What’s The Most Important Supplement You Should Be Taking?

You may answer, multivitamin. While a daily multivitamin is highly recommended by myself, it's not the #1 priority. Omega 3 fatty acids (fish oil)? Another supplement I highly recommend but this one is just a bit more important. Protein powder? Again, I am a proponent of consuming lots of quality protein but again, this one is a little better.

What is the answer?

Let’s step back for a second... Something I remind my clients routinely is that supplements are to compliment a healthy diet. If you eat at McDonalds or Jimmy Johns for your meals, don't even bother taking supplements because your diet is not very healthy. Supplements cannot override a bad diet.

HCL otherwise known as Hydrochloric Acid is the single most important supplement to take. Most people have never heard of it. Why would you need to consume HCL?

Dr. Jim LaValle, a nationally recognized clinical pharmacist, author, board certified clinical nutritionist, founder of Metabolic Code Enterprises, Inc., explains:

Hydrochloric acid is a strong stomach acid necessary for the breakdown and digestion of many foods.

The relationship between the adrenals and the intestine is one of mutual influence. When the human body is in a healthy state, the adrenal glands help regulate blood glucose from food absorbed by the digestive tract. The adrenal hormones help regulate hydrochloride acid secretion and motility of the gastrointestinal tract. Stress and excess cortisol production can result in insufficient hydrochloric acid secretion and excess cortisol production and can result in insufficient hydrochloric acid secretion and poor digestion and gastrointestinal motility. The result may be constipation, heartburn, gas, bloating and poor digestion of food.

This is a time when peptic ulcers can be initiated or aggravated. Eventually HCL secretion diminishes, and certain digestive enzymes are rendered ineffective. During stress, blood flow to the gastrointestinal tract is diverted, and autonomic nervous impulses are reduced. Constipation and diarrhea are both common signs of stress. Stress can deplete probiotic bacteria in the intestine, resulting in reduced nutrient absorption.

What does this mean?

When you become stressed, your body responds by producing less HCL. The lack of HCL will result in a plethora of possibilities: constipation, heartburn, gas, bloating, diarrhea, and lack of nutrient absorption. This lack of nutrient absorption is critical in understating why HCL is the most important supplement. You may be investing a lot of money in your diet in the form of organic vegetables, grass fed - free range beef, and wild caught seafood and absorbing only a fraction of of the nutrients.

How do you take HCL?

Charles Poliquin, a world renown personal trainer who is responsible for hundreds of medals, wins and personal bests for many elite athletes in over 17 different sports including athletes from summer and winter Olympics, the NHL, and NFL, explained how to take HCL. To paraphrase Charles:

You only take HCL with a diet you chew, never with a shake. At dinner time, eat half of your dinner, take your one HCL capsule, and finish the rest of the meal. At night, if you wake up from a "wave" of heat, which is a little uncomfortable, coming form your abdomen, you have sufficient HCL production and you do not need to take any. If nothing happens that night, you need at least one HCL. The second day at dinner time, eat half your dinner, take two HCL capsules, and finish your meal. Keep repeating the process until you feel the "wave" then you know you have reached your limit as to how much you need. Simply revert back to the previous night's amount. Now that you have established your amount, always take the HCL whenever you "chew" a meal. In time, you may notice that "wave" of heat arise when it normally would not be. Your body is beginning to produce HCL on its own, which is a very good thing. After a period of time, you will not need any HCL.

Charles Poliquin explained that his average span his clients are on HCL is about 5 years. I personally took 2 HCLs at each chewable meal since 2013. In 2015, I had to lower it to 1 for each meal because my HCL production was improving. In the past 6 months, I have noticed that I do not need to take my HCL with seafood but need to take it with any other chewable meal I consume.

What are you to do?

Understand that stress is having more of an effect on your body than you think. It is affecting your body's ability to absorb nutrients from the high-quality food you are purchasing. HCL regulation takes place in the adrenal gland. When the body is under stress, your adrenal gland will produce cortisol and lower your HCL production. With the lower HCL, you have compromised your ability to absorb nutrients and may have symptoms such as: constipation, heartburn, gas, bloating. What is concerning is most daytime ads on tv are targeting issues like constipation, heartburn, gas, and bloating. These ads typically suggest these problems things just happen and you’re not alone. The ad is not explaining the entire story. Instead of subscribing to a quick remedy, understand the root cause of your potential problem. See if you are deficient in HCL. To do so, take your HCL capsule every time you eat a meal and see how you feel.

For 10% off pharmaceutical grade HCL, follow the next steps:

  1. Go to https://shop.lifetimefitness.com/
  2. Click on “Login”
  3. Enter your name and password from your myLT profile (you may need to set up an account your first time)
  4. Search HCL
  5. Click on the “my auto-ships” tab.
  6. Enter Trainer ID “ 10963 “ to receive an additional 10% off your purchase.


Steven Zahn

ACE Certified Personal Trainer

NASM Certified Personal Trainer

Pre and Post Partum Certified

Dragondoor Publications: HKC Russian Kettlebell Certified