What is betaine hydrochloride?

betaine hydrochloride (also known as betaine hydrochloride) is a chemical produced in a laboratory designed to increase stomach acid called hydrochloric acid. In the past, betaine hydrochloride was sold as an over-the-counter (OTC) digestive aid.

However, in the late 1980s, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned betaine hydrochloride in over-the-counter products marketed as a digestive aid due to a lack of evidence that it was “safe and effective.”

Even so, betaine hydrochloride can still be found in supplement form, and it’s thought to treat conditions like diarrhea and yeast infections.

This article looks at the medical claims made by betaine hydrochloride manufacturers and whether there is any evidence of health benefits. It also explains the possible side effects of betaine hydrochloride and how to take the supplement safely.

What is betaine hydrochloride used for?

Betaine hydrochloride is commonly marketed as a digestive supplement.Some healthcare providers may recommend it to people with common medical conditions low stomach acid. This happens when there is not enough stomach acid to properly digest food.

About one in five people experience hypoacidity, although most people don’t realize it. Symptoms include early satiety, indigestion, gas, bloating, constipation or diarrhea. Hypoacidity is most common in people over the age of 65, smokers, and people who overuse antacids.

Others have suggested that betaine hydrochloride can treat or prevent a number of unrelated health conditions, including:

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  • asthma
  • diarrhea
  • food allergy
  • Gallstones
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
  • thrush
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • yeast infection

In evaluating the health claims, the FDA found no evidence that betaine hydrochloride treats or prevents any health conditions, including hypoacidity.

It has also been suggested that betaine hydrochloride can help absorb certain medications by increasing the acid, which breaks down medications faster. To date, there is little evidence to support these claims.


Betaine hydrochloride is thought to treat low stomach acid (hypoacidity) and other unrelated health conditions. To date, there is no evidence that it treats or prevents any disease.

possible side effects

Not enough research has been done on betaine hydrochloride to know if it is safe for long-term use.According to 2016 published in Integrative Medicine: A Clinician’s Journala common side effect is heartburn.

Due to a lack of safety research, betaine hydrochloride should not be used in children, those who are pregnant or breastfeeding, or those with medical conditions.

Because betaine hydrochloride can increase stomach acid, it should be avoided by people with peptic ulcers. It may also reduce the effectiveness of antacids, proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), and H2 blockers used to treat acid reflux.


Betaine hydrochloride may cause heartburn. It is not known how safe the supplement is for long-term use.

Dosage and Preparation

Betaine hydrochloride supplements are available online and in pharmacies, health food stores, and supplement stores. They are available in tablet, capsule and powder form.

There is no recommended dose for betaine hydrochloride. As a general rule, never exceed the dosage listed on the product label.

If you’re considering betaine hydrochloride, talk with your healthcare provider to make sure you don’t have a medical condition that could cause problems with the supplement.


There is no recommended dose of betaine hydrochloride. Never exceed the dosage on the product label.

what to look for

Nutritional supplements are not strictly regulated in the United States. Therefore, some supplements may be of better quality than others.

To ensure purity, choose brands that have been independently tested by third-party certifiers such as the United States Pharmacopeia (USP), NSF International, or ConsumerLab. Certification does not mean that supplements are safe or effective. It just ensures that the supplement contains the correct amount of ingredients listed on the product label and that no contaminants are found.

According to FDA guidelines, manufacturers cannot claim that supplements treat, prevent, or cure any disease. If a manufacturer makes an unsubstantiated claim, that’s a red flag and you should channel the brand.


Only buy supplements that have been independently tested and certified by the US Pharmacopeia, Consumer Labs, or NSF International.


Betaine hydrochloride is a laboratory-made supplement used to increase stomach acid. Some health experts suggest it can treat hypochlorhydria (low stomach acid) and other unrelated conditions. In the 1980s, the FDA banned betaine hydrochloride as an over-the-counter digestive aid due to a lack of evidence of safety and efficacy.

Betaine hydrochloride is available as a supplement. Heartburn is the most common side effect. It is not known whether betaine hydrochloride poses any long-term health risks; further research is needed.

There is no recommended dose of betaine hydrochloride. Due to lack of safety research, use in children, those who are pregnant or breastfeeding, or people with medical conditions should be avoided. Betaine hydrochloride might decrease the effectiveness of heartburn medications.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How long does it take for betaine hydrochloride to work?

    Betaine hydrochloride can rapidly increase stomach acid, usually within three to six minutes. Even so, the effects tend to be short-lived, and it’s unclear whether there’s any real benefit to delivering the effects.

  • Should I take betaine hydrochloride with every meal?

    There is no recommended betaine hydrochloride dose or dosing schedule. Always consult your healthcare provider before using betaine hydrochloride.