Antacids are used to counteract or neutralize acidity, especially in your stomach. There are different types of antacids, those containing calcium, magnesium, aluminum, sodium bicarbonate and calcium in combination with magnesium and aluminum.
Depending on which type of antacid you use, it can help treat heartburn, upset stomach, mild GERD, reduce blood or urine acidity or be taken as a calcium dietary supplement. Antacids won’t heal your esophageal inflammation that is caused by severe GERD. Calcium containing antacids are often recommended as a calcium supplement, i.e. Tums. And sodium bicarbonate is the type of antacid used to make your blood or urine less acidic.
You can buy many antacids over-the-counter. The best antacid for quick relief are the liquid forms. The best antacid for ease of use are tablets.
Although antacids may provide you some relief, their typically only short term because they neutralize the acid that’s already been produced. So, the best antacids for longer relief are H2 blockers (Zantac and Pepcid) or proton pump inhibitors (Prilosec) because they reduce the amount of acid actually produced. Albeit, they do take longer to work.
The best natural antacids are whatever provides you with an anti acid benefit. Some of the foods, dietary adjustments and behavior modifications shown to have a natural antacid outcome are:
- increase dietary fiber
- eat bananas ~ also high in potassium
- drink milk if you don’t suffer lactose intolerance
- sleep on a pillow wedge to help keep acids in stomach
- drink a glass of water after your meals to dilute your stomach acid
- avoid eating acidic foods like citrus, peppermint, tomatoes, peppers, caffeine
- eat yogurt ~ supports intestinal flora with healthy bacteria for food breakdown
- eat ice cream couple of hours before bedtime, vanilla is best, avoid chocolate & peppermint
You will likely need to experiment with these natural antacid suggestions to discover which ones works best for you.
Generally, all antacids tend to work for most equally. With the exception of the natural antacid program, they can cause different drug side effects, for example:
- magnesium ~ diarrhea
- calcium carbonate ~ kidney stones
- aluminum ~ constipation, calcium loss leading to osteoporosis, toxicity
If you suffer from kidney problems, taking a large amount of aluminum can accumulate and become toxic. Yet overall, daily use of antacids is considered safe. However, you should talk to your health care provider before using antacids regularly if you:
- suffer kidney stones
- are on a low salt diet
- take other medications daily
- have kidney disease, hypertension, heart disease
Antacids do not treat health conditions, like appendicitis, peptic ulcers, gallstones or digestive problems. So, you’ll need to have visit with your doctor if you suffer what feels like heartburn, coupled with some of these other symptoms:
- chest pain
- metallic taste
- loss of appetite
- abdominal cramps
- nausea & vomiting
- increased urination
- bloody, black stools
- fever with stomach pain
- unintentional weight loss
- swallowing pain, difficulty
- lower belly, flank or back pain
- severe diarrhea that doesn’t subside
Calcium carbonate with magnesium overdose can have a poisonous effect if you take more than what’s recommended. Overdose or chronic overuse symptoms include:
- bone pain
- dry mouth
- poor balance
- irregular heartbeat
- decrease in reflexes
Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate. It can be used occasionally as a natural antacid by mixing a 1/2 teaspoon in a half a glass of water.