Betaine hydrochloride is a chemical substance made in a laboratory. It is used as medicine.
Betaine hydrochloride has an interesting history. Betaine hydrochloride used to be included in over-the-counter (OTC) products as a “stomach acidifier and digestive aid.” But a federal law that went into effect in 1993 banned betaine hydrochloride from use in OTC products because there wasn’t enough evidence to classify it “generally recognized as safe and effective.” Betaine hydrochloride is now available only as a dietary supplement whose purity and strength can vary. Promoters still claim that some health conditions are due to inadequate stomach acid, but this claim has not been proven. Even if it were true, betaine hydrochloride wouldn’t help. It only delivers hydrochloric acid but does not itself alter stomach acidity.
Betaine hydrochloride is also used to treat abnormally low levels of potassium (hypokalemia), hay fever, “tired blood” (anemia), asthma, “hardening of the arteries” (atherosclerosis), yeast infections, diarrhea, food allergies, gallstones, inner ear infections, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and thyroid disorders. It is also used to protect the liver.
Don’t confuse betaine hydrochloride with betaine anhydrous. Use only the FDA-approved betaine anhydrous product for the treatment of high levels of homocysteine in the urine (homocystinuria). This is a symptom of some rare genetic diseases.
How does it work?
It isn't known how betaine hydrochloride might work.
- Low potassium.
- Hay fever.
- “Hardening of the arteries” (atherosclerosis).
- Yeast infection.
- Food allergies.
- Inner ear infection.
- Rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
- Protecting the liver.
- Thyroid disorders.
- Other conditions.
Side Effects & Safety
There isn't enough information to know if betaine hydrochloride is safe. It might cause heartburn.
Special Precautions & Warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of betaine hydrochloride during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
Peptic ulcer disease: There is a concern that the hydrochloric acid produced from betaine hydrochloride might irritate stomach ulcers or keep them from healing.
The appropriate dose of betaine hydrochloride depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for betaine hydrochloride. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.