Low Stomach Acid & Weak Digestion

The Beetroot Test for Low Stomach Acid

Beet Test for Low Stomach Acid and Weak DigestionDiscolouration of the urine, to red or pink, after eating beets is called beeturia. It’s caused by the betalain pigments in the beets, breaking down and being excreted. The stomach acid and the flora of the gut play an important role in breaking down the pigments in food, so if they are low or compromised you may experience beeturia. Often people eat or drink beetroots on purpose in order to test their digestive health.
When you are low in stomach acid, your body is not able to metabolize and assimilate beetroot pigments properly. Chances are the same thing is happening for a lot of other foods you are eating. Being able to digest and absorb the vitamins and minerals in your food is very important for your health. If we can’t absorb our B12, we get tired. 
A lack of zinc will affect our immune system and thousands of the body’s processes. The partial digestion of proteins can cause havoc in the system, as they get absorbed in large portions into the bloodstream. Other factors involved may include an imbalance of the gut flora, the liver, and iron or B12 deficiencies.
Eating beets is one of the best days to cleanse the digestive tract and blood of built-up due to a diet and lifestyle that leads to high inflammation.

Detoxification in this way combined with the high antioxidant values found in beets is an effective way to help naturally slow aging.

 Beets are a great way to help balance pH levels and to alkalize the body as well. The pH scale is used to determine acidity versus alkalinity, with 7.1 to 14 being alkaline and 7 being neutral. Most diseases live in an acidic environment, so your body’s goal is to be slightly alkaline- and many whole foods like fruits and vegetables help to achieve this.
Certain foods on this list, like eggs and walnuts, might be acidic in your body, but don’t let that scare you away from eating them. They contain a host of health benefits like antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. A healthy balance is what we are shooting for where pH is concerned–it is possible to become too alkaline.

Alkaline Foods
Fruits, mushrooms and vegetables (especially citrus, dates, raisins and spinach) promote an alkaline pH.

Strangely enough, acidic fruits such as grapefruit and tomatoes don’t create acidity in the body. 
They do just the opposite and contribute to an alkaline environment, eating more alkaline-forming foods like beets and other root vegetables can protect your body from diseases that occur more commonly in people as they age. 
This is due to their ability to decrease inflammation. 
Food Sources of Betaine

Beets are also a great source of fiber, which helps the digestive system to properly function and even supports weight loss, another key area that can be struggle as you get older.


Eating foods made with whole wheat can help you get more betaine in your diet, since both wheat germ and wheat bran are among the better sources of betaine. 

Wheat germ contains 1,241 milligrams per 100-gram serving, and wheat bran contains 1,339 milligrams. Snack on pretzels, which provide 237 milligrams per 100 grams, and make your sandwiches with whole-wheat bread, which contains 201 milligrams per 100 grams. Dry spaghetti, all-purpose flour and cheese crackers are also good sources of betaine.


Spinach is your best bet for incrseasing your betaine levels, since it is particularly high in this nutrient, with 645 milligrams per 100 grams. 

Beets are another good way to get your betaine, since they contain 297 milligrams per 100-gram serving. Try spinach with garlic and olive oil, add grated or cooked beets or start your meal off with borscht, a Russian beet soup.

Animal Products

If you aren't a fan of whole grains or greens, try eating more shrimp. It contains more betaine than most other animal-based foods with about 218 milligrams per 100-gram serving. Other types of seafood are also good sources of betaine. Start your meal with a spinach salad with seared scallops, make your main dish a shrimp-and-broccoli stir-fry or cook up a seafood stew for a delicious meal high in betaine. Although meat and poultry aren't particularly good sources of betaine, many Americans get a lot of their betaine from these foods because they eat so much of them. 


You don't necessarily have to eat betaine-rich foods to increase your betaine levels, because choline is a precursor to betaine. Eating foods high in choline, like chicken or beef liver, eggs or pork can also improve your betaine levels.

Check with your doctor before taking betaine supplements. Don't worry about getting too much betaine from foods.

And after drinking all the lemon water and eating the beets, you’ll be well on your way to a healthy digestive experience.

Recommended Daily Amounts of Betaine

In adults, there’s not an established daily recommended amount of betaine at this time. Recommended doses of betaine vary depending on the conditions being treated, and more research is still being conducted to establish a set recommendation for the general public. (4) (5)
  • For people with alcohol-induced fatty liver disease, the recommended amount of betaine supplementation is normally between 1,000 to 2,000 milligrams, taken three times daily. This is a high dose and more than normally would be taken, but is needed to repair liver damage in certain cases, like with recovering alcoholics.
  • Lower doses are usually used for nutritional support in people who have healthy livers and no history of heart disease. To help with digestion, there are many betaine supplements (in the form of betaine HCI) that are available on the market that range in recommended doses between 650–2500 milligrams.
  • People who are looking to benefit from betaine in regards to exercise performance, improving body composition, or relieving body aches and pains may take between 1500–2000 milligrams of betaine, although a set recommendation doesn’t exist at this time.
  • It’s not recommended that pregnant women or women who are breastfeeding take betaine supplements without more reports being conducted first to show it’s safe.
If you suffer from heart disease, liver disease, muscle aches or pains, or want to discuss taking betaine to help with body composition changes such as fat loss and muscle gains, you can speak with your doctor to determine the right dose for you. (6)
Betaine is usually taken with folic acid, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12. Betaine supplements are manufactured as a byproduct of sugar beet processing. They can be found in powder, tablet or capsule forms. Betaine isn’t recommended for children or infants, unless it’s specifically prescribed by a health care provider to treat certain conditions, normally genetic diseases that involve liver malfunctioning.
According to reports, wheat bran/wheat germ is the single highest source of naturally occurring betaine. Therefore, in the average American’s diet, baked products that contain wheat germ —including foods like breads, crackers, cookies and four tortillas — are thought to be major contributors to betaine intake. These are not necessarily the healthiest sources of betaine, but because these types of processed products are unfortunately eaten in high quantities in the U.S diet, they are usually how people obtain enough betaine on a daily basis. (7)
Alcoholic beverages, such as wine and beer, also contain low to moderate levels of betaine, so their high consumption rates make them another key contributor of betaine in the American diet. However, keep in mind that there are definitely healthier alternatives to getting the levels of betaine that you need. For example, betaine can be found in nutrient-rich foods like spinach, beets, certain ancient whole grains (which are especially beneficial if they are sprouted first), and certain types of meat and poultry.

Top Food Sources of Betaine

Because everyone needs a differing amount of betaine depending on their needs, and there isn’t an established recommendation for betaine intake at this time, daily percentages are not shown for the food sources below. However, keep in mind most people do best getting between 650–2,000 milligrams of betaine per day.