Betaine HCl Changed My Life

Show Notes

If you are new to this site, you should first read my How I Cured My Silent Reflux article as it explains the underlying root causes of acid reflux, its corresponding treatments, and provides the necessary context to follow some of the concepts in this episode.

Episode Transcript

(Note this is not a word-for-word transcription - it's loosely paraphrased. Alternatively, feel free to watch on YouTube).

Betaine HCl Changed My Life

I went from indigestion to full fledged silent reflux over 15 years. And I knew that if I could ever heal, my life would be changed forever. But my doctor diagnosed me with a hiatal hernia and said, I deal with reflux for life. Now a few years ago, a family friend saw me wringing my hands together and asked me, what was I doing? I told her sometimes they tingle.

She asked me, do you have acid reflux? And I’m like, what kind of random question is that? How could you possibly know I’ve asked the reflux from the tingling in my hands? Well, she told me she had a long history of taking B12 to offset some of the vitamin deficiencies that are common with acid reflux. Now, needless to say this piqued my curiosity, and I spent the next few days digging through medical articles and uncovering all this information that I had no idea, things I’d never learned from my doctor.

By the time I was getting married, I was having indigestion pretty regularly because I was going for the Tums and the Pepto-Bismol to kind of take care of it. And my wife and I went to the doctor’s office together and he basically told me, you need to take these medications or get the work cancer. And so obviously I left the office with a prescription to take the meds for two weeks.

Acid Rebound

And two weeks later, I was back in the office because I could not stop taking them and I got a prescription, which I took for the next 15 years. And as I researched further, I began to appreciate what was going on with my body over that 15 year period. Now I had stepped into what I like to call the reflux cycle. Basically my poor dietary choices had allowed for a bacteria overgrowth and those bacteria will consume a lot of my foods, which reduces the vitamins my body is able to absorb.

And as you might imagine, it starts to reduce the amount of things that can be produced with the use of those vitamins, such as gastric acid. And with lower acidity, I have more food sitting on my stomach, which contributes to indigestion, which creates gases that creates pressure on my valve between my stomach and my throat, which can ultimately lead to things like a hernia, which can lead to the weakening of the valve and allow for more reflux events to occur. And of course I go for the Tums and the Pepsid-AC and ad acids, which reduces my acidity further, which erodes my digestion further.

Reflux Gets Worse Over Time

And on and on goes the cycle. For me, I went from 10 milligrams of Prilosec, which is a pretty strong acid blocker. It can block upwards to 90 to 95% of your acid, which makes your digestive process even work even harder. Your stomach then begins to slosh around your food with the very little bit of acidity that you’ve got going on in attempts to try to digest it. And of course, that additional movement causes additional reflux and I’m back in the office asking for an increased prescription. So for me, over 15 year period, I went from 10 milligrams of something like a Prilosec or annexium to 20 milligrams to 40 milligrams, ultimately to the point where the medications no longer worked.

As I began to research further, I realized that there were a number of dietary changes that I needed to make as well as a handful of supplements that I thought might be able to help me on my journey of managing my symptoms, maybe even controlling my symptoms while I tried to get off these medications. One of those was Betaine HCL.

Now for me, anytime I forgot to take my medications as much as they didn’t really work very well. And I was eating things like Tums by the fistful. If I forgot, man, I was a coughing, hacking mess. I could think of at least a half dozen occasions where I was driving to work, realized I forgot to take my pill in the morning and I had to completely detour. I couldn’t go into the office. I had to go run to a supermarket and pick up something because I was already starting to go into coughing fits. And so that wasn’t going to work.

Betaine HCl for Acid Reflux

And so I was really hopeful that something like Betaine could help to provide a bit of a safety net for me while I got off the medication. My concern was about my hiatal hernia. Now my doctor had basically told me I’d be suffering with reflux for life. And so I thought I had a malfunctioning valve, like it just couldn’t close properly. What I finally realized is that it’s not just about being able to open and close. There’s a lot of things that need to kind of go right in order for it to close properly.

So you need to have sufficient acidity in your stomach. It’s one of these signaling molecules that your enteric nervous system uses to modulate your digestive tract. When you’ve got sufficient acidity, it closes that valve, but it also opens the valve that sits below your stomach called the pyloric sphincter. It allows for food to empty into the small intestine.

And so acidity is real important. Getting control of that bacterial overgrowth is important because it participates in creating hormones that allow for your digestive tract to operate. But I was also still a little bit worried about the hiatal hernia itself. Is it going to create a gap that doesn’t allow for it to close? One thing that gave me a little bit of comfort is looking into hiatal hernias and some of the epidemiology.

Hiatal Hernias and Acid Reflux

And what I discovered is that a good portion of seniors, individuals over 60 years old, have hiatal hernias. But a good portion of them also don’t have reflux. And so those two things gave me some comfort that I can even give this thing a try. Now if you’re like me, you’re starting to develop a bit of hope that you can turn this thing around. And if so, you should definitely check out my playlist on and retain HCL, which I’ll link right up here if you’re watching this in the future. If it’s not there yet, I definitely want to hit that subscribe button so you don’t miss it.

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Don is a best selling author of 'How I Cured My Silent Reflux,' and a former acid reflux sufferer for more than 15 years. With several family members with the disease, and a medically diagnosed hiatal hernia he resigned to the fact that he would take acid blockers for the rest of his life. Dissatisfied with medical advice, he researched the root causes of acid reflux and by solving them was able to eliminate his acid reflux for good!
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5 months ago

You have described exactly my situation over the past 12 years. My doctors always prescribed the antacid route which I now know was completely wrong. Over the past year I have supplemented with Betaine HCL before every meal resulting in HUGE improvements to my overall health and mental state. The ultimate goal is to reestablish proper gut pH and biome.

4 months ago
Reply to  Don Daniels

Totally my story as well.Anti acids or PPI,s lead to low stomach acid and sibo.Betaine HCL + pepsine do the opposite and cure the root cause.Unfortunately regular doctors still tell you to use PPI,s. So wrong!!!

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