How Antacids Can Harm Your Health
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. While antacids may temporarily ease your symptoms, they may end up doing more harm than good. Here’s why.
- Antacids 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, 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.
- Antacids 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
- Antacids 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 antacids because they contain calcium.