Betaine hydrochloride is a colorless crystalline compound containing about 23 percent hydrochloric acid, obtained from an alkaloid found in beets and other plants. It is used as an oral source of additional hydrochloric acid, with persons of advanced age or others who have difficulties with protein digestion because of the lack of enough stomach acid.
Incomplete protein digestion may bring about a lack of all the necessary amino acids. This in turn may affect a large number of body functions, since most of our body systems from neural transmission to the immune system, are activated, operated and protected by a large variety of proteins. Betaine hydrochloride is recommended for allergies, anemia, asthma, atherosclerosis, candida, gallstones, rheumatoid arthritis, and thyroid conditions.
The effects of betaine hydrochloride have not been investigated on young children, pregnant women, and persons with severe liver and kidney disease, and such people should not take this supplement.
Warning: Persons with ulcers and heartburn should not use betaine hydrochloride, despite a few reports to the contrary