concerning Ayers comment a while back, and I know someone asked this question before with no real answer, regarding betaine-hcl as a useful method to increase stomach acid. his comment was At the link that you cite, they were advocating adding a salt, betaine-HCl, to increase stomach acid. This is silly. The betaine is a weak base and when it is neutralized with HCl, you get the salt. That just means that it acts like a buffer to maintain a particular pH, it is not going to acidify any more than adding NaCl. Betaine is, however, an interesting compound that may interfere with heparin-based signaling.
The point here is that alteration of stomach acid levels is not caused by the contents of a single meal and indicates more profound problems, such as the most likely, Hp infection.
I don't buy the impact of stomach acid levels on protein digestion and some consequence of proteins slipping through. That isn't consistent with how digestion works. The peptic enzyme hydrolyze proteins differently than the subsequent pancreatic proteases. This is interesting with respect to antimicrobial peptide production, but I don't think that there is going to be a systematic impact on immunity. Those proteins and large peptides do not get across an intact intestine. Leaky gut is required. COX inhibitors would be more likely problems.
Vinegar and lemon juice are not going to acidify the stomach. They contain weak acids, acetic and citric acids, that will actually act as buffers and neutralize stomach acid. That doesn't mean that they are not useful, because they are very helpful in dissolving biofilms.
So what's the verdict, does it help or not?
asked byjack_3 (716)
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on May 13, 2012
at 09:56 PM
Betaine HCl (aka trimethylglycine) is a pretty strong organic acid. It's pKa is 1.83 so it's buffering range is around pH 1-3, pretty much the pH of human stomach contents. It most certainly will acidify if the pH is too high, but it cannot take the pH too low (as strong mineral acids are capable of doing). That's a good thing! It's perfectly suited to buffer human stomachs.
Also, look up Chris Kresser for his take on GERD. It's not as simple as too much (conventional) or not enough (alternative) stomach acid.
on May 13, 2012
at 03:26 PM
If it helps, it's probably not for the reason people think it does (for the reasons Ayers points out). I think there needs to be more study on the idea that people with GERD have low stomach acid, because I see a lot of people saying that, and I am not sure it is true. I think the last studies I read showed that a lot of GERD patients have normal levels of stomach acid, so we have to look into other issues like secretion of acid at inappropriate times, damage to the stomach lining, infection, and other inflammatory issues. Also a lot of acidic cocktails people use have other factors. I used kombucha for example, which is certainly more than just acid.
I would like to hear more about "I don't buy the impact of stomach acid levels on protein digestion and some consequence of proteins slipping through."