This is another at-home test that is quite reliable in my opinion, although there is no scientific data that I am aware of to prove this. There are studies that show that supplemental betaine HCL does reacidify the stomach for a period of time.

I typically recommend it for individuals who have the major symptoms of low HCL and have failed the baking soda test. It will only cost about $20 for a bottle of Betaine HCL, which is most likely a good investment since you will probably need it to help you restore your HCL levels if they are truly low.

To Perform the Test do the Following:

  1. Buy some Betaine HCL with pepsin
  2. Eat a high protein meal of at least 6 ounces of meat (you can have veggies too)
  3. In the middle of the meal (never in the beginning) take 1 Betaine HCL pill
  4. Finish the meal and observe what you notice.

Possible Outcomes:

  • You Don’t Notice Anything: If you don’t feel anything then it is most likely you have low stomach acid levels.
  • You Notice Indigestion: If you experience a burning, hotness or heaviness in your chest than these are signs you have adequate stomach acid levels.

It is best to do this test 2-3 times in order to make sure you aren’t getting a false positive. There are 3 main reasons for someone getting a possible false positive.

  1. Didn’t Consume Enough Protein: Low protein meals don’t need much HCL and therefore the supplement can cause too much of an increase. Be sure it is as close to 6oz of meat as possible.
  2. Took the Capsule Before the Meal: This will almost always cause indigestion as your body isn’t ready for the supplement.
  3. Have Esophageal Sphincter Dysfunction: For some individuals, they may have a hiatal hernia or poor contractile activity of the esophageal sphincter that can cause an increase in indigestion like symptoms. It is always good to get a medical exam to rule these things out before doing the test if possible.

If you get 3 positive tests in 3 separate meals than begin using the HCL supplement to improve your stomach acid levels naturally.