Why take HCl supplements? As we age, we tend to slowly lose the ability to produce adequate levels of hydrochloric acid in the stomach. Here is a list of what a healthy amount of HCl does for you. -Increased absorption of at least eight essential nutrients are dependent on adequate stomach acid: calcium, vitamins B9 and 12, magnesium, zinc, iron, vitamin C, and beta carotene -Increased absorption of the antioxidant vitamins A and E, putting you at greater risk of oxidative stress and chronic inflammation -Required for breakdown of protein for use in tissue and muscle synthesis -Required for activation of enzymes, hormones, and neurotransmitters -Reduces bacterial pathogens gaining access to the lower GI tract, causing infection, and putting you at increased risk of disease and stomach cancer -Helps protect against parasites The following is a simple method of helping to dial in the amount of HCl you should be taking. Remember the amount of HCl you will need will depend on the size of the meal. For this test, we are assuming a fairly large meal, not just a snack or very light meal. Start with 1 capsule or tablet of your HCl supplement Integrative Therapeutics: Betaine HCL (for example) in the middle of your large meal. You are looking for a sense of warmth in your stomach. If no sense of warmth, next large meal take two tablets of the Protocol: Enzymes-HCl. If you don't notice any warmth, next large meal, take three. At the level of tablets that produces the warmth, back off by one. For example, if you notice warmth when you take 5 tablets, you dose for the time being is 4 per large meal. Confirm that amount a few times, that is take the 5 tablets once a day for a few days with your large meal looking for that warmth to confirm that this is the proper dose. If you can take 7 tablets without the warmth, you may have issues besides just a need for more HCl supplementation. If you can't take any level of HCl without burning, you can try starting with 1/2 a tablet and work up slowly. If that doesn't work, that is you still feel burning, use a general digestive enzyme like BetterGenix: EnzymeGenix for a couple weeks with meals then try again. If you still have a burning sensation it is time to rule out more serious problems with a visit to your primary care provider.