What is it? Betaine HCL is an enzyme derived from beetroots that is supposed to help in the digestion of fats and protein. Most of the products on market also contain Pepsin which is derived from pigs. However there are few brands that offer a vegetarian option.
Why take it? People with CFS/ME often have low levels of acid in their stomach. This means they don’t completely digest their food and so don’t fully absorb their nutrients.
Taking Betaine HCL is supposed to stimulate your stomach acid and make the whole digestion process a lot smoother. Over time it is also said to help stimulate your own acid production meaning that in theory you won’t have to take them for life.
How much should I take?: This is a link to an article from the Optimum Health Clinic on their dosing procedure for Betaine HCL.
Another alternative is to drink a little bit of apple cider vinegar before your meals which is naturally acidic and will most likely get your juices flowing. More info here.
My Experience (21/11/11): I completed a home capsule test from Nutri Link which involved swallowing a capsule then pulling back out of your stomach with a string to see what the pH level was. Highly entertaining for my family and highly informative for me. The test showed I was very alkaline which indicated a lack of stomach acid. So I ordered some vegan Betaine HCL caps and started gulping them down before meals. I was doing a number of things at the time so it’s hard to say for sure whether it was effective but I seemed to notice an improvement in digestion and an increased ability to gulp down heavy meals with out any gut symtoms after wards.
It’s a hassle to swallow caps before eating but probably worth a shot if you have trouble digesting. I’ve found by simply taking the time to smell, appreciate and properly chew my food I get similiar results as to taking the Betaine HCL. This takes disicpline though, which unfortunately can’t be bought on the internet.
Had an experience with Betaine HCL?
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Where to Next?
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