Are You Using Antacids More Than You Should?

For most people, taking antacids every once and a while isn’t a big deal. You probably need to pop a few after a big family meal with all the trimmings. Super Bowl parties are another notorious cause of heartburn. But if you need antacids for getting through normal meals during the week, something’s not right.

How Much Antacid Is Too Much?

Always follow the instructions on the antacid’s label. If the bottle says to only take two or three tablets, only take two or three tablets! Taking way more than the recommended dose can cause a lot of problems. Calcium is great in small amounts, but too much can be toxic for your kidneys.

You also need to be careful not to take antacids too frequently, even in recommended doses. Antacids are definitely not designed to be taken every day. If you have heartburn more than two times a week, you should make an appointment with your doctor to find out why.

What Are the Possible Side Effects of Taking Too Many Antacids?

1. Constipation

Any time you change the way your gastrointestinal tract works, it can cause unwanted digestive side effects. One of the most common side effects of overusing antacids is constipation. Even worse, this isn’t a one-time thing. For people with this problem, the constipation usually only goes away by stopping antacids.

2. Osteoporosis

If you take a lot of antacids containing aluminum, it increases your risk of osteoporosis. Aluminum acts like a sponge than can flush calcium from your blood stream and steal it from your bones, weakening them.

3. Muscle Pain and Weakness

The main active ingredients in antacids — calcium, sodium and magnesium — are called electrolytes. These minerals are good for your body in balanced amounts, but when electrolyte levels get too high, your muscles can start to malfunction. Trembling hands, muscle spasms, sudden weakness, severe fatigue and soreness are a few of the things you may notice.

4. Kidney Issues

I you get kidney stones, steer clear of antacids containing calcium; a high amount of this mineral can trigger the formation of new stones. Also, people with poor kidney function should avoid taking antacids completely.

5. Stomach infections

Overly acidic stomach acid can trigger the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), but turning down the pH too much creates problems of its own. That’s because your stomach acid also helps protect you against harmful bacteria. Using antacids too often can weaken your immune system, making it easier to get infections in your gastrointestinal tract.

6. Trouble Breathing

Your body needs a stable pH to work correctly. Neutralizing excess stomach acid is one thing, but overdoing it with antacids can start to affect the acidity of your blood, too. This can lead to major problems, slowing breathing, making you feel sleepy and causing extreme tiredness.

How Can You Prevent Heartburn Naturally?

Honestly, there are a lot better ways to prevent heartburn than popping a bunch of antacid tablets:

  • Lose several pounds

  • Avoid greasy, high-fat foods

  • Eat healthy protein

  • Take your time when eating

  • Try slippery elm tea or chamomile

  • Don’t lay down after eating

  • Don’t drink alcohol

One of the best natural “cures” for heartburn is figuring what foods are triggering it and avoiding them. For me, it was soda. Ever since I decided to replace sugary drinks with fresh smoothies and nuts, my tummy has felt a LOT better. And I lost weight at the same time, so win/win!

2 Replies to “Are You Using Antacids More Than You Should?”

  1. Hi.
    Thanks for this.
    I am taking Omeprazole very day for a year and a half. Does this apply to that too? I know it is a pump inhibitor so might not be the same as the anti acids you are taking about?
    Thanks!

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