Betaine HCL Works – pH Meter Photo Proof


There are people who claim that Betaine HCL is just a useless supplement since it does not lower the pH of the stomach.

Sure it does lower the pH and significantly enough for activation of the protein digesting enzymes!

Betaine HCL is actually one of the best selling supplements for digestion. Basically it is just a hydrochloric acid (HCL) molecule bound to Betaine (trimethylglycine – TMG) molecule. This combo forms a salt – Betaine HCL – that you take in capsules. After the capsules dissolve in stomach the HCL and Betaine bonds are broken down and free HCL molecules lowers the stomach pH.

But how many capsules do you need to take and still not wasting the money by “eating” too many capsules with every meal in order to bring the stomach pH levels down enough?

To answer this question we need to find out how much fluid holds the stomach.

The answer is 30 – 100 ml and the pH of the fluid is about 1.5 – 3.5. Many doctors think that pH 2.0 or higher is too high in order to digest the food properly so it is debatable if it is still a healthy person who have the pH of the stomach higher than 2.0 or 2.5.

That’s why you should not drink water shortly before or after eating – you will dilute stomach acid and negatively affect the digestive process.

The product that was used in this test is the Betaine HCL from NOW. The iHerb.com sells this supplement for about 13 USD.

Betaine_HCL_NOW

How much betaine and hydrochloric acid is in one Betaine HCL capsule?

650 mg (0.65g) – is the common size of one Betaine HCL capsule

153,61 g/mol – molecular weight of Betaine HCL

36,46 g/mol – molecular weight of HCL
117,15 g/mol – molecular weight of Betaine

You can calculate the content of HCL in Betaine HCL like this:

0.65 g / 153,61 g/mol = 0.004231 mol
0.004231 mol x 36,46 g/mol = 0.154 g of HCL

or

153,61 (g/mol) / 36,46 (g/mol) = 4.213
0.65 g / 4.213 = 0.154 g of HCL

That means you get 0.154 gram or 154 mg of hydrochloric acid from one 650 mg capsule of Betaine HCL.

 

Betaine HCL capsules – HCL content

1 capsule   of Betaine HCL = 0.154 g of HCL
2 capsules of Betaine HCL = 0.308 g of HCL
3 capsules of Betaine HCL = 0.462 g of HCL
4 capsules of Betaine HCL = 0.616 g of HCL
5 capsules of Betaine HCL = 0.770 g of HCL
6 capsules of Betaine HCL = 0.924 g of HCL
7 capsules of Betaine HCL = 1.078 g of HCL

 

How to calculate the pH of the solution?

Amount of HCL (mol) = Weight of HCL (grams) / molecular weight of HCL (36.46 grams/mol)
Concentration (mol/Litre) = HCL (mol) / solution volume (Litre)
pH = – log (Concentration)

 

Betaine HCL in 100ml (3.3 fl. oz) of water

1 capsule:
Amount of HCL (mol) = 0.154g / 36.46 g/mol = 0.00422 mol
Concentration = 0.00422 mol / 0.100 L = 0.0422 mol/L
pH = -log (0.0422 mol/L) = 1.37

2 capsules:
Amount of HCL (mol) = 0.308g / 36.46 g/mol = 0.00844 mol
Concentration = 0.00844 mol / 0.100 L = 0.0844 mol/L
pH = -log (0.0844 mol/L) = 1.07

3 capsules:
Amount of HCL (mol) = 0.462g / 36.46 g/mol = 0.01267 mol
Concentration = 0.01267 mol / 0.100 L = 0.1267 mol/L
pH = -log (0.1267 mol/L) = 0.89

4 capsules:
Amount of HCL (mol) = 0.616g / 36.46 g/mol = 0.01689 mol
Concentration = 0.01689 mol / 0.100 L = 0.1689 mol/L
pH = -log (0.1689 mol/L) = 0.77

5 capsules:
Amount of HCL (mol) = 0.770g / 36.46 g/mol = 0.02111 mol
Concentration = 0.02111 mol / 0.100 L = 0.2111 mol/L
pH = -log (0.2111 mol/L) = 0.67

6 capsules:
Amount of HCL (mol) = 0.924g / 36.46 g/mol = 0.02534 mol
Concentration = 0.02534 mol / 0.100 L = 0.2534 mol/L
pH = -log (0.2534 mol/L) = 0.59

7 capsules:
Amount of HCL (mol) = 1.078g / 36.46 g/mol = 0.02956 mol
Concentration = 0.02956 mol / 0.100 L = 0.2956 mol/L
pH = -log (0.2956 mol/L) = 0.52

 

Betaine HCL in 250ml (8.47 fl. oz) of water

1 capsule:
Amount of HCL (mol) = 0.154g / 36.46 g/mol = 0.00422 mol
Concentration = 0.00422 mol / 0.250 L = 0.01688 mol/L
pH = -log (0.01688 mol/L) = 1.77

2 capsules:
Amount of HCL (mol) = 0.308g / 36.46 g/mol = 0.00844 mol
Concentration = 0.00844 mol / 0.250 L = 0.03376 mol/L
pH = -log (0.03376 mol/L) = 1.47

3 capsules:
Amount of HCL (mol) = 0.462g / 36.46 g/mol = 0.01267 mol
Concentration = 0.01267 mol / 0.250 L = 0.05068 mol/L
pH = -log (0.05068 mol/L) = 1.29

4 capsules:
Amount of HCL (mol) = 0.616g / 36.46 g/mol = 0.01689 mol
Concentration = 0.01689 mol / 0.250 L = 0.06756 mol/L
pH = -log (0.06756 mol/L) = 1.17

5 capsules:
Amount of HCL (mol) = 0.770g / 36.46 g/mol = 0.02111 mol
Concentration = 0.02111 mol / 0.250 L = 0.08444 mol/L
pH = -log (0.08444 mol/L) = 1.07

6 capsules:
Amount of HCL (mol) = 0.924g / 36.46 g/mol = 0.02534 mol
Concentration = 0.02534 mol / 0.250 L = 0.10136 mol/L
pH = -log (0.10136 mol/L) = 0.99

7 capsules:
Amount of HCL (mol) = 1.078g / 36.46 g/mol = 0.02956 mol
Concentration = 0.02956 mol / 0.250 L = 0.11824 mol/L
pH = -log (0.11824 mol/L) = 0.92

 

Betaine HCL in 500ml (16.9 fl. oz) of water

1 capsule:
Amount of HCL (mol) = 0.154g / 36.46 g/mol = 0.00422 mol
Concentration = 0.00422 mol / 0.500 L = 0.00844 mol/L
pH = -log (0.00844 mol/L) = 2.07

2 capsules:
Amount of HCL (mol) = 0.308g / 36.46 g/mol = 0.00844 mol
Concentration = 0.00844 mol / 0.500 L = 0.01688 mol/L
pH = -log (0.01688 mol/L) = 1.77

3 capsules:
Amount of HCL (mol) = 0.462g / 36.46 g/mol = 0.01267 mol
Concentration = 0.01267 mol / 0.500 L = 0.02534 mol/L
pH = -log (0.02534 mol/L) = 1.59

4 capsules:
Amount of HCL (mol) = 0.616g / 36.46 g/mol = 0.01689 mol
Concentration = 0.01689 mol / 0.500 L = 0.03378 mol/L
pH = -log (0.03378 mol/L) = 1.47

5 capsules:
Amount of HCL (mol) = 0.770g / 36.46 g/mol = 0.02111 mol
Concentration = 0.02111 mol / 0.500 L = 0.04222 mol/L
pH = -log (0.04222 mol/L) = 1.37

6 capsules:
Amount of HCL (mol) = 0.924g / 36.46 g/mol = 0.02534 mol
Concentration = 0.02534 mol / 0.500 L = 0.05068 mol/L
pH = -log (0.05068 mol/L) = 1.29

7 capsules:
Amount of HCL (mol) = 1.078g / 36.46 g/mol = 0.02956 mol
Concentration = 0.02956 mol / 0.500 L = 0.05912 mol/L
pH = -log (0.05912 mol/L) = 1.22

 

Photos of the pH tests with Betaine HCL

The calculations above are just a theoretical values and applicable for liquid hydrochloric acid and distilled water. Now check the following real life tests where the Betaine HCL powder (from capsules) in distilled water and tap water is used.

Test conditions:

  • Distilled water temperature: 20 Celsius (°C) / 68 Fahrenheit (ºF)
  • Tap water temperature: 20 Celsius (°C) / 68 Fahrenheit (ºF)
  • Betaine HCL capsules were opened and only powder was used
  • Betaine HCL powder in water was stirred about 30 seconds to dissolve

The pH meter calibration

1.distilled_water

1. Distilled water; the pH should be 7.0

 

2.buffer_powder

2. Buffer powder for calibration of pH meter

 

3.buffer_data

3. The reference values for the pH meter calibration

 

4.water_temperature

4. The temperature of the water used in the following tests was 20 Celsius (°C) / 68 Fahrenheit (ºF)

 

5.ph_test

5. pH meter calibration is successful

 

6.distilled_water_ph

6. Distilled water pH is also measured accurately – it is 7.0

 

7.betaine_hcl_capsule

7. The content of 1 Betaine HCL capsule in a glass of distilled water

 

8.betaine_hcl_dissolved

8. The Betaine HCL powder is easily dissolved when stirred

 

 Distilled water pH – 100ml

9.one_capsule_ph

9. The pH of 1 Betaine HCL capsule and 100ml distilled water solution is 1.9

 

10.two_capsules_ph

10. 2 capsules of Betaine HCL in 100ml of distilled water result in pH of 1.7

 

11.seven_capsules_powder

11. The powder of 7 capsules in 100ml of distilled water

 

12.seven_capsules_ph

12. 7 capsules in 100ml of distilled water = pH of 1.5

 

Tap water pH – 100ml

13.tap_water_ph

13. Tap water pH = 7.7

 

14.tap_water_1caps_ph

14. 100ml of tap water with 1 Betaine HCL capsule = pH 2.0

 

15.tap_water_2caps_ph

15. 100ml of tap water with 2 Betaine HCL capsules = pH 1.8

 

16.tap_water_7caps_ph

16. 100ml of tap water with 7 Betaine HCL capsules = pH 1.5

 

Tap water pH – 250ml

17.tap_water_250ml_1caps_ph

17. 250ml of tap water with 1 Betaine HCL capsule = pH 2.2

 

18.tap_water_250ml_2caps_ph

18. 250ml of tap water with 2 Betaine HCL capsules = pH 2.0

 

19.tap_water_250ml_7caps_ph

19. 250ml of tap water with 7 Betaine HCL capsules = pH 1.7

 

Tap water pH – 500ml

20.tap_water_500ml_2caps_ph

20. 500ml of tap water with 2 Betaine HCL capsules = pH 2.2

 

21.tap_water_500ml_7caps_ph

21. 500ml of tap water with 7 Betaine HCL capsules = pH 1.8

 

The real pH numbers clearly differ from the calculated numbers due to the fact that the HCL is in the form of Betaine HCL and needs to be dissolved in the water first. Also the Betaine (TMG) acts as a weak buffer in the solution. The capsules contain also the magnesium stearate which also may slightly affect the pH.

 

What is the pH of the lemon juice?

Since many people claim they use a lemon juice to improve their digestion here are the numbers.

22.lemon_juice_50ml_ph

22. 50ml of freshly squeezed lemon juice = pH 2.5

 

23.diluted_lemon_juice_ph

23. 50ml of freshly squeezed lemon juice + 100ml of tap water (pH 7.7) = pH 2.5

 

24.diluted_lemon_500ml_ph

24. 50ml of freshly squeezed lemon juice + 450ml of tap water (pH 7.7) = pH 2.7

 

Is it worth to buy and use Betaine HCL?

As the results show it does not need a lot of capsules to lower the pH since there is not a huge difference between 2 capsules per meal and 7 capsules when dissolved in 100ml of water (pH 1.7 vs pH 1.5, respectively). That’s because one point down on the pH scale means 10 times more acidic. The solution of pH 6 is actually 10 times more acidic than solution of the pH 7.

However if you drink one cup of water (250ml/8.45 oz) with the meal two capsules of Betaine HCL will create the environment of pH 2.0. To bring the pH of 250ml of water to 1.7 you will need 7 capsules.

In my opinion the best option is to eat a little bit of food before taking the Betaine HCL. I would take 2 capsules with 100ml of water in order to get the best results and still on a budget. I think that there is no real advantage to take 7 capsules and drink 250ml of water if the same effects of lowering the pH can be achieved with 2 capsules and 100ml of water.

I think that Betaine HCL has its value and many people can confirm that their digestion is better when they take this supplement. Low pH is also needed for activation of the pepsinogen into its active protein digesting form – pepsin. The Betaine HCL from NOW has also the pepsin in it.

However, keep in mind that the capsules in your stomach dissolve slower and not all powder is guaranteed to be dissolved so thoroughly so the real pH lowering effects of the Betaine HCL capsules may be slightly weaker than in the tests performed above.

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7 Responses

  1. majji srinivasarao says:

    sir,
    i suffering with psoriasis long 9 years i was use oncotrex 5 mg now when i am use oncotrex it was queeired the it will come back after two months when queered i was stop the oncotrex . Please give the proper suggestion to me

    thanking you
    withregards

    • John says:

      You must read the information yourself.

      It is impossible for me to tell you exactly how to follow with healing step by step.

  2. Matt says:

    Hi, I’ve read numerous theories on when to take HCL pills. Bottle says before meals. My Doc says during meal with no water. Some say immediately after. Others say 30 minutes after with water. I have really low stomach acid. What’s your opinion on how and when to take? I’m assuming some water is needed to dissolve the pill and activate. I’m not seeing great results on no water and swallowing pills during the meal. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    • John says:

      Hi,

      do you have psoriasis?

      The biggest problem is that most of the meals today is the combinations of the following:
      – meat and wheat
      – meat and rice
      – meat and potato

      or/and eating a lot of starches.

      These combinations lead to fermentation in the stomach and mostly small intestine.

      And even if we tried to eat healthy like fruits we would eat a lot of sugar which leads to fermentation in our digestive tract. And I am not talking about the sweet drinks how bad they are.

      Betaine HCL capsules

      I would take 1 capsule before meal, 1 during the meal and 1 after if you wanted to make it more complicated.

      Otherwise I think 3 capsules during the meal should work well.

      There is no real use to take Betaine HCL without water as you can see from the experiment in this article. Taking the capsules with 3-4 fl. oz (100 ml – 120 ml) of water doesn’t really make sense. So little water has no significant negative effect on pH.

      It can not be said ultimately when to take Betaine HCL capsules because some people may have slow gastric emptying and some fast. And those whose stomach releases the food into the small intestine fast would find less effective to take the Betaine HCL after meal.

      Dysfunctional nervous system may significantly decrease the stomach acid production and speed up or slow down the normal gastric emptying.

      Liver function and bile flow is the single most important thing we should focus in any chronic problems. Dental infections and heavily infected root canal teeth are the first thing we should address.

  3. Matt says:

    No psoriasis, but stomach acid was depleted by unnecessary long-term ppi use. I’m slowly regenerating pariatel cells…I think. Anyway, I was having any luck with no liquid during meal so this makes total sense. Thank you very much for doing the experiment and putting some science behind the pill. I’ve read that drinking water during a meal dissolves your digestive juices but I’m seeing that debunked on some other sites. I’ve noticed that Apple cider vinegar and bitters started to work better than my HCl supplement but now I know what I was doing wrong. Thanks again.

  4. Hagane-no says:

    Hey, I know it’s been some time since you posted this, but I was wondering something. I’m having some difficulty finding the proper dosage to relieve my indigestion. I’ve had my stomach acid tested (via Heidelberg capsule) and at a fasting state it’s at a pH of 5.5 – 6, so I know I need supplementation. What I was wondering is, in your opinion is it possible that although 7 pills has almost the same effect on pH as 2 pills, is it possible that 7 pills could offer more of a resistance to change in pH of a fluid than 2? As in, if the food i’m eating continuously challenges the acidity of my stomach, will more Betaine HCL offer more stability, or do you think it doesn’t work that way? I’m not really too scientifically inclined but I was trying to figure out why sometimes I feel less symptoms the higher I go in dosage, as I also hear some people experience. Thanks for your work here, really is extremely helpful!

    • John says:

      You are asking the question if it is better to take 2 capsules or 7 capsules?

      The whole blog post is about that…

      Check the photos and you will know.

      As I say 3 capsules is enough for most cases. Is 7 better? Yes, but also more expensive and people should realize that pancreas is another part of the digestive system which must work properly.

      Having the low output of alkaline pancreatic juices is bad because the stomach acid (or supplemental Betaine HCL from capsules) should be neutralized otherwise it would damage the small intestine.

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