Betaine hydrochloride: benefits, side effects, dosage and

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Betaine hydrochloride (also known as betaine hydrochloride or betaine hydrochloride) is a chemical compound produced in laboratories. It is believed that it increases the acidity of the stomach.

In the past, betaine hydrochloride could be found in over-the-counter digestive aids as a source of hydrochloric acid, a key component of gastric juice that some people lack.

However, in the late 1980s, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned the use of betaine hydrochloride in over-the-counter products because there was insufficient evidence to be considered "generally accepted as safe and effective."

While you can still find Betaine HCL in supplement form, several studies have been done to find out what effects it might have.

Get Medical Information / Ellen Lindner

What is betaine hydrochloride used for?

Betaine hydrochloride is commonly marketed as a supplement that can be taken for a variety of conditions, but there is little research on its purported health benefits.

Some health professionals may recommend betaine hydrochloride as a source of hydrochloric acid for people who are not producing enough due to a condition called hypochlorhydria .

Otherwise, despite many claims from promoters and alternative medicine providers, there is insufficient evidence that Betaine HCL can be taken for any of the following reasons:

  • Promote a healthy stomach pH
  • Greater absorption of proteins and vitamins.
  • Reduce symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Reduce food allergy symptoms
  • Reduce symptoms of gallstones.
  • Maintain heart health
  • Strengthen your joints
  • Reduce symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
  • Improving asthma symptoms
  • Protects the liver
  • Fight against yeast infections
  • Improve fat digestion, especially after a cholecystectomy (surgery to remove the gallbladder)

While betaine HCL provides hydrochloric acid, studies have shown only short-term effects on stomach acid. According to a 2014 study, this can help counteract the effects of some medications and, in turn, promote the absorption of other medications. However , more research is needed to fully explore this potential effect.

More research is needed to clarify the many potential health benefits of betaine hydrochloride supplements.

Possible side effects.

Unfortunately, not enough research has been done on betaine hydrochloride to know if it is safe to use. Heartburn is a potential side effect, according to a 2016 report published in Integrative Medicine: A Clinician's Journal .

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, avoid taking Betaine HCL as there is no information available on how it might affect you or your baby.

Because betaine HCL can increase the amount of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, it can irritate stomach ulcers or prevent them from healing. For this reason, it is best not to take Betaine HCL if you have a peptic ulcer or are living with a peptic ulcer .

Dosage and preparation

Betaine hydrochloride supplements are available in pill or capsule form, and can also be purchased in bulk as a better-absorbing powder.

There is currently no recommended dosage for betaine hydrochloride. Therefore, the amount of additives may vary slightly. You will often find betaine hydrochloride in supplements that also contain pepsin, a digestive enzyme .

If you are considering adding a betaine hydrochloride supplement to your treatment regimen, be sure to speak with your doctor and pharmacist before making a major purchase. With their help, you can make an informed decision in light of potential risks or drug interactions based on your personal medical history.

It is important to remember that little is known about betaine HCL and how it may (or may not) work in a variety of health conditions. Given this reality, it is very important to consult your doctor before starting to take it.

What to look for

Your healthcare professional can advise you on the proper dosage and recommend a trusted third-party certified manufacturer, such as USP, NSF International, or Consumer Lab.

Remember: According to the FDA, companies cannot claim that a supplement can cure, diagnose, cure, or alleviate a disease. If a supplement manufacturer or promoter makes important and unsubstantiated claims, it is a red flag.

Other questions

How long does Betaine HCL work?

Betaine HCL can rapidly affect stomach acid levels with measurable, albeit short-term, effects in three to six minutes, according to a 2013 study published in Molecular Pharmaceutics . Other putative effects of betaine hydrochloride are not well understood .

Should I take Betaine HCL with every meal?

Always check with your doctor before taking betaine hydrochloride. They will provide you with the dosing and timing instructions that best suit your individual needs.

Get the word of drug information

While some research has shown that betaine HCL can increase stomach acid levels in the short term, more research is needed to prove the safety and efficacy of this supplement, as well as its long-term effects. For these reasons, be sure to check with your doctor before taking it.

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