When taken as a supplement, betaine hydrochloride provides extra hydrochloric acid in the stomach. A major branch of alternative medicine known as
Betaine without the hydrochloride molecule attached is also sold as a supplement. In this chemically different form, it is called trimethylglycine (TMG). TMG is not acidic, and it has completely different properties. (For more information, see the
Betaine hydrochloride is not an essential nutrient, and no food sources exist.
Betaine hydrochloride is typically taken in pill form at dosages ranging from 325 to 650 mg with each meal.
Based on theories about the importance of stomach acid to overall health, betaine hydrochloride has been recommended for a wide variety of problems, including:
Many naturopathic physicians also believe that betaine hydrochloride can heal
Betaine hydrochloride should not be used by those with ulcers or esophageal reflux (heartburn) except on the advice of a physician. This supplement seldom causes any obvious side effects, but it has not been put through rigorous safety studies. In particular, safety for young children, pregnant or nursing women, or those with severe liver or kidney disease has not been established.
Last reviewed April 2009 by
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