NOW Betaine HCl is formulated to support proper digestive conditions in the stomach. Hydrochloric Acid (HCl) is normally produced in the stomach, where it assists protein digestion by activating pepsin, helps to maintain a healthy balance of gut flora, and stimulates the release of intestinal enzymes. Pepsin is a protease produced in the stomach that partially breaks down proteins in foods. HCl production tends to decline with age, so supplementing with HCl and pepsin may help to maintain normal digestive function.* This product uses a vegetarian acid-stable protease with activity equivalent to that of animal-derived pepsin.