Ingredient Science

Here’s What to Know About Betaine HCl for Occasional Heartburn*

July 13, 2023 by Enzymedica Team
Here’s What to Know About Betaine HCl for Occasional Heartburn*

There is never a good time to feel that familiar fiery heat from occasional heartburn, and sometimes is can happen when you least expect it – even from foods you might think are healthy. Low amounts of stomach acid can cause occasional heartburn, but there’s a simple solution: Add more acid.*

In this blog, we’ll talk about how you might know if you are experiencing low acid, certain lifestyle changes that may offer support – and what our Betaine HCl does for occasional heartburn and indigestion.*

What is Betaine HCl?

Before getting into Betaine HCl, let’s focus on hydrochloric acid (HCl). The gastric juices in your stomach contain HCl, which is produced by the hormone gastrin once food arrives in the stomach.

HCl helps digest the food you eat, kill potentially harmful bacteria and break down proteins in your food. (Curious about how such a potent acid can be helpful? The mucosal lining of your stomach wall protects it from this potent acid.) When acid levels fall below optimal levels, it can disrupt the delicate balance of bacteria in your gut, which impacts protein digestion and absorption of certain nutrients, including vitamin B12, calcium, iron and magnesium. In addition, HCl is needed to convert pepsinogen into pepsin, an enzyme that requires a low pH level in the stomach to do its work.

HCl and pepsin are absolutely critical to digestion and nutrient absorption. However, levels of gastric acid naturally decrease as we age. But without enough gastric acid, gut-related issues may occur (including occasional heartburn and microbiome imbalances).*

People commonly opt to neutralize gastric acid or inhibit its secretion, but that can impact digestion and nutrient absorption as well as the microbiome.

Betaine HCL is a compound that increases acid levels so your stomach can naturally digest properly.* In our formula, we add enzymes to support gentle digestion, along with MucoSave, a combination of prickly pear polysaccharides and olive leaf biophenols, to soothe the stomach lining.*

It supports and maintains a healthy mucosal system in the stomach.* Made from extracts of prickly pear cactus (Opuntia ficus indica) and olive leaves (Olea europaea), MucoSave has been shown to exert positive effects on the stomach lining, providing a necessary buffer for the acidity of digestion.* This duo has been used traditionally for centuries.


What is Pepsin?                     

Pepsin is an enzyme that’s naturally present in the stomach. Its role is to help digest proteins in the foods you eat, breaking them down into amino acid building blocks.

While most supplements use pepsin from porcine sources (pigs), Betaine HCl from Enzymedica uses a blend of fungal protease enzymes that act as pepsin. This promotes the breakdown of proteins in an acidic environment, but with an entirely vegetarian approach.

What is the Normal pH Range of the Stomach and GI Tract?

Different areas of the digestive tract have different pH levels, as do different parts of the body. As you travel down the digestive tract, the pH environment ranges from the acidic to more alkaline. It is within this broad range that digestive enzymes must be active to facilitate digestion, and each enzyme requires a specific pH to allow for optimal performance.

  • Intestines: 4-7.5 pH
  • Upper stomach: 4-6 pH
  • Lower stomach: 2-4 pH

Common Signs of Low Acid

You should always start by talking to your health-care provider. However, these may be signs of low acid:

  • Occasional bloating, burping or heartburn within a half-hour of eating.
  • Feeling “full” almost as soon as you’re done eating.
  • Fingernails that are weak or prone to peeling and cracking.

Lifestyle Tips to Help Manage Occasional Heartburn*

Start by talking to your health-care provider, but these are some lifestyle tips to help manage occasional heartburn.*

  1. Slow down when you eat, to give your hunger and satiety cues time to catch up. This can prevent you from eating too much and also give your naturally present digestive enzymes time to do their work.
  2. Eat whole, unprocessed foods and avoid any “trigger” foods. For some, this can include sugary, spicy or overly rich foods.
  3. Opt for smaller meals more often, to give your body more time to digest your food.
  4. Find ways to deal with your everyday stress, as this can also impact your digestion.
  5. Stay hydrated. Water is important for healthy digestion!

What’s Inside Enzymedica’s Betaine HCl Formula?

This formula from Enzymedica delivers fast-acting relief of occasional heartburn and indigestion caused by low stomach acid.* It helps restore healthy gut balance and pancreatic enzymes, and it also aids the break down of protein and nutrient absorption.* The protein enzymes (proteases) are both gentle and vegan.* It contains MucoSave®, a blend of prickly pear and olive leaf extracts to help soothe the stomach’s lining.*

  • Aids breakdown of protein and nutrient absorption*
  • Helps restore healthy gut balance and pancreatic enzymes*
  • Soothes stomach lining*