Tag Archives: Betaine HCI with Pepsin and Gentian Root Extract by Vital Nutrients

Healthy Heartburn Solutions

Healthy Heartburn SolutionsJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

Recently the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that ranitidine, an ingredient found in certain over the counter (OTC) and prescription medications commonly used to relieve and prevent heartburn, contained unacceptable levels of NDMA, a probable human carcinogen. While the FDA has not called for individuals to cease using these medications while they continue their investigation, this announcement led to a manufacturers voluntary recall, as well as corporate decisions to voluntarily remove the brand name Zantac and other generic versions from store shelves. Neither the FDA nor product manufacturers have received reports of adverse events and the products may not pose any immediate health risks. However, as current evidence suggests that NDMA may be present in ranitidine, Canada and France have taken the precautionary step of recalling all ranitidine products.

Ranitidine belongs to a class of prescription and OTC drugs known as H2, or histamine 2 blockers, which reduce the amount of acid the stomach produces. While it is strictly recommended for short-term use, many consumers regularly use these products as a long-term solution for heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), as well as to treat or prevent stomach and intestinal ulcers. Although classified as a probable carcinogen, NDMA may only cause cancer after exposure to high doses over a long period of time. NDMA is one of the same impurities that was found to be present in certain heart medications that resulted in the recall of many products last year.

Fortunately, there are other healthier solutions for impaired digestive function, a common age-related condition. Although the requirement for vitamins, minerals and nutrients remains constant though all stages of life, our ability to digest food and absorb vital nutrients declines with advancing age. Surprisingly, one of the most common age-related causes of inadequate digestion is a reduction of the amount of hydrochloric acid (HCI) the stomach produces. Secretion of hydrochloric acid and pepsin is a prerequisite for healthy digestion. HCI enables the body to digest and absorb proteins, carbohydrates and fats; activates enzyme and hormone production; and aids in the absorption of vitamins and minerals, increasing their bioavailability by positively affecting their release from food. Pepsin is one the  main digestive enzymes produced by the body.

Additionally, HCI helps to maintain a sterile stomach environment, protecting against orally ingested pathogens and acting as a barrier to prevent harmful bacterial overgrowth in the gastrointestinal tract. Normally, the stomach contains enough free HCI to maintain constant balanced stomach acidity. Low stomach acid or the absence of stomach acid are common conditions that can result in symptoms of heartburn, indigestion, bloating, stomach upset, burning and excessive amounts of gas. Impaired acid secretion is also associated with certain chronic health conditions, including allergies, asthma and gallstones, as well as diabetes, lupus and chronic autoimmune disorders.

Heartburn is caused by regurgitation of bile into the lower esophagus, resulting in a burning sensation. Surprisingly, this is often a symptom of low gastric acid. The traditional approach to treating heartburn is to suppress gastric acid, in many cases worsening the problem where more acid is actually needed. Symptoms of heartburn and indigestion can often be relieved by taking supplemental hydrochloric acid and pepsin. In fact, for over a century, hydrochloric acid was the prescribed treatment for an absence of or low stomach acid. Supplemental  HCI is viewed as a safe and effective way to restore normal gastric levels, especially when normal aging or chronic conditions indicate that nutrients are not being properly utilized.

  • Betaine hydrochloride has been used for over a century to safely restore normal gastric acidity and support healthy gut function. In the stomach, betaine hydrochloride separates into betaine and hydrochloric acid, where it increases stomach acid. Betaine is a molecule that regulates water balance in cells. It is seen as cardioprotective, due to its ability to methylate homocysteine.
  • Pepsin has a long history of use and can be safely administered to assist digestion, typically in conjunction with HCI.
  • Gentian, a bitter herb, has been utilized as a traditional digestive aid for centuries. It is currently used in the treatment of digestive symptoms, such as loss of appetite, bloating and gas.
  • Digestive enzyme supplements support the optimal digestion of proteins, carbohydrates and fats, as well the efficient absorption of energy creating nutrients. Enzyme deficiencies resulting from aging, diet or lifestyle can lead to a variety of digestive discomforts, including occasional gas, bloating, indigestion and irregularity.

Professional Supplement Center offers high quality formulations for digestive support:

Betaine HCL/PepsinBetaine HCL with Pepsin by Pure Encapsulations®: This hypoallergenic formulation offers 520 mg of pure, potent betaine HCI and 21 mg of pure pepsin in support a healthy digestive tract and optimal gastric lumen acidity for a healthy microbial balance. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO formulation.

Betaine HCl with...Betaine HCI with Pepsin and Gentian Root Extract by Vital Nutrients®: This beneficial nutrient combination helps maintain a healthy stomach pH balance and supports proper digestion and nutrient absorption. The formula includes 1040 mg of betaine, 42 mg of pure, lactose free pepsin and 100 mg of gentian root powder. Free of wheat, rye and barley gluten, dairy, soy, eggs, sugar, coatings and bindings.

Betaine...Betaine Hydrochloride with Pepsin by Metabolic Maintenance®: Taken with meals, this formula increases stomach acidity to aid nutrient digestion and may also reduce food sensitivities.  Ingredients include 648 mg of betaine hydrochloride and 200 mg of pepsin. Gluten and excipient free formulation.

Digestive Enzymes...Digestive Enzymes & Herbs by Pioneer®: This herbal and enzyme formula aids and supports normal digestion of proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Contains digestive enzymes and organic ginger, fennel, peppermint, gentian, artichoke and cayenne. Gluten free, vegetarian formulation.

Popular heartburn drug ranitidine recalled: What you need to know and do. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/popular-heartburn-drug-ranitidine-recalled-what-you-need-to-know-and-do-2019092817911
Gastric Balance: Heartburn Not Always Caused by Excess Acid. https://nutritionreview.org/2018/11/gastric-balance-heartburn-caused-excess-acid/
The Health Benefits of Gentian. https://www.verywellhealth.com/gentian-benefits-4588623
Questions and Answers: NDMA impurities in ranitidine (commonly known as Zantac). https://www.fda.gov/drugs/drug-safety-and-availability/questions-and-answers-ndma-impurities-ranitidine-commonly-known-zantac


Heartburn Relief – A Natural Approach

HeartburnJacquie Eubanks RN BSN



Recently, it has come to light that prolonged use of acid reflux medications, known as proton pump inhibitors or PPIs, have been linked to numerous health problems. Although known to work well in reducing the production of stomach acid, which can back up into the esophagus and cause an uncomfortable burning sensation, growing research has shown that these medications are not without side effects. Because the medications block stomach acid production, they interfere with the body’s ability to absorb certain nutrients, including magnesium, calcium and vitamin B12. This can lead to deficiencies that negatively affect bone and overall health.

The 10-year study showed that long term use of PPIs can elevate the risk of bone density loss, bone fractures, pneumonia, irregular heartbeat, heart attacks, and C. difficile and H. pylori infections. Hugely concerning, PPIs may significantly elevate the risk of developing chronic kidney disease. It is estimated that 15 million Americans use these often overprescribed common medications long term, while they were originally developed for short term use only.  Researchers also found that for many these powerful drugs may be used inappropriately when other medications, such as H2 receptor antagonists, and natural remedies could be administered, with less risk of side effects for those with severe chronic gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

While both prescription and OTC heartburn medications are designed to suppress stomach acid production, clinicians have found that those who suffer from uncomfortable digestive symptoms may actually have low stomach acidity. It is well established that the occurrence of heartburn and GERD increases with age, while stomach acidity declines, challenging the theory that too much stomach acid is the root of the problem. In his 24 years of nutritionally oriented practice, Dr. Jonathan Wright of the Tahoma Clinic in Washington State found that people over age 40 who experienced heartburn, indigestion and gas, had inadequate stomach acid production 90% of the time.

Reducing or eliminating stomach acid relieves the symptoms of stomach acid refluxing into the esophagus, but does not address underlying causes. The prevailing scientific theory is that GERD is a symptom of a malfunction of the sphincter valve that separates the stomach and esophagus.  Clearly, as any amount of stomach acid in the esophagus is going to irritate the mucosal lining and cause uncomfortable heartburn or regurgitation, one does not have to have excess stomach acid to have heartburn. We need stomach acid to inhibit bacterial overgrowth and to stimulate the release of the pancreatic enzymes that support the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates.

Some argue that GERD is the result of insufficient stomach acid production, which negatively affects the secretion of pancreatic enzymes. In turn, bacterial overgrowth and carbohydrate malabsorption results in increased abdominal pressure, stomach distension and bloating, a perfect formula for producing intestinal gas and increasing risk of developing GERD, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO).

As H. pylori bacteria can only survive in a low-acidic, imbalanced pH environment, it is believed the bacteria itself suppresses stomach acid production in order to thrive. Add in medications that also suppress acid production and you have the beginnings of a vicious cycle–low stomach acid = heartburn + acid suppressors + Pylori infection = further reduction of stomach acid = chronic heartburn and GERD. As H. pylori is associated with an increased risk of low-grade inflammation, gastritis, ulcers and stomach cancer, some may want to actually support, not reduce, stomach acid production to inhibit the growth of this deleterious bacteria.

Healthy digestion and absorption of nutrients is dependent upon gastric acid secretions. Nutritional deficiencies can lead to a number of chronic disorders. Simple lifestyle changes and natural treatments may offer a better and safer way to address the root cause of occasional acid reflux, indigestion and GERD:

  • To restore natural gastric balance and digestive function and aid in eliminating H. pylori bacteria, eat whole, unprocessed foods and regularly consume a variety of fermented foods.
  • Consider supplementing with a multi-strain probiotic (without FOS) on a regular basis to help restore beneficial microflora.
  • Replace stomach acid, enzymes and nutrients that aid digestion and nutrient absorption.
  • Betaine hydrochloride (HCI) has been safely used for over a century to restore normal gastric activity and support healthy gut function. Pepsin, typically taken in conjunction with HCI, safely assists digestion. (HCI should not be taken with anti-inflammatory medications or NSAIDS).
  • Gentian bitters have been traditionally used to treat gastric disturbances. Research shows these bitters act on taste bud receptors to stimulate secretion of saliva and hydrochloric stomach acid.
  • Deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) has been shown to help protect the stomach lining, treat ulcerations, stimulate mucous secretion and stimulate new cell growth.
  • To improve stomach acid content, drink a large glass of water containing one tablespoon of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar.
  • Ginger root, traditionally used for gastric disturbances, helps to suppress H. pylori bacteria.
  • Eliminate artificial sweeteners and fructose that feed harmful intestinal bacteria.
  • Avoid triggers such as spicy and fatty foods, alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine.
  • Eat at least several hours before bedtime and avoid lying down immediately after eating.

Professional Supplement Center carries these and other high quality products that support proper digestive function and nutrient absorption:

Digestive Enzymes Ultra w/ HCl by Pure Encapsulations

Digestive Enzymes Ultra w / HCI by Pure Encapsulations – This broad spectrum formula provides vegetarian digestive enzymes combined with betaine HCI for optimal digestive support across a wide pH range. Non-GMO formulation.



DGL by Ortho MolecularDGL by Ortho Molecular –  This formula combines deglycyrrhizinated licorice root, marshmallow root, slippery elm bark and aloe vera to provide gastrointestinal support for the integrity of the stomach, and soothing, slippery support for healthy mucosal lining of the intestinal and esophageal tracts. Gluten free formulation.


Betaine HCl with Pepsin and Gentian Root Extract by Vital Nutrients

Betaine HCI with Pepsin and Gentian Root Extract by Vital Nutrients – This formula provides beneficial support for the digestive system, promotes healthy digestion and absorption of nutrients, and maintains a proper stomach and intestinal pH.



Ginger Root 550 by Now Foods

Ginger Root 550 by Now Foods  Save 30% –  This product provides soothing support for digestive function and helps maintain healthy gut flora. Gluten, soy and diary free, Non-GMO formulation.


Popular Acid Reflux Drugs Are Linked to Kidney Disease Risk. http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/01/11/462423759/popular-acid-reflux-drugs-are-linked-to-kidney-disease-risk
Heartburn medications are common and effective, but they pose risks. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/health-advisor/heartburn-medications-are-common-and-effective-but-they-pose-risks/article30060425/
Popular heartburn medication linked to chronic kidney disease. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2016/01/11/popular-heartburn-medication-linked-to-chronic-kidney-disease/
What Everybody Ought to Know (But Doesn’t) About Heartburn & GERD. http://chriskresser.com/what-everybody-ought-to-know-but-doesnt-about-heartburn-gerd/
Are Heartburn Medications Safe for Long-Term Use? http://www.everydayhealth.com/digestive-health/experts-are-heartburn-medications-safe.aspx
Gastric Balance: Heartburn Not Always Caused by Excess Acid. http://nutritionreview.org/2013/04/gastric-balance-heartburn-caused-excess-acid/