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Calling all betaine hcl - pepsin experts

Discussion in 'The Gut: De Meirleir & Maes; H2S; Leaky Gut' started by ebethc, May 19, 2017 at 6:15 PM.

  1. ebethc

    ebethc Senior Member

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    I've been treating myself for low stomach acid by taking betaine hcl + pepsin... it helps my chronic constipation.... big plus!

    1. I take 2 caps twice a day... what is the best timing w regard to meals? I.e. X minutes before or after meals?

    2. How does increasing stomach acid change histamine in stomach (if at all)?
    I'm asking because I believe ppl w mast cell issues (like me) supposedly have TOO MUCH acid... is this true? If there is a connection between stomach acid and histamine, then wouldn't adding more stomach acid via betaine/pepsin stimulate more histamine? I'm not far enough along in my betaine experiments to know exactly how it's affecting me beyond the positive effect on motility.. plus it's allergy season anyway

    3. Some times I forget to take betaine so I take it between meals. I notice my head clears and I have less stiffness and pain after I take it.... it's subtle but distinct, and doesn't last more than an hour or less... can anyone explain the mechanism that drives this reaction?
     
  2. Alvin2

    Alvin2 Senior Member

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    I find how your taking it very strange, i take it with meals while i am eating, if my stomach feels "heavy" i take a tablet which works almost instantly, if i need more i take more.
    If i were to take too many or when there is no food in my stomach it feels like my stomach is very acidic and i start burping acid.
    It increases stomach acidity to digest food, you should not need to take out when your not eating. Also the number of tablets is individual necessity, i take from 1 - 6 a day (when i can afford to buy them) based on how large a meal. If i take one too many i have to drink some milk to balance it out.
     
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  3. ebethc

    ebethc Senior Member

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    I take w food, same as you..., today I didn't--omg, how strange!
     
  4. Alvin2

    Alvin2 Senior Member

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    They say that over time your natural acid production increases and you don't need them anymore.
    In my case that has not happened but its likely i have some kind of permanent damage (long story)
     
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  5. PatJ

    PatJ Senior Member

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    Betaine HCL with Pepsin helps to break down protein. You should only need it when eating food that contains an appreciable amount of proten (ie. meat, protein powder, nuts; not a plain salad or fruit.)

    It should be taken with the meal. Dr. Johathan Wright who wrote a book called "Why stomach acid is good for you" recommends taking it at the beginning of the meal to give it more time to break down protein.

    Betaine HCL with Pepsin is an essential supplement that I've relied on for years. It was one of the first supplements that I found really helped me. Without it I can be very tired after eating any protein; so tired that I fall into a semi-conscious dozing state. With it I'm more alert, digest my food so much better, and avoid a sense of heavy and slow digestion.

    People with CFS/ME often have low stomach acid. Supplementing hasn't helped my body to produce its own acid so I think CFS/ME is preventing my body from producing acid. I know that my body can still produce stomach acid because digestive bitters produce a very warm (and excess acid) sensation in my stomach. I use Betaine HCL with pepsin instead because it's easier to get just the right amount of acid for a particular meal.

    When I first started taking it I needed a very low dose due to stomach discomfort. I think this happened because the lining of my stomach had thinned due to years of very low acid levels. Within a couple of weeks I was able to gradually raise the amount of Betaine HCL without any stomach discomfort.

    I found that I need a 650mg capsule for roughly every 4 grams of protein. I have so little stomach acid that I even need a 350mg capsule if I have a tablespoon of nut butter.

    I don't know the answer to your question about mast cell issues and stomach acid.
     
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  6. ebethc

    ebethc Senior Member

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    @PatJ

    Thanks! That's helpful

    I have had a very similar reaction.. I've tried a million things and this is one of the few things that's worked... I tried a vegan diet and my stomach felt good but fatigue and brain fog were way worse... I broke down and had some chicken and I felt way better.. it amazes me that no doctor has ever tested me for low stomach acid, let alone understand how much it can affect health!

    Another game changer has been proteolytic enzymes, wobenzym and bromelain which both help my brain fog and joint pain/stiffness... supposedly these systemic enzymes breakdown proteins in your blood and immune complexes (whatever those are) so I think low stomach acid has set up a domino effect shutting down pancreatic enzymes (which are proteolytic enzymes too)

    I've been taking SIBO C herbs which make me feel way worse mentally and emotionally but seem to help tummy (taking biotics this time, but candibactan is better for me).. I'll be done soon

    Last, some low key intermittent fasting (eating in a 7 or 8 hour window) has helped my bloating ... giving my gut a good rest seems important right now
     
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  7. Richard7

    Richard7 Senior Member

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    @PatJ 4g /tablet, I like the fact that you have worked that out.

    I just go by feel, is this a three or four tablet meal. But I used to use twice as much per meal so may have beenworking to the same ratio

    I would add though that you also need an acidic stomach to release bile and digestive enzymes, and it seems to be important in nutrient absorbtion beyond that too. I mostly deal with that by eating two or three meals a day and not grazing (says the man who just broke that rule by grazing on a raw carrot).

    @ebethc the benefit you feel when taking betaine HCL between meals could be from the betaine (trimethyglycine) which is a methyl donor.
     
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  8. ebethc

    ebethc Senior Member

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    Yes! I'm coming to the conclusion that this is true, in spite of the "grazing" proponents who think you should always be maintaining constant blood sugar levels

    Re TMG, yes, I would love to understand TMG and betaine better because TMG makes me feel better, so there's def something to what you're saying for me personally

    Also, I still don't understand stomach acid and histamine i.e. Does increasing stomach acid increase histamine (since the inverse is true)
     
  9. Richard7

    Richard7 Senior Member

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    histamine is one of the chemicals that signal the stomach to release acid. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parietal_cell

    So histamine in the right place will increase acid: increased acid should not impact histamine.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2017 at 10:18 PM
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  10. ebethc

    ebethc Senior Member

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    Can you have a mast cell disorder AND have low stomach acid?
     
  11. Richard7

    Richard7 Senior Member

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    Why not ?

    I know that there is a post somewhere where RichvanK explained that the big deal with stomach acid was that it just takes so much energy to make it. It is one of the more difficult things our bodies do.

    So you could have the ability to make the histamine, have functioning receptors and still not be able to make the acid because you have CFS/ME.

    Sort of like your legs on a bad day, everything is there, everything seems to work you want to walk or dance or whatever and know how but the energy is not there. So you sit or shuffle or take a taxi instead.
     
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  12. ebethc

    ebethc Senior Member

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    Thanks - I'll def try to find this!
     
  13. PatJ

    PatJ Senior Member

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    I went looking for that post and found some interesting comments.

    From this post:
    "I too did poorly on the baking soda test. A microscopic burp after about 9 minutes...just ridiculous. When I first came down with this #*@*!**!!! back in '98, the docs suggested betaine HCL, and I had to take NINE capsules before I felt any warmth. I was eventually able to back down to about 5 per meal, but in recent years, esp this past year, I backed off more (as one gets so sick of taking all this stuff)...but I paid the price w/muscle loss, bone loss, etc. -- and terrible digestion. So I'm back up to 7 capsules with a regular meal, 8 if I'm taking calcium. I think Rich says that once the methylation cycle improves, the HCL output should improve as well. He told me if betaine HCL turns out to be a problem, then supplementing with DMG might help."

    A short excerpt from a post by RichVanK about stomach acid and methylation:
    "When betaine-HCl is used in large dosages to compensate for low stomach acid, which is present in many PWCs, the concern is that the betaine will overdrive the BHMT pathway, taking flow away from the methionine synthase pathway, which is the one we are trying to encourage."

    Another post by RichVanK:
    "Many PWCs find that they need betaine HCl to build up their low stomach acid, in order to get their digestive system operating better, and some seem to need a lot of it.

    There is a diluted HCl solution sold by Allergy Research Group that can supply stomach acid without burning on the way down. Also, some people use lemon juice or even apple cider vinegar. If lemon juice is used, it's important to use a drinking straw and to flush the teeth with water afterward. Citrate is a chelator for calcium, and can damage the enamel on the teeth."

    RichVanK again::
    "One of the "interesting" features of ME/CFS is that usually the stomach acid production is low (I think because of glutathione depletion in the parietal cells), and that impacts the digestive system in several unfortunate ways. Stomach acid can be supported by taking betaine-HCl, which brings in TMG or betaine as a carrier, as well as the hydrochloric acid. Sometimes people get caught between trying to build up their stomach acid, which is very beneficial for the digestive system, and trying to restart their methionine synthase, which requires not going too high on TMG. One way to deal with this is to also take DMG, which exerts backpressure on the BHMT pathway, because it is a product of this reaction."
     
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  14. Alvin2

    Alvin2 Senior Member

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    I'm, curious if any of you HCL users have tried taking 5HTP. It won't help the ME/CFS (at least it didn't for me) but ever since i've had this problem and started taking HCL tablets i noticed a 5HTP tablet will make me throw up without fail.
     
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  15. Richard7

    Richard7 Senior Member

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    Oh joy.

    No I have not tried it , and with a review like that I do not suppose I shall.

    @PatJ the DMG thing sounds interesting I will order some and see if it makes a difference next time I do a supplement order.
     
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  16. PatJ

    PatJ Senior Member

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    I haven't tried it. Do you feel nauseous before the vomiting or have any other side effects?
     
  17. arewenearlythereyet

    arewenearlythereyet Senior Member

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    I read somewhere that Cortisol is important for gastric secretion. I presume if our cortisol is low that's why a lot of us have low stomach acid?
     
  18. ebethc

    ebethc Senior Member

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    @PatJ

    Thanks for rounding up all the richvank info... it's interesting, but I don't understand all of it so I wish he were still around... e.g. I don't get why adding betaine hcl would hurt the methionine pathway by taking betaine away... wouldn't it be the opposite?

    I'm +/+ for 2 BHMT snp's (btw according to Ben Lynch these don't matter at all, so who knows). I've been circling this problem for awhile, although I only understood that after reading your post... e.g. I have had some benefit from TMG, DMG and SAM-E (best of all w the super intractable brain fog, but also pain) but they all poop out after awhile..probably because it's using up some cofactors and once the cofactors are gone it doesn't work... Maybe Rick would say this proves his theory somehow, then he would explain it, but I don't get it...so far, the betaine is working and not pooping out! In fact, it seems like slowly improving digestion.

    > Also, I've always had low homocysteine, so that doesn't jive w the methylation theories..

    > not a bad idea to try some b vitamins again. Also, biozinc from solaray is zinc w active b6...zinc is one of my top supplements and this form is the best.. Rick would prob have a methylation explanation for this...argh
     
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  19. PatJ

    PatJ Senior Member

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    Once I get into the various pathways and interactions of methylation my brainfog rolls in and clouds understanding.

    Keep in mind that there is often a lot of speculation and opinion in methylation discussions (and health in general) so much of the information we read is provisional based on evolving understanding, or even wrong.
     
  20. Eastman

    Eastman Senior Member

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    Betaine converts homocysteine to methionine, leaving less homocysteine for the methionine synthase pathway which uses methylfolate and B12.
     
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