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Salt intake, Stomach acid and Betaine HCL. Interesting read

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  • Salt intake, Stomach acid and Betaine HCL. Interesting read

    I have been taking betaine hcl for about a month and a half now and I knew I had read that the point was to "retrain" your stomach to produce acid and at some point you should come of of it. Betaine HCL helps production of Hydrochloric acid and I have read where many think Rosacea could be dietary issue. Here is the intersting part about the following article I stumbled on. It discusses low salt intake as having an effect on HCL (stomach acid). I was diagnosed with high BP last year and began a low sodium diet (like ridiculously low becasue Im always an all or nothing guy). Well now I wonder if my low salt intake could have led to digestive issues that led to my recent Rosacea flareups which have calmed but are back again for the time being. Anyone have thoughts on this. I think I may have link here:

    Betaine Hydrochloride(HCL) With Pepsin

    Stomach Acid
    Individuals suffering with stomach and intestinal problems most frequently assume that heartburn, indigestion, gas, and reflux are caused by overproduction of stomach acid. This common misconception has been strongly re-enforced by our conventional medical profession, whose practitioners routinely prescribe stomach acid blocking medications at the slightest sign of stomach dysfunction, failing to properly diagnose the digestive problem by first monitoring the stomach's acid producing function, using scientific methods and neglecting to provide patients with common sense dietary recommendations.

    The Symptoms of Over and Under-Production Are The Same
    Strangely enough, the symptoms of stomach acid (hydrochloric acid, HCL) over-production and under production are virtually identical. It is therefore unwise to jump to conclusions regarding what's occurring in the stomach without actual testing.

    Medical Misdiagnosis Is Very Common
    The pharmaceutical firms with their considerable influence on the medical profession have, through advertising, incentives to doctors and various other forms of indoctrination, made it an almost reflex reaction on the part of most physicians, even many gastro-enterologists, to jump to the conclusion that a majority of gastric problems can be easily treated by the use of acid blocking medications. Because the American public over-consumes unhealthy food at an alarming rate, the routine use of acid blockers is highly profitable for pharmaceutical firms, provides instant relief for many sufferers, but can bring about long-term health problems for many misdiagnosed users.

    Functions of Hydrochloric Acid
    Hydrochloric acid serves many functions, the three most important are:
    1. It is the primary digestive juice responsible for breaking down proteins, preparing them for assimilation.
    2. It acts as a protective barrier, killing many potentially harmful micro-organisms in our food.
    3. It acts as a venting mechanism for the build-up of excessive concentrations of hydrogen ions in our blood and interstitial fluids. In other words, we consume acid forming foods and / or engage in acid forming activity, the production of stomach acid uses up considerable amounts of the acid forming material (hydrogen ions) thereby assisting in the elimination of excessive tissue acidity. The stomach acid once combined with food is eventually neutralized further down the alimentary canal by alkaline pancreatic secretions.

    Underproduction Of Stomach Acid Is A Common Problem
    Based upon the testing of sample groups, it has been theorized that well over half of the U.S. population beyond the age of fifty years is under-producing hydrochloric acid on a constant basis, leading to a host of digestive and immune disturbances. One need not be of middle age to have this problem, nowadays it's not uncommon in younger persons as well. The demineralized, devitalized diet that so many are consuming greatly contributes to this problem, which can be significantly compounded by many individuals' preference for extremely low salt intake.

    A test, the "Heidelberg Capsule Test" is available (unfortunately few physicians have the equipment in their offices to provide it) that is capable of scientifically determining the stomach's ability to produce adequate concentrations of acid (HCL). If this test is not available to you, another "low tech" method of making a correct determination is available. This involves the use of a Betaine Hydrochloride supplement that is used as a challenge substance, when eating, to see if digestive function improves with its use.

    Directions For Use of Betaine HCL
    When using Betaine HCL with Pepsin for the first few times, please be sure to follow the directions carefully. Always take Betaine HCL at the start of the meal! If taken without food, stomach burning may result.

    1. At the very start of the meal, take one capsule of Betaine HCL. Monitor how your stomach feels during and after eating. Should any burning or heaviness occur, or if burning has been present previously (before taking the supplement) and is now worsened with the use of the Betaine HCL, do not continue using this supplement!!! This is an indication that your stomach is overproducing acid, or that your stomach lining may be damaged. In such cases, please consider the use of Alkabase, Gastric Complex-HP and/or Mastica, to normalize excess acid production and heal the stomach lining.

    2. If the first dose of Betaine HCL produced no noticeable stomach discomfort, try taking two capsules at the start of your next meal, again monitor for burning and or heaviness during and after eating. If taking two capsules produces some discomfort, but one capsule does not, restrict yourself to one capsule at the start of each meal. If the two capsule dose produced no discomfort, try three capsules at the start of your next meal.

    3. If all goes well when taking three capsules at the start of each meal, stay with that dosage, most individuals will not require increasing the dosage to four capsules. Regular use of supplemental hydrochloric acid will in most cases "re-train" the stomach to produce higher concentrations of acid on its own. This process may take anywhere from several weeks to several months, depending on the individual. The most significant indication that acid production is improving is that Betaine HCL supplementation can no longer be comfortably tolerated.

    An Example:
    After having used the Betaine HCL for eleven weeks, at a dosage of two capsules per meal, without any discomfort, Joan now notices that she feels a burning sensation when taking the two capsules. She therefore reduces her dosage to one capsule at mealtime. After several more weeks, even one capsule per meal produces burning and Joan discontinues altogether. This is a sign that the stomach has been re-trained to produce adequate concentrations of hydrochloric acid without the further need for supplementation.

    When consuming meals that contain little or no protein, much less hydrochloric acid is needed by the stomach to process its contents. Please keep this in mind when using Betaine HCL as a supplement and modify your usage accordingly.

    Salt Consumption And HCL Production
    Unfortunately, much misinformation regarding the use of salt in the diet has been circulating for the last three decades or so. The body needs salt (NaCl) and cannot function adequately without it. Low salt diets can make it very difficult if not impossible for the stomach to produce adequate amounts of hydrochloric acid. The problem is not salt per se, but the quality of the salt. Using unrefined, highly mineralized sea salt is perfectly safe and healthful to the system. This type of salt is grayish in color and is produced by traditional methods used for many hundreds of years. Available in most good natural food stores it comes from Brittany and goes by names such as "Celtic Sea Salt" and "Star of the Sea". The more common white sea salt sold in most stores does not have the same healthful properties. Individuals with high blood pressure need not necessarily avoid salt. Salt over-consumption is only implicated in about twenty percent of hypertensive individuals (kidney related hypertension).

  • #2
    It's an endless argument here as to which diet is the best to follow but ...

    putting an end to Stomach Acid buildup or reflux
    is one of the best reasons to try out a low carb diet

    and won't have to subject yourself to HCL tablets
    or those purple pills doctors like to prescribe so quickly


    • #3
      Not sure about the low carb diet as a treatment but I have no time to research this now. However here is a link to acid reflux friendly foods. HTH


      • #4
        This link continues to evolve for me

        Im still digging in to this and I found this earlier from a forum: Rosacea & Sodium Chloride Effect
        posted by Helen on 06 Aug 2007 at 5:43 am
        Rosacea turned out to be a deficiency of salt, as I found out from doing some experimenting with diet. See if this doesn't make sense.

        A patient is on a long-term low-salt diet for any number of reasons: to lose weight, high blood pressure, etc. After years of this there isn't enough chlorine in the system (chlorine molecule in salt [NaCL]) for the stomach to make Hydrochloric acid (HCL). Food won't digest. The blood contains salt so the body flushes larger than usual amounts of blood into the stomach area to aid in digestion. The mouth & nose are part of the digestive system, so extra blood flushes in here as well. This is a chronic problem so large amounts of blood are flushing into the facial area daily, especially after a meal. For people who blush easily (veins & capillaries that stretch easily & become enlarged quickly ) rosacea develops as these blood vessels become increasingly stretched and damaged. By this time the body is quite low on salt and does not contain the usual cup or 3/4 cup of salt that is part of good health. It takes several months of a higher salt diet for the problem to go away.

        This extra protein that is produced, well I don't know how that fits in except maybe the body starts making it as kind of a protection for these damaged blood vessels in the face.

        The link:

        And then I found this which I really think could be intersting. I am thinking the HCTZ that is in my blood pressure medicine (I take a lisiniprol HCTZ pill) may have led to the sodiuum deficiency that may have led to all of this flareup and so forth. This referes to the potential for this lupus thing manifesting as Rosacea as well : Varied skin manifestations:

        Raynaud’s phenomenon:

        This is the blanching of the skin of the fingers and toes when exposed to cold and may be followed by a blue or red discoloration.

        2. "What else looks like lupus erythematosus of the skin?"

        Discoid lupus erythematosus can mimic many other skin diseases including psoriasis, fungal infection of the skin, and other rare inflammatory skin disorders. Subacute cutaneous lupus erythematosus can also mimic psoriasis and a common form of light sensitivity called polymorphous light eruption. In this condition, itchy bumps or welts may appear within minutes to hours after sun exposure. The malar rash of acute cutaneous lupus erythematosus can mimic rosacea, a common condition also causing redness of the cheeks. As skin lupus erythematosus can mimic many common skin conditions, a skin sample or biopsy is often required to confirm the diagnosis.

        3. "Is cutaneous lupus erythematosus caused by drugs?"

        The subacute cutaneous form of lupus erythematosus can be caused by certain medications. In addition, patients with cutaneous lupus erythematosus can have their skin disease worsened by certain medications. These are rare, unpredictable side effects of these medications and in almost all such cases the association with the skin disease is only suspected and not proven. The list of suspected drugs includes certain diuretics (hydrochlorothiazide), anti-inflammatory drugs (piroxicam, naproxen, oxyprenolol), calcium antagonists used in the control of blood pressure (diltiazem), and anti-fungal agents (terbinafine). If the suspected drug is a culprit, discontinuation of the drug should result in improvement of the skin disease.

        That link is here::

        So big question is, has anyone else gone down this path? Love to hear comments and thoughts.

        My Doctor has prescribed straight lisiniprol with no HTCZ due to my low sodium levels but I am very curious to see if I see improvements in rosacea symptoms? Wish me luck and of course good luck to all.


        • #5
          Very interesting. I have been on a low salt regimen for as long as I can remember because when I was a teenager my blood pressure was somewhat high and though it was probably because I was nervous whenever I went to the doctor (white coat hypertension) my doctor recommended a low sodium diet. Also I never cared for anything salty so I never added salt to any foods and I did feel unwell if I ever did ingest anything salty. Keep us posted on how you are doing with this change

          Good luck Snivi!

          Best wishes,


          • #6
            Thanks Mellisa

            Do you think there is any possible correlation for you?

            For me today no improvement, in fact worse to tell you the truth so I took a couple of Septra pills. Hope its better tomorrow. I think the effects of coming off the HCTZ and bringing a realistic amount of sodium back into my diet will hopefully have an effect but I wouldnt think it would happen in less than a month or two. We'll see.


            • #7
              I really have no idea. At my last physical all my blood results were normal and I do think (hope) they check this sort of thing. Having said that though I just don't know. I guess I could run this idea by my derm when I see him next and see what he thinks. I just cannot tolerate too much salt at all though as it makes me ill. I cannot even eat any foods that are naturally high in sodium because of that.
              Let me know how it goes for you.


              • #8
                Originally posted by Melissa W View Post
                I really have no idea. At my last physical all my blood results were normal and I do think (hope) they check this sort of thing. Having said that though I just don't know. I guess I could run this idea by my derm when I see him next and see what he thinks. I just cannot tolerate too much salt at all though as it makes me ill. I cannot even eat any foods that are naturally high in sodium because of that.
                Let me know how it goes for you.

                I certainly will. I wont know anything though for some time I wouldnt think.


                • #9

                  had a flare up last week and a lot of small p and p on my forehead which was kind of new. Im not sure if it isnt a reaction to the change of coming off the HCTZ. My skin "seems" to be sort oilier if you will as time progresses since coming off of the diuretic. One thing I realized in noticing this was that I hadnt had a 'regular" zit in the entire time I have had the rosacea flareup beginning in June or so. I typically get one from time to time and I havent had one since this recent ongoing flareup. I have had small rosacea type p and p, but not a true deep type pimple. Now I see what I think is my face becoming oiler again. Im becoming convinced that this HCTZ diuretic in my BP meds is at the root of the recent flareup. That diruetic coupled with my VERY low intake of sodium (intentionally by me to reduce as I thought I should since I have high BP) I believe finally built up and this flareup occured. No confirmation yet though, that is going to take time. Thus far I THINK I am improving.


                  • #10
                    Hard to say

                    Still flaring so hard to say the diuretic or salt were the cause either. I suppose if it clears after a couple of months Ill assume that was it but right now for example my face is dry and hot and RED and beginning to feel like its flaring up. I dont get the red full on as much as I get the small red bumps and tiny p and p. I came home ealrier today and decided to try washing my face mid day since I WANT to begin exercising again and would need to shower after working out during mid day and man that didnt seem to be a good idea. Dry and red.

                    I dont know. maybe its hopeless. It sure seems that way at this point. I have done and tried so much and nothing works.

                    Thus far I have concluded that the following have nothing to do with my flareups

                    Diet - watching sodium, bringind sodium back into diet, reducing sugar, reducing caffeine, none has had an affect.
                    Digestion - at least two and half months of betaine HCL didnt fix it or have any real effect that I can tell.
                    Herpanacine - took for close to three months before stopping a week ago, no real effect
                    Lysine- I still take it in the AM and evening just for the overall skin benefits but it hasnt effected any improvement
                    Flax oil- I have a bottle so will continue until its out but then Im discontinuing it, no effect
                    Fish oil - taken it forever and never an affect
                    Metrogel- I use it and have for years. It helps with the dryness but hasnt effected improvement during this recent year long issue so either its worn out or it just doesnt work.
                    Septra prescrip - If I load up big time massive doses it has an effect after 3 or 4 days of the massive loading but thats no long term solution and prescription will run out anyway. Cant be good for the liver etc.

                    NOTHING works folks, NOTHING. I suppose Ill try to get some of this sanrosa stuff when or if they ever release it to us in 2092 or whenever it is due out.

                    I suppose Ill make an appt to see that doc I was going to see a while back and see if he has any new approaches but what will he have short of accutane and is that a good option really?

                    Basically all I can say to those looking for miracles all over the internet as I have been doing, none of them work, and diet will have no effect. This is something in our weak skin systems that just cannot be controlled at all.


                    • #11
                      Hey Snivi,
                      Don't let it all get you down.
                      I know how you are feeling. Some days it just seems like there is too much going wrong to ever be able to get it right. But hang on as you are just going through a rough spot right now and I am sure you will not have to wait till 2092 LOL to find relief. That was a good one

                      Have you tried red light therapy? If not that may be something you want to try.
                      I agree that for many of us (myself included) diet and supplementation does very little. It sometimes is the combination of factors together that increases our relief than anything alone. So, (just as an example), eating right, exercising, quality and quantity of sleep and certain meds/supplements and red light therapy all together might just provide improvement than anything by itself.

                      Best wishes,


                      • #12
                        Oh I havent given up

                        Im hopeless but I havent given up Im just thoroughly skeptical at this point that anything can be done, but Ill keep trying. I think its useful to list the things that HAVE not worked for me though. Appreciate the thoughts Mellisa


                        • #13
                          Tea Tree Oil?

                          Well I have done two things of late, taken a sulfa pill twice a day but also I have been using a soap with tea tree oil. Currently I see improvement. Quite a bit actually. I dont know whether its attributable to the Tea Tree Oil or not but it might be. If so I would be thrilled to have found this. Im tempted to cut back on the pills and see what happens. As I had said origianally in this thread I have brought mild levels of sodium back into my diet and I have changed BP medicines getting rid of the diuretic portion so it could be a result of that getting more balanced but it could thats BUT it could be due to the tea tree oil.

                          Anyone else use tea tree oil soap and have any luck with it?


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Melissa W View Post
                            I really have no idea. At my last physical all my blood results were normal and I do think (hope) they check this sort of thing. Having said that though I just don't know. I guess I could run this idea by my derm when I see him next and see what he thinks. I just cannot tolerate too much salt at all though as it makes me ill. I cannot even eat any foods that are naturally high in sodium because of that.
                            Let me know how it goes for you.
                            Hi Melissa,

                            Recently, the topic of salt intake and supposed hypersensitivity reactions came up in conversation between my biochemist mentor and some of his colleagues. A suggestion was made that large quantities of salt might destabilise biofilms in the gut and the fall out from this might exacerbate symptoms of other health issues.
                            I hadn't considered this aspect, but I suppose it is something else to consider along with everything else

                            Any thoughts?
                            Previous Numerous IPL.
                            Supplements: High dose Niacinamide, Vit K2, low dose Vit A. Moderate Dose Vit C, Iodine, Taurine, Magnesium. Mod- dose B's. Low dose zinc. Testing Quercetin.

                            Skin Care: No Cleanser, ZZ cream mixed with Niacinamide gel 4% and LMW HA 2%, ethyl ascorbate 2%.

                            Treating for gut dysbiosis.(This is helping).
                            Previous GAPS diet. Have now introduced lots of fibre.
                            Fermented Foods. Intermittent fasting -16-18 hours.
                            Oral Colostrum. Helps reduce food reactions.


                            • #15
                              Hi Jenny,

                              Too much salt is definitely bad for our overall health so that reasoning makes sense to me. I always feel ill when there is too much salt in food and when dining out I make sure to ask for no added salt. So many restaurants add salt to everything...even the fine French restaurants (my favorite).