Thursday, January 3, 2013

My Recommendations for Probiotics and Betaine HCl

A reader recently asked me for my recommendations for probiotics.  Probiotics are beneficial bacteria and yeasts.  Good bacteria in our bodies keep in balance all the bad bacteria.

First, I would like to say that probiotics are absolutely critical to a healthy digestive system.  We must have a balance of good bacteria in our gut, or we will be prone to a host of health problems.  If the bacteria in our digestive tract is out of balance, our entire body health will also be out of balance.  Probiotics cured me from a horrible antibiotic induced colitis back in 2004.  I plan on sharing more about that experience on this blog in the future. 

Second, I want to make the point that probiotics were not the solution to my low stomach acid problem (hypochlorhydria).  To resolve the acid reflux that I was having due to the low stomach acid, I had to begin taking a Betaine HCl supplement with all my meals.

Here are my top recommendations for probiotics and Betaine HCl:

For superb quality probiotics, my top recommendation is the Garden of Life Primal Defense product.  I’ve used their products for many years, with great success.  Their Primal Defense product cured me of that antibiotic induced colitis back in 2004.  I experienced two terrible bouts of colitis, lasting 10 days each, within six weeks of each other.  With each instance, I lost 10 pounds. On the first bout of colitis, I went to the doctor and tried their suggested route of taking more antibiotics (in spite of the fact that an antibiotic had been the reason for my problem) and eating yogurt.  Six weeks later, when the colitis returned as bad as the first time, I resolved to try a different way.  Obviously, what the doctor had prescribed had not worked, and I despised the side effects of the antibiotic I had been previously given.  I searched my condition (antibiotic induced colitis and Clostridium difficile bacteria) on the internet along with possible solutions and discovered the Garden of Life Primal Defense product as a probable solution.  Immediately, I ordered it, and the day it arrived and I began taking it, the colitis began to go away.  I’ve never had another bout of colitis again.  I still use Primal Defense today.  The Garden of Life supplements can be purchased at a local natural or health food store or ordered online for a very reasonable cost at the Vitacost online site.   

For a superb Betaine HCl supplement, I recommend the Bluebonnet Nutrition brand which is of the highest quality and is actually made from beets.  This brand provides a higher dose of Betaine and also includes Pepsin, which is another digestive aid.  I was using the TwinLabs brand for years until I noticed TwinLabs was no longer producing the HCl from actual beets and instead making a synthetic version.  The Bluebonnet brand was recently out of stock from the manufacturer, and while I waited to get more, I went back to using the TwinLabs brand.  I noticed that the TwinLabs Betaine tended to make my stomach hurt and cramp.  Therefore, I plan on staying away from it altogether in the future.   The Bluebonnet brand is more expensive, but I believe it is worth it!  I have to take too many of these pills every day and cannot afford a “cheap” synthetic version.  It is critical I have a quality product.  I get the best deals for the Bluebonnet Nutrition Betaine HCl by purchasing from House of Nutrition online site .    

I also recommend the Garden of Life Q-Zyme enzyme supplement and have found it to be extremely helpful with digestion and acid reflux.

I consider Garden of Life Primal Defense, Bluebonnet Betaine HCl, and Garden of Life Q-Zyme to be extremely important daily supplements for a healthy digestive system.  I believe this due to my personal experiences.


  1. Thank you so much for the information. I had H-plyori when i was 15 and now at 27 i was recently diagnosed with gastroparesis, gastritis and duodenal mucosal atrophy. The nurse just said eat smaller meals but im like you I want to know why I have these promblems and I want to cure it not just live with it for the rest of my life. Thanks again!

  2. How to take? when? with or without food? how much??

    1. Always take Betaine with food.

      A great place to start is with taking 1 capsule with the main/bigger meals and see how your body responds. This is a supplement each person needs to experiment with and figure out the right dosage for their particular needs.

      At one point, I took up to 6 of these with dinner for a few years but only after experimenting for months beforehand with lower dosages.

      In the present, I only take/need 1 of these with each meal along with my digestive enzymes.

    2. The probiotics, I take as directed for the most part.

      The enzymes, I personally need 3 per bigger meals. But everyone schools start with recommended dosage and see how body responds.

    3. Sorry for autocorrect... "everyone should start with recommended dosage..."

  3. Thank you! I appreciate your response. Excited! I already feel better!

    1. Great! Listen to your body as you implement use of the supplements. 😁

  4. Hello, can I take hcl and probiotics at the same time or does the hcl kill the probiotic?
    Thank you

    1. Hi Unknown,

      Hmmmm... good question. My instinct says no if you are getting a high quality probiotic. On the flip side, I prefer to take my probiotics away from food. Like first thing in the morning with a full glass of water and waiting at least 30 minutes before eating. OR even better, taking them before bed time so the bacteria can colonize during the night while you sleep.

  5. Hello, Can I take probiotics and hcl at the same time? My probiotic reads to take with meals. Or, does the hcl kill the probiotic bacteria? Thank you ahead of time!

    1. Hi Rebecca
      Hcl is taken with food to aid digestion and probiotics are best taken apart from meals for best colonisation of bacteria. MM favorite times to take probiotics are upon waking with full glass of water and/or before bedtime.

  6. Hi Omg your story is just like mine , I had HPYLORI and Gastritis undiagnosed for 9 months became very unwell and lost lots of weight , then eventually treated with antibiotics 3 months later my stomach still not right , pain, like someone punched me , constant burping, feeling full after small meals, bloating then nausea started ,then I had vomiting episode while I was on PPI , so I stopped it immediately. My doctor done Gastric Emptying Study and said I have Gastroparesis !!!
    I can’t believe how did it happen , why I ended up with this , is it the H Pylori that damaged and paralysed my stomach??
    I want to try the Low Acid theory but I’m scared to take HCL because of burning pain of Gastritis!!
    I tried to take enzymes but they cause me horrible burning pain
    U didn’t have this problem with enzymes or HCL ??
    I’m not sure what to do please advise.

    1. Hi Monz!

      It sounds like working on healing your stomach and lowering inflammation should be your top priority. The gastritis does hurt terribly and makes eating unpleasant.

      It could very possible that you showed gastroparesis due to being on the PPIs...

      My first go to's when I have been in severe gastritis mode is to:

      1) I cook my very healthy homemade chicken soup and puree it before I eat it making it very easy for my stomach to digest. I eat on this soup for days.

      2) I drink 1 ounce of an aloe vera supplement twice a day. If you need recommends on couple of brands that don't taste bad, let me know.

      3) I use DGL (deglycyrrhizinated licorice) supplement before meals.

      4) I use mastic gum supplement for healing of the stomach.

      5) I use collagen powder in my water or foods I cook. Or you can get pill supplement. Collagen promotes healing of digestive system.

      It is possible that your stomach is too raw right now for HcL or enzymes. It is also possible that another brand of enzymes could work when the other ones did not. Depends on their ingredients and how high the mg count is in each pill.

    2. You could also look into using turmeric/curcumin (my favorite brand is NutriGold) as it is proven by thousands of trials to reduce inflammation. I didn't know about turmeric during my worst times, but I use it now every day for maintenance to keep inflammation down as I am struggling with other inflammatory conditions.


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