The HCL Challenge

gra-gastrWhere I suspect low stomach acid production I give the following challenge:

1) Begin by taking one capsule of Betaine HCl with a protein-containing meal. A normal response in a healthy person would be discomfort – basically heartburn.

2) If you do not feel a burning sensation, begin taking two capsules with each protein-containing meal.

3) If there are no reactions after 2 days, increase the number of capsules with each meal to three.

Continue increasing the number of capsules every 2 days, using up to a maximum of five capsules with each meal if necessary.

These dosages may seem large, but a normally functioning stomach manufactures considerably more.

You’ll know you’ve taken too much if you experience tingling, heartburn, diarrhoea, tight sternum “knot”, or any type of discomfort including a feeling of unease, digestive discomfort, neck ache, backache, headache, or any new odd symptom.

If you experience tingling, burning, or any symptom that is uncomfortable, you can neutralize the acid with 1tsp of baking soda mixed in water.

4) When you reach a state of tingling, burning, or any other type of discomfort, cut back by one capsule per meal. If the discomfort continues, discontinue the HCl and consult with me.

5) Once you have established a dose (up to 5 capsules) that causes no symptoms, continue until your next appointment.

With smaller meals, you may require less HCl so you may reduce the amount of capsules taken.

Individuals with a mild HCl deficiency may regain some normal HCL secretion and thus may over time have some symptoms of heartburn from taking the HCL.

Simply decrease the number of capsules you are taking until the symptoms disappear. Individuals with moderate to severely low HCl/pepsin typically do not experience such quick improvement, so to maximize the absorption and benefits of the nutrients you take, it is important to be consistent with your HCl supplementation.

If you have any questions or uncertainty, please ask me directly.