Antacids are fine to use to relieve the occasional case of heartburn and indigestion; however taking antacids routinely can cause major upsets to the body. For instance, antacids such as Maalox and Mylanta, or Alka-Seltzer that contain magnesium and/or sodium bicarbonate can act like a laxative if you take them too regularly. Antacids, such as Pepto Bismol, and others that contain aluminum, bismuth, and calcium carbonate can cause constipation if taken too frequently. Some people who take an antacids frequently can react adversely to the compounds within them. For instance, some people may complain of headaches, muscle weakness, nausea and vomiting from having too much of the compounds in their bodies from the antacids.
If you are taking antacids every day, several times a day you need to be aware that you could develop some serious side effects. You should never exceed the daily dosage that is listed on the product information. One problem with taking more than the daily dosage of antacids is that it can worsen your symptoms of heartburn by turning on more of your stomach’s acid pumps. This happens because your stomach produces acid to break down the ingredients, such as calcium carbonate. When you ingest more antacid this stimulates your stomach to produce more acid to break down the compound.
It is better to make lifestyle changes, such as eating smaller amounts of food at a time, and eating more often. The reason you get heartburn is that the food you eat combines with the acid in your stomach. As the acids are digesting the food in your stomach, the mixture is in liquid form, and the fluid rises up out of the stomach and into the esophagus. By making your meals smaller, you are not filling your stomach and the acid has less of a chance to rise into your esophagus.
Allowing gravity to assist with digestion will also help prevent heartburn. By sitting upright after meals allows for the food to stay lower in the stomach. When you eat a larger meal, you may feel tired and sluggish and your first impulse is to lie down and take a nap; this is one of the worst things you can do. Instead of reaching for the Tums, or Rolaids or Pepto Bismol, try a common sense approach to prevent/relieve heartburn and indigestion.
Taking antacids regularly can upset your digestive process. You need hydrochloric acid in your stomach to digest stomach contents. If you are constantly taking medication to neutralize the acid in your stomach you cannot digest your food, and you will force your stomach to create more acid, which keeps the cycle of heartburn going.
One of my friends used to get frequent heartburn. She was constantly taking antacids. Her doctor told her to stop taking them, and told her to either drink a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in water, or eat a dill pickle. She said she no longer has heartburn on a daily basis. She said by eating less, and eating less fried foods she has stopped having heartburn. The reason that vinegar works, whether taking it in water, or eating a pickle, is that it puts acid back into your stomach. By drinking a bit of vinegar in water, or eating a pickle, your stomach gets the message to turn off the pumps that creates hydrochloric acid. The vinegar lowers the pH of your stomach and therefore you get relief of heartburn. By drinking a bit of vinegar or eating a pickle you can stop the vicious cycle of heartburn. Before reaching for an antacid reach for a pickle. My last source link is an article that talks about apple cider vinegar and how it relieves heartburn.