Betaine Hydrochloride: Evaluating The Betaine HCL Benefits
Low stomach acid can cause bloating, indigestion, acid reflux and have a ripple effect throughout your body. So, if you’re feeling suboptimal or sluggish digestion, betaine HCL may be the supplement you need.
By increasing stomach acidity, betaine HCL supports healthy digestion and nutrient assimilation. Many people find it virtually eliminates bloating, post-meal fatigue, acid reflux, and digestive irregularity. This article will cover everything you need to know about betaine HCL and how you can start on it.
What Is Betaine HCL?
Betaine Hydrochloride is hydrochloride (salt) from betaine. Betaine is made of glycine and three methyl groups. So when you take betaine HCL, you get both betaine and HCL.
Betaine is involved in many metabolic pathways in our body, such as in amino acid metabolism, methylation, and breaking down homocysteine.
Aside from releasing hydrochloric acid into the stomach, it also helps balance salt and minerals between cell membranes.
HCL Breakthrough contains both betaine HCl and enzymes that work best in acidic conditions to help optimize the digestion in your stomach.
Benefits Of Betaine HCL
Health benefits of betaine HCL include :
- Promotes healthy stomach pH
- Supports liver function
- Supports heart health
- Improves digestion of fats
Promotes Healthy Stomach Acidity
The parietal cells in your stomach produce very concentrated acidity. So, the empty human stomach’s typical daytime pH is around 1.5. The acidity is very important to protect you from germs, digest your food well, and absorb many key nutrients.
Most tissues would quickly dissolve if exposed to this quantity of HCL, but the stomach lining and mucus protect themselves from the acid. In the stomach, the acid is necessary for enzymes from the stomach to work well and kill most microbes that come with your food. Also, the acidity tells the lower esophageal sphincter to close, so too little stomach acid can allow acid reflux to happen.
If the stomach lining or protective mucus are compromised, the exposure of the cells to the acid can lead to ulcers. Also, low stomach acid levels might make it difficult to digest food, causing all kinds of gut problems.
Betaine HCL can help increase stomach acidity in people with the abnormally alkaline stomach. A pilot study evaluated gastric reacidification after administering betaine HCL. Six volunteers with normal stomach acid received 20 mg oral rabeprazole twice daily for four days to artificially reduce the stomach acid.
When pH was over 4, the volunteers received 1500 mg betaine HCL before continuously monitoring their stomach pH. During the 30 minutes following treatment, betaine HCL made the stomach drastically more acidic.
Supports Liver Function
Your liver produces betaine by oxidizing choline. Both betaine and choline are important for the liver’s detoxification functions. The most prevalent causes of betaine shortage are starvation and persistent alcoholism. Betaine can reverse liver inflammation and liver fibrosis through many processes.
Dietary betaine enhances liver function in fatty liver disease, such as alcoholic liver disease. In animal and cell-based studies, betaine also protects against liver injury.
An elegant case-control study performed a biopsy on 51 patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver. The results indicated an association between low betaine and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and liver inflammation.
Therefore, Betaine HCL also supports liver health by providing a source of betaine.
Promotes Healthy Homocysteine Levels
Betaine, along with vitamins B6, B12, and folic acid, helps lower homocysteine levels.
Homocysteine is an oxidizing and inflammatory amino acid that doesn’t make proteins. Instead, it clings to blood vessels, potentially causing blood clots. While poor methylation and folate deficiency can increase homocysteine, you can also get high homocysteine from kidney disease. Also, it’s a neurotoxic amino acid.
High levels of homocysteine may increase the risk of:
- Heart health issues
- Mental health issues
- Abnormal blood clots
- And more
Many studies have confirmed that elevated homocysteine levels may promote atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).
Lowers Heartburn Symptoms And Improves Digestion
People with low stomach acid may benefit from taking betaine hydrochloride with their meals.
Lack of stomach acid also causes heartburn. This may appear to be a contradiction, but many practitioners find that supplementing with a hydrochloric acid-containing chemical lowers heartburn symptoms and improves digestion, at least in clients who have low stomach acid.
The amount of betaine HCL used varies depending on the size of the meal and protein consumption. However, doctors usually recommend 600 to 2,400 mg per meal as a starting point.
How To Introduce Betaine HCL Supplements
To determine if you need HCL supplements, you can perform a simple home test called the bicarbonate test.
Mix ¼ teaspoon of baking soda in water and drink on an empty stomach. If you have sufficient stomach acid, then you should experience belching. Belching should occur 2-3 minutes after you drink the baking soda solution.
However, you have low stomach acid if you do not experience belching. Thus, you may want to introduce betaine HCL into your diet.
Does Betaine HCL Have Side Effects?
There aren’t enough studies on betaine hydrochloride to determine if it’s safe for long-term use. However, burning sensations in the stomach are a common adverse effect. Typically, you can avoid the burning sensation by using less than the dose that causes it or taking it with food.
People with peptic ulcers should avoid betaine hydrochloride because it can increase stomach acid. It may also affect the effectiveness of medications such as antacids, proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs), and H2 blockers. Always speak to your healthcare provider before introducing supplements, especially if you’re taking medications or receiving medical treatments.
Betaine HCL supplements support digestion and nutrient assimilation by increasing stomach acid. Also, betaine is beneficial for liver and heart health.
HCL Breakthrough is the best HCL supplement because it’s 100% plant-based, pepsin-free, and contains a full spectrum of digestive enzymes that work at acidic pH.
Furthermore, we suggest starting slow, gradually increasing the dose, and being monitored closely by your health practitioner. Since betaine HCL is still under research, we believe it will have even more benefits than the ones we mentioned earlier in the article. However, we do not recommend taking these supplements if you have excess stomach acid, peptic ulcers, or are on acid-inhibiting drugs.
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