Betaine Anhydrous

Betaine HCl is a dietary supplement that is used as a digestive aid. It is a delivery form of hydrochloric acid, the substance that creates the acid environment in the stomach. Betaine HCl is made up of betaine, a substance from beet sugar, bound to hydrochloric acid. By binding the HCl to betaine, the substance becomes stable and can be swallowed without damaging the esophagus. Once in the stomach, betaine HCl is cleaved (separated). The HCl creates a more acid environment, while the betaine moves on to be absorbed in the small intestine.

A 5% solution of Betaine HCl has a pH of 1. A low pH, or acidic environment is needed in the stomach to begin the digestive process. The low pH or acidic environment is also necessary to have the proper digestive enzymes in the small intestine, and for proper nutrient absorption in the colon.

HCl serves three purposes in the digestive system. Its first, and most important action, is to assist in the digestion of proteins. HCl converts pepsinogen to pepsin. HCl, along with pepsin, is responsible for the initial step in protein digestion. It is able to cleave complex proteins into amino acid chains that can then be further broken down in the small intestine and absorbed as single or short chain amino acids. Without proper levels of HCl in the stomach, protein does not get digested or absorbed. This can cause serious health conditions.

The second action of HCl is protection. HCl contributes to the protective barrier in the stomach in two ways. The first line of defense in the stomach is its acidic environment. Most microorganisms cannot survive in such an acid environment, and actually prefer the opposite, a basic environment. HCl protects us from the common germs found in all foods; from bacteria that cause food poisoning in some people, and from the single celled organisms like giardia and cryptosporidium that can cause diarrhea and vomiting.

It also protects the small intestine from bacterial overgrowth. The acid environment in the stomach also causes a reflex production of mucus by specialized cells in the lining of the stomach. The mucous provides another barrier against microorganisms, and also protects the lining of the stomach from the other digestive enzymes, as well as HCl itself. Without this mucus barrier the lining of the stomach becomes more susceptible to damage and conditions such as gastritis, H.pylori, peptic ulcer disease, and stomach cancer.

The third purpose of HCl is providing a buffer from acid/base homeostasis throughout the body. Because every cell in our bodies uses water, carbon, and hydrogen, there needs to be a system to recycle those elements as well as compensate for intake and output. That is the acid/base system. It coordinates the movement of all the important ions in our bodies, including sodium, calcium, potassium, magnesium, chloride, hydrogen, carbon dioxide, and oxygen. If the acid/base system gets too basic or too acidic it can use the reservoir of hydrogen ions created by HCl to correct the system.

Additionally, it is also believed that HCl allows for the proper absorption of trace minerals and vitamins. But this is not a specific function of HCl, and is more beneficial for proper digestive function. Low HCl is also associated with increased absorption of drugs that are normally broken down by HCl, and decrease dosage of medications that need such an acid environment to activate them.

Products Containing Betaine Anhydrous
Name Price Rating Serving Price # of Servings Manufacturer Health Condition
Black Powder $18.95
$0.95 20 MRI
Energized Xpand $34.99
$0.87 40 Dymatize
Green Magnitude $36.01
$0.45 80 Controlled Labs


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