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  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 bacterial and parasitic infestations. 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 intestinal parasites .
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
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 preventing high 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 inflammation 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 that Betaine HCL may help the body improve include:
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, DABFM
- 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.
- Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DABFM. 5 Common Intestinal Parasites in Humans. Parasite Cleanse Resource Center. 2009 June 10.