Pernicious Anaemia Society
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B12 and stomach acid

Hello everyone ... I wonder if anyone is knowledgeable about hydrochloric acid

and how to take, when to take, etc? I have b12 deficiency and suspect that lack of stomach acid may be the cause. I also have hypothyroidism and know that the two are connected.

I would so much appreciate advice as I am finding it difficult to up my B12 level (and my ferritin).

Many thanks


10 Replies

Hydrochloric acid is generally considered to be a poison - although it is integral to the digestive process this is occurring in a very specialised area of your gut - taking it by mouth is going to cause a lot of damage to other areas of your gut and potentially kill you.

Although I can find some references to it being used to treat acidity problems in the stomach this really would need to be done under the supervision of a suitably qualified medic and I doubt you would find many who would be willing to administer it

Some people try ensuring that they take something acidic with food - generally things like citric acid to raise acidity levels


What some people take is Betaine HCL - but definitely NOT straight hydrochloric acid.


Thanks helvella

Found this on WebMD

so looks like even this format isn't something that is considered entirely safe.


Thank you all for your kind help and advice. I checked the internet and found this interesting:


I'm sure I read somewhere that you would trial by gradually increasing betaine hcl tablets until u notice an uncomfortable feeling. Then drop down to the previous amount.

Best to read about it properly tho.


I use 1 table spoon of Apple cider vinegar 3 times a day, mixed with warm water. This helps with low stomach Acid.


Many thanks for all the helpful replies. I am doing a little research online and if I come across anything of interest, I shall post it here.


I take one capsule Betaine HCL with most meals, rising to 2 or more caps if I'm eating a lot of protein. If I didn't, my digestion would seize up. I leave 90-120 mins after eating, then take 1-2 grams magnesium carbonate in water, along with Creon (1-2 caps for pancreatic exocrine insufficiency) and bile acid factors (if I've been eating something fatty). It's all a bit of a bore, but I find it's worth it to get my digestion moving.


Very interesting. What strength are the capsules. My digestion has improved since starting probiotics and digestive enzymes but am still interested in betaine hcl., as I have heard good things about it - but not from those with thyroid prob


I've just run out - indigestion until I get more. The brand varies, depending on where I can get it, so the dose varies a bit too. Some contain added pepsin. You'll need to experiment a bit to find what is most effective for you. You need just enough to help your stomach turn your meal into chyme then prompt the stomach to empty. You'll definitely know you've taken too much if you start getting a feeling of burning in your abdomen - not a good idea!

Just a thought - when I started adding in the mag carb after a meal (on advice), I found that a niggling bladder irritation that started long before I began taking betaine, suddenly cleared up.


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