Betaine Hydrochloride: How it helps with Digestion & Detoxification

red organic beets

Betaine Hydrochloride is an organic compound and vitamin-like substance found in many different foods such as sugar beets, grains and spinach. It is currently being recommended by both naturopaths, as well as medical doctors, as a supplemental source of hydrochloric acid in the stomach.

Studies [1] show that this compound can profoundly benefit individuals suffering from digestive upsets such as hypochlorhydria, a deficiency of stomach acid production.

Normally, healthy stomachs can produce enough gastric acid to kill off harmful organisms. But when people experience deficiencies in producing stomach acid, they are more likely to have bacterial and intestinal infections, as well as the increased presence of harmful organisms [2].

Betaine HCL also has the ability to help the stomach to break down fats and proteins in the food we eat. It also assists the general detoxification processes in the body. It is an essential component for metabolizing and absorbing food, and is particularly needed for assimilating proteins, vitamin B12, calcium and iron.

The Action of Betaine Hydrochloride

The chemical betaine is absorbed in the digestive tract into what are known as enterocytes. These enterocytes are then circulated into the liver, where the betaine can then be extracted and metabolized. From there, betaine hydrochloride is then changed into betaine inside the alkaline environment of the small intestine, creating a favorable environment for digestion.

The Health Benefits of Betaine HCL

organic beets

Betaine hydrochloride is a powerful digestive aid for people who may have been privy to a poor diet, prolonged dehydration and generalized stress. It has also been shown to offer digestive support to perimenopausal women and elderly individuals.

Betaine HCL has also been found to be beneficial in treating hypochlorhydria, a deficiency of stomach acid production. It is also a crucial compound in balancing homocysteine levels, a condition related to severe heart disease.

What is more, as we age, the body naturally produces less digestive enzymes. Due to this lowering in enzymatic activity, Betaine HCL levels also decrease. Depending on the individual, this can lead to sluggish digestion and poor mineral and nutrient absorption.

It also means that the body is not detoxifying itself in an optimal fashion. Things that the body would normally expel remain lodged in the system. This leads to toxic overload, and the type of redness related to chronic disease.

Many people facing poor digestion have found that taking a vegetarian form of plant derived Betaine HCL before meals aids them in their own digestive process, as well as metabolizing the food they consume.

Other conditions for which Betaine HCL may help include:

  • Acne
  • Skin disorders
  • Diarrhea
  • Gallstones
  • Stomach ulcer
  • Chronic hives
  • Food sensitivities
  • Thyroid function
  • Inner ear infections
  • Iron-deficiency anemia
  • Candida & Yeast infections
  • Stomach or esophageal disorders
  • General malabsorption of nutrients
  • General indigestion and heart burn
  • Acetaminophen-induced liver toxicity
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Arteriosclerosis (hardening/loss of elasticity in the arteries)
Betaine HCL Supplement

How To Get More Betaine HCL

If you are considering taking a Betaine HCL supplement, it should not contain fillers or additives of any kind. Taking a high-quality Betaine Hydrochloride (HCL) supplement can help improve digestion, as well as aid in the absorption of many essential vitamins and nutrients.

– Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM


  1. Sugimoto K, Makihara T, Saito A, Ohishi N, Nagase T, Takai D. Betaine improved restriction digestion. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2005 Dec 2;337(4):1027-9. Epub 2005 Oct 3.
  2. . 5 Common Intestinal Parasites in Humans. Parasite Cleanse Resource Center. 2009 June 10.

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  • Georgiana W. Brennen

    I’ve tried taking HCl with Betaine many times but it doesn’t feel good nor have I noted any change in my digestion. I have achlorhydria, was tested years ago by Dr. Jonathon Wright, M.D. Have you ever had anyone with this problem and do you have any recommendations? Thank you, Georgiana Brennen

  • Ron Purvis

    Years ago I could not take Betaine. My doctor has me taking L-Glutamine for Leaky Gut Syndrome. I think it is healing the stomach too, as I can now take Betaine with no burning. I have many food sensitivities, perhaps in part due to lack of stomach acid. I just started with the Betaine, so time will tell if it helps my indigestions problems.

  • Matt Thomaston

    Will this work for child eczema? If so what will it do for the eczema? I have a child with eczema and just might have to try it.

  • Crist G

    Hi- I have the same problem. I was diagnosed with Achlorhydria 2 years ago. I am also allergic to many foods including gluten. I have been taking Betaine Hcl with Pepsin, but i just found out that my blood is acidosis and i started to wonder if it was caused by taking Betaine Hcl. I’ve recently seen a doctor and he recommended taking Betaine Hcl from beets and an HCl Activator. I also take B12 shots because if you dont make any acid you might not absorb B vitamis, Iron, minerals and amino acids.

  • Justin

    Hi, Ron.

    Please tell me if the Betaine helped you overcome your food sensitivities.

    Many thanks


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