Tums look like candy, come in different fun flavors, help stop acid reflux and give you a dose of calcium, what could be wrong? If you only use them occasionally, there's probably nothing to worry about. But if you use them daily, you need to know that there are serious health risks. As discussed in my last blog post, long-term reduction of stomach acid can affect nutrient absorption and put you at risk of infection and a host of other health issues.
The active ingredient in Tums is calcium carbonate which neutralizes the stomach acid. However, this form of calcium is cheap and not easily absorbable by the body. Calcium also needs proper amounts of Vitamin D and Magnesium to be used by the body. Too much calcium carbonate can also interfere with the absorption of other minerals, such as iron and zinc, cause kidney stones, and even begin to calcify tissue in the body.
Antacids such as Pepcid AC are used frequently for mild cases of heartburn and sometimes as a preventative. However, this can make the underlying problem worse. This class of antacid, H2 blockers, are not approved for continuous use for more than 14 days. Long-term continuous use of acid blockers is particularly dangerous for senior citizens, who are at an increased risk of bone loss and hip fractures due to the depletion of stomach acid and the inability of the body to absorb nutrients and minerals.
Try some of these natural alternatives to antacids for the discomfort of acid reflux:
Please refer to my prior blog post here on ways to increase stomach acid naturally.
In good health...
Please contact me for more information specific to your symptoms or condition. Nutrition, wellness, and general health information is intended for educational purposes to assist clients in their personal lifestyle management and is not a substitute for professional medical care or diagnosis.
Cathy McCann is a functional nutritionist, coach, writer, speaker, and mom, who is passionate about guiding women through the journey of healing and rediscovering themselves in mid-life.