Betaine Hydrochloride: How It Helps With Digestion & Detoxification

by Dr. Edward Group DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM Published on , Last Updated on

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 recommended by naturopaths and 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 or a deficiency of stomach acid production.

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

Betaine HCL helps the stomach break down fat and protein in the food. It also assists the body’s detoxification processes. It is an essential component for metabolizing and absorbing food and helps assimilate proteins, vitamin B-12, calcium, and iron.

The Action of Betaine Hydrochloride

The chemical betaine is absorbed in the digestive tract into what are known as enterocytes. Enterocytes circulate through the liver, where the betaine is extracted and metabolized. From there, betaine hydrochloride is converted into betaine inside the alkaline environment of the small intestine, helping to create a favorable environment for digestion.

The Health Benefits of Betaine HCL

organic beets

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

Betaine HCL is beneficial for addressing hypochlorhydria, a deficiency of stomach acid production. It is also a crucial compound in balancing homocysteine levels, a condition related to poor cardiovascular health.

As we age, the body naturally produces fewer digestive enzymes. Due to reduced enzymatic activity, Betaine HCL levels decrease. Depending on the individual, this can lead to sluggish digestion and poor nutrient absorption.

It also means that the body is not detoxifying itself as well as it should. Things that the body would normally expel remain lodged in the system. This leads to toxic overload and systemic tissue irritation.

Many people facing poor digestion have found that taking plant-derived betaine HCL before a meal supports digestion.

Other Conditions Betaine HCL May Help

  • 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)

How To Get More Betaine HCL

A high-quality betaine hydrochloride (HCL) supplement can support digestion, and aid in the absorption of many essential vitamins and nutrients. If you are considering taking a Betaine HCL supplement, it should not contain fillers or additives of any kind.

References (2)
  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.

†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Global Healing Center does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice expressed by Global Healing Center are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.

  • 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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  • Dodee

    Hi Dr. Group, do you personally take HCL or do you just stick to Apple Cider Vinegar. I am a QRA practitoner and enjoy PRL’s hcl but recenlty started just drinking acv/aloe/lemon water through out the day instead.

  • I like HCL but pretty much just go with ACV these days.

  • Grace kozo

    Hi i got bad GERD. Is Betaine good for me?

  • Katie

    I am 58 years old female suffering from hypochlorhydria. I have never “burp” after taking 1 tsp of baking soda with 4-6 oz of water the first in the morning. I am suppose to burp within 5 seconds but I have never able to burp… Do I need to take HCL with each meal the rest of my life? I have a difficulty digesting meat. I had stomach ulcer, H. Pylori in the past and lost 5 relatives from stomach cancer. Which supplements do you recommend? I eat relatively healthy – eat organic food as much as I can. No gluten, no dairy for many years. Frequently use far-infrared sauna and castor oil pack. I stumble upon your website while I was looking for proteolytic enzymes to improve digestion. I took the one from Dr.’s Best brand on the empty stomach but it burned… Do you think Vegezyme will help to heal my thin lining on the stomach?

  • GHCSupport

    We generally suggest Betaine HCL as a natural approach for this concern. The brand we are most familiar with is Premier HCL, which you can find online. It may be wise to consider starting with 1 capsule for a while then gradually building the dosage to allow the body time to acclimate to the change.

    Additionally it may also be advantageous to consider FloraTrex, a superior blend of ultra-potent probiotics and prebiotics designed to help replenish and maintain the beneficial bacteria that populate a healthy gut and are vital to normal intestinal function and immune health.

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  • deepak

    try to live street free life and do some morning walk or yoga/meditation. you will be alright

  • Gaye

    I have recently had a bad episode of GERD after being sympton-free since I had been told that I have it. I’m looking in to the apple cider vinegar routine, but which would be better for me. I thought I was a young 69 until I got this so bad I’m in misery. Should I try the Betaine HCL? I can’t get into my doctor until mid April.

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  • Dmember

    “Fewer” digestive enzymes (grammar is important to those who want to be taken seriously)



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