The term "antacid" is used to describe certain compounds that directly neutralize stomach acid. Tums, Maalox Advanced Regular Strength, and Mylanta all fall into this category. The active ingredients in most antacids are various forms of calcium, magnesium, and aluminum. Antacids are useful mostly for symptomatic relief of uncomfortable "acid stomach" and also may be helpful for heartburn.
Many antacids are available today, including
- Aluminum carbonate (Basaljel)
- Aluminum hydroxide (ALternaGEL, Alu-Cap, Alu-Tab, Amphojel, Dialume, Nephrox)
- Aluminum hydroxide/magnesium carbonate (Duracid)
- Aluminum hydroxide/magnesium hydroxide (Alamag, Almacone, Aludrox, Gaviscon Liquid, Gelusil, Kudrox, Maalox Advanced Regular Strength, Magalox, Mintox, Mylanta, Rulox)
- Aluminum hydroxide/magnesium hydroxide/calcium carbonate (Tempo)
- Aluminum hydroxide/magnesium trisilicate (Alenic Alka, Gaviscon, Genaton, Foamicon)
- Calcium carbonate (Alkets, Amitone, Chooz, Equilet, Gas-Ban, Mallamint, Mylanta Lozenges, Titralac, Tums)
- Calcium carbonate/magnesium carbonate (Marblen, Mi-Acid Gelcaps, Mylanta Gelcaps, Mylagen Gelcaps)
- Magnesium hydroxide (Milk of Magnesia, Phillips' Chewable)
- Magaldrate or aluminum magnesium hydroxide sulfate (Iosopan, Riopan)
- Magnesium oxide (Mag-Ox, Maox, Uro-Mag)
- Sodium bicarbonate (Bell/ans, Bromo Seltzer)
- Sodium citrate (Citra pH)
Other drugs work by reducing the stomach's production of acid. These are discussed separately in the articles on H2Blockers (eg, Zantac [ranitidine], Axid [nizatidine], Tagamet [cimetidine], Pepcid [famotidine]) and Proton Pump Inhibitors (Prilosec [omeprazole], Prevacid [lansoprazole]). These drugs produce a more powerful effect than antacids and are used for ulcers as well as for the treatment of esophageal reflux, commonly known as heartburn.
Supplementation Possibly Helpful
Research suggests that antacids physically bind to folate and reduce its absorption by the body.1 However, the decrease in folate absorption is relatively small, and this interaction may be clinically significant only in individuals who take antacids regularly and whose diets are low in folate content.
Supplementation Possibly Helpful, But Take at a Different Time of Day
Different types of antacids can interfere with the absorption of various minerals. Supplements containing the US Dietary Reference Intake (formerly known as the Recommended Dietary Allowance) of these minerals should be helpful, especially if you take them at a different time of day from when you take antacids, at least 2 hours before or after taking your antacid.
Aluminum-containing antacids can bind with phosphorus and interfere with its absorption, and this can further lead to calcium depletion.3,4
Antacids that contain calcium may also compete for absorption with iron.5-9 Although calcium antacids may alter the absorption of magnesium, the clinical importance of this effect appears to be minimal.10,11Calcium-containing antacids, when taken with zinc supplements, might substantially decrease zinc absorption.12-16 However, the presence of a meal appears to mitigate this effect. Finally, calcium antacids might also impair the absorption of manganese and chromium.17,18,19
May Increase Aluminum Absorption
Concerns have been raised that the aluminum in some antacids may not be good for you.20Since there is some evidence that calcium citrate supplements might increase the absorption of aluminum,21-25 it might not be a good idea to take calcium citrate at the same time of day as aluminum-containing antacids. Another option is to use other forms of calcium, or to avoid antacids containing aluminum.
Last reviewedAugust 2013by EBSCO CAM Review Board
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.