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How to Test Your Stomach Acid with Betaine HCl

Stomach Acid

Our stomach is very acidic by design.  It is supposed to have a pH of 1 or 2, similar to battery acid to protect us from foreign invaders (bacteria, virus, fungus).  If you don’t have adequate stomach acid, you might get food poisoning more often.

We need adequate stomach acid to help us digest our food. This is why we can digest and breakdown protein. As food leaves the stomach it enters the duodenum, the beginning of the small intestine where nutrients are absorbed. If you didn’t break down your food in the stomach because your stomach acid is low, then you aren’t going to be absorbing your minerals. When we don’t absorb minerals this can lead to osteoporosis, anemia, poor skin/hair/nails and other conditions.

Taking antacids and GERD medication changes the acid level and will interfere with your ability to digest food and absorb nutrients

Low stomach acid can lead to low Vitamin B12 levels

–         Supplement with a sublingual B12 (try Perque from Wellevate)

–         Most older people have B12 deficiency

Signs of Vitamin B12 deficiency: 

  • depression
  • diarrhea
  • fatigue
  • memory loss
  • numbing of hands and feet
  • sleep disturbances
  • weakness

How to Test to Determine if You Have Enough Stomach Acid

  • Buy Betaine HCl capsules, 500 – 750 mg, HCl Pepsin, Item #: BET15,
  • Begin by taking one capsule with a meal that contains protein and observe how you feel.
  • If you don’t need to supplement HCl, you will feel discomfort because this capsule is putting acid on top of sufficient acid. If you feel anything unusual like burning, backache, diarrhea, or slight nausea this indicates that you don’t need additional HCl supplement, your stomach acid is fine.
  • If you do need HCl, you will feel nothing after taking the HCl supplement capsule. Continue with the experiment at the next protein-containing meal by taking  2 HCl capsules. Observe how your feel. If you experience any burning, backache, nausea or discomfort after taking 2 capsules, then this indicates that this dose is too much acid, so back down to 1 capsule per meal.
  • If after taking 2 capsules you do not feel any discomfort or anything unusual, continue taking one additional HCl capsule at each meal, increasing until you observe symptoms (up to 3,000 mg).
  • At subsequent meals, take HCl capsules at the dose causing no ill-effects. You will then have adequate acid in your stomach to digest the food being consumed.
  • Alternatively, try taking 1 – 3 tsp of Bragg’s Raw Apple Cider Vinegar in water 30 minutes before a meal.


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