Betaine HCL or betaine hydrochloride is a chemical compound made in laboratories. People may mistake this for trimethylglycine or glycine betaine, which is the original betaine. Unlike betaine HCL, glycine betaine is a compound that naturally occurs in plants. Another type of betaine is phosphonium betaine.
Betaine HCL, on the other hand, is needed by the stomach to be able to properly digest food and assimilate the nutrients and vitamins contained in these foods. Although it used to be available as an over the counter drug for ‘digestive aid,’ now it is only available as a dietary supplement. It is commonly prescribed as a supplement to people with low levels of stomach acid and individuals suffering from stomach and intestinal problems
Every person has a different needed betaine HCL dose, because they have varying levels of stomach acidity. Most betaine HCL supplements contain pepsin, which is an enzyme in gastric juice that digests food proteins into peptides. Pepsin is responsible for digesting the proteins in foods like meat, eggs, seeds, and various dairy products.
Betaine HCL Benefits
Betaine HCL is made into health supplements to provide extra hydrochloric acid in the stomach and to maintain a normal gastrointestinal pH. It increases the levels of hydrochloric acid, thereby helping the stomach function and properly perform certain digestive processes. It enhances the absorption of calcium, iron, vitamin B12 for people to be able to get the most out of their food. It promotes healthy protein digestion.
Furthermore, stomach acid is needed by our immune system to kill off any potentially harmful organisms in our food. If the food is not sterilized properly and the stomach acid is weak, these organisms may cause a variety of digestive problems. In this way, it can be said that stomach acid and by extension betaine HCL pepsin, function as a protective barrier.
Aside from this, betaine HCL can also help people with abnormally low levels of potassium, which is necessary for the heart, kidneys, and other organs to function normally. Betaine HCL is used to treat a variety of conditions, including asthma, anemia, and diarrhea. It is even used for thyroid disorders, yeast infections, and food allergies. It is also believed that betaine HCL has properties to help protect the liver.
Betaine HCL Side Effects
Pregnant or breastfeeding women should not take betaine HCL without consulting their doctors beforehand, because the effects of HCL on such have not yet been fully documented. Also, the hydrochloric acid from betaine HCL may irritate stomach ulcers and delay the healing of these ulcers.