Rebecca Wood
Rebecca Wood
Be Nourished

Healing with Food Newsletter


Hydrochloric Acid & Natural Remedies for Digestive Health

If you suffer from digestive or bowel complaints, odds are that hydrochloric acid (HCl)–or a little apple cider vinegar, lemon juice or bitter herbs–taken before a meal will noticeably and significantly help you. What's neat about HCl is that it typically provides obvious relief (whereas with some supplements, it's difficult to discern their effectiveness, or lack thereof).

First, do you have one more of the following symptoms:

Symptoms of Hydrochloric Acid Deficiency

Food sensitivities
Undigested food in the stool
Memory problems
Acid reflux
Gall stones
Burping, especially after a meal
Yeast or Candidiasis
Iron deficiency
Leaky gut
Vitiligo (skin pigmentation disorders)
Dental carries
Brittle nails or hair


If several of these symptoms apply to you, it may be that your digestive juices have become less acid. This occurs with chronic stress and the natural aging process.

It's important to keep digestive juices at the right pH to:

  • kill pathogens
  • activate your own digestive enzymes
  • catalyze, or kick-start, protein and fat absorption

To remedy low acid, boost your digestive juices' potency by taking acid prior to a meal. I find HCl capsules convenient (other options include vinegar or lemon juice or bitter herbs such as dandelion or gentian).

Favor the more effective betaine HCl (over a weaker glutamic acid HCl); typically 650 milligrams is adequate. Take in a capsule form for immediate absorption versus in a tablet form. Always take with food or you may experience an uncomfortable burning sensation in your upper gastrointestinal tract. Should you experience burning when you take HCL with food, discontinue its use.

Next, try taking two capsules and, if there's no discomfort, then try three. If there's discomfort with three, back down to two capsules. Continue for a month or two. Often the stomach will start producing more HCl enabling you to decrease the supplementation amount.

Once your system is producing more acid, you'll feel an uncomfortable burning and know to reduce the amount of HCl.

Alternatively you can take one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar or the juice of ½ lemon, in water prior to a meal. And, as with the HCl, try initially increasing and then eventually decreasing the amount of vinegar or lemon juice according to your symptoms.

There are also herbal products, such as Swedish or Digestive Bitters that stimulate the production of digestive acids.

If you have any questions, work with your health care practitioner regarding dosage.

May you be well nourished!

Rebecca Wood

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