Will Hydrochloric Acid Supplements Make the Body More Acidic? : Exclusive Renegade Health Q & A

Thursday Sep 1 | BY |
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robert o young
Interviewing Mr. Alkaline Diet himself… Dr. Robert O. Young.

Today, I’m experimenting with breaking down my normal 2-3 question Q & A to just one for each individual post. The reason why is because it’s hard to have a title that clearly states what the Q & A is about and in the long term, it’s harder for our search engine and others to identify the true subject of the post.

I know that may be over your head technologically, but in real life, it’s also easier to just read one post that covers one thing rather than skip around to many.

In this Q & A, Lori wants to know more about the pH of the body and how taking HCL supplements can affect your pH levels.

Here’s her question…

In regards to HCL. HCL is an acid that will acidify the body. Why would we want that when we are eating an alkaline diet for good health. Kevin, I see you recommend HCL often, any thoughts on this?

Hey Lori, great question.

There is a lot of talk about an alkaline diet in the health world and it’s true that our blood must stay at a pH of 7.35-ish to keep us healthy. So if you help the blood stay around that pH by eating mineral rich foods, then it doesn’t have to find internal sources of buffering minerals in your body – like your bones. This is a possible reason why we have an epidemic of osteoporosis, since our diet – in general – is largely acidic.

So a diet high in minerals – which is a generalization of what an alkaline diet is – is very helpful.

Where people get confused is that various areas of the body have different pH levels. So for instance the pH of your small intestine can range from about 7-9. The pH of your colon is a little lower at between 5.5-7.0.

The pH of your stomach should be around 2-3 when you’re digesting and a pH of 4-5 when resting. If it’s higher, then you won’t be able to denature proteins or break down the food enough to make the minerals available for absorption. This in turn will cause your blood to require more buffering minerals to keep the pH of your blood at 7.35 (I’ve seen everywhere between 7.3-7.4 by the way.)

So a hydrochloric acid supplement will help those who have a higher stomach pH, raise the acidity (lower the pH) so that they can get access to more minerals and nutrients needed to keep the body healthy.

If you already have strong digestion, then of course, you don’t need extra HCL, because this can actually strip minerals from your body as well by having a stomach environment that is too acidic. (I know, it’s like a brain teaser.)

If your stomach is too acidic – too often – you will need more minerals to buffer the chime (your digested food, enzymes and gastric acids) as it enters the small intestine, since this organ needs a pH neutral or slightly alkaline environment to function properly. If your body doesn’t buffer the chime, the excess acid would cause damage to the delicate lining of the intestine.

So, just like everything in the body, there is a balance between acidity and alkalinity throughout it. The best way to know how you’re doing is to eat a high raw, primarily plant based diet and watch your blood work on a regular basis. If you want, you can actively take the pH of your urine and saliva as well – using pH strips.

To do so, you’d test saliva one hour before eating or two hours after and your pH should be around 6.5-7.0. For urine, your first waking urine should be somewhere between 6.8-7.2 – though some will say higher than 7.5. So there is a little disagreement of what the levels should be, but these numbers should be used as a tool to see if you’re in the ballpark, not as the only marker of good health – plus, the pH levels of these two fluids does tend fluctuate throughout the day, so you have to look at trends not every reading.

While I think this type of monitoring can be useful, I also want to caution that it can lead to excessive concern at every dip or elevation in pH – similar to how a dieter becomes neurotic about weighing themselves on a scale.

I want to know your thoughts: Do you like the shorter version of do you like the longer, more questions version? (Plus, please chime in on anything that will be able to help Lori as well!)

Live Awesome!

Kevin Gianni

Kevin Gianni is a health author, activist and blogger. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when he was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. Since then, he’s written and edited 6 books on the subject of natural health, diet and fitness. During this time, he’s constantly been humbled by what experts claim they know and what actually is true. This has led him to experiment with many diets and protocols — including vegan, raw food, fasting, medical treatments and more — to find out what is myth and what really works in the real world.

Kevin has also traveled around the world searching for the best protocols, foods, medicines and clinics around and bringing them to the readers of his blog RenegadeHealth.com — which is one of the most widely read natural health blogs in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month from over 150 countries around the world.


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  1. Jeff says:

    Hey Kevin, What brand/s of HCL do you recommend? I’ve heard that beet derived is the better option.

  2. cloudwind says:

    hi Kevin, i get some of you points. Thank you for the effort and work? I hope to see you once at the ancestral Health symposium. I just got paleopatricks from paleohacks newsletter where he wrote how nice it is that divers people are there. maybe the athmosphere is different form your scene. maybe it would be a wonderful influence. to have such a guy like you on a paleo conference. the videos and slides of the AHS are online. maybe your interested. Some speakers you know personnally. Im sure you will love some of the speakers and will like to talk with them. maybe one day its time for that.

    For all your work on acid i m very thank ful. i dontr have any lcue if this is realy counting. its all maybe 50 percent theory and fisty percent realy working.. we only know something also if we claim to be wise and full of knowledge.There is alot people healthy on this planet wihtout a lot supplement. So just think there is a lot ways to health . Also im sure this supplements helops a lot if you can afford the cash.i more like to direct invest into fresh foods rather than dried powders. If ihad the opportunity to buy supplement i defintly would.i have some.

  3. Susan says:

    I like both. The short version here is great, gives the info needed. Thank you.Quick question if you don’t mind. I’ve been pretty high raw for the last 3 years and durning this time have had 2 kidney stones, none before going raw. Just did a 24 hour urine test, my oxalic reading was 52, the high for this test is 31. It can definately be a contributing factor. Dr. wants me to cut out oxalic foods, which I consume a lot of, and retest in 6 months. Is there anything else I can do to reduce the oxalic acid in my body?

  4. Heike says:

    Thanks for all the details.I like shorter better.<3

  5. BN says:

    Standard Process’ Zypan or Standard Process’ Betaine Hydrochloride are what my husband uses in his clinic with excellent results.

  6. andrew says:

    Having read Dr.Young’s PH Miracle he cautions to avoid enzymes with hcl and probiotics. Though for such bold statements he does very little in terms of explaining why. What are your thoughts in this and have you asked him to elaborate on it?

  7. Sarah says:

    Hi Kevin:

    The acid / alkaline thing is really complex! But the way I was taught to think of it is what we are talking about is “acid forming” and alkaline forming” foods meaning that when you eat and digest the foods the “ash” leftover after the burning of the foods in your metabolism is either alkaline or acid. This is the reason we can talk about a lemon as an alkaline forming food, though in reality a lemon is highly acidic (before we consume it). If we consume a lot of acid forming foods, this will make the tissues of our body acidic and vice versa with alkaline forming foods. I differentiate between the state of the tissues of the body and the output of various organs because, as you said, some organs are acidic (like the stomach) and some are more alkaline (like the small intestine). If we eat a lot of vegetables, our tissues should be more alkaline. Looking at the pH of blood is not really reliable because there can only be an incredibly small (100ths) of a change in blood pH before you have a life threatening condition. Therefore, the body is doing anything it can to keep blood pH constant (as you said, like pulling minerals from elsewhere to buffer it). Now back to making things more complex again, I have been listening to some fascinating research done in dentistry and one thing I learned with our lemon example is that although lemon is alkaline forming and therefore we nutritionists are always suggesting that people wake up and drink a glass of water with the juice of half a lemon squeezed into it in order to help alkalize our bodies, apparently this is a horrific thing to do for your dental health because now you have bathed your teeth in acid! (Because the lemon is an outright acid before you comsume it and metabolize it and it becomes alkaline forming). Isn’t that something!

  8. Ali says:

    I’ve been wanting to take Hcl, and I bought some, but the label says do not take only with fruits and vegetables. That’s all I eat. Does anyone have any suggestions? Is there another kind I can take with fruits and vegetables? I don’t want to eat a lot of nuts or dehydrated products.

  9. Jeff says:

    I’d think that the shorter version would allow you to concentrate on the topic more. Plus it’s easier to read.

    I just use Vitacost HCL, it works.

  10. I have always like your site and how much I see you growing as a teacher and facilitator. I do think that having a picture of Dr. Robert Young associated with this article is a mistake in that it suggests that he is on board with this information. You know that Dr. Young takes the position that the stomach is an organ of contribution not digestion and the major contribution is sodium bicarbonate to neutralize the acidity of HCL which he claims is not necessary for proper digestion. I hope I got that right but you do see that it is a contradiction to have his photo associated with this article which expresses the more accepted theory on HCLs role in digestion. Not to many of these great sites seem to think much of what Dr. Young is saying. Quite controversial but could prove to be very important science now or later. Certainly now for the clients and patients he is helping.

  11. Nadine says:

    I actually like both versions of Q&A. My favourite posts are Q&A ones! I really appreciate your discussion on acidity/alkalinity because as someone in the natural health industry, I find there’s a lot of misinformation. Thanks for clearing it up!

  12. Rocio says:

    Talking about acidity what about Vitamin C? I have taken @ 10-20 grams/day for many years. It helps me go to the bathroom and keeps away any virus. My body is acidic and I don’t eat any junk..is it the vitamin C? thank you.

  13. kimme says:

    I guess you must choose between entertaining your core audience or being an informative resource to people looking for specific information on the internet. I vote for making the majority of your question and answer shows single topic for easy search and archival purposes. Your core audience (health nuts interested and knowledgeable in everything health and fitness related) will still be loyal to your show when they find that they can now forward your videos and articles to the people in their life that might be distracted by some of the random health and dietary questions that you get and overwhelmed by the detail that you get into when it is something they are not concerned about at the moment.

    I love your show and can’t wait to see it turn into a popular health resource for mainstream America.

  14. Mist says:

    Shorter version for easier digestion! 🙂

  15. Velda says:

    Good information, Kevin. Short version – of course, I actually prefer the videos so I can listen to them at work. So for the reading, I have to wait until I get home and am usually tired by the time I sit down to read it, so the short version is easier to concentrate on. Thanks for all your dedicated hard work.

  16. Ira Edwards says:

    Dr. Jonathan Wright is a well-informed authority on stomach acid. Dr. Robert O. Young is not the person to ask.
    Fruits and vegetables do not need much acid for digestion, so little is produced. With less acid, there is more possibility of desease organisms passing through alive, and Helicobacter pylori can get out of control.
    I think the best advice I have heard about acid-base is to ignore it. If we est well, our body does quite well at regulating amount of acid and alkali where needed. The blood is extremely closely regulated, with expiration of retention of CO2 as one effective regulator.
    Older people are more likely to have low stomach acid, and when needed, any brand of betaine hydrochoride is fine. A little vinegar may also do the job.

  17. Ira Edwards says:

    correction. ear well, not est.

  18. Ira Edwards says:

    Will I ever get it right? Errors are much harder to see on a screen than on paper. eat, not ear!

  19. Michele says:

    Very interesting. I’m curious about the correct PH levels. I would have thought that the urine PH levels in the morning would be more acidic given that our blood sugar rises a bit during sleep and all the detox and cleansing that goes on while in a resting state. Could anyone ever be clean enough or balanced enough (acid/alkaline) to have a high alkaline urine PH first thing in the morning? unless perhaps if they took an alkalizing supplement. i guess that’s the thing about being on the health path. Inevitably one question leads to another question and then to another question and so on. WILL IT EVER END!!! haha

    PS I don’t mind which way you do the layout (shorter version or longer version). i would read them regardless so whatever works. 🙂

    Great Job Kevin!!!!

  20. If one has been in the alternative and complimentary health profession, they will recognized Dr. Wright as being one of the experts in the field and if they have been paying attention they will have noticed this fringe doctor that is curing disease that have been thought as incurable. That is Dr. Robert Young. I doubt if there are any who can say that Dr Young is ‘absolutely’ wrong about the science he has recognized and promoted. What someone might say is that in their experience this has worked for them and their clients/patience. I have seen HCL supplementation work well for people but that does not mean that Dr. Young is wrong. Once the body is in a stable alkaline condition it is possible that the bio-chemistry might change a bit. It is like the theory that our bodies run on calories but what if, and this is not a new idea, when the body is so clean and possibly alkaline, it might be more about Ohm’s Law. We certainly are bio-electrical not just bio-chemical beings. And if one has been in the field for years there is little chance that they have not run into a person that eats ‘right’, ‘well’, ‘efficiently’, ‘organically’, ‘vegan’, ‘vegetarian’ or whatever and has cancer or not nearly as dramatic, has osteoporosis. So how can this be if it is as simple as eating well. Well, it isn’t that easy for everyone. And when did that perfect person start eating well, did they have a pre-existing condition, were they the 3% of the population that has a genetic disposition for a disease, have they been poisoned by chemicals in their work environment or chem trails. Did they grow up drinking water from the elementary school water fountain in old schools that were plumbed with lead in the pipes and solder? It just is not that easy and we haven’t even discussed chronic deficiencies or psycho-neuro-immunological problems

  21. Cecile says:

    I enjoy the short and long versions! But I have a question. My 2 latest blood tests show that I am too high in potassium. Yet I don’t eat many high potassium foods. I was taking 200 mg. supplement per day because I know that most people are deficient in potassium, so the doctor told me to stop taking the supplement and not eat foods high in potassium. My kidneys aren’t functioning optimally. They test very low in the normal range. but my doctor didn’t connect the 2 things together. What would cause high potassium?

  22. Gen says:

    This article is a keeper!

    Regarding Sarah’s comments (# 7) — would drinking the lemon water in the morning with a straw help avoid the acid on the teeth? Also, rinsing the mouth with plain water immediately afterwards would probably help too. I love to do the lemon juice in the morning (1/4, not 1/2) … but have noticed the effect on my teeth.

  23. Frances says:

    Concentrating on one subject at a time is a great way to go Kevin.
    Question – can anyone tell me why I cant take lemon in water first thing in the morning- gives me severe arthritis like symptoms

  24. I think I can submit humbly, that we are having yardsticks and blood profile standards of humans who are cooked food eaters for a long time or by generations. These standards are fooling around us.
    If you explore the body of a grass eating or vegetarian animal to find ACID, will you find it? I dont know,I am asking eagerly.
    My master, said as I also read widely, THAT MAN’S BLOOD SHOULD BE ALKALINE, AND HE HAS NO PLACE FOR ANY ACID THAT IS HARMFUL OUTRIGHT TO HUMANS.When we cookup our morals with decaded spoilt bodies, our norms end up wrong.

    Lemon juice was advised by my RawEating Master when I met him 25yrs back, that it should be prepared at the measure of ONE LEMON WITH 5 GLASSES OF WATER and that It should be SIPPED WITH SALIVA LITTLE BY LITTLE AND TAKEN IN and never gulped in – to avoid converting it into an acid!
    We humans might have LOST in a misdirected civilisation, many enzymes that would have converted all acids into alkaline right from the mouth!
    I always give a wash after Lemon Juice anyway or eat a piece of coconut a little afterward to cleanse the teeth.

  25. Facebook User says:

    I like the shorter versions! It’s easier to focus on just one thing, and much easier to read after a long day at work. Thank you!

  26. Tom says:

    How does one go about makeing the stomach more acidic? Because I honestly believe this is a serious problem with many. Well at least in my case it is. Because? I believe I have a hypo acidic problem.

    I have had vitiligo, since I was a kid. And it has always stayed the same, it never spread.. But recently it has gone wild. And I didnt know why either?.. But during this time? I had also just became a regular blood donor too….So? Looking for answers about vitiligo, I came acrossed an aritcle, about haveing a weak stomach acid, is a culprit to many skin problems. Thats when I suddenly realised that the spread of my vitiligo ,and me being a regular blood donor were connected… Because evey time I gave blood? I was diluteing my blood, even more the minerals, and vitamins it needed, when it was already low in vitamins, and minerals, due to haveing this weak stomach. My stomach today is unable break down the vitimins and minerals my body is required, to be a regular blood donor… If I donate blood? I will increase my vitiligo gaurenteed!

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