The Digestive Glitch that Blocks Weight Loss

More than 50% of us have a lack of this fat metabolizer.

It takes the right acid to create systemic alkalinity—the key to health, longevity, and weight loss.

Yes, you heard that right. I’m talking about HCl here, the only acid your body actually produces on its own that is not a byproduct of metabolic waste. It may sound counterintuitive, but although HCl is an acid, it’s the key to the proper alkaline/acid balance—which is seriously deficient in anyone beyond the age of 35. A lack of iodine, salt, B vitamins, potassium, and/or too much stress are common culprits of inadequate HCl production.

But, acid into alkaline—how could that be?

The right amount of HCl in the stomach triggers the pancreas to produce large amounts of alkalinizing bicarbonates that signal pancreatic enzymes, which can only activate in an alkaline medium. It is also absolutely necessary for the production of the hormone cholecystokinin (CCK), which helps the gallbladder to release bile for fat emulsification. Without sufficient HCl, bile production can be hampered from doing its job because if there is not enough bile produced, fat cannot be broken down. It’s as simple as that.

If you have a roll of fat at your waist line, your liver has stopped processing fat and begun storing it. Only when you bring your liver back to full function—with the aid of HCl—will you lose this fat.

And what will you gain?

• Increased absorption of muscle building protein that increases metabolic rate by 25%.
• Complete assimilation of calcium, magnesium, sodium, iron, B12, and folic acid, as well as fifteen minerals and eight essential acids.
• Relief of asthma (especially in children) and edema along with mucus congestion.
• Better oxidation of painful lactic acid in tissues.
• Increased kidney and liver function.
• Elimination of boils, abscess, rosacea, and rashes—which are unresponsive to other therapies.
• Heartburn relief.

Since we are in the midst of summer outings, don’t leave home without HCl. It is the most effective anti-bacterial agent I know of. Outside your body, it could literally burn a hole in a tablecloth or eat right through an iron nail. Within your stomach, it acts as a natural antibiotic—your first line of defense against toxic invaders, especially bacteria you are likely to encounter when traveling. It helps to neutralize pathogenic organisms, along with yeast and Helicobacter pylori—the bacteria associated with ulcers. It’s even been used to neutralize the venom of snake bites to prevent infection!

This information may seem new to you, but decades ago Dr. Hugh Tuckey and his wife spent thirty years conducting independent research on HCl, research which has tragically been forgotten. They discovered that a lack of HCl was the underlying cause of many digestive and immune-system ailments, along with bad breath and dark circles under the eyes.

Should you take HCl? Take the HCl challenge!

Before the next meal you eat, take a hydrochloric acid supplement that contains at least 500 to 550 milligrams of betaine hydrochloride and about 150 milligrams of pepsin. The brand I recommend is UNI KEY’s HCL+2. After you’ve taken your first HCl tablet, notice how you feel. If you’re producing enough stomach acid, taking this supplement will cause you to feel a bit of pain or warmth in your stomach. You can relax—your stomach acid is sufficient to digest the food you’re eating.

If you don’t notice any symptoms or any worsening of the symptoms you already have, increase your dose to two HCl tablets at the next meal. If you’re still symptom-free, or if the symptoms you’ve already experienced haven’t gotten any worse, continue upping your dose a tablet at a time. As soon as you feel a burning sensation or warmth, you know you’ve gone too far. Drop back to the previous dosage and continue taking the supplement as needed. You can work up to eight pills a day.

After four months, you might experiment with reducing your HCl dosage. If you get good results, continue to reduce your intake of HCl until you are no longer taking it. If your symptoms return, go back to your previous dosage.

Related Articles and Podcasts

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, is an award-winning New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books including The Fat Flush Plan series and her latest book, Radical Metabolism. She’s been rewriting the rules of nutrition for more than 40 years and is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the field of diet, detox and women’s health issues. 

For a FREE daily dose of tips and strategies for maintaining healthy weight, conquering insomnia, and much more…check out my Radical Health Tips.

I’d like to meet and greet you on my Facebook groups, so won’t you check us out at the Radical Metabolism RevolutionFat Flush Nation, or my Inner Circle!

127 Comments

  1. Jill

    What if you are taking meds for acid reflux?

    Reply
    • Sierra

      the symptoms of low stomach acid are very commonly misinterpreted as acid reflux. It is worth experimenting with the HCl in order to discover for yourself if you are truly experiencing acid reflux, or if you are suffering from low stomach acid. If you were to forgo the reflux medication and take the HCl in it’s place for one or two days, you would know which it is. I highly recommend trying it!

      Reply
  2. Martine

    what if you no longer have a gallblader, can you take HCI

    Reply
    • Sierra

      Yes, the HCl will be most helpful in that case. Bile salts would also be very good for you to take, you might try the Standard Process Cholacol, available through UNI KEY.

      Reply
  3. Shirley Silvasy

    would apple cider vinegar serve the same purpose?

    Reply
    • Sierra

      ACV can definitely help with digestion, but not on the same level as the HCl.

      Reply
  4. Barbara

    I can’t find “Standard Process Cholacol” on the Uni-Key website. Does it have another name?

    Reply
    • Sierra

      Barbara, You may call UNI KEY at 800.888.4353 to place an order for the Cholacol. It is not advertised online as per an agreement with the Standard Process company.

      Reply
  5. Ellen

    I have the same question as Shirley Silvasy regarding apple cider vinegar. I also notice when I drink water with vinegar mixed in that it decreases my cravings for sodas or pop as some call it.

    Reply
    • Sierra

      ACV slows the release of glucose into your bloodstream, thus promoting stabilized blood sugar levels and reducing cravings that would normally occur due to spikes and dips in blood sugar levels.

      Reply
  6. Michele McMillan

    I noticed in the challenge, it said to take the HCl before a meal. Is this correct? Can you explain the reasoning for taking it before a meal? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Sierra

      You can take it before, during, or just shortly after your meal. You would want to do it at these times to ensure that there is enough hydrochloric acid in your stomach to digest the food that you’re about to eat, you are eating, or you have just eaten.

      Reply
  7. Tracy

    If i start taking HC1 then do i stop taking the flaxseed oil, vitamin b12 and vitamin b complex?

    Reply
    • Sierra

      No Tracy, you would continue all your nutritional supplements as usual. The HCl will increase their effectiveness by helping you break the components down so they can be better absorbed.

      Reply
  8. Nancy

    Does lemon juice serve the same purpose as HCI?

    Reply
    • Sierra

      Hot lemon water taken first thing in the morning can help thin the bile and works as a liver tonic, so it can be very beneficial for digestion, however it does not function in the same way as the HCl.

      Reply
  9. Janice

    How does one proceed if on acid blockers?

    Reply
    • Sierra

      If it were me, I would probably just experiment with it by abstaining from the acid blocker for a few days while adding in the HCl at meal times. Go slowly, and be very mindful of how you feel so you can adjust the dose accordingly. If you get relief from your symptoms by using the HCl, you wouldn’t need to take the acid blocker any more.

      Reply
  10. Paulette

    My stomach already burns/churns after most meals. Alka-seltzer and TUMs are my newest friends. Would HCI make the burning worse?

    Reply
    • Sierra

      For some people, acid reflux truly is a problem. Unfortunately, the symptoms of low HCl are often misdiagnosed as acid reflux. So, my advice would be to experiment very cautiously with adding in the HCl and tapering off the TUMS.

      Reply
  11. HB

    What if you have gallstones? Can HCI still be taken a suggested?

    Reply
    • Sierra

      Yes, the regular protocol should work just fine for you.

      Reply
  12. Laura

    1. How long after taking the pills does it take for the symptoms to appear–stomach ache/warmth? And should I wait for a while to eat so as to not mask the symptoms?
    2. Per Ann Louise,s recommendation, I’ve been taking baking soda (1/2 t at ngt) to help with sleep (and rls) for the past 4 years. Might that be interfering with my hcl?

    Reply
    • Sierra

      Hi Laura!
      I would say that the warm sensation would likely occur within 15 minutes of taking the HCl, if it does occur. I wouldn’t wait to eat as you’ll need all that acid to break down your food. If the baking soda is working well for you, you might continue on with it, but it is likely that you would have similar benefits from taking magnesium before bed (400-1200 mg).

      Reply
  13. Rick

    I have been diagnosed with GERD and have Barrett’s Syndrome in the lower end of my esophagus. Can I take HCL without causing more symptoms?

    Reply
    • liz

      The HCL should help and not hurt you according to other people with GERD who have tried this. Melatonin also can help with GERD.

      Reply
  14. cathy

    My hubby has barrettes esophagus in the middle of esophagus.he has stopped taking the omeprazole and following protocol for diet. sypmtoms vary daily,would HCL help?

    Reply
    • liz

      Yes, according to other customers, it can help.

      Reply
  15. sherrie

    Where can you buy HCL?

    Reply
    • liz

      UNIKEY Health does have this. You can go to unikeyhealth.com.

      Reply
      • Fitz&Cardamom

        Dearest Ones; Liz; Sierra; Ann-Louise & team
        Astounding the blessings you are. Unadulterated generosity to the core, yours is. Remembering the pocket sized, *your body knows best* by Ann-Louise, whose books were the saving grace + beautiful addition to our holistic nutrition class’s required readings! Gratitude everyone – thank you! You & Dr. Gabriel Cousens both vouch for the HCL regimen:)

        Reply
  16. Claire

    I don’t have acid relux or upset stomach problems, now that I follow the fat flush diet. However, I’m not losing weight either. I do have rosacea, so would I be a candidate for the HCI +2 therapy?

    Reply
    • liz

      Yes Claire, other customers with Rosacea have been helped by taking HCL+2.

      Reply
  17. Donna

    Would HCI take the place of digestive enzymes. I don’t have reflux, but I take the enzymes to help break down proteins, fats, and carbs to reduce bloating.
    Thanks.

    Reply
    • liz

      HCL+2 breaks down protein and fats. Digestive enzymes to this to some degree but are not as effective.

      Reply
  18. Joan

    If I do indeed need my proton pump inhibitors for GERD after experimenting with HCL, can I take bothe the PPI and Hcl daily?

    Reply
    • liz

      Yes you can do that, but the proton pump inhibitors would cancel out the benefits of the HCL.

      Reply
  19. ANN

    hi.. i live in spain and i have been trying to buy HCL but to no avail… the recommended sites wont post to hcl to Spain.. have you any suggestions where or how i may buy this supplement?

    Reply
  20. Claire Miazza

    My niece has Crohn’s disease, she has several of the symptoms described in the article. Is she a candidate for HCL+2 therapy?

    Reply
    • Sierra

      I might suggest that your niece start a probiotic like Flora-Key , which is very soothing for the digestive tract. Also helpful would be L-Glutamine powder, which helps repair damage to the intestinal lining, thus helping to reverse leaky gut syndrome. Next I would add some digestive enzymes like papain, bromelain, lipase, and amylase (you can find a combo formula like Inf-Zyme). And if all that is well tolerated but does not completely resolve her symptoms, you could at that time add the HCl+2.

      Reply
      • Mary

        When you say HCI +2 do you mean take 2 at eat meal?

        Reply
  21. karen anne

    I have high uric acid though dont take anything right now since the meds can be hard on my fatty liver. Also take nexium in the morning. will HCL help me?

    Reply
    • Sierra

      I would recommend that you stop taking the Nexium and experiment with the HCl, it would likely be a great help.

      Reply
  22. Cait

    Some months ago, UniKey Health changed the size, shape, and color of their HCL+2 tablets. They are now the same size, shape, and color of their Adrenal Formula tablets. There are no distinguishing characteristics on either tablet, nor does the image of the tablet on their website reflect this change. When the two tablets are next to each other, I cannot tell them apart. I have been told that this change was done at the request of the manufacturer because it was difficult to process the previous size and shape. Unlike drugs, dietary supplements do not have identifying numbers; they are distinguished only by their physical appearance. I would like to know how others feel about a company manufacturing two or more products that can only be distinguished by their container.

    Reply
  23. John

    Taking a pill and “supplements” seems like a road down which you *never* recover and always be on. Why not eat healthy and exercise and be done with it? It’s time to stop looking to pills for health.

    Reply
    • Team ALG

      There is no substitute for a healthy diet and physical activity. Nutritional supplements are intended to help supplement a healthy diet by providing nutrients that are not easily acquired, or nutrients that an individual has a greater requirement for than what can be achieved in a healthy diet.

      Reply
  24. Alexa Trigg

    I don’t have any reflux or acid problem. BUT, when I read this I identify
    “If you have a roll of fat at your waist line, your liver has stopped processing fat and begun storing it. Only when you bring your liver back to full function—with the aid of HCl—will you lose this fat.”
    Should I use it even if I don’t have stomach problems?

    Reply
    • Mary E.

      Yes Alexa, there are other reasons to use HCL besides relieving stomach issues. Completely digesting your protein removes the possibility of toxic build up from undigested protein. Relieving the toxic load helps the liver do it’s job better.

      Reply
  25. Kathryn Thompson

    Hi, I just recently was put on Metformin HCL , will this also help with weight loss? I am borderline diabetic and that’s my I am on the Metformin HCL.. I also had challenges losing stomach fat due to I had three C-sections all cut on the stomach muscles which made it really difficult for me to tone back up.. will the HCL in the Metformin help with that?

    Reply
    • Team ALG

      Metformin is not the same as HCL+2, though by stabilizing your blood sugar it may improve your weight loss results when paired with sound nutrition principles like those described in The Fat Flush Plan. For belly fat you should look into CLA 1000.

      Reply
  26. Clare

    Hi, I have been bloating and putting on weight at a rapid rate this year. My stomach is consistently distended. Would HCl help me? Thank you.

    Reply
  27. Clare

    It’s Clare again, I’m 51 and have elevated liver enzymes after going on Lyrica for nerve pain. It was when I went on Lyrica the weight really started to go on quickly. I am now off Lyrica but the weight and distention remain. My body shape has changed dramatically and it seems I can’t eat very much at all without putting on weight. Thanks again.

    Reply
    • Team ALG

      LiverCare from Himalaya formulas (available http://www.unikeyhealth.com/product/LiverCare ) is recommended to naturally lower liver enzymes. Detoxifying your liver might also improve your ability to burn fat and reset your metabolism. The book Fast Track Detox Diet by Ann Louise Gittleman is a wonderful resource.

      Reply
    • Yolanda

      I take Metformin HCL ER 500mg will that help?

      Reply
      • Liz

        Hi Yolanda, the HCL in Metformin is a chloroide form not a chloric acid form. It is not meant for digestion. You would still need to take HCL+2

        Reply
  28. ANDREA

    i started taking hcl but im up to 8 pills and still no burn in tummy. should i stop taking them?

    Reply
  29. Team ALG

    Hi Andrea: Eight (8) pills of HCL is quite a hefty dose and so it sounds like you have reached your maximum and may be experiencing achlorhydria. We would not suggest you add any more HCL at this time but take staggered doses at the beginning and middle of a meal with protein.

    Reply
  30. Debbie

    I am up to taking 4 pills before a meal and feel no stomach warmth or pain. What could this indicate? Should I continue upping the dosage? I see that the above article mentions taking up to 8 per day. How do I break that down since I’m already at 4 per meal.

    Reply
    • Team ALG

      It sounds like you are quite low in stomach acid! You will probably to well to stick with the dosage you are using now- over time your natural production should upregulate as a result of supplementation, so at that time you will be able to cut back or maybe even discontinue the HCL.

      Reply
  31. Mary E.

    Debbie, this could mean that you still may need more HCL. If you feel more comfortable you could stay with 4 before meals and see how that helps your digestion.

    Reply
  32. Melissa

    What about vegan HCL? Is it any good? Also some state to take it before a meal, others state after. Does it matter? Also what about digestive bitters? They stimulate bile production but do they have the same benefits as HCL?

    Reply
    • Liz

      HCL is just hydrochloric acid. Many times it is combined with pepsin and oxbile to help with protein digestion and fat digestion. The HCL itself is not an animal product. The other two factors do help with digestion more than just taking HCL by itself. You can take it anytime around your meal. You just want it to mix with your food. Bitters don’t break down protein like HCL does.

      Reply
  33. Diana

    Hi I have gastritis. Can I take Hcl with pepsin

    Reply
    • Team ALG

      Yes Diana you can take the HCL with pepsin. Some people have said that by having high enough levels to properly digest their food, the gastritis improved.

      Reply
  34. Julie

    Hi there,
    I started taking HCL with meals about a week ago. I can take up to 8 pills with a large meal with no burning. I have tried different brands, all the same result. Could this mean I have achlorhydia? If so, is the treatment for no stomach acid the same as low stomach acid? How long is a reasonable timeframe before I might see better results?

    Reply
    • Team ALG

      Julie, it does sound like your HCL is extremely low. Many times a slow metabolism is why you don’t manufacture more of your own HCL. Yes, you want to take the supplement so that you continue to digest your protein. I would suggest taking a Tissue Mineral Analysis to see your mineral levels and how your adrenal and thyroid are responding to stress and how slow or fast your metabolism is.

      Reply
  35. Trudie

    I recently had a prolonged period of several months feeling bloated, having stomach cramps and pain. I was prescribed Omeprazole which had a minimal effect and so subsequently had an endoscopy. The endoscopy didn’t show any damage, so no ulceration or scarring. I ha e also put on weight and have found it very hard if not impossible to lose any despite my best efforts and a healthy diet. Could it be that I have low acid levels? I am 55 and on HRT.

    Reply
    • Team ALG

      Hi Trudie: Thankfully you have no ulceration,irritation, or erosion, so we believe you can take HCL and start slowly and build up to tolerance. HCL is related to so many issues that it very well may be at the bottom of your weight loss resistance.

      Reply
  36. Sam

    Will HCL help me with the stubborn lower belly fat? I am in good shape other then that little pouch I can’t get rid of. I do feel bloated often after I eat and have problems with using the restroom so it might be the low HCl causing all of this

    Reply
    • Team ALG

      Hi Sam: HCL can help reduce belly fat by enhancing digestion and triggering the release of bile from the gallbladder which aids in fat metabolism. Hope the HCL + 2 will do the trick as it has for so many others.

      Reply
  37. DAWN SMITH

    I AM ABOUT TO ORDER CHOLACOL, HCL2 AND FAT FLUSH. MY GALLBLADDER WAS REMOVED 4 YRS AGO. I AM HAVING TERRIBLE GASTRO SYMPTOMS. I RECENTLY HAD UPPER AND LOWER GI. I HAVE SMALL HYATIL HERNIA, 2 HEMMERHOIDS IN A VERY BAD SPOT WAY UP INSIDE HARD TO GET TO. ACID REFLUX AND HAD TO HAVE MY ESOPHOGUS STRETCHED FROM THE RESTRICTION FROM ACID REFLUX SCAR TISSUE IS WHAT I THINK DR SAID. I BLOAT ALL THE TIME EVEN WHEN NOT EATING. I HAVE TERRIBLE GAS. I HAVE PAINS ALL OVER MY BODY NOT JUST MY STOMACH. IM NAUSEOUS ALOT. BUT MY FATIGUE HAS STOPPED EVERYTHING I LOVE. DO I NEED TO ADD ANYTHING TO THIS?? PROBIOTIC? PREBIOTIC? DR IS ALSO WATCHING MY THYROID WHERE IT IS ENLARGED WITH 3 SUSPICIOUS NODULES. I HAVE BEEN SENT AROUND TO SO MANY I AM READY TO SELF DIAGNOSE AND HEAL

    Reply
  38. DAWN SMITH

    UPDATE, DID NOT ORDER FAT FLUSH BUT GOT THE LIVER CLEANER INSTEAD AND THE FLORA PROBIOTICS AND HCL2. HAD TO GET THE CHOLACOL FROM A LOCAL CHIROPRACTOR, COULD NOT FIND ONLINE. BUT STILL NEEDING TO KNOW IF I HAVE MADE RIGHT CHOICES FOR SYMPTOMS LISTED IN YESTERDAYS POST BY ME.

    Reply
  39. Team ALG

    It sounds like you are on the right track, Dawn Smith — let use know how you do. We are hesitant to suggest any other supplements as we are not physicians but do note that many of your symptoms may be related to excess chocolate, eggs, onions, caffeine, and mint which can either be too relaxing for your esophageal valves or are food intolerances.

    Reply
  40. DAWN SMITH

    1 LAST QUESTION, HCL +2 SAYS IT HAS 130MG OX BILE IN IT. SO DOES THAT MEAN I STILL NEED THE ADDITIONAL OX BILE OR CHOLACOL?

    Reply
  41. Shan

    Is HCL available in Canada? I’m having trouble finding it

    Reply
  42. Angela

    I take Flecanide, omeprazole, Allopurinol, and I have no gall bladder. Can HCI still help me.

    Reply
  43. Ann

    Hi, I was just diagnosed with H pylori and prescribed antibiotics. I suspect I have low stomach acidity and am afraid to take the antibiotics. What do I do? Would HCI be appropriate for me? Have been experiencing a lot of distinction and discomfort in the upper tract. I did the soda test on an empty stomach upon rising in the morning and the bel hing never came.
    I would so apreciate some guidance. I do t want to do more damage to my stomach.

    Reply
    • Bruce

      Get and read the book below. It will answer many of your questions … I followed it’s advice and I am off all GERD meds, symptom free, and dropped enough weight to be in the best shape I’ve been in since I was in my 20’s. https://www.amazon.com/Why-Stomach-Acid-Good-You/dp/0871319314

      Reply
  44. Alex Kennedy

    Thanks for your explanation on HCI. As I’ve had a cholecystectomy with no gall bladder to emulsify the fats will HCI still be effective?

    Reply
    • Team ALG

      Yes, the HCL helps digest protein and it does have some ox bile which will also help you digest fats better.

      Reply
  45. Katie

    Will this help me lose weight due to thyroid problems

    Reply
    • Team ALG

      Having the protein and fat digested will help speed up your metabolism but you also need to address the cause of your thyroid problems to help with weight loss.

      Reply
  46. dan

    This is disturbing news for me. I was hoping betaine hcl would help me GAIN weight!

    Reply
    • Team ALG

      Dan, digesting your protein does speed up your metabolism making it easier to lose weight but you actually only lose weight by restricting the amount of food you are eating.

      Reply
  47. Shari

    Would the HCL help with burning in the stomach? Or should I do something else first?

    Reply
  48. Team ALG

    It’s possible that the burning is from undigested protein that is being pushed up in your stomach. In that case it would really help to have the HCL+2. You also need to rule out having an ulcer. You can try the HCL+2 and see if that relieves your problem.

    Reply
  49. Karna Hudoba

    This is very interesting. I’m learning so much. I kept reading on as the symptom bad breath is something I continue to have. I also have a spastic colon& IBS. I recinently was diagnosed with Epiploic Appendagitis(2months ago). I’ve been going to hot yoga at least 3 times a week & continue to gain weight. I’m going on the shakedown as years ago I was on & it helped me to lose. Is HCL+2 something I should take?

    Reply
    • Team ALG

      HCL+2 could be helpful for you to digest your protein. That may help speed up your metabolism to make it easier to lose weight.

      Reply
  50. Donna

    Hi
    I took Nexium one time and it triggered Atrial Fibulation for me. Would hcl be safe for me?

    Thanks,
    Donna

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This