It seems like my limit before it really affects me is seven pills in an entire day. It’s very dose dependent with me.

Yadwinder September 2, 2016 at 7:20 am

Hello Jordan . I’m 40 years old male from India. I’m suffering from poor digestion. Like; gas, bloating,reflux , uneasiness. I used rebeprazol & all other anti acids, but nothing helped . After that I started searching on Internet. I came to know about betaine HCL & pepsin. I’m a vegan I’m eating wheat , rice, grains & vegetables. Is betaine would help me .if yes than how much should I take . Pls guide me . Waiting thanx

Mariel Heiss September 2, 2016 at 5:33 pm

If you’re not eating meat, you may want to try digestive enzymes instead: http://scdlifestyle.com/2013/07/who-needs-digestive-enzymes-and-how-to-take-them/

Angela August 21, 2016 at 2:46 am

Hello Jordan
Forgot to ask if there is anythimg I can take between meals for the constant burning sensation due to low stomage acid?
Thank you

Angela August 21, 2016 at 2:30 am

Hello, Jordan
Thank you for the great help!
I have a lot of weight because the pain from the reflux and am afraid to eat.
Recently I had the Heidelberg test and the Dr told me that I am producimg enough acid however is getting dumped leaving me woth low stomage acid. The Dr told me to take up to 5 hcl with pepsin pills and to assess my burning.
I usually get the burning sensation with anything I eat , so When I take the hcl I am not sure if is the low acid and need more hcl or the hcl is already too much.
The other thing is that I am vegetarian and still need the acid to digest; however as I understand hcl should be taking for meat digestion only?
My concern is : how can I improve my own acid without taking the pills even though the Dr recommended it?
How do I know of the burning is from the low acid or from the hcl pill?
Pepsin is made out of porcine. Is there a vegetarian version? Do I need the pepsin?

Thank you,
Sent from my iPhone

Mariel Heiss August 22, 2016 at 4:20 pm

Hey Angela – some other things to try if you don’t want to use HCL are apple cider vinegar or lemon juice before meals, digestive bitters, and a digestive enzyme whether you use HCl or not 🙂

If you’re having constant burning, you may have gastritis or an ulcer. We recommend checking out our heartburn help program here: http://heartburnhelp.scdlifestyle.com/

Angela August 22, 2016 at 11:43 pm

Thank you so much for your help.
I am taking the digestive bitters but not the enzymes. Ill have to start on that.
I really approciate your answer . There are internet places that most of the answers are: “I can not advise you on that “….but my consult costs….
I understand that part too, but one will probably choose someone like you that are willing to support and help us.
You guys are great and carying

Mariel Heiss August 23, 2016 at 2:45 pm

Thanks so much Angela 🙂

solis August 20, 2016 at 12:28 pm

Hi, I most likely have a problem with low stomach acid. It has all started with nausea, loss of apetite and a sharp pain under my right rib cage that would never go away and just radiate to my back near the spine. Then it moved to my stomach also (right under my rib bonein the center – burning pain, pressure, burping, indigestion – all goes up again, sour feeling in my mouth in the morning, constant pain and feeling of fullness). I thought it was my gallbladder, but bloodworks and ultrasound showed nothing, as well as pancreatic and liver blood tests. I think it might be Sphinter of Oddi dysfunction, which is said to be connected to low stomach acid, as well as gallbladder problems. Apple cider vinegar does not alleviate my problem, in fact, it seems to make it slightly worse. So I am unsure what to do, and I have some questions about HCL w pepsin in my case:

1) Is only meat considered protein? I read that you only should eat betaine w protein meals, but what about yoghurt or cheese?

2) I have tried various diets, problem is, I cannot eat much of the foods that are considered leaky gut healing – for example from all of the sudden, beef stock gives me intense pain. Sometimes it just seems ANYTHING I consume gives me pain. It is better with oats, yoghurt and vegetable purées – not much to eat. Can I eat Betaine HCL w pepsin with yoghurt, or is it likely to hurt me more?

Mariel Heiss August 22, 2016 at 4:34 pm

Hi Solis – thanks for reaching out! i’m sorry you’ve been struggling with low stomach acid.

We recommend only taking betaine HCL when you’ll be eating 15-20 grams of protein at a time. This could be eggs, yogurt, meat, etc.

It also sounds like you could be experiencing some symptoms of SIBO or histamine intolerance with your interlace of apple cider vinegar and beef stock.

You can learn more about SIBO here: http://scdlifestyle.com/2014/01/everything-you-need-to-know-about-sibo-small-intestinal-bacterial-overgrowth/
Histamine intolerance info: https://chriskresser.com/headaches-hives-and-heartburn-could-histamine-be-the-cause/

Kymberly Kline August 17, 2016 at 9:30 am

Does HCL with Fenugreek work the same way as one with pepsin (this question was asked awhile back but not answered)


Mariel Heiss August 17, 2016 at 11:53 am

Hi Kymberly – we recommend HCL with pepsin. We don’t have experience using HCL with Fenugreek as a replacement – but if you can’t use pepsin for some reason, you can certainly give it a try and see how it works for you

samar August 2, 2016 at 5:20 pm

Hello..i hope anyone can help me with this… Im 30 yrs and i was suffering from extreme tiredness, joints pain,confusion, bad memory, being nervous for no reason, dry coughing, i had to clean my throat always…until one day i had extreme stomach pain and acid reflux that couldnt even sleep…so after my nutritionist gave an alkaline diet without any wheat or diary products…all my symptoms that i was suffering from years ago went away and was really a very differnt person…but when i started to change in my diet i had the extreme tiredness come back and a little of joint pain…then a friend suggested to take zypan (hcl betaine with pepsine)..when i took the first pill my energy came back and my bloating has almost gone….but 4 days later as i increased to 2 and sometimes 3 pills, i have a lot of joints and bones pain and im feeling nervous all the time…but my energy and bloating are still improving…..so actually i cannot know the reason, and im confused abt if these pills are doing good or bad to me…any hint or suggestions would be really very appreciated…

Mariel Heiss August 3, 2016 at 5:54 pm

Hi Samar – I really suggest you talk with your doctor or nutritionist about this. It’s hard to say if the changes in your diet, a reaction to the supplements, or something else are causing these changes. Someone who works with you one-on-one like a nutritionist or a practitioner can better help you figure it out. If you are looking for a practitioner, this is a great place to start: http://scdlifestyle.com/practitioners/

Maartje July 27, 2016 at 12:33 pm

I heard you should also take zinc to make enough accid?


Mariel Heiss July 27, 2016 at 4:42 pm

Hi Maartje – thanks for reading 🙂

Zinc is incredibly important for tons of processes in the body – including a healthy gut.

You can read about Steve’s experiences with zinc deficiency here: http://scdlifestyle.com/2010/05/could-zinc-deficiency-be-robbing-you-of-your-taste-and-smell/

Vanessa July 24, 2016 at 1:45 pm

Hi. I have tried to figure our my dose and I have noticed the last day I am getting acid reflux/indigestion. Is this a sign I am taking too much?
Thanks so much….

Mariel Heiss July 25, 2016 at 5:41 pm

Hi Vanessa – yes this is likely a sign you’ve increased the amount of HCL a little too high. Try backing down one pill and keep going down until the feeling resolves. You want to take the smallest amount you can while experiencing relief from your symptoms.

Hope this helps!!

Matt July 17, 2016 at 5:28 pm

5-7 pills at once? I would be in the ER if I did that. 2 500mg set my stomach on fire. Also hcl is not the only thing your supposed to be taking apple cider vinegar is also very important.

I don’t even know what’s wrong with me. I got leaky gut for over 10 years now. I now have a reaction to every food I eat. And I see undigested in the tolet.

If hcl and apple cider vinegar does not work then I don’t know.

Mariel Heiss July 19, 2016 at 2:47 pm

Hi Matt – everyone is different and needs a unique amount of HCL. Many people need higher doses to get symptom relief. The stomach is designed to be able to handle large amounts of stomach acid (thats what its for, after all!) If you experience burning even at very low doses of HCL, you may have gastritis or an ulcer. You can try and address gastritis first using DGL and plenty of chicken broth. After two weeks, you can try HCL again.
I hope this helps 🙂

ved July 13, 2016 at 6:34 am

Hi Steve,

I started taking 6 Betaine HCL (02 PER meal) in a day for 05 months.My digestion became better,was able to digest protein rich food with less bloating and cramping, stool became solid instead of semi-formed/gel.But recently had peptic and gastric ulcers for which I am taking PPI.

I lost lot of weight in last 1 year.Wsa having IBS,dairy and gluten intolerant which triggers IBS.

Pls advise.

Mariel Heiss July 13, 2016 at 12:16 pm

Hi Ved – thanks for reaching out to Steve

If you have an ulcer, using HCL might be uncomfortable. We also don’t recommend using HCL if you’re taking a PPI (they work against each other – one preventing acid and one promoting it)

We encourage to to talk with your doctor about tapering off the PPI

In the meantime, a digestive enzyme might be able to help: http://scdlifestyle.com/2013/07/who-needs-digestive-enzymes-and-how-to-take-them/

Betty July 4, 2016 at 9:10 am

Do you Have Experience with betain and pepsin for excessive saliva? Would it help? How do I find out if the excessive saliva is due to stomach acid problems?

Mariel Heiss July 5, 2016 at 5:34 pm

Hi Betty – if low stomach acid is causing your excess saliva, HCL Betaine could potentially help. You can learn how to supplement with it here: http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/03/how-to-supplement-with-betaine-hcl-for-low-stomach-acid/

JS June 9, 2016 at 7:25 pm

Hello, I am a 38 year old male and have rosacea. My face, neck and ears are pretty much permanently red and I have breakouts around my nose area every 1-2 weeks. I’ve tried very many treatments and have decided to give the hcl a shot. I started a couple weeks ago and have worked my way up to 16-648mg per meal and still don’t have any signs of warming etc. my questions are 1. Does anyone think taking hcl will truly help with the rosacea symptoms I mentioned above and if so how long should I expect it to take to see some changes. 2. The amount of hcl I am taking seems like a lot and seems to make no difference in my gi, burps, gas, etc.., does this mean I may not need hcl, should I continue to increase or can I just go back down to a lower amount and still have results.

Mariel Heiss June 10, 2016 at 1:44 pm

Hi JS! Thanks for reaching out.

These are great questions and bring up a lot of good points.

Yes, we do think HCL could help with your rosacea as part of a multi-faceted healing approach – but if you’re just taking HCL and you haven’t addressed the other root causes, you probably won’t have great results. However, if you’re eating the right foods (an anti-inflammatory, nutrient dense diet) and have made the right adjustments to your lifestyle – then adding in a key supplement like HCL can unlock the next level of healing.

I really recommend you sign up for our free webinar on Tuesday nights to learn more about how to combine all the approaches to healing to get amazing results. http://solvingleakygut.com/webinar/live-qva/

Hope to see you there!

Johnny May 29, 2016 at 3:38 pm

Hi, I’ve been using Solaris betain hcl pills for about a year now. I’ve had great results, but a few set backs. At times I’ve had to take 7, 650mg pills with each meal. I’ve started to get a lot of heartburn after I eat. I was wondering if it could be because I’m taking too many pills or not enough. Currently I take about 5-6 per meal and have heartburn almost every day. I also started a low fodmap diet which was recommended by my doctor.

Any advice would be great.

Thank you!

Mariel Heiss May 31, 2016 at 6:26 pm

Hi Johnny – thanks for reaching out!

It could be too many or not enough. You can test it by first lowering your dose one pill at a time and seeing if that helps. If it doesn’t, there might be a root cause for your low stomach acid that needs to be addressed – our heartburn presentation can help: http://heartburnhelp.scdlifestyle.com

Leslie May 24, 2016 at 6:32 pm

I am on a prescription acid reflux medicine. Would it help to use Betaine HCL Pepsin & Bitters with the medicine or do they counteract each other?

Mariel Heiss May 25, 2016 at 4:36 pm

Hi Leslie – thanks for reaching out. We don’t recommend suing Betaine HCL at the same time as a PPI. You’ll wan tot work with your doctor to wean off PPIs before starting HCL

Goran April 28, 2016 at 8:58 am


I’m using Lansoprazole PPI 15 mg/day. How long do I have to wait after quitting PPI until I start testing HCL?

Mariel Heiss April 29, 2016 at 12:42 pm

Hi Goran – it is important to work with your doctor to wean off a PPI and not stop cold turkey. After you do, you should take a little time to see how you feel before starting another supplement

Stefania April 27, 2016 at 3:34 pm

Hi! Great article!
I was hoping someone can help me. I started on HCL betajne ( with pepsin) because I was always extremely bloated and felt sick after big meals and tipically would have to wait for 3-4 hours to feel better again.

HCL betaine helped me immensly with this as I didn’t feel sick anymore after nor bloated after eating, it felt like a miracle! However after taking it for about 3 weeks I started getting heartburn and acid reflux. I’ve never had acid reflux before so I was scared and stopped taking HCL betaine.

Now its been around 4 days since I stopped and my reflux and heartburn do not go away and I get it with each meal, even small ones. I don’t know what to do, and now think HCL betaine was the cause of it. Should I continue supplementing or stop altogether? And is there something I can do to ease the reflux and heartburn?

Thank you so much for your time!

Mariel Heiss April 29, 2016 at 12:43 pm

Hi Stefania – I’m sorry to hear you’re experiencing some heartburn symptoms right now. We don’t advise you continue with any supplement that you’re not reacting well too. If you continue to feel poorly, you should definitely see your doctor right away.

In the meantime, here’s some tips: http://scdlifestyle.com/2015/04/4-quick-and-natural-heartburn-remedies/

Michael April 7, 2016 at 1:32 pm

Hi there! Great info btw .

Couple of things …

First …. I’ve to find that 7-10 capsules of
the Douglas Labs Hcl pepsin per large meal keep my rosacea at bay and minimize if not abolish my heartburn . I’ve played with dosages and timing to find that dose
But if I stop , the rosacea returns , with a vengance ESP if I’ve resumed coffee drinking . Certain bean varieties make
It worse , some almost cause an instant itching and redness to resume . Others little to nothing . I’ve been on a high does application for almost two years .
I’ve found all my triggers and avoid of eat them at my own risk. Thoughts ?

Second , I’m 37 …. Have piles of grey hair…. Had piles of antibiotics in my youth . Now have chronic sinus issues , loss of sense of smell and an obvious candida rash here
and there …
I’m planning on starting a high does probiotic with a couple of anti candida supplements and obviously cutting out all sugar .

What are your thoughts on long term hcl use and my plan to get to the bottom of all my issues .

I’m an active beast , lift 3 x per week and do martial arts .

Thanks for your time !

Mariel Heiss April 7, 2016 at 3:18 pm

Hey Michael – we think you’re right to be looking at potential root causes for your low stomach acid like candida.

This article might be helpful, too: http://scdlifestyle.com/2015/05/the-h-pylori-controversy/

We also recommend you check out Dr. Jonathan Wright’s book “Why Stomach Acid is Good for You” here http://scdlifestyle.com/recommended-products/

Barbara April 4, 2016 at 3:10 pm

Hi Jordan,
Very interesting and useful article. I am currently taking Urban Moonshine Digestive Bitters 15 min before meals and 2 tsp – 1 T Apple Cider Vinegar at the beginning of each meal, which is helpful.

Can betaine HCl caps be pulled apart and mixed with food? The reason I ask is I have a medical condition (congenital esophageal strictures) that narrows my esophagus in 2 places to 1/4″. GI doctor tried dilation treatment but the stretched strictures kept shrinking back to original 1/4″ “-(.

Betaine sounds like it might be worth a try if I can safely mix the powder with food.

Mariel Heiss April 5, 2016 at 4:59 pm

Hi Barbara – we don’t recommend taking the HCL out of the capsule and mixing it with your food. Digestive bitters and ACV are a good alternative if you can’t do the capsules 🙂

Hannah March 30, 2016 at 9:13 am

I am so happy that I’ve found thispage!
I hope somebody might help me….

Actually I was researching for Betain-HCL in combination with h.pyloris.
I ordered Betain HCL and wanted to start with it tomorrow but I am not very sure if I should really take it.

To my history:
I have digestive problems since around 2010. But i thought the only reason for that is my lactose-intolerance – which was tested posotive before (I am asian and I think it genetics but not sure). After that I’ve ALWAYS had some more or less problems-mainly diarroea. But I also thaught its not that worse and that the reason would lie in my intolerance. I also went to a doctor but he said I would be kidding him to go and see him only because of some diarroea or creamy and stinky stool.
And then some years went by and my problems got worse. I had diarroea all the time very uncontrollable, a lot of developed allergies (allergy test was full of things), I am /was always tired without energy for learning or doing my daily stuff, and ALWAYS bloated. Then I went to the doctor in 2015 and I was diagnosed with h. pyloris almost a year ago and had to take two rounds of antibiotics. After that I went to Indonesia and had an parasit so I had to take antibiots again…Then I had a 4 month diarrea problem while I was abroad in Taiwan and a lot of heartburn…

Now I still have the same symptoms (bloating with a HUGE tummy after easting e.g. white rice, no energy, tired, always a little sick, diarrea and sometimes heartburn) and found HCL Betain but im not sure if I should take it because I am afraid that it will make h.pyloris even worse. But I dont know if it developed again over the last year even if the last test in August was negative….

NO Doctor in Germany could help me so I am desperatly searching for help….
I really really hope you can help me with my problem…

Kind Regards,

Mariel Heiss March 30, 2016 at 1:30 pm

Hi Hannah – we don’t advise against using betaine HCL if you have h. pylori, but it sounds like you might need more support than just that.

I recommend taking a look at our gut infections call here: http://gutinfections.scdlifestyle.com

Cindy Jessen April 2, 2016 at 10:01 am

I would have your thyroid checked out. It also sounds like you have devolped “leaky gut” which helped you develope your allergies . Go see a “Naturalist or Homopath”. Read as much as you can on underactive thyroid (ex.Hashimotos) and leaky gut and low stomach acid symptoms and see if this doesn’t sound like what you are experincing. A lot of MD’s don’t recognize “leaky gut” as a medical diagnosis but still read up on it and if you feel this is what you are and have been going through I would reach for a naturalist to help you. Bad thing is medical insurance doesn’t cover them so it’s an out of the pocket expense . Find one in your area and a lot of them have reviews on their websites from patients that talks about what they went there for and how they have helped or cured them. First thing is to educate yourself by reading all about what I mention above ie. low thyroid, leaky gut. etc. to help you get in the right direction as far as your symptoms and then find a professional either homeopathy or a MD. Good Luck.

Kevin March 28, 2016 at 7:56 am

I would like to find both a physician and a nutritionist in NYC (also would appreciate recommendations in New Jersey) who are v. knowedgable about acid reflux and focus on diet and natural supplements for health.

I am a healthy 52 year old male, take NO medications, and lead a very active life style.,

Still, I get bouts of acid reflux and even was on Omeprezole for 8 weeks from DEC 2015 to FEB 2016.

I need guidance to put together a sound rational plan so I can understand what’s the problem and how to be preventative and be healthy.

I welcome your help.

Kind REgards,

Mariel Heiss March 28, 2016 at 12:27 pm

Hi Kevin – Stephanie and Brie are our recommended practitioners: http://scdlifestyle.com/practitioners/

sam March 19, 2016 at 7:45 pm

Oh and is it ok to take HCL with digestive enzymes which contain 100mg of HCL?

Mariel Heiss March 22, 2016 at 3:46 pm

Hi Sam – thanks for reaching out. You just need to keep in mind the total amount of HCL you’ll be taking if the digestive enzyme you use also contains it. (I.e. if you take a 650 mg HCL pill and a digestive enzyme with 100 mg HCL, you’ve taken 750 mg HCL)

sam March 19, 2016 at 7:42 pm

I was given lansoperazole then it stopped working so I was given omeprazole now this does not work. I was given this medicine for acid reflux, now I realise that the medicine was the wrong thing. I had hair loss , chipped and ridged nails, sensitive shins, nutrient deficiency I now realise this could be due to low acid. I have now changed my diet I no longer consume refined sugar, processed food, fatty food, fried food I take digestive enzymes and braggs apple cider vinegar plus HGL to heal my stomach. I consume a good balance of alkalizing foods. I feel so much better but I am going to take hcl with pepsin to clear the last bit of acid reflux I still get in my throat. I know it will work as low acid is the only thing which makes sense. I urge those that have not changed their diet to eating clean to do so it may help you.

Ina March 14, 2016 at 10:23 am

I have a question. I have SIBO and I am dealing with severe constipation since years. My intestine didn’t work at all and I react to almost every food out there. I tried everything I could find the past couple of years without success.
Now I have been in hospital and the doctor put me on Rifixamin for 14 days, followed by Resolor 2mg. After finishing the antibiotic I started with the SCD in combination with a low FODMAP diet.
After the antibiotic I had some Symptome relief like less bloating, better sleep, less abdominal pain and my intestine started working a little for the first time in 7 years. Only very poor but anyway…
But one of my main symptoms still remains and is getting worse again. I still react to eating in a way that I am having a lot of water in the intestine. During the day, until the evening it is that much that it sounds like a hot water bottle when I touch my stomach/intestine. It makes me feel really nauseous and dizzy. The doctor has no idea what it is or how to treat this. The stool that comes out is really firm and I can hardly get it out. But at the same time there is all that water that is getting more during the day and with every meal.
I started with the intro diet and then slowly added foods. But the water symptom was also there during the intro. I am taking HCL Betaine with Pepsin (1Capslue/meal) and digestive Enzymes at every meal. A higher dose of enzymes increases the water and so do probiotics (I tried SC-dophilus, GI-ProHealth, 3/4 capsule). I also tried a probiotic with bifidos and it also makes the water worse.
Do you have any idea what this is about? Do you know anyone who suffers from that too and what I can do to stop this? It causes really bad symptoms. I can’t go forward in the diet because all I eat increases this so much that I can hardly bear it. And also since I am on the diet my intestine stopped working again and I haven’t been to the toilet now for 14 days. I would be very grateful for an answer because the doctors can’t help me out!

Mariel Heiss March 14, 2016 at 5:39 pm

Hi Ina – we are so sorry to hear about this symptom. Have you tried a higher dose of HCL? Please read this article on how to take HCL: http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/03/how-to-supplement-with-betaine-hcl-for-low-stomach-acid/

dd March 5, 2016 at 10:15 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. I see Katrina and Renee have already asked about this and I’m really hoping to find a real answer here. 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!

Mariel Heiss March 7, 2016 at 5:35 pm

Hi dd – I hope someone else out there can answer this for you!

If she is unable to swallow the pills, another option to try is a shot of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice (1 tablespoon) right before she eats. We prefer HCL, but this can be a substitute to try.

Donna Welborn March 5, 2016 at 7:45 pm

Just found out I have gastritis. Should I heal the stomach first before taking HCL? I’ve ordered l glutamine and zinc carnosine.

Mariel Heiss March 7, 2016 at 5:07 pm

Hi Donna – yes we recommend spending some time healing the stomach lining before trying HCL – glutamine and zinc carnosine are a great way to start. We also recommend using a DGL supplement and drinking plenty of bone broth. Do this for at least two weeks before trying HCL at the lowest dose. If you get a burning feeling at the lowest dose, continue with these healing supplements a while longer before trying again.

kaitlyn March 1, 2016 at 11:34 am

This is a little long but any feedback/opinions would be super appreciated!

I’ve been taking Betaine HCL with pepsin from Thorne Research and have used the proper proticol of starting with one capsule and increasing until a feeling of warmth. I got up to 5 capsules and decided to add a 6th. So with that meal I had a stirfry with 4oz of steak. I took the 6 capsuels with no burning, and no issues that i can remember. This was at about 7pm. At 2am i woke up with stomach pain and nausea, no burning, and then thought it may be from too many capsules. I took a teaspoon of baking soda in water to nuetralize the acid cause at the time i assumed that was the issue. 10 minutes later i threw up a few times and my stomach felt better and the pressure and nausea was a lot more tolerable so i was able to fall back asleep.

2 hours later I woke up with more stomach pain and nausea and threw up again. The next day i was very nauseuos and only ate 2 oranges, and some raspbarries all day. I managed to eat dinner, (waffles made out of a plantain, and protein powder and topped it was a little coconut oil and sunflower seed butter) probably not the best food choice but i was super hungry and thats all i had in the house really. So i ate that around 5:30-6pm and my stomach felt full and still nausiated the rest of the night. It felt like my food was just sitting there and not digesting at all. So around 8:30 i decided to go to bed. I layed in bed for an hour with stomach pain and nausea and was so uncomfortable i got up (this is kinda gross so i apologize) and kinda of made myself puke to relieve the pain and pressure. It was alomst a projectile vomit and then i was able to sleep through the night without getting up to throw up again. Stomach pain and nausea was still there though, just not as bad.

So now today, I still feel pretty blah and my stomach still hurts a little. I’ve been drinking protein shakes with no issue (slight pain when it hits my stomach) and the fruit from yesterday didnt bother me at all. I should also note that i was getting super cold really easily and today i woke up with slightly swollen glands in my neck (maybe from lack of sleep). I also work in a pediatric office and over the weekend a few other co-workers experienced some vomiting and GI issues but my episodes seemed to be more spread out than theres and i was able to keep liquids/fruit down and they couldnt keep anything down.

So if you got through this looooooong story, thank you and if you have any input on whether it sounds like a reaction/damage from the betaine HCL or just a stomach bug, I would highly appreciate it. I was feeling positive results originally from the HCL caps so I’m hoping this is just a stomach bug and totally unrelated so I can keep taking them


Mariel Heiss March 1, 2016 at 3:13 pm

Hi Kaitlyn- thanks for reaching out.

This sounds more like a stomach bug than a reaction to HCL – normally when you take too much HCL you have a burning feeling right away.

Everyone id different, but we suspect this is just the bug going around your office. If you aren’t feeling better soon, please see your doctor.

Angie February 26, 2016 at 10:12 am

Oh, and I belch like a man off and on all day – smelly and very embarrassing.

Angie February 26, 2016 at 10:04 am

I have gaps and have been struggling So I was so excited to read about hcl with pepsin. I tried it for a couple of days (with high protein meals)- never made it past 1 pill bc the heartburn/esoph felt like on fire was out of control. So I waited until that subsided (a week) and then tried 2different brands of digestive bitters. They each gave me heartburn that was as bad as it was with the hcl w/pepsin. I have already gone almost totally paleo with no starches and I use your scd charts and fodmaps (I have severe constipation that I have finally worked out a regimen for) – but I’m hungry and scared to eat.

Mariel Heiss March 1, 2016 at 3:28 pm

Hi Angie – so sorry HCL didn’t work for you.

Have you tried digestive enzymes? Learn more here: http://scdlifestyle.com/2013/07/who-needs-digestive-enzymes-and-how-to-take-them/

Jay zee February 21, 2016 at 5:08 pm

Hello Jordan and Steve
I just wanted to know if there is a known Betaine HCL product that contains pepsin sourced from bovine (cows) rather than porcine(pork/pigs) sources. I need the Betaine HCL with pepsin product, but I do not take pork products. Do you have any products with bovine pepsin that you can point me to? Thanks

Mariel Heiss February 24, 2016 at 9:05 pm

Hi Jay Zee – not that we know of but Moss Nutrition makes an HCL without pepsin that is vegetarian.

Hope that helps!!

Angela August 22, 2016 at 11:47 pm

Hello Jay.
I am a vegetarian and found an hcl activator with plant based pepsin that is taking in combination with the hcl. I am not sure if I can disclose brands in here?

Mariel Heiss August 23, 2016 at 2:44 pm

Hey angela – go ahead and share!

Lou February 19, 2016 at 7:14 am

I have Pernicious Anaemia and have regular B12 shots of Hydrocobalamine. I have just started taking HCL (currently 2 a day) to help with my acid reflux. Can you say if taking HCL and probiotics has any adverse affect on the absorption of B12 please?

Mariel Heiss February 24, 2016 at 9:27 pm

Hi Lou- we think HCL and probiotics would actually help – as a healthy gut can better absorb vitamins in the food you eat!

Tina Marie February 16, 2016 at 2:51 am

I’ve had my gall bladder removed which to my understanding helps in the production of stomach acids and as a result have embarrassing amounts of gas after eating some foods. Any recommendations? Would this supplement work for me?

Mariel Heiss February 16, 2016 at 1:10 pm

Hi Tina Marie – HCL may help you a lot. Another supplement to check out is bile salts

Debbie February 11, 2016 at 8:21 am

I had burning in my chest and throat for 4 months. I was on PPI for 10 years..and we went through every ppi thinking that the one I was on wasn’t working anymore. For 4 months I tried every ppi out there and had horrible side effects. I ran across the low acid article and thought I would give it a try. I was amazed after taking one pill with 2 meals. The burning got better, the only thing is I can’t really tell if my stomach is burning with the hcl because it’s always kinda burning. I took one pill with every meal yesterday and was doing great till last night I took one with my 3rd meal and had a little burping that was kinda acidic. Is i possible I only need one pill 2 times a day? my burning is 80% better so it’s obvious I have low stomach acid. I’m excited that I will never take another ppi drug again. I have been off ppi for one week and feel better than I did 4 months ago.

Mariel Heiss February 11, 2016 at 1:43 pm

Debbie – so happy you found this information!!

If you eat a small meal or snack, or a meal without a lot of protein, you may need less HCL. You also will likely need less and less of the supplement as time progresses – because taking HCL helps promote your body to make more stomach acid on tis own.

Continue to be flexible with the amount you take (more for big meals, and meals with a lot of protein) and don’t be afraid to lower your dose as needed. You can also look for a supplement that has fewer mg per pill (i.e. 250 mg rather than 650 mg) so that you can more easily control the size of the dose.

Mamur January 13, 2016 at 11:52 pm

hi, I have diarrhea and undigested food in stool problems. I am trying to check if I have low stomach acid. I started taking “Betaine HCl Pepsin & Gentian Bitters” with one capsule with each meal and increased day by day. Now I am taking 6 capsules and I feel nothing in my stomach. My question is should I increase dose, is it normal case or I need to stop.

Mariel Heiss January 14, 2016 at 3:46 pm

Hi Mamur – we recommend trying a digestive enzyme along with HCL – a great one is Digest Gold by Enzymedica. If adding that in doesn’t make a difference, it is possible you still need a higher dose of HCL – but not everyone feels the burning feeling in their stomach. You might also notice changes in your stool, how bloated you get, and your gas. Any improvements in those areas is a sign you’ve found the right dose.

Hope that helps!

Emily December 23, 2015 at 2:55 pm

I don’t know if anyone can answer this. But as soon as I take Betaine HCL I get even worse bloating and bowel spasms then I already have. I literally blow up like a ballon when I take it! Does anyone know why this would happen? I have low stomach acid (I’m having metabolic/thyroid issues) and need the supplement but can’t seem to tolerate it.

Mariel Heiss December 28, 2015 at 5:08 pm

Hi Emily, thanks for reaching out!

Some people do react negatively to HCL.

There a couple other options you can try:

1. Try an HCL without pepsin (especially if you know you’re sensitive to pork products). You can get an HCL that is vegetarian from Moss Nutrition.

2. Try a shot (1-2 tablespoons) of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice in a glass of water before meals instead (this promotes the secretion of stomach acid)

3. Try a digestive bitters supplement instead of HCL

I hope one of these tips helps!

Marijose December 16, 2015 at 12:59 pm

Do you have any recommendations of a HCL supplement that are vegetarian or kosher. I believe that the Commercial preparations of Pepsin are obtained
from hog stomach.
Thank you

Mariel Heiss December 17, 2015 at 12:22 pm

Hi Marijose -we recommend the vegetarian HCL from the company Moss Nutrition.

Hope that helps!

Janine December 11, 2015 at 4:11 pm

Hi, I have a couple questions and I would appreciate some guidance. My story very breifly.. Chronic constipation, diagnosed IBS, h.plyori detected on a colonoscopy 2 years and successfully treated. It all started when I was 28 and I’m now 31 after a few years of dietary changes and many different supplements including probiotics I kind of have things under control but every now and then and lately more often I become severely bunged up and can go more than 10 days with no bowel movement. I am back to Internet research every spare second I have to try and treat my symptoms. I am currently taking Betaine hcl with pepsin in them. My problem is I have extremely slow digestion. They did some test at the hospital a few years ago and my results where outstandingly slow almost not moving at all. They gave me no reason or solution for this. I always have the feeling my food is stuck in my throat and not going down. So now while I am using these pills I feel like they are getting stuck up there too and I am worried they aren’t able to do there job properly and couldn’t cause more damage like burn my esophagus, am I right? Also my other question.. I take 2 tumeric supplements everyday to reduce inflammation and help with depression.. I read early what you said about the dangers of Betaine with NSID’s and I am wondering if this applies as tumeric is natural but still maybe damaging to the lining of my stomach?
Any answers grately appreciated!

Mariel Heiss December 14, 2015 at 2:58 pm

Hi Janine!

Some people do have a slower rate of digestion, and HCL can help. However, if you feel like food is stuck in your throat (not sitting in your stomach) we recommend you see your doctor and ask about that symptom. An endoscopy might be a good idea to rule out anything else going on.

We think turmeric is a great supplement and it is not an NSAID. We think it can help heal leaky gut and does not cause damage.

Hope this helps!!

Chris December 9, 2015 at 8:19 am

Just my 2 cent’s worth:

I had stomach problems for many years, to the point I became a vegetarian. That was both good and bad. It was good b/c it ended ‘sour stomach’, but bad b/c it caused my body to ‘eat itself’ due to lack of good protein intake. Then I learned about dr. Carey A. Reams’ biological ionization method of healing the liver. That is what helped me the most.

Maybe you guys in here who want to cut-down on your digestive enzyme use would consider learning what doc Reams has to say about ‘fixing’ your liver so it produces strong bile, etc.? There are a few web sites that talk about it.

According to doc, the top 3 needs of the human liver are:
1. the proper amount of pure water daily,
2. Vitamin A (e.g., carrot juice), and
3. Usable calcium (he says there’s 7 kinds of calciums, so one needs to know which one to use under what circumstances).
There are 5 other major needs for the human liver, which you can find out about from reading what he says in other’s books.

Two things I found that helped me immensely are:
1. Dr. Sandra Cabot’s “Livatone” (used w/psyllium), and
2. Dr. Hulda Clark’s “liver flush” (http://www.drclark.net/en/cleanses/advanced/liver-cleanse-page). It’s nasty, but it worked.

Just an FYI for those interested in learning the ‘why’ of getting better.

Cheers! … Chris

Nadine November 3, 2015 at 10:27 am

Awesome article! I’ve had GERD since I was 16 caused by stress. I am now 24 and still trying to find a cure for this awful feeling. My sister-in-law is a chiropractor and she mentioned that I should check out Betain HCL. I always have burning in my stomach after I eat any meal, even when I am hungry, and I wake up everyday with a burned throat even if I don’t eat within 5 hours of bed time. I don’t eat out and I generally eat healthy (eggs, chicken, fruits & veggies). I exercise 5 days a week doe at least a half an hour. I was on Omeprazole for about a year without being told by the practioner that it wasn’t something that I should be on for very long. I started to experience MAJOR joint pains, went off of Omeprazole, and the pains stopped. My reflux is at it’s worst right now which is sooo not fun!!! I started taking Betaine HCL starting with just one pill with a high protein meal and every time I have taken it I have experience more than usualy burning in my stomach. I know you say to up the dose if you don’t feel anything and take one pill back once you start to feel burning but I experience burning with just one pill. Is that normal?


Mariel Heiss November 3, 2015 at 2:11 pm

Hi Nadine – thanks for your kind words!

If you have burning constantly and even more burning after just one pill, you could have some inflammation in your stomach lining that is sensitive. You’ll need to address the inflammation first using supplements and diet change (Steve and Jordan recommend lots of bone broth, and the supplements l-glutamine and DGL).

Because of this, and because you’re suffering so much with GERD, I really recommend you look into Steve and Jordan’s heartburn program. You can learn more about it here: http://heartburnhelp.scdlifestyle.com

If you have any other questions, you can reach us at [email protected] for more help

Nadine November 4, 2015 at 10:32 am

Thank you, Mariel! I will definitely look into the heartburn program. Does it come with meal plan/general idea of what I should or shouldn’t be eating?

Mariel Heiss November 4, 2015 at 10:50 am

Hi Nadine – it’s meant to be used with the SCD diet (and relies on the free quick start guide you can download here: http://scdlifestyle.com/scd-quick-start-guide/)

Elie October 30, 2015 at 10:19 am

Hey I have stomach ulcers and some kind of rheumatism(joint inflammation or pain) I have been watching my diet somewhat and taking nexium 40 mg on a daily, I do not have heart burn but I do have abdominal pains bloating and brain fog, my question is how can I take hcl making sure it does not cause or makes my ulcers worse? Also I take infloran, should I keep taking it? I Don’t know if it’s enzymes or a probiotic but it says it helps reconstruct the intestine flora. Thanks I also suffer from shortness of breath and dizziness which my doctor says is because of thr ulcer. Peace thank you for doing what you do.

Mariel Heiss October 30, 2015 at 4:19 pm

Hi Elle!

First, we don’t recommend the use of HCL when you’re also taking a PPI like Nexium. PPIs reduce the amount of stomach acid you have so its counter-productive to reduce stomach acid and then supplement it. We recommend you talk to your doctor about weaning off your PPI.

Based on what you’ve written, I recommend you take a look at Steve and Jordan’s heartburn program. In the program (once you’ve weaned off PPIs) you’ll be walked through healing any inflammation in your stomach so you can tolerate HCL and heal your digestive problems. Here’s the link: http://heartburnhelp.scdlifestyle.com

If you have any more questions, you can email us at [email protected] as well!

[email protected] October 30, 2015 at 1:10 am

i have multiple myeloma. to avoid taking perscription drugs for pain i take NSAIDS. Goodys powder followed in 2 hours with 1 Bayer safety coat aspirin then another about every 4 hours. to sleep, Motrin pm with a motrin gel cap. my concern is i may be damaging my stomach. i take it i should not take HCL/pepsin because of the NSAIDS?

Mariel Heiss October 30, 2015 at 4:25 pm

Steve and Jordan are very wary of NSAID use. NSAIDS are shown to damage the gut and cause other long-term problems. We don’t recommend you use NSAIDS, and those using them should not use HCL unless their doctor gives them the OK and supervises them.

We encourage you to talk with your doctor about what else you can try to manage your pain. Some options we like are physical therapy or chiropractic, acupuncture, and exercise. You’ll have to experiment to find what works best for you.

You might want to check out this podcast, too: http://scdlifestyle.com/2015/02/simple-neck-and-shoulder-pain-solutions/

Mike Mills September 30, 2015 at 2:39 am


I have gas problems: a nutritionist I met says to take HCL 30 minutes after meals. This is impossible for me, the gas and bloating starts pretty much just a few minutes after a meal. The directions on the bottle say to take with your first bite of food, you would think this is correct because doesn’t your stomach start out acidic and then finish alkaline?

Also, people who are vegetarian, for me usually some organic turmeric, ginger, sea salt is all I need, and food definitely needs to be cooked or steamed well with some coconut oil is fine.

Mariel Heiss September 30, 2015 at 1:52 pm

Hi Mike –

First, we don’t recommend HCL unless you’re eating a pretty substantial meal that contains protein (especially from meat) as HCL helps to digest protein.

We do recommend you take it when you begin eating or throughout the meal (if you take a lot of capsules) rather than waiting 30 minutes after.

Hope this helps Mike!

Don September 25, 2015 at 7:07 am

Hello everyone, my question is if we have low stomach acid and also a ulser will taking HCL flair up the ulser? Also shouldn’t it be a good idea to also eat acidic foods ?

Mariel Heiss September 25, 2015 at 3:01 pm

Hi Don – Steve and Jordan recommend a protocol to heal ulcers and calm irritation of the gut lining first, otherwise HCL might cause discomfort. You can learn exactly what they recommend here: http://heartburnhelp.scdlifestyle.com

Vickie September 9, 2015 at 9:54 pm

I was wondering if this can be taken with digestive enzymes and artichoke extract.
I currently have a hard time with digestion, mostly due to menopausal symptoms. I currently take artichoke extract and digestive enzymes but just wanted to know if it would be safe to also take the B hci along with. I do have a high protein diet. Thanks!

Mariel Heiss September 10, 2015 at 11:38 am

Hi Vickie, thanks so much for commenting 🙂

We do recommend that people try digestive enzymes and HCL at the same time – they help digestion in different ways.

If you have any concerns, however, you should always consult with your practitioner.

Hope this helps!

Don Busch September 2, 2015 at 11:12 pm

Hi Guys, I’m still trying to figure out the right amount of HCL capsules to take with various meals. I started with one 650 mg capsule and have taken as much as 7 at a protein meal. Still no burning sensation. I went to a kinesiologist and she thought I was crazy and cautioned me to only take a few at the most. I disagreed with her and that’s why I’m up to 6 or 7 today. I cautiously started a few months ago and now I’ve kind of stopped increasing them; I think I’m afraid of doing something wrong, and also thinking will I ever reach my threshold? I would have asked this question earlier today on your live call, but never got the chance, as I wasn’t back home in time. I think I’ve even taken 3 or 4 capsules at a no protein meal; also without any stomach burning sensation. Should I keep upping the capsules? Yesterday I started a probiotic with 30 billion CFU’s and 15 different strains. I’m also experimenting with DGL, enzymes, and activated charcoal for my intestinal gas. At first the HCL helped relieve the gas and bloating, but then the benefits decreased a bit lately. My bowels improved significantly which I attribute to the HCL. My A-Fib got way better for awhile; 10 weeks without it, but the month of August it was back with a vengeance. I’m thinking my bad bacteria wasn’t significantly reduced and that when I began eating some fruits and maple syrup, I brought it back. I lose weight quickly when the A-Fib hits; probably from the heart beating so violently. I’m tired of doing these diets for the past year or two and am ready to eat like a normal person but sometimes feel like I’ll never get there again. Need your input.
Don Busch

Mariel Heiss September 3, 2015 at 1:08 pm

Hi Don, thanks so much for reaching out to us.

It sounds like you’re making some great progress. Healing isn’t always a linear journey – there can be highs and lows and long plateaus along the way.

In Dr. Wright’s book “Why Stomach Acid is Good For You” he says 6-7 650 mg pills is the average dose – meaning a lot of people need more than 6-7 pills. Some people need much higher doses. Also some people never experience the burning sensation to let them know they’ve taken too much – in this case you need to watch for other signs of improvement to let you know you’ve reached the right dose (like less gas, bloating, better stool, etc.)

I also really recommend you check out this program: http://heartburnhelp.scdlifestyle.com

This program can help with using supplements like DGL.

If you have more questions or need more support, please email us at [email protected]

gary August 25, 2015 at 4:02 am


Has anyone considered buying bulk Betaine and capsulating themselves? If so, results?

Linda August 24, 2015 at 9:31 am

Thorne Betaine is out of stock !

Mariel Heiss August 24, 2015 at 6:44 pm

Hi Linda – we can recommend some other brands! .We’ve had success with all of them.

The list we recommend is at the bottom of this article >>>> http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/03/how-to-supplement-with-betaine-hcl-for-low-stomach-acid/

Kira Miftari August 23, 2015 at 12:06 am

Here is a mullein dollar question: if you are taking probiotics after a meal (some specifically call for this timing) – are you destroying them by taking HCL? I am thinking that since its the HCL’s job to kill incoming bacteria, it would probably kill the the supplement as well?

Mariel Heiss August 25, 2015 at 12:09 pm

Hi Kira, HCL doesn’t kill incoming bacteria, but rather promotes the production of stomach acid in your stomach. Bacteria is able to withstand normal stomach conditions (which proper HCL supplementation will mimic) – otherwise we wouldn’t have any bacteria left in our guts 🙂 Our digestive system is amazing and complex!

Antibiotics that your doctor prescribes can kill friendly bacteria like probiotics, but HCL doesn’t.

Thanks for asking 🙂

Ferdinand August 21, 2015 at 3:43 pm

One more question from me; Could it be possible that after many years of using
omeprazole my stomach just stopped producing acid? And now i’m off the meds
it’s just not making any? Sounds silly i know, but i was wondering.

Mariel Heiss August 21, 2015 at 7:52 pm

Hi ferdinand, this isn’t a silly question.

You could have hypochlorhydria (low stomach acid) or achlorhydria (no stomach acid). You can test your stomach acid levels at home following the directions here: http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/03/3-tests-for-low-stomach-acid/

I hope this helps! Supplementing with HCL for a while can help promote the production of more stomach acid by your body naturally, as well.

Ferdinand August 21, 2015 at 3:39 pm

Hi all!

I find this website very informative and i’d like to add my story.
I had a H, Pylori when i was 20 years old and got the cure for that.
I noticed that it wasn’t possible to stop the Losec in that time and
my doctor said that i had to used it for the rest of my life….. Now i
did untill i started getting problems with my health almost 15 years later.
I am almost 35 now. I tried to stop a couple of times after i read more and
more about Losec, (omeprazol etc) but it was a no go and no doctor really cared
to help me anyways. Now i have asked for a Gastroscopy because i felt really bad
and bloated etc while still using the Omeprazole,The thing is of course that i need to
stop using the meds for 2 weeks! I don’t smoke anymore, don’t drink alcohol but i did
pretty heavy for a while, and Always loved meat. Omeprazol is just eating so much
energy and i feel like and old man. Got pain in my bones and its hard to stay fit like this. I have Always kept a balance with sports and the rest of my life style.
So here i am, 4 days into not using omeprazole and suffering a lot. Food coming up sometimes, burning, losing voice a bit, scraping throat etc. I adjusted food as much
as i could these 4 days and i’m eating pretty clean but i didn’t exclude carbs, grains etc. I don’t eat garlic, onions etc and no milk and yogurth either. Still i got mad acid going on. I was reading for 3 days about low acid and today i poored 2 Table spoons
of apple vinegar over my salade and hoped for the best. I know i should’ve consumed it in another way but ok. I didn’t have no burnings at all and all that while i woke up today with pain and feeling that spot hurting when food entered the stomach. I wen’t to bed using Galviscon for gods sake lol. So now i want to try to use the HCL with Pepsin and enzyms but i’m a little scared hahaha. I’m ready to eat some bread now with eggs and chicken and will take a glass with 2 table spoons of apple vinegar after that just to check again. End of August i have the Gastroscopy. I’m living in Italy now but i’m from Holland and in this situation i wish i had my old doctor in Holland back lol. What do you guys think? Should i try to use the HCL with a nice protein meal?
I also bought a another product that contains: zinc L-carnosine) (DGL) NutriCran®
PicroProtect™ Picrorhiza kurroa extract, but i’m willing to wait with using that because
i’m really focused on find what works and what not. It feels god to have more energy
not using Omeprazole but if i have acid the whole day through, that energy is wasted.’
Thanks in advance.

Mariel Heiss August 21, 2015 at 8:01 pm

Hi Ferdinand, thanks for commenting and sharing your story with us!

Since Apple Cider Vinegar is providing symptom relief, HCL will likely help too, but the only way to know is to test it out following the directions in this article.

I also really recommend you check this out: http://heartburnhelp.scdlifestyle.com

joy August 19, 2015 at 10:55 pm

I took my first Betaine HCL this morning with breakfast of an egg, bacon and melon. I took only one. Around midday my stomach began to hurt so bad and for most of the rest of the day it really hurt even though I took a Tums and later on baking soda. What do you recommend: maybe opening the capsule and emptying half of it so that I’m just taking a half and taking it with a heavier meal?

Mariel Heiss August 20, 2015 at 9:59 pm

Hi Joy – I recommend this article: http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/03/how-to-supplement-with-betaine-hcl-for-low-stomach-acid/

In our experience and research, those with the lowest stomach acid levels sometimes have the hardest time tolerating HCL. You may consider using Apple Cider Vinegar or digestive bitters. All of this is discussed in the article here >>>>> http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/03/how-to-supplement-with-betaine-hcl-for-low-stomach-acid/

If you have more questions or need support send us an email! [email protected]

klarah August 15, 2015 at 5:17 pm

Hi thank you for you reply, can I use Betaine hcl with other suplements?

Mariel Heiss August 17, 2015 at 6:13 pm

Hi Klarah, yes you can use Betaine HCL along with other supplements. We recommend you take HCL with meals only, however, as they specifically aid in digestion of protein 🙂

If you have more questions, reach out to us at [email protected]

Kim August 6, 2015 at 12:21 pm

Oh my. So a typical effective dose is 5-7 of the 650mg pills…I took ~250mg for the first time this morning with breakfast (some leftover sausage and potatoes from dinner last night plus some watermelon) and I have been having the worst GI day. So bad that I pooped my pants at the grocery. With UC/Crohn’s and histamine intolerance/mast cell activation syndrome (and no gall bladder so I know I need digestive help) I don’t know if it’s the Betaine or the leftovers that have gutted me so horribly today, but I’m afraid to take more now…

Mariel Heiss August 6, 2015 at 3:37 pm

Kim, I’m so sorry you’re having such a bad GI day.

Since you have histamine intolerance, it could have been the leftover sausage (both leftovers and processed meats are high histamine foods) that caused the flare up or the HCL.

We recommend you follow the suggestions in our flare support program (http://scdlifestyle.com/diarrhea-flare-support/) until you’re feeling better – then you may consider testing HCL again once your symptoms have returned to normal.

Keep everything else exactly he same in your diet as you try HCL.

I hope this information helps Kim! I really hope you’re feeling better soon. We recommend a funny movie and lots of rest during your flare.

Julian August 5, 2015 at 4:01 pm


I have been taking betaine HCl with pepsin for a month and it has got rid of my nausea but i just cant seem to get rid of the lump in the throat. I was diagnosed with silent reflux. I am up to 8 tabs of 324mg but taking 9 makes me reflux so 8 it is.

With me still getting the lump it suggests that im still refluxing and that my throat is producing excess mucus.

Can you off any help

Mariel Heiss August 5, 2015 at 7:54 pm

Hi Julian, thanks for commenting. It’s great to hear your nausea is gone 🙂

HCL with pepsin is great first step but if you’re still having symptoms you may need to address the root causes of your reflux – I recommend you check out our heartburn presentation here: http://heartburnhelp.scdlifestyle.com

The heartburn presentation has more diet, lifestyle, and supplement recommendations for healing issues like silent reflux.

katie d July 26, 2015 at 12:40 pm

I have celiac disease,and have been gluten free for about 10 years. 2 weeks ago i started getting horrible stomach pain that made me sweat. I found that it happens after I eat meat. I cant seem to find a list of food to avoid or a list of foods to eat. Im so sick of this pain. Im afraid to try fish. Anyone here ok with eating chicken or fish?

Mariel Heiss July 27, 2015 at 11:33 am

Hey Katie, thanks for commenting. I’m so sorry you’re having a hard time right now. HCL Betaine helps many people better digest protein from meat. You can test your stomach acid levels by following the directions here: http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/03/3-tests-for-low-stomach-acid/

In our experience, treating with HCL Betaine is very safe for the majority of people and makes a huge difference in symptoms. However, we recommend you consult with your doctor and make sure they know what’s going on! If you need any more support or have questions send us an email >>> [email protected]

Klarah July 26, 2015 at 2:49 am

Hi I suffering Gerd,heartburn,acid reflux to much burning chest pain sore throat , and stomach pain many burps. my Cuestion is if only the meat protein is considered for taking hcl or other cains like protein shakes cuz I don’t really eat meat watch it can be there best for me if I need more stomach acid ?

Mariel Heiss July 27, 2015 at 12:15 pm

Hi Klarah, thanks for commenting! The only way to know how many HCL pills to take with a meal is to test it out when you eat. Begin at the lowest dosage and work your way up. Because every meal contains a different amount of fat, protein, and carbs, you may find that at some meals you need 7 pills and at others 3 or 4 is plenty. If you have burning or a warm feeling, you have likely taken too much. The next time you eat a similar meal, take less HCL until you find the right dosage for that combination of foods. You may also consider trying digestive enzymes, as they help digest protein carbs, and fat. Learn more here: http://scdlifestyle.com/2013/07/who-needs-digestive-enzymes-and-how-to-take-them/ I hope this helps!

Cathy F. July 18, 2015 at 8:11 pm

Hi, I am thinking of trying HCL because I get diarrhea after eating a large amount of protein (anything over about 3 oz)…..but at bedtime I take a prescribed heart burn medication, would that interfere with it’s benefits?

Mariel Heiss July 21, 2015 at 12:37 pm

Hi Cathy, thanks for reaching out to us! We recommend you check out this article: http://scdlifestyle.com/2015/04/the-multi-billion-dollar-ppi-malpractice-mystery/

We don’t recommend taking HCL and PPIs simultaneously, and that articles explains why 🙂 Please let us know if you have any questions! >>>>> [email protected]

Ayoni July 8, 2015 at 3:25 am

Can I use betaine at the same time while using probitics? specifically Acidophillus 40 billion count, I am also having different yoghurts daily.
I read in a place that Probiotics should not be used when using HCL

Lori Jo Berg July 8, 2015 at 2:16 pm

Hi Ayoni, thanks for reaching out today about your health. Typically, probiotics are taken on an empty stomach but we encourage you to follow the instructions on the bottle. If the bottle instructs you to take with food, this should not interfere with the effectiveness of the HCL. Secondly, we do suggest taking HCL just before a high protein meal.

Joy July 4, 2015 at 11:36 pm

In this article you recommend Gaia Sweetish Bitters, which I have taken for years and I love, however it contains seaweed, so is it not SCD illegal?

Mariel Heiss July 7, 2015 at 4:38 pm

Hi Joy, this is great question. Even though the bitters contain seaweed, which is SCD illegal, we recommend people who have progressed past the intro phases of the diet give it a try. SCD is about building a custom approach that works for you. I hope this helps answer your question 🙂

johnathan June 30, 2015 at 5:47 am

Hi vry1, 1st of all i really admire jordan for his knowledge. He is awesome. Well I started taking betain hcl 2 pills after I realized that I hv low stomach acid from baking soda test results. Nw m havn dark stools (nt entirely bt few portions of my stools). Is it normal ? N hw cn I know the exact dosage? Wen I took 3 pills I got stomach pinches or burns so I started taking 2 pills.. Plzzz correct me if m wrong n clarify me on the question I raised regards stools… Thanks Jordan in advance

Mariel Heiss June 30, 2015 at 8:48 pm

The only way to know the dosage you need for HCL is to test it yourself. Begin with the smallest dose and work your way up with each meal. When you feel a ‘warm” sensation in your stomach, reduce by one pill at the next meal. Stool color can be a reflection of the foods you eat, but dark stools can be a sign of other problems, as well. We recommend you consult with your doctor about the dark color of your stool.

Josiah Keysor June 29, 2015 at 2:45 pm

I have had reflux for about 10 years now. I’m 26. I started taking betaine hcl with pepsin about 2 months ago. I’ve been taking anywhere from 6-8 depending on what I eat. The problem I have is I burp alot. Like 20-30 times after each meal and lasting for 6 hours til my next meal. When I take the betaine and burp its so acidic from the betaine that I have to take an antacid to calm my stomach. Not this isn’t everyrime but some of the time. I tried a low carb diet thinking maybe sibo was causing gas but the gas got worse. Should I increase the betaine? At 8 pills I feel no warming sensation unless I burp and it brings it up.

Mariel Heiss June 30, 2015 at 7:52 pm

Hi Josiah. Have you changed your diet? If you’re still following the Standard American Diet, no amount of HCL will help. We recommend you try a diet like SCD or our Solving leaky Gut program, which are more than just low-carb.
If you’re already following a diet similar to SCD or Solving Leaky Gut but still having problems,based on our experience many people need higher doses of HCL than they expect (as high as 5,000 mg). However, some people never feel the “warm” feeling in their stomach from HCL. In that case you need to rely go your GI symptoms to determine the right dose. 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. The minimum dose of HCL to be effective is best.

Adam June 26, 2015 at 9:35 am

I started taking Betaine-HCl/Pepsin 3 days ago and have had some weird side effects. Since starting HCL I have been waking up in the morning congested with dark puffy eyes each morning. A weird pimply thing appeared on my face too but it’s not a pimple… I’m really enjoying the digestion benefits, I immediately felt HCL working but I’m a little nervous by these side effects.

Mariel Heiss June 26, 2015 at 5:30 pm

Hi Adam, thanks for reaching out. You could be experiencing symptoms of die-off, which can occur when you make a big shift in your habits. You can read more about die-off here: http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/05/did-scd-gaps-or-paleo-make-you-feel-worse/ Another possibility is that you’re reacting to an ingredient, such as a filler, in the HCL you’re using. You can try a different brand of HCL Betaine to test this theory out.

Adam July 6, 2015 at 9:39 am

Thanks for the feedback, this website is amazing!

It has been a couple weeks now and I’m still taking Betaine-HCl/Pepsin. I haven’t switched brands yet but will on your suggestion. Should I try and find a pepsin free brand? My digestion issues have greatly improved so much so that I have been tolerating the side effects.

FYI I experimented yesterday, I took no HCL pills all day went to sleep and woke up 3AM with bloating as usual without HCL. I then took 1 HCL pill with water and within 30 minutes felt the sinus issues where the back of my eye sockets feel weird, it mess with my dreams and cause me to not fully sleep, then I woke up with dark puffy eyes and congested.

Mariel Heiss July 6, 2015 at 1:58 pm

Hi Adam, thanks for commenting!

When choosing a Betaine HCL supplement it’s important to choose one that includes pepsin. It’s assumed by the medical research that when supplementing with HCL you need to supplement with pepsin. That is why most Betaine HCL supplements you’ll find include it and Dr. Wright recommends it.

All the following brands are SCD Legal:

Now Betaine HCL

TwinLab Betaine HCL

Thorne Research Betaine HCL

You shouldn’t take Betaine HCl on an empty stomach or with a meal that doesn’t contain protein. You can read more here: http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/03/how-to-supplement-with-betaine-hcl-for-low-stomach-acid/

Adam July 6, 2015 at 8:32 pm

Thanks again for the feedback, I wasn’t sure about taking HCL on an empty stomach or not. It definitely helps my bloating when taken on an empty stomach which I don’t understand since there is no food in my stomach that needs acid to digest… I’ll just stick to taking with food for now.

Adam July 19, 2015 at 4:20 pm

I decided to try TwinLab Bentaine HCL from the list that you posted and have been taking the new pills for a week now. I haven’t had the negative side effects in my sinuses that I had with the other brand form my local health food store. Thanks for getting my on the right track.

Stacey June 21, 2015 at 10:25 pm

I’ve been taking betadine hcl after a naturopath recommended it to me. I have no appetite for meat, have been blessed with vitiligo and have never had heartburn in my life. I’m having a hard time with the dosage though. I’ve taken up to 10 pills at a time and still don’t feel the “burn”. Could it be that my stomach acid Is that low? Should I keep increasing my dose?


Mariel Heiss June 26, 2015 at 7:08 pm

Hi Stacey, thanks for commenting. 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, 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.

rebecca June 13, 2015 at 9:07 am

I have had digestive issues for years. I have tried slippery elm, probiotics, digestive enzymes , glutamine , been to numerous doctors had a hiatus hernia repair and then 6 months ago had my gallbladder out. The docs tell me I have too much acid but I tend to disagree. I wake every morning with nausea and decided to try hci today. I felt my heartburn go and my stomach discomfort. I hope this is a change for me and pray I can finally be normal. How long do I stay on them and do I need to do any gut healing products as well?

parafluie June 12, 2015 at 7:34 am

Since starting Betaine-HCl/Pepsin, the often annoying latchkey or running water urgency has become more acute and painful and sometimes causes mini-incontinence. It is more burning urgency than before. What does that indicate–too much, too little, wrong supplement? Thanks.

Mariel Heiss June 15, 2015 at 8:16 pm

This could be a few things. It may mean you’re using too much HCL. Try backing down one capsule per meal until the loose stool subsides. You could also have a sensitivity to an ingredient in the HCL you’re using. For example, a lot of HCL supplements contain pork ingredients, and you have a sensitivity to pork, that could be causing the diarrhea. You might also want to check out this article: http://scdlifestyle.com/2014/12/12-common-causes-of-diarrhea/

parafluie June 21, 2015 at 8:51 am

Urinary. No diarrhea and no sensitivity to pork. Stepping back from HCl but no change in the Latchkey / running water urgency.

Aisha May 7, 2015 at 2:26 am

Great article!! I can take hcl with major success but I keep reading about having to take pepsin with hcl. However whenever I do take hcl with pepsin added I get heartburn and my stomach swells. Does this mean i’m sensitive to pepsin? I’ve tried a couple of good quality brands. Anyone else been through this? Could it be I just have low stomach acid but my pepsin is ok?


Lori Jo Berg May 8, 2015 at 12:02 pm

Hi Aisha, go ahead and consume the HCl with out the pepsin and see how you do. If this works for you, then stick with that product vs the HCL with pepsin. You may not be consuming enough protein when you take the HCL with pepsin, so you can also try this route as well.

Shari April 23, 2015 at 11:05 am

Is Gastrazyme allowed on SCD?

Lori Jo Berg April 23, 2015 at 4:51 pm

Hi SHari, we are not familiar with this supplement, but you can do an ingredient comparison to check if it is SCD legal or not.

Matt April 20, 2015 at 7:58 pm

Hi, I’ve been taking omeprazole for a little over a year and a half now and am really wanting to be done with it. My last few attempts have failed, and I realize I need to ween off it slowly. I want to use HCL supplements to take the place of omeprazole, but is it dangerous to take them at the same time? One is acid, the other blocks it. Is it safe to take HCL as I slowly ween off omeprazole? I feel like the natural treatment should already be in place as I get rid of the artificial one.

Lori Jo Berg April 21, 2015 at 2:30 pm

Hi Matt, we highly recommend you work iwth a trained professional in your case, as we are unable to give medical advice: http://scdlifestyle.com/practitioners/

Nicole April 15, 2015 at 3:48 pm

I read that pepsin supplements are not vegetarian (they are derived from the lining of pig stomach). If I can only take the HCl without pepsin, will I still get some benefits? Are there vegetarian alternatives?

Lori Jo Berg April 16, 2015 at 4:57 pm

Hi Nicole, we only suggest taking Betaine HCL when you are consuming adequate amounts of protein. I am unaware of a vegetarian option for this, but please do review this article on supplementing with betaine for future reference: http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/03/how-to-supplement-with-betaine-hcl-for-low-stomach-acid/

liane April 14, 2015 at 8:46 am

Can anyone tell me if Lialda is a corticosteroids (e.g., Prednisone), aspirin, Indocin, ibuprofen (e.g., Motrin, Advil), or other NSAID? They say it’s mesalamine, but unfortunately, I don’t know what that means. I started taking Betaine, but am wondering if I’m doing more harm than good.

Cindy Ostrom April 8, 2015 at 10:35 am

BTW…I am on the leaky gut program but still at the healing constipation phase. Thx

Cindy Ostrom April 8, 2015 at 10:33 am

I need help with HCL. At one point I was up to 10 HCL with protein meals and no burning or discomfort. Then I read that you never really need more than about 5. With leaky gut, I would assume taking all of this acid could hurt me rather than help in the long run plus I am now having trouble swallowing them for some reason. The other day they got stuck in my throat and I was choking. Any other options? How about using ACV before meals instead or digestive bitters? I would really like your thoughts on this. I know how to test by increasing a pill etc and was told about 20 years ago that I have low stomach acid so I know it is an issue for me most definitely. Thank you.

Lori Jo Berg April 9, 2015 at 9:57 am

Hi Cindy, 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 including 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 peat sakes go get more testing to figure out what is going on!”

You can view the full article here: http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/03/how-to-supplement-with-betaine-hcl-for-low-stomach-acid/

Dee March 23, 2015 at 1:45 pm

I have been having break out of hives every time I eat. It’s worst at night. I can’t go without antihistamine before every meal. I am so frustrated with this lifestyle. I only eat greens and seafood. I don’t eat any meat. I was diagnosed with endometriosis, it’s very painful. I think I have candida so I don’t eat anything with sugar. Even with my diet change and juicing I am still breaking out. I am convinced I have leaky gut. Do you think I will benefit if I started taking Betaine HCL with pepsin? I need a miracle.

Lori Jo Berg March 25, 2015 at 9:41 am

Hi Dee, it is worth a try, as low stoamch acid can cause all kinds of symptoms. We also suggest getting on a diet to heal the gut and this is a great place to start: solvingleakygut.com

Amanda March 9, 2015 at 7:20 pm

After taking omeprazole and protonix(not at the same time) for a about 6 weeks in the fall – I developed extremely dry and weak hair and right after starting protonix I started bloating – not distension – just a tight feeling that has not gone away. This has been since December. It was so tight at one point that I couldnt’ even take a deep breath. Has anyone else experience anything like this? I’m assuming it’s from my stomach acid being lowered too much? I started Swedish bitters a week ago – the tightness has eased up a lot but still having some bloating. anyone have any experience using bitters? I read it can take some time to completely get rid of symptoms. I tried hcl at first but just didn’t want to take all of the pills LOL

Lori Jo Berg March 11, 2015 at 4:31 pm

Hi Amanda, it sounds like you need to do a few things here. First off, address your diet with the SCD diet or something similar: http://scdlifestyle.com/scd-quick-start-guide/ Secondly, you may benefit form testing your HCL levels: :http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/03/how-to-supplement-with-betaine-hcl-for-low-stomach-acid/

Renee Henry February 23, 2015 at 1:44 pm

Does anyone know of a brand of HCL with Pepsin that makes the capsules very small? I need to take it but I can’t swallow huge pills! Thx

Liz February 19, 2015 at 11:13 am

I have rheumatoid arthritis and react to dairy with an RA flare. I weaned myself off Nexium and started taking the Betaine HCL. It triggered a really bad flare. Are there any non-dairy options? Thanks!

Lori Jo Berg February 19, 2015 at 11:14 pm

Hi Liz, thanks for reaching out! Please try the Thorne Research brand, as this does not contain dairy.

Kristi February 3, 2015 at 10:47 am

I take curcumin supplements daily and recently started betaine HCL also. I read that betaine HCl should not be taken with anti-inflammatory drugs, but what about with curcumin as a natural anti-inflammatory supplement? Am I causing more damage than good?

Lori Jo Berg February 4, 2015 at 2:18 pm

Hi Kristi, thanks for reaching out! Usually, this warning pertains to NSAIDS, like aspirin, IB Profuen, etc. However, it is best to consult with your physician about any questions you may have.

Jennifer February 1, 2015 at 2:28 pm

I started taking HCL and had some unexpected positive results. Within 2 days, the stuffy nose and full ears I’ve had for over 4 years started to clear up! (perhaps low acid = open les and congesrion so more acid = closed les) Woohoo! Cant wait to see if my dental health improves. Years of emergency room visits and doctors appointments kept telling me to reduce acid with omepr. and it’s sites like this that are really helping people challenge traditional thought and get to the root cause of problems. Thank you!!

Aprille January 26, 2015 at 10:34 pm

HELP! I’ve been taking ungodly amounts of Zantac (150 mg) each day for the past several years and by ungodly I mean 4-5 150 mg pills two or three times a day. And when those didn’t work I would have to do a PPI -ridiculous I know-but it’s the only thing that was working-until recently I noticed that my stomach constantly had a gnawing burn right below the breast bone, constant bloating and burping after meals and the works. I have cut my zantac usage to two pills a day and have been doing 4 Hcl w Pepsin with most meals that are higher protein and then 1-2 with snacks with no issues. I am also taking gastrazyme and super enzymes with meals as well. So I can tell they are working because I am not getting the burn right after I eat a big meal but I AM still getting the knotted gnawing lumpy feeling burning right below my breast bone and feels like it’s in my throat a couple of hours after I eat. Should this reflux’y’ feeling eventually go away (for good) with continued regular use of these supplements or am I missing something? I just feel like the supplements are only.keeping me pain free for a few hours and then the reflux is right back. Any help or advice is greatly appreciated!

Lori Jo Berg January 27, 2015 at 2:08 pm

Hi Aprille, thanks for reaching out! It is necessary to address these underlying issues with dietary changes in addition to supplements and lifestyle changes. We suggest starting with a diet such as the SCD diet or our Solving leaky gut program to work on the dietary part first. If you are interested, you can read more here: solvingleakygut.com

Marco January 22, 2015 at 11:37 am

Hello again! I just worlen myself up to 22 pills of 325mg solgar with pepsin.. nothing major happened besides had to run to the toilet in middle of dinner.. lose.. then abit dizzyness but also not major at all.. no burning sensation anywhere yet. Do i dare take more? Regards

Brent Kovacs January 22, 2015 at 4:58 pm

Hi Marco, thanks for reaching out! Sorry to hear that you’re having a difficult time. Keep in mind that just because you can take that many pills without burning, doesn’t mean it’s necessary. Perhaps, give some of the brands we recommend a try: Like Thorne or NOW. Additionally, keep in mind that you might have some root causes that only proper testing can show and if you want help there, we recommend working with a skilled Functional Medicine Practitioner like those here: http://scdlifestyle.com/practitioners/

Marco January 23, 2015 at 5:57 am

Hi. Thank you for the reply! Much appreciated. Yes I will def. try the other brands and also would love to get professional help.. I live in Finland and hope it will work for me to work from here. I will check it all out. Cheers!

Marco January 22, 2015 at 7:12 am

Hi everyone! I am asking for guidance. Ive been dealing with candida and eczema and realize that i am not digesting properly.. the eczema has been quite severe and maybe due to leaky gut aswell? I feel they are all linked. I seem to get the candida in control but only off and on but the eczema continues. I notice that when I eat I get bloated and belch food smells all the time and super gasy aswell. I cant even drink a green smoothie without feeling getting like this. Sometimes even if I only drink chaga pr take a spoon of manuka honey i still belch. So started trying 325mg with pepsin. I took with my breakfast 11 pills of these and NOTHING. Still belch and bloated and no burning sensation at all. Whats recommened? Do I dare increase the dos? Any reply much appreciated. Best Regards

Dan January 19, 2015 at 5:39 pm

I’ve taken betaine HCL (w/pepsin) for years, until about 10 days ago. While it seemed like it was helping my digestion, in the long run, turns out it was not.

Adding a lot of chloride to one’s system causes it to become very acidic, which will then deplete minerals in an effort to alkalize the body. I wish I had known this 7-8 years ago.

So I disagree w/Dr. Wright — taking that much betaine HCL is not a good idea, at least not for more than perhaps a year or so. It’s important to address the causes of low stomach acid, rather than applying a bandaid that may only make things a lot worse.

Also, I’d be curious if you have a reference or study that shows that bitters “can restore normal stomach acid production in some cases.”

Thank you.

Lori Jo Berg January 19, 2015 at 5:48 pm

Hi Dan, thanks for reaching out! You are correct in that we need to address the underlying causes of low stomach acid first to get to the root of the issue. Secondly, we should be addressing low HCl with diet and lifestyle changes as well to effectively restore the balance.

Jen December 28, 2014 at 8:59 pm


I’m experimenting with the correct dosage of HCl and I’ve read the HCl guidelines article (thanks for that info). I’m curious if the “burning feeling” of too much HCL could also feel like slight heartburn and not just a warm stomach sensation?

Also – are Steve or Jordan located in Boulder, CO and available for new clients?

Thanks – this website has been very helpful


david December 16, 2014 at 9:55 am


My name is David and I had taken PPi’s for about 3 years off and on never really gave me much relief. I then decided to try the betaine hcl in January and worked very well for me until about July. 4-5 capsules is what worked well. In July everything came back and I started to have bad throat symptoms again. I have not gotten it under control since. Can you build up a tolerance to these or a certain brand? I tried to lower my dose thinking maybe i didnt need as much anymore but that did not help. I have the lpr problems in my throat no heartburn if that helps. Can you build up a tolerance and possibly need to take more to help me out? Can you build up a tolerance to the brand i was taking? Thanks!

Lori Jo Berg December 17, 2014 at 10:35 pm

Hi David, thank you for reaching out! It sounds like you may need to experiment with increasing the dose of the HCl pills. Secondly, you may have some additional things going on and it is always best to consult with a trusted practitioner to help you with these health decisions. If you are in need of one, you can search here: http://scdlifestyle.com/practitioners/

alexa December 12, 2014 at 7:48 pm

Does one have to go on taking HCL for life or is there a time when one can stop after ramping down? Does the body learn to make it eventually?

Lori Jo Berg December 13, 2014 at 3:57 pm

Alexa, thank you for reaching out! Yes, the goal is to eventually have your body begin to product the proper HCL. You may begin to feel some uncomfortable symptoms, such as a slight burning, and this can be a sign for you to back off by 1 pill.

sharon casale December 12, 2014 at 2:06 pm

how do I find a practictioner who knows about low stomach acid?

Lori Jo Berg December 12, 2014 at 3:36 pm

Hi Sharon, thank you for reaching out! You can find a trusted practitioner here: http://scdlifestyle.com/practitioners/

phil November 18, 2014 at 2:26 pm

hi everyone , I am 62 years old and have had acid reflux, diarrhea, bloating for over 20 years. I had to plan restroom stops on just short trips on 50 km. I could not eat hot dogs, ketchup, mustard, onions at all. After most meals at restaurants I had to find a restroom within 20 mins or I would be in serious trouble. I would buy tums, alka selzer, have prescriptions from doctors who diagnosed me with to much stomach acid and would take these for years. When I thought I was having a heart attach (probably 6 times) I would go to the hospital to find out it was severe acid reflux. They would give me a pink lady and send me home. My wife was reading the book from Suzanne Somer (sexy forever) and in the book they described the low stomach acid (hydrochloric Acid) and there is a supplement, Bentine HCL . I started taking it a month ago and the first time I took it I could tell the difference with my system. I take 3 pills (500mg each) at every meal. It is amazing, I feel so good, I can eat anything with no acid reflux and absolutely no diarrhea. This is magical for me and especially my with as she now can cook foods that used to give me a rough time on a regular basis. I can now enjoy a $1.49 hot dog at Costco. I can not believe Doctors could not steer me in the right direction with this problem. by prescribing antacids they were making my problem worse.

Michelle November 15, 2014 at 2:38 pm

Hi, I’m 36, and I have suffered with indigestion for years now.
I have also had extreme uncontrollable fatigue or tiredness since I was a young child, now my daughter, 10, has had the same problems. I recently noticed that I have a lot of the symptoms of low acid after reading an article in the local paper in October. I had 2 in depth sleep studies earlier this year and they found nothing wrong, so my doctor decided that I must be depressed and put me on an antidepressant that didn’t help so she put on another type of antidepressant in which I still haven’t had any symptom relief of my tiredness and I’m quite frustrated. I really don’t feel like I need to be on an antidepressant. I feel like my doctor has let me down by not doing more tests or research and that she’s taking the easy way out of helping me.
My question is, can I take HCL with Pepsin or something like it with an antidepressant? and how old should one be before starting it? Please Help, if you can! Thank you!!

Lori Jo Berg November 15, 2014 at 11:22 pm

Hi Michelle, thank you for reaching out! It is necessary for you to speak with your doctor regarding any concerns you have in taking betaine HCL.

ruth October 11, 2015 at 10:21 am

with all those tests, have you been tested for hypothyroid or Hashimoto’s? If not, I would recommend you asking your doctor to check TSH, T4, T3 AND Thyroglobulin Antibodies as well as Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies (TGA and TPA) … I went through the entire gamut of indigestion, weight gain, fatigue, no energy, sleepiness and no get-up-and-go; was also diagnosed with depression and given anti-depressants, none of which helped. I finally ended up (thankfully) with an alternative holistic MD, who ordered those tests and was found out to have Hypothyroid as well as Hashimoto’s, which is an auto-immune dis-ease. I know it’s getting frustrating, but perhaps you will find some answers if you have your thyroid checked…

Ruel Aquino November 14, 2014 at 5:52 pm

Hi, I just started taking Betaine HCL tablets for my acid reflux and they seem to work, relieving me of my frequent throat clearing due to post-nasal drip. I’m just wondering, how long are you suppose to take it for? Do you taper it prior to discontinuing? Thanks

Lori Jo Berg November 15, 2014 at 11:01 pm

Hi Ruel, thank you for reaching out. Once your body begins to make it’s own adequate HCL, you may start to feel a burning sensation with your current dose. It is then time to back off by one tablet and continue to do this until you no longer need to supplement with HCL.

Ruel Aquino November 25, 2014 at 6:54 am

I can’t find the Betaine HCl with pepsin, the pepsin (30mg) is being sold in a tablet incorporated with some digestive enzymes (Pancreatin 130mg, papain, ox bile extract and amylase)Does this mean that if I’m taking 4 tabs of Betaine HCl I also need to take the same number of pepsin tabs?
Thanks again

Lori Jo Berg November 26, 2014 at 2:08 pm

HI Ruel, thank you for reaching out. It is best to take the capsules that have both pepsin and HCL in them, so perhaps you can order them on amazon. WE suggest the NOW brand of HCL.

Ruel Aquino November 26, 2014 at 6:26 pm

For this particular product NOW and Thorne Betaine HCl, Amazon doesn’t deliver to the Philippines. Appreciate your advise. Thanks. Ruel

Alison Wall November 14, 2014 at 3:21 pm

Hi, I have a persistent nasty taste in my mouth and have visited all sorts of doctors who can find nothing wrong apart from a very slight hiatus hernia. I have now found that low stomach acid could be the answer. I found some info on the web to say that you can do a simple test which involves drinking sodium bicarbonate and seeing if you burp afterwards. Well, I drank and I didn’t burp at all. So maybe I need Betane Hydrochloride. I have tried to buy some today but it is not available and no one in London seems to have heard of it.
Can you give me some advice on where to purchase it and the sort of dose that I should take please.
Many thanks

Lori Jo Berg November 15, 2014 at 11:21 pm

Hi Alison, thank you for reaching out! This article will help you here: http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/03/how-to-supplement-with-betaine-hcl-for-low-stomach-acid/

ange November 14, 2014 at 6:01 am

Hi I just started talking betaine hcl with pepsin. I had horrible intestinal gas after taking 1. Kept with the increase of dosing at each meal to fund the correct dosage but I still have gas afterwards. My bloating had decreased significantly. Is it a common symptom to have intestinal gas when taking it or is it a sign to stop. I’m also on the gaps healing diet and supllementing with probiotics in the am and pm as I’ve noticed things have stopped working. Appreciate your advice

Lori Jo Berg November 15, 2014 at 11:20 pm

Hi Ange, thank you for reaching out! It is hard to say what is causing your gas pains, but we do suggest you are in contact with a trusted practitioner with any concerns you may have regarding these symptoms.

Zach October 21, 2014 at 3:03 pm

Been experimenting with Betaine HCL for a year. I can take it on an empty stomach and feel nothing. With a high protein meal I can tolerate up to 26 pills. I have never had reflux in my life, but definately have low stomach acid. It takes 20 pills of HCL to even have reflux and sometimes I will vomit. Could I be Achlorydic and needing a much higher dose. Some people report no response in digestion until much higher than the recommend maximum dosage. Any advice?

Lori Jo Berg October 22, 2014 at 7:22 am

Hi Zach, thank you for reaching out! It would be a great idea to work with a practitioner, as it is always a good idea to have somebody help lead you on this journey and oversee your health decisions. If you are in need of one, you can search here: http://scdlifestyle.com/practitioners/ As the article says, many will need to take a high dose of HCL and we encourage you to keep finding that right dose and sticking with the process.

Claire October 12, 2014 at 10:38 am

Hi why is that people with candida or microbe bacteria have low stomach acid but the SCD states that we can digest protein ok. But people with low stomach acid do not have enough acid to digest protein properly…can ayone help with this, i just don’t understand.

Lori Jo Berg October 13, 2014 at 9:50 pm

Hi Claire, thank you for reaching out! While the SCD diet recommends meat to heal the gut, this does not necessarily mean that everyone can digest meat perfectly and this is why we direct people to test their HCL levels. As you have mentioned, this is a very important part to digestive health and specifically, the digestion of meat.

melissa October 3, 2014 at 10:14 pm

I just started taking HCL with pepsin. When I take one pill I get gas and stomach gurgling. Also some slight nausea. Is this normal in the beginning?

Lori Jo Berg October 5, 2014 at 5:33 pm

Hi Melissa,

Thank you for reaching out! We suggest reviewing the article on how to supplement with Betaine HCL:
How and what Betaine HCL to supplement with:http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/03/how-to-supplement-with-betaine-hcl-for-low-stomach-acid/

Sara October 1, 2014 at 2:23 pm

I took one betaine HCl with pepsin with food and became extremely ill. Within an hour I vomitted twice (no food, just bile) and then experience severe dry heaving. No stomach pain or discomfort just extremely nauseous and overall feeling horrible. What does this mean?

Lori Jo Berg October 9, 2014 at 6:50 pm

Hi Sara, we would suggest that you refrain from any more HCL tablets at this time and consult with your physician. If you do not have one, you can find one here: http://scdlifestyle.com/practitioners/

Chris September 15, 2014 at 11:27 pm

Jordan, Lori, or Brent a few questions. I’ve got pretty bad GERD right now and severe motion sickness at times.

1. I feel nauseous in the mornings when I wake up, should I be taking Betaine at night? The above guide says to not take it on an empty stomach, namely right before bed, so I am unsure of how to proceed.

Should I avoid it in the evening? Or should I take 1 pill and try it out? Or should I eat a little protein and take it right before I sleep? I’m tempted to do it and if I feel bad, take baking soda.

2. If I have taken 2 pills at 650 mg with Pepsin (I am using the NOW brand) and still get nausea after meals, along with burping, that means that I should be taking more pills right? The other page indicated that 5-7 is normal.

On that note, I will be switching to a brand with 325 mg of Betaine HCL with 82 mg of Pepsin, so I guess I should double the pill recommendations. That works out to 10-14 I guess. In a way, the 325 mg version may be better as it allows for more “fine tuning” if an odd number is best. It’s the Swanson brand.

3. After a meal, if I get nausea or the intense desire to use the bathroom to excrete, and my stomach is full, should I take another capsule? Sometimes, I find myself burping after meals. I am trying to fine-tune my intake.

4. I’ve been eating lots of salt as well – in an attempt to give my body more chlorine. Is this a good idea?

5. I frequently feel very thirsty – I will be trying to get my hands on some bone broth (going to be getting some next weekend). Should I be drinking water a lot? I’m afraid I will dilute my stomach even more if I drink water.

Thanks a lot.

I’ve order some Prescript Assist, and I’ll report back on how that ends up. People have said good things about that probiotic and I’ve heard some people like the one from Klaire Labs one as well.

Lori Jo Berg September 24, 2014 at 4:36 pm

Hi Chris, thank you for reaching out! It would be best if you reviewed the article on how to supplement with Betaine HCL here: http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/03/how-to-supplement-with-betaine-hcl-for-low-stomach-acid/

The article gives specific directions on exactly when and how to start this process.

Natasha September 15, 2014 at 11:18 am

Very helpful article, thank you!

I seem to fit the symptoms for low stomach acid (after ruling out H Pylori and common food intolerances). What tipped me off – apart from bloating, gas, and antacids making my symptoms worse – is that enteric coated pills dissolve in my stomach. Their coating is designed to survive the acidic environment of the stomach, and only dissolve in an alkaline environment (i.e. your small intestine). However when I take enteric coated peppermint oil, I can feel the mint in my throat almost instantly.

I’ve just started taking Betaine HCL with Pepsin, 3 x 325mg per high protein meal. Today is Day 3. As soon as I take it, it makes me bloat badly! However, there is no burning sensation so I don’t believe I’m overdoing it with the acid. Is bloating normal at first? Has anyone else experienced this?

Chris September 16, 2014 at 1:03 pm

Hey Natasha,

I find that when I eat betaine capsules, for a few minutes, I get nausea. I don’t get bloating, but nausea. Then it subsides, and I can eat normally.

When I eat, I no longer experience any bloating.

Now here’s the scary part. You might need more than 3 capsules. Try adding 1 more capsule a day and seeing if the bloating intensifies or if it gets better. Everyone seems to be different.

Natasha September 16, 2014 at 5:08 pm

Thanks for your reply Chris! I increased my dose with each meal to see what would happen, and got up to 8 x 520mg capsules (switched to a higher concentration brand). No burning, just increased bloating. I don’t think I can handle trying any more capsules, or I just might pop! It’s so bad I can’t breathe, and doesn’t subside for hours. Anything I eat afterwards also makes the bloating worse.

Hmm, there must be something more to the story… Will definitely post back here if I get to the bottom of it. Glad it’s working for you!

Brent Kovacs September 18, 2014 at 1:10 pm

Hi Natasha,

Is the brand you are using contain pork derivatives? Are you sensitive to pork or have an allergy? Just a thought.

Natasha September 19, 2014 at 6:00 am

Hi Brent,

Thanks for your suggestion! I use Thorne Research which is indeed derived from a porcine source, however I definitely don’t have a pork allergy (or any known allergy to anything). I’m quit a big pork fan. Mystery!

Update in terms of my stomach acid: I did a Gastro String Test after stimulation with a protein meal, and the pH colour indicated a neutral environment: pH7 on a scale of 0 – 13.

You’d think the acid would be helping me! My sleuthing continues…

Nat December 9, 2016 at 6:23 am

Hi Natasha,
This is a really old thread, but I’ve just started with Betaine HCl and your reactions reflect mine, so I’m wondering if you learned anything or had anything work for you since 2014?
My usual IBS symptoms are chronic constipation and major, essentially permanent bloat. I also have GERD. Baking soda test gives no burps, PPIs seems to make things worse, but so far, I haven’t felt any difference taking Betaine HCl, except more and more bloating. I can also take 9 with no burning.

Lori Jo Berg December 9, 2016 at 4:32 pm

HI Nat – taking HCL is a great start but you’ll need to change your diet as well..http://scdlifestyle.com/scd-quick-start-guide/ You can also incorporate some of these constipation tips: http://scdlifestyle.com/category/constipation/

Katrina September 12, 2014 at 5:19 pm


I have been suffering for almost two years with chronic belching and constipation the main problem is my sensitive gut! I have tried everything possible but i can’t seem to conquer what is causing my belching after food.. I can’t swallow capsules or pills so would it be as effective if I took digestive bitters?

Lemonade sometimes helps with soothing the gas in my stomach at times and aloe vera juice and fennel seeds.. However when I suffer bad nothing seems to work!! 🙁

I feel very helpless at the moment :/

Any guidance/advice would be much appreciated.

Thank you


Brent Kovacs September 15, 2014 at 2:42 pm

Hi Katrina,

Thanks for reaching out! Sorry to hear that you’re having such a difficult time right now. Digestive bitters are good… go ahead and give them a try. Apple cider vinegar helps too.

Have you tried swallowing your pills/capsules with your food? This works really well for me as they slide right down and eliminates the need to drink large amounts of water during or right after a meal.

Hope that helps!

Sandra September 9, 2014 at 4:37 pm

If I am taking hydrocortisone will Betaine hcl harm me? What are the side effects?

Lori Jo Berg September 9, 2014 at 6:20 pm

Hi Sandra, thank you for reaching out! This question is best addressed by your physician, as we have seen people react differently. If you are in need of one, please view this page here: http://scdlifestyle.com/practitioners/

Taylor September 2, 2014 at 2:19 pm

Thank you so much for this amazing information. I just started the diet and I’m seeing results already. Taking out sugars, raw veggies, and carbs have done wonders. I’ve been advocating the diet to anyone and everyone lately!
What I don’t understand though is that I was able to digest salads just fine before I was put on prilosec but now if I even have one bite of a raw vegetable, I get severe bloating/aching. But the chicken soup recipe is digested great. My question is, will my gut improve over time to be able to digest raw vegetables again or is hcl needed? I’m sure the whole time my problem was lack of stomach acid despite the guessing game of the doctors.

Lori Jo Berg September 2, 2014 at 10:30 pm

Hi Taylor, thank you for reaching out! The overall goal is for the gut to heal and for you to be able to taper down on the HCL. As your gut begins to heal, you will need less and less of the HCl supplements. You are doing a great job!

melissa September 1, 2014 at 12:09 am

Hi, this is such a helpful site, thank you! I began taking HCL about a week ago so I haven’t figured out my perfect dosage yet. I also take DGL before my meals and a pro-biotic. I am worried because I my bm’s are irregular now. first I had trouble going (constipated) then I had 1 super bm and now I think I am constipated again. I drink plenty of water. Today is what worried me most, I believe I saw blood in my stool. Not the kind from hemorrhoids (I suffered from that 9 years ago with my 2d child). This seemed to be different. I am not currently having hemorrhoids. I do have a doc appt but its 2 weeks away and then I will still need a referral with a gastroenterologist which will take more time. should I stop taking the HCL??? maybe just take less of it? I was on omeprazol for about 3 months then I stopped and my symptoms got much worse-thats when I found this site and started the HCL etc. Please help!

Lori Jo Berg September 2, 2014 at 10:53 pm

Hi Melissa, thank you for reaching out! It seems as though you need to look into a diet to heal your gut for the issues you are experiencing. It is also a great idea to work with a practitioner so they can help you with your health decisions. As far as the HCL goes, we have seen great results with people finding the correct dosage and sticking with it.

Laura August 15, 2014 at 11:57 am

Hi- If I’m eating a whey or brown rice or Vega protein shake for breakfast that has 15-30g of protein, do I need to still take this with my shake? Is it only anminal protein I need to take it or any protein?

Brent Kovacs August 15, 2014 at 12:35 pm

Hi Laura, thanks for reaching out! If you’ve already started SCD, we suggest to wait about 30 days to begin testing any protein powders. They all fall into a grey zone so you are going to have to test them for yourself. You definitely want to find a safe zone before adding in any of these questionable foods, though. As for taking Betaine HCl, our articles and research is based on eating meat-based protein sources.

Howard July 30, 2014 at 10:44 am

Hi, I have a small hiatus hernia, mild gastritis and multiple diverticular in my colon. I do not have heartburn/gerd and never had diverticulosis – my only symptoms are a sluggish bowel and extreme bloating that doesn’t alter with/without food and any number of alternative meds I have chosen. I am not gluten intolertate or have H P. My doc thinks it’s anxiety, but I’m not sure though the only time I do ‘de-bloat’ is on holiday when I usually eat/drink myself silly. I’ve read that any one of the three issues first mentioned can cause bloating, but which of the three is the main culprit I do not know. I’m now building up my HCL/Pepsin pills, up to 4 now with each protein meal with no obvious benefits yet. Am I doing the right thing or is there something else I should try? Thanks.

Lori Jo Berg July 31, 2014 at 1:47 pm

Hi Howard, thank you for reaching out! It sounds like you are off to a good start, but we do suggest finding the right diet that works for you. The best place to start is our Free quick start guide that can be found here: http://scdlifestyle.com/scd-quick-start-guide/ Please let us know if you need any further assistance.

Dale July 27, 2014 at 7:23 pm

Jordan & Steve
Thank you for the very informative article. I have been on omeprazole for longer than I care to admit and Im very angry with my doctors (for numerous reasons) for refilling my scripts for so long. I had NO clue that so many other ailments could be caused by improper gut pH. Thats another issue.
My question is concerning NSAIDs and HCL. Does Dr. Wright assert that NSAIDs and HCL are 100% incompatible at all times or rather they be taken at widely different intervals. I was taking at least 1 800mg Ibuprofen per day for severe back pain.
Have you heard of any interaction problems with tramadol (ultram) and HCL ? thank you.

Jordan Reasoner August 18, 2014 at 1:16 pm

Hi Dale, thanks for reaching out!

He doesn’t say that they are completely incompatible in his book “Why Stomach Acid is Good For You.”

He says work with a practitioner because he’s seen it be very helpful, but there are risks.

suzannejackson June 23, 2014 at 6:50 am


Can Someone tell me how long you have to use the Betaine HCL before you feel a benefit, is it immediately after the first meal or does it take a few days – weeks?


Alexandre Gauthier June 20, 2014 at 9:11 pm

Hi Thank you for your Post ! It is better to take Betaine HCL 2hours After Meals Or Before Eating? I Feel Better by Taking them At the start Of The Meal. From Now Betaine + Probiotics + Reducing Grains Helped me alot in general. More Energy And I Gained Pounds it Very Impressive How It Works !

Bear June 18, 2014 at 3:16 pm

Hi Jordan,

I eat mostly vegetarian, but I think with the split peas, black beans, egg whites … I eat that I am over the 15 g threshold per most meals. I take enzymes for the carbs but still feel like my food sits heavy in my stomach for a long time, so should I try HCL supplementation?


Sami June 11, 2014 at 11:44 am


I am really hoping someone can help me. I really want to try hcl with pepsin, but I am not sure where I fit in. I do not eat meat and I understand where pepsin is derived from. I am okay with that, but I still don’t want to eat meat in a meal. So, a couple of questions about how and if I can take it.
1) Do you only take it when you are having either a high fat meal or a meal with minimum 15g of protein?

2) The whole NSAID thing – What about for someone who takes Advil occasionally for headache/migraine. I never take Advil on an empty stomach as it is, but I am not a daily NSAID user. Can I still take HCL and if so, can I still take Advil when needed?

3) I have only been back on the PPI for a few weeks. Is it best to stop the PPI before trying HCL?

I really hope someone can help me – I am also looking into histamine intolerance/leaky gut. As it is I just started liquid fish oil and glutamine. I am about to try histDAO and Goldenseal Root (Berberine) recommended by a functional medicine doctor.


Kay June 24, 2014 at 12:31 am

Hi Sami,

I have been suffering from histamine intolerance and leaky gut as well. I have found this blog to be way helpful and ever since I have followed her plan I have been feeling much better. Hope this helps


Laura June 9, 2014 at 10:13 pm

Sorry, a beaten raw egg white…half of teaspoon every ten minutes. My pains slowly disappeared . Then two days after I started on warm marshmallow root tea.it will heal mucosa of the stomach and other affected membranes . I hope it will work For you too. I thank God that I have no pains today,a week away from the burn. For those ready to try it, I encourage you to start on Betaine HCL with a pinch or less, increasing the dosage. Good luck and I hope this helped. Thank you.

Laura June 9, 2014 at 10:02 pm

I had my stomach pain of death last week after trying just less of half of Pepcigen. Ooooh my God, it is terrible! However, after a day of suffering decided to start small amounts of a beaten egg wh

user June 4, 2014 at 12:15 pm

What about the atrophy aspect of this? Has anyone of you been able to taper off taking those Betaine HCL capsules/tablets (i.e. has anyone of you had your digestion permanently improved at least a bit)?

Heather June 3, 2014 at 9:42 am

I’ve been having stomach issues since I was 16. My childhood was very stressful. Ive seen a doctor throughout the years. First it was IBS, then it was GERD… they tried giving me medicine that inhibited stomach acid in the morning since that’s when most of my stomach pain and nausea occurred. Overtime, I found that a cup of coffee eased my discomforts. Everyone kept telling me that I needed to stop. But medicines, anti-acids just made my condition worse. I don’t trust doctors. They see me for 1 minute and tell me to come back at a later date. I am not rich… and my insurance is crap. I live in an area where it’s difficult to find a good doctor. So I feel quite stuck.

I started to do more research on why coffee made me feel better. My original thought was that perhaps the coffee triggered stomach secretions, that I apparently needed. And eventually stumbled onto the fact that most people are misdiagnosed with having too much acid when really, they don’t have enough. I feel that I have a keen sense of what’s going on in my body, which previously saved me when my appendix started to go bad. So I guess, I just trust my senses on that front. Anyways, I’d really like to try taking HCL supplements with the pepsin.

Considering my age, and the fact that I have been dealing with this issue for going on 11 years now. I’ve reached a point where I CANNOT even drink alcohol. I can have a beer, that’s about it. I’ve limited most foods that are spicy. Still get pretty bad heartburn at times. But you say that I need to take it with my meal… will this help me in the mornings, which is one of my main concerns? Also, would my digestive problems be why my body temperature always runs on the higher end? I sure do sweat a lot.

Laura June 9, 2014 at 10:14 pm

Heather, r u living in NY area or CT? Tks.

Enrique May 30, 2014 at 9:06 am

Hey Jordan and Steven,

Great article I had a question about Betaine HCI with Pepsin, I bought the Theory Research Brand of HCI and I took one pill with a protein rich meal and I got left lower back pain (around kidney area) but it did help with IBS, GERD, and nutrient deficiency problems. I get the lower left back pain when I consume beet root when that in mind I believe I have . The bottom line is does Betaine HCI or Pepsin have a high oxalates ingredient? And if so what can I take because the HCI did work with IBS symptoms. Thanks for all the info.

Nicole April 18, 2014 at 9:19 am

I am wondering if I am a candidate for HCL. I have my gall bladder removed and had reconstructive bile duct surgery.
I have been suffering for 20 years with:

– a great difficulty having complete evacuations. It tales me at minimum an hour to have a bowel movement, and that is with the aid of at least three suppositories and a variety of supplements/aids the night before (laxative teas, magnesium, Miralax, triphala, prunes, etc.)

– impactions a couple times per month.

– a reliance on a colon hydrotherapist. I get so ill that this is the only treatment that has ever helped me. My hydrotherapist believes that portions of my colon are quite large and that stool collects there. She also believes I have limited peristalsis. Even if I use multiple enemas, I cannot perform that magic that the hydrotherapist does.

– *** Terrible head, neck and upper back pain all on my right side. I have this pain when I am impacted and cannot relieve myself. I know hat this is directly correlated to the constipation as soon as I visit the hydrotherapist and she removed the stool, the pains either disappear or lessen dramatically. Doctors (I have seen MANY) are perplexed by this and say that there is not way that the pain can be related-I know that it is though.

– I have virtually no anal sensation. The way that I know that I have to use the bathroom is that I get the head, neck and back pain and feel a dull fullness in my lower abdomen.

I am quite desperate to find a solution. It’s difficult to get myself into work some days, and I really do not like living like this. I am otherwise healthy-a good weight, active (when I am able), and I eat a vegan diet.

Any input is appreciated.

Simone January 4, 2015 at 6:48 am

Hy Nicole! May be You suffer from a latent hypothyroidsm. This is quite possible with a vegan diet.

Chris April 17, 2014 at 4:29 pm

Hi, is there anyone around to answer some of the questions that have been asked recently? The heartburn one interests me ie, HCl seems to give me heartburn rather than abolish it. Thanks.

sue April 15, 2014 at 5:04 pm

hi … thanks for the article … can the stomach be “re trained” to produce an adequate amount of stomach acid with HCL supplementation over time? asked another way … is HCL supplementation a temporary situation or a lifetime situation?

Ali November 9, 2016 at 11:47 pm

Yes, as long as there is nothing in the stomach that will continue to inhibit acid production. Microbes like H. pylori lower HCL by generating excessive bicarbonate. Once they are dealt with, the stomach should revert to producing proper levels of acidity. Sometimes, all that is needed is a course of Betaine HCL tablets to kill off any unwanted microbes. At other times, further support may be needed in the form of mastic gum, probiotics, etc.

Justin April 14, 2014 at 4:48 pm

I take source naturals digestive enzymes, do you consider those scd legal there easy to get in my area and affordable. Thanks for any information keep up the good work.

Bruce April 13, 2014 at 11:23 am

I’ve been having issues with GERD for about a year. It started after I had been taking high doses of ibuprofen followed by a course of antibiotics. My doctor prescribed a PPI to me for several months, which seemed to help at first. But when I stopped taking the PPI my symptoms came back and were much worse. I’m back on the PPI now for a few weeks, but I am planning to ease off of it and try taking HCl supplements soon.

My question is if there is a particular period I should wait after stopping the PPI before starting the HCl? Or should I start the HCl immediately once I have stopped the PPIs?

Any help is appreciated! My symptoms only seem to be worsening, and I’m not sure what to do.

David April 11, 2014 at 10:15 pm

I Just started taking HCl this week and i have found it already to be a magic pill. I am doing what I read in a few articles. They say to start with one pill with a meal and then keeping adding one more pill each day to that meal until you feel burning and then the next day back off one less pill. I am up to 4 pills and no burn or bad effects. Is this a sign that I have really low amounts of acid? I am kind of anxious about going up to 5 or more pills. I am thinking of trying a disgusting fast food meal to really test it out.
So far I have eaten a few meals that would of doubled me over for hours afterward and I have no pain.. Thank you so much for sharing this info..

Alex April 11, 2014 at 8:57 pm

Hi I observed when I was eating Sauerkraut, pickles and any food like that before each meal My digestion was really better. So what do you think of that ? These food Raise Stomach Acid with fermented food.?

Ali November 9, 2016 at 11:38 pm

Cabbage juice, which is what sauerkraut essentially is, is a very good healing agent. It can help deal with any overgrowth of unwanted microbes in the stomach, which often inhibit stomach acid. Without that inhibition, the stomach will start to work properly and secrete the right level of HCL, etc.

Christine April 6, 2014 at 2:17 pm

Hi, I suffer a lot with bloating after meals and was diagnosed with low stomach acid. I started taking betaine HCL with pepsin a week ago and am already on 9 tablets a meal and have not felt that burning sensation yet. Do I keep on increasing the dose or stop at 9? I have also not seen a change in the bloating, how long does it take before the bloating starts to disappear?

Steph April 13, 2014 at 11:14 am

I’m taking that many as well and it’s been helping. It just seems like a lot.. But it’s the first time I’ve had relief in a long time

cliff barnes April 5, 2014 at 5:00 am


i have had h pylori and took two rounds of the antibiotics. blood work showed just trace suspects of it left but still have been suffering from acid reflux and bad stomach.

doc had me on dexalant and it did not seem to help. i ran across your article on low stomach acid and did the three day baking soda test that in theory pointed to low acid. picked up some hcl with pepsin before reading this article.

my question is if your taking a 81mlg asprin a day will this cause the negative affects mentioned in the article.

thanx cliff

Fredy Salinas April 2, 2014 at 12:21 pm

Hello, I got a bile reflux problem, the betaine treatment could helpme

Mary March 24, 2014 at 4:40 am

HCL capsules GAVE me reflux, and I had NEVER had reflux in my life until I tried HCL. I used the type that have pepsin. Took 2 with each normal meal, with the intention of working up slowly over the next few days, but by the third day, still at 2 per meal, I was having reflux. The reflux did not start until the third day.

Now I just take extra vitamin c, the acidic ascorbic acid type, with most meals, in case it is helpful. No reflux from that.

Long ago I had a “string test” done where the practitioner has you swallow a special string, and he pulls it back out of the stomach to test the acid levels. Mine were normal.

If someone actually does not have low acid, and that same person takes HCL, would that explain the reflux I got from taking the HCL…or perhaps the test long ago was incorrect

rob March 22, 2014 at 2:24 am

5-7 650mg tabs a meal????? that sounds dangerous to me1 I do th hydrozyme by biotics research. 150mg with 10g pepsin and they are strong,so im suspecting its the quality of the supplement here and not cheap,over strength low quality tablets. 7 650mg tabs in one sitting?…. jesus….nobody try that!

audrey March 3, 2015 at 10:53 am

I just started the biotics hydro zyme this a.m. I am very sensitive to everything!! but I have terrible bloating since perimenopause started in 2003. My doctor said to take one with each meal but I will start slowly. I took one with breakfast – plain yogurt. Within a few minutes got warming in stomach which continues an hour later. Is this normal. Could I cut the tablet in half and take it even more slowly? How are you doing on it?

Lori Jo Berg March 11, 2015 at 3:44 pm

Hi Audrey, thanks for sharing. I am not familiar with that specific product, but regardless, you must address your dietary needs first. We suggest starting with the SCD diet or something similar: http://scdlifestyle.com/scd-quick-start-guide/

From here, we highly recommend following the directions in the eBook for best results: http://scdlifestylebook.com/

Jaejae March 20, 2014 at 4:06 pm

I have taken one Hcl with pepsin 250mg just once a day with a meal. Yesterday I took one with a spaghetti meal and today have cramps and floating stools. Could this be caused from the Hcl being taken without protein?
If I eat tomato sauces, garlic or onion I get the food and acid sitting in my throat and burp chunks of food. (Sorry so gross) but I would appreciate some feedback.

Igor March 17, 2014 at 4:18 am

There is another reason not to take B HCL. If you have a duodenal ulcer. For those of you who have pain about an hour after a meal, you are most likely having a duodenal ulceration or inflammation of the lining. If you take Betaine HCL while suffering from a diodenal ulcer, it will most likely be contributing to even more pain. What I found helpful is taking capsular (not chewable) DGL (fructose free), right before a meal. It really helped me eliminate the “one-hour-after-a-meal” pain.

josh October 30, 2015 at 10:06 am

Hi, I have the same just wondering if you still took the Betaine HCL while taking the DGL? I have h-pylori but low stomach acid contributes to its growth meaning I can’t digest food anyway any help on how I can digest food?

Karen March 11, 2014 at 10:18 pm

I started taking HCl with pepsin, just one tab, once per day and my stools became very dark, almost black, which worried me that it might be from bleeding. I’ve stopped to see if that corrects it. Should I try bitters instead?


April Ogden March 3, 2014 at 12:34 am

Hi I am trying to work with the HCL dosage. Not even sure if I
Need it or not. Although I have most of the symptoms of low stomach Acid. I do take cortisone and checked with my do who said it was ok to try it. I took the
650mg it did give me a slight burn in my esophagus but my stomach felt good. Would this indicate that I need a lower dose or am I not taking enough. Heartburn is one of my main symptoms anyway, but this wasn’t actually a full heartburn but a feeling of heat? Thanks. April

Molly March 2, 2014 at 2:53 pm

Hey Jordan & Steven

Thanks for providing this information. It’s clear cut and extremely helpful. Your time is appreciated. A couple quick questions, if possible:

I eat plenty of fiber – in fact – a small amount of meat is in my diet, yet I am still having undigested food in stool. Given I’m not digesting, no matter whether protein is involved, is it ok to try the Betaine on my no meat meals?

When starting on the Betaine HCL (I’m on Thorne – 3 days), is gas & some bloating normal? Or, does that read as a too high or too low dosage. If so, which?

Is there a length of time that is average for noticing a difference?

Sarita March 2, 2014 at 6:43 am

Hi there,
*I have read on other websites that Hcl should be taken 30-45 mins after a meal so as to not disturb the alkaline environment needed for carb digestion – can you comment?
*Also, is Hcl needed at all for a carb meal? Eg, I’ve just eaten a couple of bread rolls with coconut oil (okay they were hot cross buns, but I don’t expect that to translate outside of the UK :-))
Thank you

Kay February 21, 2014 at 4:29 pm

Do I need to let stomach completely
heal after stomach surgery before
starting on HCL.
Thank you

Caroline February 19, 2014 at 10:46 am

I’ve had an endoscopy and been told I have gastritis ! Is it ok for me to take betaine HCL with pepsin ? I think I read it’s not recommended if you have gastritis ! I take slippery Elm .. But would like to take the Betaine HCL with pepsin ! I’d appreciate your advice as my Doctor just shrugged his shoulder when I asked him !! Many thanks .. Caroline

Daren February 17, 2014 at 11:08 am


2 years ago I was misdiagnosed by many western docs with the 2x a day pip protocol and my situation never got better. I was diagnosed with the really early stages of Barretts. Once I saw a natropathic doc, he introduced me to betaine hcl and things got back to normal. I have been taking 7x650mg at breakfast and dinner and had my 2 year endoscope today and was told the Barretts looks ok (no progression) but I have an ulcer that they want me to go back on Prilosec 2x a day 20mg for 8 weeks and come back. Needless to say, I do not want to go this route so I was curious what your thoughts were if I should stop the betaine hcl and pepsin and/or start the prilosec? Or wait to see if it’s H.Pylori causing this? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks again,

Nick E March 19, 2016 at 12:33 am

This is an old question, but my reply may help others in the future. Daren, I think chewing DGL licorice tablets as much as it takes for as long as it takes will help you beat the ulcers without taking acid suppression meds. Another very helpful supplement for ulcers is zinc carnosine, which heals the stomach wall.

Dana February 15, 2014 at 3:51 pm

Hi Jordan,

I recently started supplementing with HCL/Pepsin to see if it would help improve my Rosacea. The Paleo diet and probiotics alone have made a dramatic difference, which I assume could also have something to do with low stomach acid. I also take doxycline (100mg a day), but have been able to cut this dose in half with the addition of HCL. It’s pretty obvious I have some gut issues, but really have no other symptoms besides the Rosacea. I don’t need very much to notice a difference (3x250mg pills with a heavy protein meal), but I’m curious if there is a point when you shouldn’t take HCL anymore? Is this something I will need forever, or will my body start producing more stomach acid on its own? Also, any idea if the doxycycline and HCL together is a concern? I don’t want to over do it.

Thanks for your help!


Ben K. February 11, 2014 at 11:59 pm

Do know if anyone with a sliding hiatal hernia that has LPR reflux got results from HCL/pepsin or Digestives Bitters. I never get heartburn. Just continually cough up mucus. Thanks
Ben K.

Dennis Vause February 25, 2014 at 12:49 pm

Hi, I have just been reading that during silent reflux pepsin can be deposited in the airway and osophagus. This can cause inflammation and possible mucus build up. Drinking water re-activates the pepsin but alkaline water destroys it..I use enzymes tablets incorporating betaine hcl to combat low acid. This works well for me. However I have a hiatus hernia and think that acid migration during sleep has caused mucus build up in my airway. I am just going online to buy some alkalizing drops to see if drinking alkaline water will cure it.

Ashley December 14, 2014 at 12:46 am

Let me know how that works for you. I am experiencing the same symptoms plus constant coughing to try to clear the mucus feeling.

Chrys O'Chant June 9, 2015 at 5:42 pm

I’m using 200 mg guaifenesin and it’s helping a lot.

Ronald April 6, 2016 at 2:49 pm

Hi Dennis,

I have the same problem and yes when I drink the water it’s always worsen my symptoms. I have a constant sore throat and sometimes ear pain, it’s realy annoying. Could I ask you what enzymes do you use and alkalizing drops?
Thanks for any help

ALEXX.F June 12, 2014 at 9:56 am

BEN.K…it sounds like what i have ..Silent Reflux…I am just experimenting with bitters and hcl/pepsin…..just started a day ago…I will post what i feel when I get some results

JH February 9, 2014 at 1:56 pm

Does HCL destroy any digestive enzymes that are also being supplemented? Should HCL and digestive enzymes be taken at different parts of each meal?

Sairah February 7, 2014 at 11:21 am

HELP- what do you do if you’ve taken Betaine HCL when you didn’t have protein at a meal and your stomach hurts SO BAD?

Is there anyway to deal with the stomach ache of death once its already in motion?

I’m in it right now!

Jordan Reasoner February 7, 2014 at 11:42 am

Baking soda in water and chug it down. Follow the dosage on the baking soda box. It will mix with the acid and turn it into CO2… making you burp.

I know it really sucks… I’ve done that before to!


Daisy February 4, 2014 at 6:52 pm

I have low stomach because of drinking alcohol. I got an endoscopy done a month ago which showed only inflammation of the stomach. Prior to endoscopy I was diagnosed with GERD. So now that I know all of this and have begun my HCL treatment for the time being, what can I do in the long term??? Please help me with advice. Doctors want to keep giving me GERD but knowing how terrible they are, I want to avoid them.

Daisy February 6, 2014 at 2:44 pm

correction *GERD medication PPI

HENRI January 28, 2014 at 6:39 am

Hi Steven and Jordan,
Actually I am looking for which is the real casue of my condition of my degisitve sistem which from last January I got bloating,gas,and pain and diarrea not too much but today I am have a magnificent progres after keeping a diet of no gluten,and taking one month dosage of Matula tea to kill H-pylory as doctors told me to try PPI + triple antibiotiks nothing happened but as one year passed I am better with one trouble that I feel bloated and pain whne I push my stomach by hand also the three signs you mentioned for low stomach acid are evident to me.I dont feel good when I eat meat especially ?Experience gas 1-2 hours after eating??A heavy feeling in your stomach, like your food just sits there fermenting So one of my specialist involved at Matula team suggested me to try the soda test and after 5 min the burping comes out.
Do you think I have to try betaine hidrochloride with pepsin and get rid of this feeling?

Erin January 12, 2014 at 10:52 pm

I took betaine hcl at a fairly low dose (just 2-3 pills) and started feeling great. My constipation got much better. However, a few days ago I started having a constant gnawing, burning pain in my upper abdomen that reminds me of the pain I had from ulcers about 6 months ago. Could the betaine hcl have irritated where the ulcer used to be? I feel discouraged because things were going so much better! What do you recommend instead. Thanks for your help. Thanks for all you do!

Jon January 8, 2014 at 7:56 pm

Great Article!
I have been taking 6 hcl capsules with pepsin for 3 months and was hoping my stomach would start producing more hcl on it own by now but that has not happen.

When taking Hcl, on average how long does it take before the stomach will start producing more stomach acid on it’s own?

Which works better for retraining the stomach? digestive bitters or hcl?

Mark January 6, 2014 at 1:04 pm


I have Gerd,reflux and Hiatal hernia but do experience a lot of pressure and gas especially in my breastbone and rib area. WIll the SCD Diet be beneficial for me?, if so, I currently take a product called zypan which has HCL, pepsin and pancreatic enzymes, is this ok to continue when using the Intro diet and beyond?


Mark L. January 6, 2014 at 9:30 am

Hi Jordan or Steven,

I currently take a product called Zypan whcih has HCL,pepsin and digestive enzymes. It seems to help but I still have pressure of gas and burping especially near ribs breastbone. I do have a small hiatal hernia. Is it ok to continue with zypan if I start the Intro Diet for SCD? Most important, is the SCD diet good for someone with GERD,Hiatal Hernia and pressure, gas, burping ,etc. ???
Mark L.

Rebeccah January 4, 2014 at 1:33 pm

How about Betain HCL with Fenugreek? I have read not to take Fenugreek with Pepsin, should I scrap this HCL with Fenugreek for a HCL with pepsin? I feel this one really does help me digest protein! I am not rashing out like crazy when I eat meats anymore.

Arletta December 23, 2013 at 11:16 pm

I started taking Betaine HCl w/ pepsin. Don’t know why your article says most don’t have pepsin as I have not found one, yet, that doesn’t have it and I think I need to, because, from what I read, pepsin has something to do with upping your potassium levels and I have a real problem with potassium. It binds me up and makes me cramp up. I have too much of it in my system, for some reason.

Since I started taking the HCl, I got all the way up to 11 pills and there were no results- except for me getting queasy when I ate raw onions (around the time I was up to 4 pills). I’ve been a little gassy, abdomen distended, feet swollen, and in several days I have only had two very minor bowel movements.

When I ran (back) into this article, I was seeking information about the acidic value of Apple Cider Vinegar as compared to HCl, because, I know that drinking a little ACV in water often aids my digestion and helps me to actually have a bowel movement at some point within the course of whatever day I drink it.

Do you know anything about this?

Jessica Carroll December 11, 2013 at 6:36 pm

Thank you for this helpful blog!

I was diagnosed with H. Pylori in February of last year when I started to get heartburn for the first time. Prior to that I had never had any stomach problem or indigestion. I worked with a nutritionist to try and kill the bacteria naturally, but it didn’t seem to work. I took a varying combination of ACV, lemon juice, Probiotics, DGL, Slippery Elm, Marshmallow, Ginger, L-Glutamine, and Mastic Gum for nearly six months. It made my symptoms go away, but every time I stopped the regiment the heartburn and nausea came back within a week.

In September I gave in to my medical doctor and did the triple therapy approach to “kill” the h. pylori (2 antibiotics and prilosec for 2 weeks). Even though I know that I have cleared the h. pylori my symptoms are still bad. My doctor has now diagnosed me with “chronic heartburn” and said to take prilosec everyday. He even went as far as to say he didn’t think my hearburn was related to h. pylori. (I think I know more about h. pylori than my doctor.)

Through my process I have learned that taking the acid reducer will most likely keep the cycle of low acid (originally from the h. pylori) going and never address my root issue of low acid. I have begun the HCL/pepsin regiment with protein meals and it seems to be helping. I also began taking the slippery elm, marshmallow, ginger and l-glutamine again. My BIGGEST question is will taking the HCL eventually help my body produce more acid naturally, or is it just another band-aid? (I agree that it is a MUCH, MUCH better band-aid than prilosec, but I want my stomach to function properly on its own.)
ANY help is greatly appreciated.


Two days ago I

lana April 13, 2014 at 11:16 pm

I strongly recommend you check out Amy King’s blog. Google her name with “so happy I have h. pylori.” She followed a completely natural protocol but I don’t recommend you try to do what she did. Instead, read what she says, specifically, search for posts by “elena.” Read, read, read. Then contact Marcus Ettinger in San Diego. He can help you get rid of the biofilm, which is likely the crucial piece you’re missing. This bug can be cleared but you need to do it correctly or it will hide during your treatment and return when the coast is clear.
Good luck!!

Jessica Smith December 7, 2013 at 11:09 pm

I just started taking betaine HCL. I tried taking one pill, then went up to two. Both doses made me feel like I have a lump in my throat. Does this mean my stomach acid is not low? I also got some heartburn about an hour after eating, just like I would normally. I had to take tums to calm it down. Just trying to figure out if it means I’m not taking enough or that I don’t need it? Took PPIs for about 5 years for chronic heartburn.

Ali November 9, 2016 at 9:02 pm

A lump in the throat can be triggered by gas in the stomach, especially if there is a hernia. It pushes the stomach up through the diaphragm, which kinks the esophagus. I had this when I had loads of gas and a hernia. When both eventually went, so did the ‘lump’. As parasites like H. Pylori or worms etc., can trigger excess bicarbonate to keep stomach acid suppressed, taking extra acid could potentially trigger them into generating even more to neutralise it, thus generating lots of gas.

Anna November 15, 2016 at 3:21 pm

Hi Ali, What you did you do for the gas and hernia to go?

Ginny December 7, 2013 at 10:28 am


I’ve had a long history of indigestion. Started on Prevacid about 2 years ago. Then I started looking on the web for the best anti-SAD diet (Standard American diet). I found Natasha Turner, then Chris Kresser, then Paleo, and finally Paul and Shou-Ching Jaminet. So about 4 weeks ago I started on the Perfect Health Diet. At first, I found that I didn’t even need Prevacid so I skipped a few doses. Then the heartburn started coming back and I started to notice a return of pain/burning at this tender place about half way down my esophagus (where food can get stuck and it burns when I swallow bites too big or eat acidy foods like lemon and tomato).

So, currently I am sticking to the PHD and supplements, but I am restricting amounts and swallowing smaller bites of less acidy foods and I am intermittently fasting. Fasting helps a lot, but I can’t just avoid food altogether. Also just plain water causes burning reflux. I find myself avoiding drinking water because of this. It’s so strange that before this diet, when I was drinking Pepsi several times a day (fully loaded with caffeine and sugar), it never once caused me heartburn, but yet water does??? Have I trained my body to react better to foods that harm it?

I can’t swallow pills because they get stuck at that tender spot in my esophagus, so I have to crush pills and open capsules. Would this even be advisable to do with HCL/pepsin?

Doreen February 9, 2015 at 7:57 pm

I think its the acid In The Pepsi that helps your digestion when I was a total coke addict. I didn’t have so many of the acid issues. I was also taking omeprazole. Horrible stuff. Anyway now I only drink water and tea and have bad issues. I just took one hcl today and I don’t have acid or bloating. Its just a theory but I Think its low acid. I also have trouble with candida mostly oral thrush.

Chris December 1, 2013 at 2:35 pm

When speaking of number of pills, what mg are we talking about? I’ve been experiencing a horrible lump in throat feeling or a throat swelling feeling mixed with nausea on and off(really never off, just tolerable) since July. Drs thought it was anxiety and tried a variety of prescriptions for that (still taking Wellbutrin with no noticeable difference). I went to an ENT Dr and he thought maybe LPR. I feel the best when I’ve eaten fast food (French fries and sprite) which seems yo be counterintuitive to LPR….also I was given Xanax and that helps.

I got the NOW 648mg pills but I’m afraid if my acid levels are too high instead of too low, I’ll end up hurting myself worse. I took two with breakfast this morning but I didn’t really feel a “burn” and the feeling I did get was just a malaise type thing….didn’t last for more than 5 minutes. Is there a test I can make the doctor do to verify my stomach acid?

Mitch November 14, 2013 at 8:00 pm


Thank you for the information and support!

I suspect I have low acid as I seem to have a few of the symptoms above plus lack of energy.

I’ve taken HCL this week and it has improved my digestion somewhat and also helped balance my mood and energy (although still not to “normal” levels”).

I’m taking 10 per meal and still not feeling any discomfort (there is a slight feeling of something happening in my stomach, a good “tingle”, which seems like the pills are helping my digestion work).

My question is, if I’m taking this amount of pills, and even a few when I wake up without food, and STILL not having the “burning” negative sensation described on this site, should I take more? Is it possible I’m not taking enough?

Thanks for your work and dedication, it’s helping me understand and get closer to an answer about why I’m not feeling my best, and also giving me things to ask my doctor about.


Steven Wright November 15, 2013 at 1:09 pm

Hey Mitch – great question, there appears to be a group of non-burn responders (I’m one). I was able to take up to 20 pills w no sensation at all. For those who don’t feel it, it’s best to gauge everything by symptom change. In my case I got the same benefit at 7-8 pills as I did when I tried well above 10. And from talking with lots of colleagues it appears best to not stray higher than 10. Instead focus on finding benefits below 10 per day.

Erin June 9, 2014 at 2:25 pm

I think I am one of the non-burn people! I have taken 19 capsules with no burn. I don’t even have stomach issues but do have SIBO, parasites, candidia, allergies, eczema and very bright pink pee when I eat beets and no burp at all with the baking soda test. I am not really sure how many capsules to take….with so many I just feel a general malaise after every meal. Another question: can you take HCL with anti-depressant meds like Cymbalta?

Ali November 9, 2016 at 8:55 pm

I have a theory that some parasites may exude, or stimulate bicarbonates in the presence of higher levels if acid to keep it low. Do you get gas or burping when taking the HCL….?

Harps June 8, 2016 at 2:43 am

Thanks Steve. I got into bed tonight at 11pm feeling great after all this acv and hcl. It’s now 8 hours later and I havnt slept for a second. Things will get much worse for me today as I’m now going to have to keep myself awake for work
I did take 24 hcl tablets today, 8 per meal over 3 meals
Could it be that I have taken too much?
I have also had a lemon at every meal and also acv at every meal

Thanks in advance

Mariel Heiss June 8, 2016 at 7:41 pm

Hi Harps – you could have taken too much HCL. Heres how we suggest you use HCL: http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/03/how-to-supplement-with-betaine-hcl-for-low-stomach-acid/

If you’re using HCL you don’t need to also supplement with ACV at the same time

Darshil July 23, 2017 at 10:52 am

Hey Steve, I know this is way late after your post — but I was wondering, how did you as a “non-burn” person go about decreasing your dose over time? Did you eventually feel a burn or just keep testing a decreased dosage once in a while, checking symptoms? I appreciate the help!

Lori Jo Berg July 24, 2017 at 2:14 pm

Hello – go ahead and keep testing a lower dose and over time you’ll eventually need less and less:)

Fatima August 7, 2017 at 9:30 pm

Hello, thank you for this site! I have been taking rx antacids for 6 months and I feel my symptoms are getting worse. Now I have a whole bunch of different more natural products and am not sure what I can use together or should abandon. I was told I had gastritis, esophagitis and GERD. I just started the hcl today and am terrified of being off the meds because of how awful the burning in my throat gets when I don’t take them. I have DGL, slippery elm, l-glutamine and a heartburn tea that has marshmallow, chamomile, and some other natural ingredients. Are these all ok to use with the HCL? Thank you! Oh and otc culturelle probiotic.

Matt November 14, 2013 at 5:10 pm

Great article! Have some constipation (Type 1 on your scale, but I go a few times a day) and fatigue issues and can’t find the source, so I’ve been debating trying HCL. After reading your article I tried taking 8 pills per meal and my fatigue is gone (Taking Pure Encapsulations HCL with Pepsin). I feel great, thanks! Only problem is I think my constipation has gotten a little worse since I started taking HCL with Peptide. Has anyone else had a similar experience? Is that maybe a sign of something else?

Steven Wright November 15, 2013 at 12:52 pm

Yeah with constipation enzymes and HCL are important to fixing it. But it can be very complex try some of many of these ideas next http://scdlifestyle.com/2013/07/real-food-tips-constipation/

Brenda November 11, 2013 at 3:04 am

Hi. I have just started taking HCL with pepsin after also getting some relief using ACV. Although I am still finding my maintenance dosage, it seems to be helping well. This is after being wrongly prescribed a PPI for a few months which did nothing except cause me to be in even more pain on a daily basis. As soon as I stopped those and started the ACV, I started feeling a bit normal again. And now the HCL seems to be that bit extra that I needed to get back on track again.

Before I started having the terrible acid reflux, I used to take Cartia (Acetylsalicylic Acid) on a daily basis. I also took it here and there while I was testing the ACV, but I stopped taking it a few days prior to trying the HCL due to the warnings I saw about aspirin, etc.

– Once I find my maintenance dosage of HCL, can I take the Cartia again or is it advised not to?
– Also, I occasionally take Ambien the night before I have an extremely long workday the next day. This is on average of once or twice a week. If I take HCL, say, only with breakfast around 7 or 8 a.m. and then not any HCL with lunch or dinner, can I take an Ambien around 10 p.m. for that particular day?
– Do you know how long a normal dosage of HCL stays in the body after taking it?

Thanks for your help and I look forward to exploring the info on your site more in depth soon.


Beth Brass November 7, 2013 at 1:50 pm

Hey guys, I’m pretty sure I have that “stomach ache of death” going on. I have been taking 325 mg of HCL with big meals for about one week. I got the warming sensation immediately after swallowing my pill, and knew immediately that my stomach was not in a good situation. After about 20 minutes, I experienced slight cramping, immense bloating, and drank about 2 cups of water. I realized that I had in fact too much stomach acid, and rant to the store and took 1500 mg of Tums to neutralize it. I woke up 4 hours later with slight burning again, and my appetite has been less than stellar today. I also feel like my stomach has been burned. I think that my mucosal lining was not sufficient enough to handle the acid, and my esophageal and pyloric sphincters have been burned. I am drinking licorice root tea/chamomile tea and nibbling on a bit of bland food today, but oh my goodness is this uncomfortable! I was wondering if you guys had any advice or insight on if anything else might be going on. My BM does not indicate any bleeding of any sort, and I am not nauseated or vomiting. I do have that “lump in the throat” feeling though.

I appreciate it!

Rose Kee October 31, 2013 at 7:27 pm

Hi Guys , Will I jumped in and I am in the end of day two of the intro diet . Yes I have had hard night and very week but also feeling some better. But I do have a burning feeling in l my left abdomen. Is this normal ? I have mixed up the mixture of backing soda and salt your recommended , this help a small amount. Any advise?

Also when is it ok to take probiatic and other supplement ?

Steven Wright November 3, 2013 at 10:44 pm

Taking probiotics and SCD legal suppelments is encouraged asap. If you have pains make sure to check with a doctor.

Allison October 25, 2013 at 7:20 pm

Hi Jordan,

Is it safe to take Betaine HCL with digestive enzymes in the same meal? What about the use of probiotics? I’ve been taking probiotics and digestives regularly and would like to start HCL, but am worried this will be “too much” for my system. What do you think?

Jordan Reasoner October 25, 2013 at 9:58 pm

Most people take enzymes with HCl and it shouldn’t be an issue. I still take them both together.

As far as probiotics go, there’s a lot of debate. I’m of the opinion to take them 30mins before a meal or 2 hours after a meal.

In good health,


Ruel December 28, 2014 at 1:44 pm

Hello. How do you determine the right number of digestive enzymes to take?

Lori Jo Berg December 30, 2014 at 2:47 pm

Hi Ruel, thanks for reaching out! We typically recommend starting out with 2 enzymes for heavier meals and one for lighter meals. If you feel this may not be enough, you can increase by one and monitor symptoms thereafter.

Ruel January 3, 2015 at 5:17 am

appreciate the reply, thanks. Btw, what symptoms do I need to watch out for to determine whether I stay or would need to increase my dose of digestive enzymes?

Harps June 8, 2016 at 2:32 am

Hi lori, what happens if you go up to 8 with no hurtburn?
I have had 3 high protein meals today and have taken a total of 24 tablets

Am I understanding things properly?

Fabian April 1, 2017 at 7:07 am

Hello i have been taking omeprazole for seven yrs now and ive been trying to get off the pills now for two weeks which has been very difficult .i started taking hcl with pepsin after meals and 2 digestive enzyme capsules before meals which has made a big difference.any how i just woke up and started feeling the first symptoms of a acid reflux attack i decided to try the digestive enzyme capsules to see if it would ease the acid reflux and it did .is it wise to take these supplements without food and could i also take hcl with pepsin to keep the acid from coming up my throat.any advice would be very appreciated.

Lori Jo Berg April 2, 2017 at 5:49 pm

HI Fabian – we only recommend taking the HCL with food and particularly higher protein meals. Please read more here on how to supplement with HCL: http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/03/how-to-supplement-with-betaine-hcl-for-low-stomach-acid/

Amanda October 21, 2013 at 1:04 pm

Hello guys. I too have tried HCL with pepsin and got increased stomach pain and an “acidic” feeling in my stomach after only one 650mg pill. I just can’t seem to tolerate it. Does that mean I have too much acid? I’m trying to make sure I understand. Any advice is appreciated. I also have a hiatal hernia diagnosed last year and the doctor insisted that this could cause reflux. I’m low in B12, D, and slightly anemic according to latest blood work. Thanks!!!!

Steven Wright October 21, 2013 at 10:38 pm

No your experiment cannot tell you that you have high acid. It could be a few things 1. The lining of your stomach is inflamed and you still have low acid levels. 2. Your acid levels are just fine. 3. A different dosage or type of pill might be needed. 4. You might have high acid levels but very rare

humba July 12, 2014 at 10:48 am

Wait a moment…
Why you wanna take HCL????

Erin September 12, 2015 at 10:06 pm

Which pills did you try? The tablets work for me, but the capsules cause burning pain.

Lee October 13, 2013 at 4:07 pm

Last year I thought I might be going blind. Seriously. I’ve had rosacea for a couple of years but it was never out of control or too much of a problem. One day I woke up with what I thought was a sty in my eye. It never got better, in fact it got worse. I went to the ophthalmologist thinking I had pink eye. She thought so too and gave me the eye drops. It never got better. I quit wearing my contacts for good. I was looking up rosacea online and learned there was such as thing as ocular rosacea where it gets into the skin lining the eyelids and feels just like pink eye or a sty. According to the Mayo clinic there is no cure and it could get worse enough to impair sight. Great. I was so depressed as you can imagine. Providentially I started reading Liz Lipski’s book Digestive Wellness (amazing book, so comprehensive!) She had several sections dealing with HCl supplementation and one of them mentioned people with rosacea also have low stomach acid. I bought a bottle of 250mg HCl w/pepsin the next day and started taking one capsule with each meal. Just that very tiny amount was enough to begin making a difference. Within 48 hours my eyes were clear! I have since played around the dosage and am up to 3 of the 650mg capsules with most meals.
The thing that I want to underline is that I did not have any digestive issues (that I knew of) and had been eating according to the Nourishing Traditions/WAPF guidelines for at least 5 years prior. I thought my diet was pristine, nothing wrong. It just goes to show – you aren’t what you eat – you are what you can digest!

Karen February 22, 2014 at 11:50 am

Thanks for this post. It was very helpful for me.

astrid brockdorff March 10, 2014 at 10:36 pm

This article and this particular post are of great help to me right now. I too have rosacea and have stumbled across the low acid theory for sufferers of this condition. Interestingly, i also have a chronic issue with thread worms which do not go away with the typical worming drug treatment, nor with the standard herbal regimes. I am now wondering if being a vegetarian i have naturally low stomach acid and that this may be the cause of my ongoing parasite and rosacea problems. I have just bought some betaine hydrochloride with pepsin 650 mg and had my first one just now. what is the recommended dosage when starting out on this supplement? also am i right in assuming that if i eat a meal that has no protein i should not take it – ie fruit or salads etc?

Ali November 9, 2016 at 8:48 pm

As a vegetarian you may well also be very low in both protein and vitamin B12.

Carla April 16, 2016 at 4:42 pm

Im so grateful, Lee, you took the time to write this post. I too have ocular rosacea. My eyelids gets so inflamed my eyesight is deteriorating! Like you I dont have any disconfort or syntoms of difestion problems bt have tried all treatments and doets available to rosacea and nothing works. So Im ordering right now some hcl with pepsin. I got a bit disheartened when read on the commun mistakes do not take hcl if not ingesting proteins on that meal. Im vegan. Bt I got to try nevertheless. Thank u so much

Susannah Hollands October 8, 2013 at 7:33 am

Hi guys,
Thanks for another great post! I had a lot of trouble trying to take Betaine HCL last year and I think that I have found it was because my stomach lining was just too damaged. My stomach overreacts (massive bloating) to salicylates and other irritants in the same way that it reacted to Betaine HCL. The healing foods on GAPS still did not seem to heal my stomach lining well enough to tolerate Betaine HCL, but I know I really need it as I have a huge parasite problem and my digestion and bloating are really bad. Beyond healing foods, what supplements do you recommend for healing the stomach lining?
Thanks, Susannah

Jordan Reasoner October 8, 2013 at 9:31 pm

Check into DGL, there’s a ton of research supporting the effectiveness of that.


Anne May 26, 2014 at 5:32 pm

Yes DGL helps alot with all kinds of stomach problems.

Jens Ole from Denmark October 8, 2013 at 4:39 am

WOW super article Jordan… and just in time for me!
Have been taking BetaineHCL for a year now and have had good use of it, but about 14 days ago I started to get terrible burning pain in the upper part of my stomach 15 minutes after eating. I didn’t take much notice of it in the beginning, because my severe IBS sometimes acts up!
But about 7 days ago I woke up in the night with terrible pain, gnawing and burning and I was so in pain that I didn’t sleep at all. As I told my wife about it and she took me of the BetaineHCL right away, and made me drink a lot of water with Calcium/magnesium -carbonate. That helped a little but I had to go to the doctor, and she ordered me some PPI (Omeprazol) because of the severe pain I’m in.
I hope my stomach will heal soon, but I’m not at all well with taking Omeprazol. Do you have any other suggestions than the Calcium/megnesium for healing the stomach, because the large quantity I take gives a terrible diarrhea (probably because of the large amount of magnesia…)
Well I learned the lesson now and will be more aware of my symptoms in the future!

Jordan Reasoner October 8, 2013 at 9:32 pm

DGL and bone broth, as well as l-glutamine have helped a lot of our private clients.

Keep us posted 🙂


Anna March 2, 2014 at 5:05 pm

What is DGL?

Chrys O'Chant June 7, 2015 at 4:06 pm

What is bone broth?

Lori Jo Berg June 9, 2015 at 10:15 am

Great question Chris. Bone Broth is the nutrition liquid you get from boiling animal bones. These bones contain a ton of vitamins and minerals that can help heal the gut lining. We encourage you to read more here: http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/02/how-to-make-nourishing-beef-bone-broth-to-heal-your-gut/

Rafal July 10, 2014 at 4:21 am

Stop taking BetaineHCL. You’ve got a gastritis. You need to heal your stomach first

Chris July 13, 2014 at 2:25 pm

Try GastraZyme made by Biotics Research. It’s amazing for healing the stomach lining. It contains Vitamin U from cabbage.

Nada October 24, 2014 at 11:31 am

But gastrazyme has a component of rice in it, is that okay?? My practitioner prescribed it instead of glutamine, but Im kind of hesitant to take it since SCD strongly stresses the importance of having absolutely no grains. Does anyone know, or has had experience with this???

Thank you so much!!

Lori Jo Berg October 26, 2014 at 2:48 pm

Hi Nada, we do not recommend rice products, but it is most likely a very small amount and your body may tolerate it OK, as you will need to test it out and see.

Noelle September 7, 2017 at 12:25 am

Jens, I realize this is an old post, but it might help you or someone else. I had terrible pain from what they thought was maybe gastritis or an ulcer, gave me PPI which made it all worse! Had chronic diarrhea from the medication, and took myself off it. I did not know I had low stomach acid until recently. Stress was the cause of my woes, which caused adrenal fatigue, and now low B12!

That’s another story! But after I searched for a cure for my sore stomach, I came upon Slippery Elm Bark, which was a Godsend! You can buy capsules, but I use a teaspoon of the powder, which I mix into 2 cups of boiling water…put it on the stove to boil, then take it off the heat until it stops bubbling, (or you’ll create lumps) and then sprinkle the tsp of slippery elm across, the surface of the water. It’ll absorb the water, then stir it gently until mixed, it’ll look gross but don’t worry! Put it back on heat, for about 10-15 mins. stirring now and then. It’s a bit gelatinous, but that’s what heals. I put it in a cup, add honey if you want sweetened, and you can add a smidge of cinnamon to taste if you like (also good for tummy).
It’s thickish..you can make it thinner, but oh boy the moment I drank that for the first time my stomach felt so soothed I can’t describe how good I felt. I realize this sounds like work, and for some they will go for capsules…never tried them so not sure if they work as well. But once you’ve made it, it gets to be second nature. I’ve read you can even make it into a kind of pudding by putting in fridge…google it, there’s lots about it on the net. The indians used to use it, and it has many other healing uses for poultices etc.
Once my stomach felt healed I stopped using it, but now it’s acting up again, and found I’m a victim of low b12 and stomach acid as I said.
Bought the HCL and Pepsin and tried tonight one pill during meal, ok at first but a little later stomach growling and gas (which I haven’t had for ages thanks to probiotic) and a bit of heartburn??
I don’t get it because I did the baking soda test x 3 days, and no burps after 5 mins! So I’m pretty sure I need the HCL. I will persevere though, I had some fish and veg. maybe it wasn’t enough protein? If anyone has any ideas let me know. If one pill does that, what will 2 do?
By the way the slippery elm can coat the stomach and interfere with absorption of meds. so take it at least 2 hours away from meds. It’s a food in itself, very nutritious, and cheap…can you tell I’m sold? 🙂
Natural is best…hope it helps.

Jordan October 7, 2013 at 8:50 pm

I started taking HCL 6 months ago (combined with enzymes) and it seemed to make a significant difference in my ability to digest (definitely felt like a turning point in regaining digestive health). I recently tested positive for H.pylori and began an anti-H.pylori protocol (matula tea + lauricidin). I also began taking Nature-throid thyroid medication in response to blood work showing a low level of free t3. A month after starting this protocol (not changing diet – an evolving SCD diet) I’ve started to get pretty bad GERD for the first time ever. It seems to be better if I keep my carbohydrates to a minimum but is still present almost any time i eat. could it be that the h.pylori is dying and i’m starting to produce more stomach acid on my own? When I don’t take HCL with a meal I still get reflux and it seems as if i don’t digest as well in general (bloating etc.) which makes me think that might not be the reason. Does anyone have ideas about why GERD could develop now, months after adding in HCL? Does GERD ever accompany an excess of thyroid hormone or H.pylori treatment? Thanks for offering such a great site and resource!

Jordan Reasoner October 8, 2013 at 9:34 pm

It could be that your body is starting to naturally produce more stomach acid, which is really cool!

It comes down to what is the root cause of low stomach acid in the first place. In some cases, like with H. Pylori or Stress, you can restore normal function as those things are taken care of.

Keep testing out different dosages 🙂


nancy henderson January 5, 2014 at 8:20 pm

Jordan, I just discovered that I developed h-pylori for the 2nd. time. 1st. time was a year ago. I thought the same thing, that I did not need as much hcl, b cause of sysmptoms: gerd and burning in my stomach which is actually an ulcer.
Getting ulcers are common with h-pylori. But, my bowels were not moving as they usually did, which means I need more stomach acid. I just realized this 2 days ago and began taking manuka honey with my tea-already feeling better!!! Also,
gastro-mend healed the h-pylori the 1st. time.

Wish you the best!

josh October 30, 2015 at 10:13 am

Hi, I have the same just wondering if you still took the Betaine HCL while taking the DGL? I have h-pylori but low stomach acid contributes to its growth meaning I can’t digest food anyway any help on how I can digest food?

Mariel Heiss October 30, 2015 at 4:20 pm

Hey Josh – you can use HCL and DGL at the same time. Some people start with DGL before HCL because the DGL helps calm gastritis so HCL doesn’t cause discomfort.

josh October 30, 2015 at 5:06 pm

Thankyou so much for replying, I hope you could see this, would this be okay with a stomach Ulcer then because I have a stomach ulcer but if I don’t take HCL I can’t digest food leading me to feel terrible during the day?

It isn’t painful but i do feel warmth and burning all the time and it would of been the H-pylori which caused it

Jayden October 7, 2013 at 4:59 pm

Hey guys finally booked my appointment last week for the consultation. Really happy about that. I take two betaine acid pills with each meal which helps out a lot. But I want to figure why I have to take them and figure why my stomach is low and get to the root cause.

Jordan Reasoner October 8, 2013 at 9:36 pm

Sweet Jayden! Can’t wait to support you 🙂

Talk soon,


Harps June 8, 2016 at 2:20 am

Hi jordon… Am I able to work with you directly?
I’m just at a strange stage in my life where I can’t seem to trust anyone new
I have seen you online for years so feel confident about you
Iv been living in misery now for 7-8 years and could really do with some help

Mariel Heiss June 8, 2016 at 7:23 pm

Hi Harps – I’m really sorry but Jordan isn’t taking on new consulting clients right now.

However, if you email us at [email protected] we’d be happy to share all our practitioner recommendations!

Tina October 19, 2016 at 5:50 pm

Can you tack hcl w/ Pepsin with a hiatal hernia?

Thomas March 2, 2017 at 6:28 pm

So I have a couple Questions for you. I have not suffered with Reflux or Gerd before. Until now. I have been firing it for over a week now. It is silent everywhere except my throat and neck muscles. Plus I’m just so Tired. I can not even imagine having this for Years and Years. I took the HCL with Pepsin and it seems to make my symptoms a little worse up in my throats and neck. Maybe a little pain from time to time in my chest. But not very much and just a fast flash and that discomfort is gone. I noticed a tiny bit of this with one pill and then with Two pills it increased today but yesterday the two pills seemed ok for the most part. I tried off the shelf Pepcid and it seemed to help for a little while. Just wondering what would be suggested. Now I only have been two days with the HCL not expecting to change over night, but wondering if I should try the antacids for a few days to see if it goes away or stick with the HCL to see if it helps in a longer test period. Sorry if I sound so confusing but I am puzzled.

Lori Jo Berg March 7, 2017 at 12:45 pm

HI Thomas – we wouldn’t recommend antacids as too much acid isn’t the problem. Heartburn/GERD is more often times than not caused by a malfunctionin LES (sphincter between stomach and espohagus) and can be due to diet, gut infections, among others.

You can test for low stomach acid here: http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/03/3-tests-for-low-stomach-acid/

You may also want to review how to supplement with HCL as it seems you have seen some improvement: http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/03/how-to-supplement-with-betaine-hcl-for-low-stomach-acid/

If taking the HCL makes things noticeably worse, you may have some gastritis going on and in this case we’d recommend some DLG and digestive bitters until you can handle the HCl again.

Tuuli gress March 25, 2017 at 7:24 pm

Hi! I think you meant to type DGL. DGL by Enzymatic Therapy is excellent.

Sherri Condon December 11, 2017 at 9:29 pm

I also take pancreatic enzymes. For me that burning is higher up. I don’t always take both. The pancreatic enzymes are for my non-protein foods.

naetgirl December 2, 2014 at 7:54 am

Talk about vicious cycles. We need to absorb and assimilate nutrients from our food in order for the body to have the tools to make amongst other things, HCL. Many of the B vitamins are specifically necessary ingredients to make HCL. For some, taking betaine HCL helps gurn things around and they are the lucky ones. For others, if not most who lack enough HCL likely due to genetics, they need to continue taking HCL for the rest of their lives and that is a good thing because they at least, will get to enjoy a great quality of life as a result.
I really appreciate your explanations and your diagram on stomach digestion. I refer patients of mine to your site. Keep up the good work and, thank you. Judy

Nancy February 23, 2015 at 1:35 am

Jayden – If there’s a root cause to low stomach acids, let us know.
I’m presuming once your you give your gut time to heal, it may function properly.
But please let us know if that’s what comes up as your root cause.

Jenna August 16, 2016 at 12:49 am

Hypochlorohydria is often caused by mercury poisoning from silver dental amalgams & vaccinations.

Janice torelli October 7, 2013 at 2:45 pm

Let’s not forget that there are many people with IBD who are on Mesalamine (asacol,Balsalazide etc) which is an aspirin compound.. Have yet to find literature which addresses the safety of Betaine HCL with that med

Jordan Reasoner October 7, 2013 at 4:54 pm

Yes, thank you Janice 🙂


GK April 7, 2014 at 12:32 pm

Hi, I’ll briefly explain my experience with Betaine HCl. I had heartburn for years (it runs in my family) and it got really bad with heavy meals like barbecue or pizza. I was maybe 28 at the time. I eventually noticed some skin problems, rosacea or dermitits type of issues and went to a dermatologist. She put my on steroids for a while. The problems weren’t clearing up, maybe temporary relief, so I start doing internet research. I try enzymes, probiotics, nothing works till I try Betaine HCl. Amazingly and to my surprise my digestion improves 100 fold, I can go through big meals without ANY heartburn. I began to notice improvement in skin conditions and it really makes me believe all these conditions that have “unknown” causes really are a result of your intestinal bacterial content.

I am now 31. I took these pills for at most 2 months. Bought mine from Vitamin World. I am 150 lbs. I would only take 1 tab per meal once per day. I still take them on rare occasion if I’m having a big meal. However normally I don’t. It seems that taking the pills helped my body to start producing stomach acid on its own, because I simply don’t require them anymore.

For me I will go on record for this stuff and really hope the scientific and medical community discover the use for this stuff, because it fully changed my life and I fully believe it can completely change other people’s lives too. I used to be in misery, so this stuff was a MIRACLE. No kidding.

reina May 30, 2014 at 11:12 pm

Had the same problem I did my homework and got to the conclusion that I was suffering from low stomach acid . after all the medication that I was given by my dr. only made it worse. I read about betaine HCl with pepsin after a few day I started to feel so good what a miracle supplemet this is ,

Mike Collins December 4, 2014 at 3:35 pm

The medical community will never recognize Betaine because there is no money to be made from it! The conventional system is a “for profit” industry, at the expense of our health.

Andrew Stephens August 11, 2016 at 11:52 pm

WOW!!! I love you man . I have had h.pylori and a yeast infection and leaky gut for years in my GI and now I have hope and relief .
I finally can live life once again .

I feel reborn ! !!!

HCL with Pepsin is a real life changer .
Thank you ,thank you ,thank you .
May you have many blessing in your life because you really have save my life with this HCL with pepsin. I’m 29 year old male that’s skinny as a rail . Now I have real hope of gaining weight and a long happy life .

Ds November 9, 2017 at 9:04 pm

Hi just wanted to ask how did u get rid of hpylori and how u started with betyne hcl??

Mariel Heiss October 20, 2016 at 12:26 pm

Hi Tina – yes, you can sue HCL if you a hiatal hernia. That being said, if you try it and experience burning or discomfort, please discontinue it!

Mariel Heiss November 2, 2015 at 3:52 pm

Hi Josh – Steve and Jordan think it is okay to use HCL with a stomach ulcer as long as it doesn’t cause a lot of discomfort. If it is causing a lot of pain, you’ll want to start with other supplements to address inflammation of your stomach lining.

Mastic Gum helps many people – you can find it here: http://scdlifestyle.com/recommended-products/

Lori Jo Berg January 4, 2015 at 3:10 pm

Hi Ruel, symptoms can certainly vary, but you may experience gas, bloating, food in stools, or just plain indigestion to name a few.

Mariel Heiss June 8, 2016 at 7:30 pm

Hi Harps – some people do use bigger doses like 8 capsules at a meal. Some people never get the warm burning sensation to tell them they’ve taken too much however – if you think that could be you, you need to watch for other signs of improvement to figure out the right dose

This article explains exactly how to supplement with HCL: http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/03/how-to-supplement-with-betaine-hcl-for-low-stomach-acid/

Lori Jo Berg August 8, 2017 at 1:06 pm

HI Fatima – those should all be fine to take together, but if you have any major concerns we do recommend asking your practitioner as well.

Mariel Heiss July 21, 2015 at 11:56 am

That’s awesome Adam! So glad to hear you’re feeling better 🙂

Sha March 12, 2018 at 5:21 am

I forgot to ask,can I take digestive multi enzyme after I take betaine HCI? I took some probiotic too

Lori Jo Berg March 13, 2018 at 12:46 pm

Hi Sharon – we’d suggest taking apple cider vinegar with a high protein meal to help digest the protein molecules. Then, pay attention to your digestion, stools, etc and see if they have improved at all. If you take ACV on an empty stomach it will most likely burn a little bit.

Sha March 14, 2018 at 10:38 am

Does coffee,and orange juice bad for slow digestion?if yes wat are the foods,or drinks that help increase stomach acid?i just want to know

Lori Jo Berg March 13, 2018 at 12:44 pm

Hi SHaron! You can take HCl a few minutes before the meal and enzymes with the first bite of food.

Sha March 14, 2018 at 2:33 pm

I took 4 betaine HCI capsules before I eat lunch,then 2 digestive multi enzymes for my first bite of foods.and an hour or so I feel like a little slight burning sensation in my stomach.my question is should I decrease the amount of betaine that I take?if yes how many should I take

Lori Jo Berg March 14, 2018 at 5:13 pm

Hi Sharon, yes you can decease it by 1 capsule and see how you do.

Lori Jo Berg March 14, 2018 at 5:10 pm

HI Sharon – Coffee can be constipating, yes, and orange juice can feed the unhelathy bacteria in the gut (and cause both diarrhea and constipation). You can try some apple cider vinegar to increase stomach acid:)

Sha March 15, 2018 at 3:28 am

I took 1 capsule of betaine HCI 648 before dinner and didn’t feel anything should I stay in 1 capsule or wat? And I still feel little bit food food setting in my stomach.i just want to ask about fish oil,and coconut oil capsule are they. Good to take if you have low stomach acid? I took vit.c and vit.d

Lori Jo Berg March 15, 2018 at 12:55 pm

Hi Sharon – this article will go over how to properly supplement with HCL – http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/03/how-to-supplement-with-betaine-hcl-for-low-stomach-acid/
Fish oil and coconut oil shouldn’t affect your stomach acid levels.

Sha March 16, 2018 at 12:35 pm

HI Lori am again keep asking and asking questions.my question is does corn ok to eat if how have slow digestion? And how about if I take apple cider vinegar before meal should I take betaine HCL too?

Sha March 16, 2018 at 12:37 pm

Does kefir or almond milk good for low stomach acid?

Lori Jo Berg March 16, 2018 at 5:02 pm

HI Sharon – we never suggest eating corn as it is highly inflammatory. I wouldn’t suggest taking ACV and HCL at the same time – one will be fine.

Lori Jo Berg March 16, 2018 at 12:49 pm

Hi Sharon – the best thing you can do to have adequate stomach acid is change your diet and test out the betaine HCL!

Lori Jo Berg April 3, 2018 at 1:16 pm

HI Denis – hard to say the exact reason, but perhaps betaine HCl is not right for you at this time. You can try apple cider vinegar to help with digestion, too.

Lauri May 30, 2018 at 12:57 am

Maybe you are allergic to fungi/ mold ?Often the pepsin in betaine HCL products is produced by a mold Aspergillus niger