*Betaine HCI & Pepsin: BioCare 90 capsules

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Bio Care HCL & Pepsin: Stomach Acid with added Pepsin - 90 Vegetable Capsules.

This product is an approved stomach acid booster by Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride

Each Capsule Contains

400mg Betaine Hydrochloride                                                                                         

20mg Pepsin (providing 300NF Units)  One NF Unit of pepsin activity digests 3000 times its own weight of coagulated egg albumen under standard conditions.

Recommended daily intake as per the bottle description

Take 1 capsule with each main meal or as directed by your practitioner
HCL & Pepsin capsules should not be opened or chewed.


Betaine Hydrochloride, Capsule Shell (Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose), Rice Extract Blend, Pepsin.


  • If you are under medical supervision, please consult a doctor before use
  • Caution is advised for individuals with colitis, gastritis or ulcerative conditions of the stomach/intestine.
  • HCL & Pepsin capsules should not be opened or chewed.

GAPS ARTICLE: Supplementing Stomach Acid

People with abnormal gut flora almost without exception have low stomach acid production. Toxins produced by overgrowth of Candida species, Clostridia and other pathogens have a strong ability to reduce secretion of stomach acid. Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, author of Gut and Psychology Syndrome, recommends that GAPS patients supplement with stomach acid. The GAPS Criteria for supplementing Stomach Acid is proposed as an estimate because it can be an individual dose.  The general guideline that GAPS Practitioners suggest require Betaine HCl & added Pepsin providing 200 - 400mg of Betaine HCl and approximately 20 - 100mg of added Pepsin.  We encourage you to read the chapter on Digestive Enzymes in the GAPS book to understand this further.  HCl & Pepsin and Betaine HCl are the targeted stomach acid boosters used for the GAPS protocol and the following discussion explains how Dr Natasha suggest these boosters best be used with an explanation on their differences.

What is the difference between HCl & Pepsin and Betaine HCl and which one should I take?

HCl & Pepsin works faster than Betaine HCl and should be supplemented for people who struggle to digest their food. It can be given when they have already eaten and have a full stomach already but it is best given at the beginning of the meal. HCl and Pepsin is not recommended for children or for individuals who cannot swallow capsules because the taste of acid will dominate and it can produces a burning in the throat and oesophagus. Older children who can swallow capsules can take one capsule at the beginning of the meal or when their stomach is full of food and they are not coping with it very well.

Betaine HCl is better for children because it produces less burning and can be supplemented on an empty stomach before the meal. This can be supplemented up to 15 minutes before the meal to stimulate stomach acid production before the arrival of food. If for whatever reason it makes the person feel uncomfortable, it should be supplemented at the beginning of the meal with the first mouthful.

Both above products are useful for dealing with reflux, acid indigestion and burping which are usually the result of an overgrowth to yeast and other parasites that can survive in the stomach due to low stomach acid production. Both products can be used interchangeably. People with severely low stomach will take a while before they are able to produce stomach acid on their own, so Dr Natasha recommends supplementing both (HCl & Pepsin as well as Betaine HCl) in these cases. This can be managed by using the HCl & Pepsin when the person is already eating or has a stomach full of food and Betaine HCl can be used when the person has a fairly empty stomach and is preparing for the meal. Betaine HCl can also be supplemented between meals in order to help empty the stomach for the next meal. Adults can simply swallow the capsule but children who can only take it in powder form (from opening the capsule) can supplement in-between meals with a tiny teaspoon of manuka honey (which is a good anti fungal agent for yeast overgrowth).

GAPS Dosage Suggestions (as per GAPS Book)


Stomach acid boosters such as both HCl & Pepsin and Betaine HCl should NOT be supplemented together with probiotics at the same time of day because the stomach acid in the HCl & Pepsin will destroy some of the good flora added by the Probiotic. Probiotics are essential and best taken first thing in the morning and last thing at night when the stomach acid is at its lowest and HCl stomach acid boosters are taken with main meals as described below.


Children will get a good source of stomach acid with daily amounts of sauerkraut and sauerkraut juice with every main meal, however for children who specifically suffer from reflux and excessive burping, a stomach acid booster is recommended in the GAPS protocol. Betaine HCl is a better choice for children under 6 or for those who struggle to swallow capsules. When HCl & pepsin capsules are open they can present an acid taste and produces a burning in the throat and oesophagus and that is why Betaine HCl is the choice for children because these capsules can be opened and sprinkled on food.

To determine the right dose of Betaine HCl for a child

Start from a small pinch of the powder added to the first mouthful of the meal. In two to three days, increase the dose to two pinches and so on. Betaine HCl can also be supplemented between meals in order to help empty the stomach for the next meal Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride reports that many parents see improvement in their child's stools in just a few days.

The dosage needs to be tested for each child, however Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride suggests the following:

18-24 months 1 pinch

2-3 years old 2-3 pinches

4-6 years old 1/2 capsule

6 and older ½ - 1 capsule

Children over 10 may need to follow adult dosages and if they are comfortable swallowing capsules, they can select HCl & Pepsin rather than Betaine HCl.


Adults and older children (who can swallow capsules) and who present with low stomach acid may need to supplement both HCl & Pepsin as well as Betaine HCl to regulate stomach acid. This can be managed by using the HCl & Pepsin when the person is already eating or has a stomach full of food. Betaine HCl can be used when the person has a fairly empty stomach and is preparing for the meal. Betaine HCl can also be supplemented between meals in order to help empty the stomach for the next meal. Take HCl and Pepsin if you have accidentally eaten a food that was not GAPS allowable.

To determine the right dose

Begin by taking one capsule at the start of the meal. Monitor how your stomach feels during and after eating. Should any burning or heaviness occur, or if burning has been present previously (before taking the supplement) and is now worsened with the use of the Betaine HCl, do not continue using this supplement (this is an indication that your stomach is overproducing acid, or that your stomach lining may be damaged as seen in cases such as ulcerative colitis). In such cases sauerkraut can be used as a daily staple condiment to aid in the digestion process.

If the first dose of Betaine HCl provided no noticeable stomach discomfort try taking two capsules at the start of your next meal; again, monitor for burning and or heaviness during and after eating. If taking two capsules produces some discomfort but, one capsule does not, restrict yourself to one capsule at the start of each meal. If the two capsules produced no discomfort try three capsules at the start of your next meal. If all goes well when taking three capsules at the start of each meal stay with that dosage. Most individuals will not require increasing the dosage to four or more capsules.

How can I monitor the above symptoms in a child who does not understand?

Unless the child can tell you, then you basically can’t really monitor these symptoms unless the burping is obvious and this is why Dr Natasha recommends that children take sauerkraut juice, sauerkraut or meat stock to assist in preparing the stomach for the arriving food. Sauerkraut is the strongest stimulant and best source of stomach acid for both adults and children with GAPS. Supplementing stomach acid will prepare the pancreas to produce its own enzymes as well as triggering bile secretion.

Sauerkraut and Sauerkraut juice as stomach acid

Once sauerkraut juice and sauerkraut have been introduced as per the instructions in the introductions diet and the patient is on full GAPS, the best time to supplement them is 10-15minutes before the meal to stimulate stomach acid and prepare the stomach to digest the oncoming meal. Fermented cabbage juice and a helping of fresh cabbage are also good sources to stimulate stomach acid and can be used, however the fermented forms will be more bio-available and per-digestible whilst providing not only stomach acid but probiotic food as well.

How long will I need to take Betaine HCl with added Pepsin?

Regular use of supplemental hydrochloric acid will, in most cases, "re-train" the stomach to produce higher concentrations of acid on its own. This process may take anywhere from several weeks to several months, depending on the individual. The most significant indication that acid production is improving is that Betaine HCl supplementation can no longer be comfortably tolerated. As the gut begins to heal, you need to start reducing the amount of stomach acid supplementation taking them only with heavy meals or when you have eaten a non GAPS allowable food that will possibly cause a problem.

What Brands are suitable for GAPS?

Dr Natasha uses the following brands in her clinic.

  • Higher Nature Betaine HCl
  • BioCare HCl & Pepsin

Are there any problems with taking other supplements together with HCL & Pepsin, eg vitamins or minerals which are meant to be taken with a meal or probiotics?

Betaine HCl & Pepsin promotes optimal stomach acidity and is therefore appropriate to be taken with other supplements when taken with food. Probiotics however should not be taken at the same time as Betaine HCL & Pepsin because it can reduce the effectiveness of the probiotic. Probiotics are best taken in the morning before breakfast when the stomach acid is at it’s lowest. This strengthens the journey of the good bacteria to travel the long journey past the stomach where stomach acid is active at smaller amounts and through to the small and large intestine to proliferate and grow. Please refer to the below contradictions when taking Betaine HCL & Pepsin.


Betaine HCL & Pepsin should not be used concurrently with H2-blocking drugs and proton pump inhibitors, because these drugs are intended to block the production of stomach HCl.


Betaine HCL & Pepsin is contraindicated in patients with peptic ulcers.

It is not recommended to open the capsule and remove the Betaine HCL & Pepsin powder from the capsule to take orally, as it can cause irritation to the oral mucosa.



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