How Much HCl Do I Take? Learn to Test for Your Correct Dose

How Much HCl Do I Take? Learn to Test for Your Correct Dose

Many of us are becoming aware that many of our symptoms of dis-ease begin with poor digestion. Here at Healing Redefined, we are working to reverse that process with our series on healing digestion.

The Need to Supplement

After building up the stomach’s protective mucous layer and introducing digestive tonics, many of us still have a need to temporarily supplement stomach acid.

HCl, or hydrochloric acid, is produced by our bodies to break down food and kill ingested pathogens.

A diet heavy in processed foods and low in live enzyme-rich foods has caused many of us to lose the ability to properly digest our food and develop hypochlorhydria, low stomach acid production.

dangers of acid blockers

Think you produce too much stomach acid?

It’s very unlikely though pharmaceutical companies would have you think differently.

Click here to learn why most heartburn and reflux are too often misdiagnosed.



Here is a simple test that you can do at home to find your individual dose of HCl.

HCl Loading Dose Test

1. Begin with a high-quality HCl product.

In my home and nutritional therapy practice, I often use Hydrozyme or Betaine HCl Plus from Biotics Research.

These can only be purchased through a qualified health practitioner, so be sure that the ingredient list is short and pure if you are purchasing your own.

2. Prepare a hearty lunch that includes a good amount of protein and fats. A general rule of thumb is 30% protein, 30% fats, and 40% carbs.

I prefer to eat a meal that usually makes me feel satisfied, does not include foods I’m sensitive to (inhibits digestion), and includes a good size amount of meat, fats, and a smaller amount of carbs instead of driving myself crazy trying to measure.


roasted chicken breast, sliced cucumbers, onions, and tomatoes sprinkled with organic black pepper, unrefined salt, a sprinkle of herbs, and cold-pressed olive oil

3. In a relaxed environment, take a few deep breaths and begin eating your meal.

4. After a few bites, take your first dose of HCl, usually one pill or capsule.

5. Take 2-3 more bites – eating slowly and chewing thoroughly – and take a second pill or capsule.

6. Continue the same pattern – 2-3 bites then pill – until you feel a slight warming sensation in your stomach. I liken it to the feeling after quickly drinking a hot cup of coffee or a shot of liquor.

Don’t forget to count how many pills you take! 

Once you have found your threshold, your typical dose will be one pill less than the maximum. So, if you took 6 to get the warming sensation, you will take 5 with meals.

7. Finish your meal without taking any more HCl.

If you continue to have an uncomfortable burning sensation, then a small amount or extra liquid or 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda in 2 oz of water should be sufficient to dilute it. This feeling will usually go away as you add more food.

Dosage Adjustments

This amount will need to be adjusted based on meal type and size and stress levels, but it is a good rule of thumb for every day use.

If you have a handful of chips, you will not need a stomach acid supplement designed to help digest a full meal.

On the other hand, if you are travelling and under extra stress, you will likely need to increase your dose due to the unfamiliar food, eating in sympathetic mode (not digestive-friendly), and the extra possibility of unfamiliar pathogens.

The stomach is the first line of defense in keeping many pathogens at bay and can prevent you from getting many illnesses.

Why Didn’t It Work For Me?!

If you have piled on the pills and never feel a warming sensation (if you reach 9-10 with no warming feeling), this doesn’t mean that you don’t need HCl. It just means that your body can’t tell you when you’ve had enough.

There are some people who have damaged pathways that don’t allow the body to communicate properly. Learn more about that connection here.

Start at the beginning to heal your digestive system from step 1 before beginning HCL supplementation.

Working with a qualified holistic health professional can help facilitate this process. Don’t have one? I often work with distance clients in my practice. If you’d like to contact me, I’d be happy to talk about working together!


Jennifer Nervo is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, Reiki Master Practitioner & teacher, and Aromatherapist. Her focus is on digestive, nervous, and immune system dysfunction and the fields of functional nutrition & psychoneuroimmunology. She works with all conditions and diseases including environmental and food allergies, autoimmune diseases, multiple chemical sensitivity, diabetes, eczema, anxiety, weight loss as a symptom of dis-ease, and gut-brain disorders like autism.

When she’s not herding her small troupe of monkeys or seeing clients, her free time is packed with researching and perfecting new wellness techniques (her not-so-secret passion). Jennifer is currently a group leader for the newest class of Nutritional Therapy Practitioners out of Ann Arbor, MI, studying for the national board exam in holistic nutrition, and running a combined distance and brick and mortar practice in metro Detroit. She’s also a homeschooling suburbanite, foodie, and mama to two littles and a schnoodle.

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