Antacids are one of the most popular over-the-counter remedies for upper GI concerns like acid indigestion, burping, stomach bloating, and abdominal discomfort. It is estimated that half of American adults have used antacids at some point in their life, and over a quarter of adults take 2 or more doses per month. A note of caution, they can change the way your body absorbs the other medicines you are taking. It is best to take any other medicine either 1 hour before or 4 hours after you take antacids.
While antacids may temporarily ease your symptoms, they may end up doing more harm than good. Here’s why.
May result in even more acid… and diarrhea and constipation
People take antacids to lower stomach acid. However, for normal digestion you must have healthy levels of stomach acid. Stomach acid helps to break down and digest the foods you eat. If food is not digested properly in the stomach, it stays there longer and could result in constipation. And, the longer food stays in your stomach, the more acid it produces. It’s a vicious cycle.
Taking too many antacids can also change your digestive chemistry too much, making your GI tract fluctuate between over-acidity and over alkaline. This can confuse the body and trigger digestive issues like diarrhea or constipation. This is especially common in brands that contain magnesium, they may cause diarrhea.
May create a friendly environment for unwanted bacteria
Healthy levels of stomach acid are your first line of defense against unwanted bacteria, a known cause of stomach discomfort. Antacids can make the acid in the stomach too alkaline, so it isn’t able to protect against unwelcome
May impact your bone health
Antacids, especially ones that contain aluminum, can interfere with your body’s absorption of calcium, zinc, and magnesium—all of which are essential to keep your bones strong. This is ironic since many people are encouraged to take them because they contain calcium.
Antacids are a good treatment for heartburn that occurs once in a while. Take antacids about 1 hour after eating or when you have heartburn. If you are taking them for symptoms at night, do not take them with food. Antacids cannot treat more serious problems, such as appendicitis, a stomach ulcer, gallstones, or bowel problems.
This article was republished with permission from from Nutri-Health.