Learn How to Take Betaine HCL to Help Remit Your Autoimmune Symptoms
You may be in the learning phase of your healing journey right now. That’s the time when you hear all these new words and are told to follow many new protocols that feel overwhelming.
You may have heard the term leaky gut and thought, “What is the world is that?” or maybe you’ve been told you don’t make enough stomach acid yet you have GERD or acid reflux.
The confusion can be disheartening sometimes.
Be encouraged though! With an eagerness and willingness, you will learn the lingo and protocols as well as start understanding why they matter to your overall healing.
Today, I’d like to share with you all about Betaine HCL.
It’s a supplement that, early in my healing journey, I was told I needed to take. I didn’t know what it was or why I needed to shell out more dough to take it. Afterall, I didn’t want another supplement to go into my supplement graveyard! Furthermore, I didn’t know how to take it. Truly, it boggles my mind as I look back, that none of my doctors told me how to take this and I had to learn all about it online.
Autoimmunity, Leaky Gut & Betaine HCL
The first thing to understand as far as why Betaine is being recommended to you has to do with autoimmunity. It’s been reported that every single person who has an autoimmune condition also has leaky gut. Without getting too technical on intestinal permeability (a.k.a. leaky gut) I will tell you that it’s when your intestinal barrier has become holey. Instead of being the barrier to stop foreign particulates, it inadvertently allows undigested foods, antigens and various molecules to pass through that shouldn’t be. When this happens, a myriad of symptoms will arise in the body causing lots of inflammation.
When a person has leaky gut and isn’t digesting their foods properly, in the very beginning stages of digestion (ie. saliva, stomach acid and enzymes and the gut microbiome), then undigested foods actually get through the inadequate intestinal boundary. Consequently, many of the following symptoms will arise:
- Autoimmunity (where your body starts attacking certain organs)
- Stomach Pain
- Blurry Vision
- Brain Fog
- Nutritional Deficiencies
- Joint Pain
- Food Sensitivities
- And more!
One way to help alleviate undigested foods even getting into the intestines is by taking Betaine HCL with Pepsin.
What is Betaine HCL with Pepsin?
Betaine HCL with Pepsin stands for Betaine Hydrochloric Acid with Pepsin.
- Betaine is an amino acid that helps break down fat.
- Hydrochloric Acid is an acid that should naturally occur in the stomach that breaks down proteins and literally severs the amino acid chains so they can move through the digestive system properly. It triggers the action of Pepsin.
- Pepsin is the main enzyme that we should have in our stomach that breaks down proteins.
In the case of autoimmunity which always happens in tandem with leaky gut, the intestines are inflamed, and, due to the inflammation, causes a decreased secretion of stomach acid in the stomach.
With decreased stomach acid, the proteins you eat won’t get broken down. In addition, the undigested food travels down the intestines and hinders nutrient absorption and further causes more inflammation. It’s a vicious cycle.
When you take Betaine HCL with Pepsin you are giving your body the necessary elements of digestion, Hydrochloric acid, Betaine and Pepsin, it needs that it is probably low on. The result of taking this simple supplement can be profound.
You Should Consider Taking Betaine with Pepsin if You Have Any of the Following:
- Nutritional Deficiencies
- Skin issues like eczema, rashes, hives, or acne
- Achy Joints
- Frequent Headaches
- You See Undigested Food in Your Stool
- You are Vegan or Vegetarian (Zinc and Vitamin B1 are needed for stomach acid production and they are generally low on this type of diet)
- Vision Problems
- Food Sensitivities
- Brain Fog
- Chronic Stress
How to Properly Take Betaine with Pepsin
There are several very important aspects that you need to know when taking Betaine HCL. I wish that I was told these things before I started taking this supplement!
- I always recommend working with your physician when taking Betaine HCL. Getting their guidance is important.
- You must do a “challenge” with the supplement before you can determine the dosage for your body in the current state it’s in. (I will talk about this below.)
- Don’t take it before a meal. Always take it in the middle or on the last few bites of your meal.
Do a Challenge to Determine Your Optimal Dose
- Mid-meal or within the last few bites, take one capsule of Betaine. If you feel nothing, then you have low stomach acid.
- At each subsequent meal increase your capsule intake one more capsule. Do this until you feel a slight burning sensation.
- At your next meal, you will know that your optimal dose is 1 less capsule than when you feel the burning.
Here’s an example: You start with one capsule and notice nothing. You follow the process until you feel a burning sensation after taking 8 capsules. At your next meal, you continue with your optimal Betaine HCL with Pepsin dose of 7 capsules. * If at your optimal dose, you notice a burning sensation, then it is time for you to lower your dose one capsule. It’s a good sign because it means your body is making a bit more of its own hydrochloric acid on its own and you are on your way to not needing to take Betaine anymore.
- Never take Betaine on an empty stomach. You will pay the price with terrible burning.
- Only take when you have meals with upwards of 15-20 grams of protein.
- Only buy brands that steer clear of ingredients that cause inflammation. (Recommendations below)
- Pay attention if you experience that burning sensation at your optimal dose and reduce your intake by one capsule at a time until it goes away.
- Our bodies were designed by God to heal themselves. While taking Betaine you are reminding your system to make its own stomach acid again. You are reminding it to wake up and quit being lazy! Taking Betaine most likely will not be lifelong.
Who Should NOT Take Betaine HCL with Pepsin
Do not take this supplement if you have a bleeding ulcer or are on any pain medications or anti-inflammatory medications like corticosteroids. Also, there are some brands that derive their Pepsin from porcine (pork products). If you are allergic to pork then don’t take that brand.
My Experience Taking Betaine HCL with Pepsin
Each year I would get a NutrEval comprehensive nutritional test done so that I could have a snapshot of what my current nutritional deficiencies were as well as see into my methylation cycle. It always showed that I was chronically deficient in a certain peptide that breaks down fish and chicken.
In tandem with those results, I had all the symptoms of low stomach acid mentioned above (except I did not do the vegan or vegetarian diet). It was obvious I needed to supplement with Betaine. I learned how to take it properly (see instructions below) and within a few days, I started noticing improvements in my symptoms.
One thing you have to understand is that I was taking this supplement in tandem with a lot of other healing protocols – like lots of gut healing broth, other digestive enzyme supplements, therapeutic dose probiotics, the GAPS diet, and more.
My point is that, although the Betaine helped tremendously, I don’t want you to get the impression that you take one supplement and heal overnight. That’s just not how the healing journey works at all. I ended up taking Betaine for four years at every single meal. I would even bring it with me in my purse for when I was at other people’s houses or out to a meal. It was that important. During those years I was able to slowly wind down and now I no longer take it every single day. I only take it as needed, if I see certain symptoms cropping up again. I had a really good experience with Betaine which resulted in much Hashimoto’s symptom improvement.
My Favorite Brands of Betaine HCL with Pepsin (that are safe for the gut)
Thorne Research Betaine HCL with Pepsin (derived from porcine)
Do You Need to Start Taking Betaine HCL with Pepsin?
Now that you know about leaky gut and how it relates to autoimmunity and low stomach acid you may need to consider adding Betaine HCL to your supplement regimen. This is one way to help your body get back to proper functioning and remit your autoimmune symptoms.