If your stomach doesn't produce enough acid to allow for proper digestion, you may have a condition called hypochlorhydria. Inadquate stomach acid production may lead to nutritional deficits, belching, heartburn, stomach discomfort and bloating. Your doctor may recommend treatment with a hydrochloric acid or HCl supplement called betaine HCl to increase the amount of acid in your stomach and alleviate hypochlorhydria symptoms. Discuss the side effects of this HCl supplement with your doctor before beginning treatment.
Treatment with this type of HCl supplement may cause heartburn, RxList reports. Heartburn is typically characterized by a burning sensation at the top of the abdomen that radiates upwards into the chest. If you experience frequent heartburn, you may also have a sore throat or difficulty swallowing. Consult your doctor if episodes of heartburn recur more than twice weekly, as this side effect of HCl supplements may also be a sign of alternate health conditions, such as acid reflux disease.
Taking large doses of betaine HCL may burn or degrade the lining of your stomach, HealthKey warns. Severe stomach irritation may exacerbate heartburn side effects and may also cause nausea, bloating or vomiting. Seek additional care from your doctor as soon as possible if you experience severe or chronic stomach pain.
The safety and efficacy of betaine HCl supplements have not been clinically evaluated in children or pregnant or breastfeeding women. As such, this supplement should not be used by these populations unless otherwise instructed by a medical professional. Be sure to let your doctor know if you have a personal history of esophageal reflux or ulcers before you begin taking betaine HCL supplement, Baptist Health Systems advises. Treatment with this supplement may worsen symptoms associated with preexisting ulcers or reflux.