Betaine HCL for Increasing Stomach Acid

Betaine HCL for Increasing Stomach Acid

I wish I had known about Betaine HCL (with pepsin) sooner. I may still have a gallbladder. Over a year ago I was experiencing this horrible stomach pain in my upper abdomen. I tried nearly everything (except HCL) to cure it naturally before succumbing to the pain and letting a surgeon remove my gallbladder.


Guess what? The pain did not fucking go away! Here I was with no gallbladder, a $30K hospital bill, and still in massive amounts of pain. WTF????


I knew it was up to me to find a cure for myself. Even though I was depressed from having a surgery that went against my holistic beliefs, still in uncomfortable agony, and being hospitalized TWICE because of the pain, I still had faith that I would find an answer. After all, I‘d healed myself from disease before, I could do it again. After God only knows how many weeks researching, I found it.

Thanks to the amazing Chris Kresser, I found my cure.

I downloaded his free ebook on heartburn & GERD and what I read changed my health! Hell, it changed my life!  It was after reading that ebook that I began experimenting with Betaine HCL (with pepsin) and Lordy Lord my pain fucking disappeared!!!!


What is Betaine HCL?

Betaine HCL stands for Betaine Hydrochloride acid and it’s a supplement used to increase your stomach acid.

Stomach acid has gotten a bad rap in recent decades as the anti-acid industry continues to grow and grow and grow. Here’s the thing, most people believe that when they have heartburn or GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease, what I turned out to have, NOT gallbladder disease like I was told) is actually because they have too MUCH stomach acid.

I’m gonna blow your mind here….get ready for it…

 The heartburn and GERD is actually because you have too LITTLE stomach acid!



I know. I reacted the same way when I found out. Studies suggest that around 50-66% of Americans have too little stomach acid!

When you eat the food goes down into your stomach. Now it’s the job of your stomach acid to start breaking down the food. When you have enough stomach acid, it signals your lower esophageal sphincter to close tightly so no food contents or acid goes into your throat during digestion. But when you have too little stomach acid, the food isn’t properly broken down so then it sits there and begins to ferment, and the sphincter never receives the message to close tightly. Then this fermentation causes bloat and then pushes up the contents of your stomach, (including the acid) through the sphincter (which never got the signal to close tightly) and stomach acid gets pushed up into your esophagus causing heartburn & GERD!

Whew! Shizznet!

When you have adequate stomach acid NONE OF THIS HAPPENS.

The fermentation that occurs also leads to parasite growth which leads to a whole other mess of problem such as:

  • constipation, diarrhea, IBS, food sensitivities, fatigue, undigested food in stool, gas, bloating, belching, acne, nutrient deficiencies, & candida


Crazy isn’t it???

When you go to a doctor complaining of heartburn the first thing they do is give you heartburn medication/anti-acids  to reduce your stomach acid. What this does instead is already reduce the little stomach acid that you have, and allows for even MORE fermentation which leads to the growth of parasites and the whole host of problems I mentioned above.

Why do doctors prescribe anti-acids if most of the time that makes the problem worse? Many of them don’t know any better. Seriously. It’s just common practice of what they were taught. Drugs for acid reflux and GERD make pharmaceutical companies BILLIONS of dollars a year! Pharmaceutical companies fund the majority of US medical schools, which is where your doctor went to get his education on GERD & acid reflux, which is why he’s now prescribing you anti-acids.

You follow me?!



Why we need stomach acid?

Aside from helping us avoid painful heartburn and GERD, and the whole mess of shit I listed above, stomach acid is so SO important to your digestive system because:

-It helps maintain an acidic environment that protects against parasites, bacteria and candida

-HCL stimulates the pancreas and intestines to produce bile & enzymes which aid in breaking down the food you eat

-HCL helps break down the food into essential amino acids that we need for everything from hormonal support, adrenal glands, to having healthy hair, skin & nails)

-Protects against leaky gut and autoimmune diseases. When there is undigested food in the gut it can lead to leaky gut syndrome. This means that small particles of proteins from the undigested foods can enter your bloodstream, which can create autoimmune diseases.


How supplementing with Betaine HCL (with pepsin) can help

I felt so much better when I started taking HCL. I used to cry from relief and gratitude. And even though I no longer suffer from the pain , I still take HCL after every meal. Except now I’ve been able to reduce my dosage from 3 pills BEFORE each meal, to just one AFTER the meal. Supplementing with HCL actually stimulated my stomach to begin naturally, overtime, producing more stomach acid, so I was able to decrease supplementation and just take one after a meal since I make enough acid before the meal.


A few things to keep in mind when supplementing with HCL:

  • HCL should only be taken with meals containing proteins, since not as much stomach acid is needed for digesting vegetables and fruits. If I’m just having salad or soup or something very veggie I don’t take HCL. But when I eat a burger, steak or anything containing animal protein I take it then.
  • If you have ulcers, don’t use HCL.
  • If you’re on pain medications, corticosteroids, anti-inflammatories or other medication you should not use HCL.
  • Always, ALWAYS consult with your OPEN-MINDED, preferably holistic, integrative doctor about supplementing with HCL.
  • You’ll notice lots of different brands of HCL. Always use one that contains pepsin. Pepsin helps break down proteins into the peptides required for proper absorption. It’s like super important and I don’t understand why so many brands out there don’t contain it?!
  • Finding the right dosage of HCL takes a bit of experimenting. Some people needs 6 pills per protein rich meal, others only need one. At the bottom of this post I provide several links that will help you learn more about HCL and finding the right dosage for you. Take 20 minutes and read the articles and you will learn all you need to learn about HCL and can make a thoroughly informed decision. Many of them re-state all that I’ve said. GOOD! Read it anyways so you integrate it more. The more you learn and remember the more effective this will be.





Further resources


Two brand of HCL with pepsin I recommend

Find your correct HCL dosage

Chris Kresser

Common HCL Mistakes 



Do you take HCL? What’s your experience been with it? Share below!

Leave a reply