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Food, Health & Fitness

CRAMPS & GAS: ALL ABOUT ANTACID

Our stomach produces acid when we eat, which aids in the digestion of the meal. There will be times when the acid it produces is more than what is required to digest your food intake. When this happens, the acid can travel up the esophagus and can cause discomfort, heartburn, or it may reach your throat and mouth giving off a bitter and acidic taste. Antacid helps relieve these symptoms when it happens.

Because it’s a common incident, almost everyone has used an antacid at some point in their lives. Antacids’ primary actions include neutralizing stomach acid, reducing discomfort, facilitating food passage into the intestine, and preventing stomach and intestinal lining degradation.

Photo by Pratiksha Mohanty on Unsplash

Origins and Developments

Before antacids were developed, medical knowledge had stagnated and some of the common medicine we know today were homemade. Because of the abundance of natural resources, and lack of available medicine and medicinal knowledge, many people relied on the healing properties of these resources. Herbs and other natural ingredients, recipes for teas, and syrups were developed. One of the recipes for indigestion dates back to Ancient Egypt. It’s a combination of fennel, dill, anise and caraway seeds. Ginger is also usd sometimes. These remedies are still widely used today, but are more preventive measures.

How does it work?

Antacids have properties that neutralizes the stomach acid to form calcium salt and water. The calcium salts help drain PH levels that inhibit pepsin. Gas released through this reaction helps push the food into the stomach. A tablet or a combination of at least one of these important components can be found in common antacids available today: aluminum hydroxide, calcium carbonate, magnesium hydroxide, and/or sodium bicarbonate. 

It’s important to know these components because of potential risks and side effects. Antacids containing sodium bicarbonate should not be used when pregnant since they can induce fluid accumulation. Magnesium trisilicate-containing antacids should also be avoided since they may be harmful to your child. Calcium carbonate-containing antacids are generally safe to take. If you have pre-existing conditions, are pregnant, or have existing medication, please consult your doctor/s before use.

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