Antacids are one of mankind’s oldest friends, so they say.
Stomach acid is required for good digestion. Unfortunately when you have indigestion, heart burn, gas bloating and acid reflux resulting from overeating, smoking (delays ulcer healing) coffee & alcohol(stimulate acid production), soft drinks, fried food or conditions like obesity may resort to using Antacids frequently for instant relief, because it neutralizes stomach acids. Stomach acid is important for mineral absorption and break down of content of foods.
• Antacids are intended for temporary use but most people ignore this advice. When antacids are used regularly, the stomach senses this and, over time, increases its acid production rate set point. Taking antacids to reduce acid can lead to the production of excessive acid and more discomfort.• Taken on an empty stomach, they only neutralize acid for 30 to 60 minutes because the antacid quickly leaves the stomach.
• Taken with food, the protective effect may be 2 or 3 hours.
• To get as much acid reduction as prescription medicines produce is expensive as the antacid must be taken frequently during the day and night. It is probably cheaper to take an acid-reducing pill once or twice a day.
• All antacids make for acid rebound effect where the stomach acid surges back after the antacid has left the stomach.
Unfortunately, when symptoms are occurring daily or several times a day could be a warning sign that something more serious and life threatening may be lurking below. For example, it may be masking an ulcer or serious acid injury to the esophagus (food pipe). There may be a bacteria induced ulcer, from H. Pylori or a gastroesophageal injury may be present. Overdosing on antacids may result in constipation, diarrhea, dry mouth, irregular heartbeat, stupor, mood or mental changes, vomiting, excessive restlessness, unusual fatigue or weakness including an allergic reaction. With long term use there is fear of a bone fractures and increased sensitivities to foods. Most doctors would say no house should be without it, I agree. I use- lemon or cider vinegar/water.
It is important to remember that antacids does not solve a problem. Anyone on dialysis or severe kidney disease should avoid or only proceed with caution. Maximum safe dose of calcium carbonate each day is 2000 mg.