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HCl, or hydrochloric acid, plays a major part in the stomach's digestive process. As an acid, it helps establish the proper pH for digestion. Important digestive enzymes can only be activated by HCl and it helps to kill harmful micro-organisms on food. But, as an acid, HCl's corrosive nature makes it unsuitable for use in capsules or tablets. Betaine HCl (beet-TAIN hydrochloride) is a stabilized form of hydrochloric acid (HCl) that can be used in supplement form.
As we age, production of all digestive enzymes and HCl decrease at rates that vary from person to person. This can lead to sluggish or poor digestion. Some people find that a Betaine HCl supplement taken at the beginning of a meal helps them feel comfortable and settled after the meal. Betaine HCl is frequently prescribed by naturopaths and nutrition-oriented doctors for a range of digestive and metabolic disorders.
Betaine HCl works best when taken at the beginning of a solid-food meal. Do not take Betaine HCl at the end of a meal as heartburn symptoms may result.
Do not use Betaine HCl if you have any history of of stomach or esophageal disorders unless directed to do so by a doctor. Do not use Betaine HCl if heartburn symptoms are present.