I am contacting you because my doctor prescribed your betaine supplement with the dosage of half a pill a day in the beginning, to make sure I feel good before taking a full pill. However, it strikes me that in the supplement you have put the instruction to “swallow the tablet whole”. What are these indications due to? Would it then be out of the question to take half a pill as prescribed?
A/ We instruct this on the label because many people, when swallowing the crushed or broken tablet which is prepared to open in the stomach, notice the taste of the ingredients, which is not always pleasant, and this can be perceived as irritation, (not necessarily as burning). Betaine is precisely a product that we DO NOT recommend crushing the tablet, since it is very acidic. Therefore, it would be better to swallow it whole or cut it in two and then swallow it. The only drawback is that you may notice a strong taste when you put it in your mouth and we cannot guarantee that exactly half of the tablet contains half the dose, since it is not marked for that use.
The tablets in this supplement are designed to dissolve in the stomach, which is where acidification is required, as it releases hydrochloric acid, the same acid that occurs naturally in the stomach (but does not alter gastric acidity). In this way it helps to replace part of the acidity lost in the stomach, thus cooperating in the digestion of food.
Therefore, the tablets are made to serve a purpose during their disintegration time. To achieve this objective, excipients are used (also called inactive ingredients, since they do not have any nutritional contribution). If the tablet breaks, it may cause discomfort in some sensitive stomachs, since the disintegration objective would not be met in the way that was established in the manufacture of the tablet. It is important to be sure that the problem is hypo or achlorhydria. If not, you could have problems due to improper use.
Food supplements are not drugs, despite the fact that we find them in tablet or capsule forms, but necessary nutrients, which on many occasions we cannot adequately acquire from a regular diet, but which, as they are concentrated healthy substances, collaborate in optimally completing our individual nutritional requirements.