By: Jackson Liu 🍁


An Antacid is any substance that neutralizes stomach acidity they are usually a base or basic salt. They are used to relieve acid indigestion, upset stomach, sour stomach, and heartburn.

Use of Antacid

Antacids are used to reduce the acidity level in the stomach. But it is just a temporary fix and are not recommended to take. All of the "Antacids" all accomplish the same thing, they moderate the pH level in the stomach.

When there is too much hydrochloric acid in the stomach, an antacid neutralizes the acid through a chemical reaction where the pH is increased, which reduces the acidity in the stomach. Antacids are made of many different substances, but all forms contain magnesium, calcium or aluminum. They are most often in pill or tablet form but some are liquid.

Antacids are usually effective at relieving heartburn. However, they do not correct the cause of the symptoms or reverse tissue damage. Some types of antacids, made of sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) or calcium carbonate (CaCO3), are easily absorbed into a person’s body and can cause a pH imbalance, possibly leading to kidney damage or other problems.

Who Discovered Antacids and When?

James Gapinski discovered antacids in 1873. The first chewable Antacid, however, was invented in 1928 by pharmacist Jim Howe for his wife's indigestion. He created a brand called "Tums"

Although, Licorice has been used to counter heartburn and has been produce in chewable forms centuries before "Tums". Very little information seems to be available on any early chewable antacid products.

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Should it be Avaliable at the Local Pharmacy?

Antacids have a good and bad effect in general. Antacids are available to consumers at their local pharmacies, yet they do not know the side effects that may occur. People are taking these tablets/pills like is a temporary fix to a long term problem that may occur again.

Antacids can be used for:
-Stopping ulcer induced pain

-Ease Heartburn

-Acid Reflux

-Acid Indigestion



Magnesium Hydroxide (Side Effects)

Magnesium Hydroxide (Milk of Magnesia) The side effects of milk of Magnesia result from the production of Magnesium salts from the interaction of Magnesium Hydroxide with Hydrochloric acid in the stomach. Magnesium salts are poorly absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract and cause the diarrhea commonly associated with this compound.

When the common side effects of over the counter antacids are reviewed, it becomes fairly obvious that the average consumer should be selective when choosing an antacid for relief of occasional heartburn or upset stomach. An individual with a sensitive gastrointestinal system prone to diarrhea should avoid Milk of Magnesia and turn to Tums. On the other hand, those who tend to experience constipation would do best to avoid Tums and aluminum hydroxide products and instead try Milk of Magnesia for symptomatic relief.

Aluminum Hydroxide (Side Effects)

Aluminum hydroxide, This stomach antacid reacts with Hydrochloric Acid to form Aluminum Chloride. Unfortunately, Aluminum Chloride is insoluble and causes constipation in a lot of people.

Calcium Carbonate / "Tums"

Calcium carbonate ("Tums"), Side effects of calcium carbonate include kidney stones. This last side effect is a condition in which eating becomes severe enough that stool becomes stuck with such pressure in the rectum that a bowel movement is impossible.

"Bowel movement" The movement of feces getting discharged.

Prolonged use of Antacids

Prolonged use of "Antacids" causes serious problems to the body.
Over time it will make the bone density in the body weaker and also decrease the amount of "Vitamin B-12".

What is Vitamin B-12?
Vitamin B-12, it is also called "Cobalamin". Vitamin B-12 is needed to produce red blood cells in the body. It also helps absorbing the vitamins in the food that we eat everyday.

"Antacid" Drugs should not be used for "Bloating", There are many alternatives rather than using the drugs listed below.

Calcium Carbonate is used to make "Tums" (chalk) some of the side affects contain:
Kidney failure or Cirrhosis of the liver, then the less serious side effects include diarrhea.

CaO + CO2 = CaCO3

Calcium Oxide + Carbon Dioxide = Calcium Carbonate

Some Types of Antacids

Antacids are usually made in pills or tablet form. There are various brands of antacids. Here are some examples:

Alka-Seltzer – NaHCO3 and/or KHCO3

Andrews Antacid – CaCO3 MgCO3

Brioschi – NaHCO3

Equate – Al(OH)3 and Mg(OH)2

Maalox (liquid) – Al(OH)3 and Mg(OH)2

Maalox (tablet) – CaCO3

Milk of Magnesia – Mg(OH)2

Pepto-Bismol – C7H5BiO4

Pepto-Bismol Children’s – CaCO3

Rennie (tablets) – CaCO3 MgCO3

Rolaids – CaCO3 and Mg(OH)2

Tums – CaCO3

Mylanta – contains Al(OH)3

Eno - NaHCO3, Citric acid, Na2CO3

Gelusil (available in tablet and syrup form)

Why do People Use Antacids? (Consumer use)

Most people use use "Antacids" because it relieves pain or discomfort. Yet they do not know the side effects of the drug that they are taking in. As a consumerist society people will buy anything that commercial business's sell. For example this "Tums" Advertisement. It shows the positives of taking an "Antacid" tablet and having the problem cured instantly but it does not show the side effects of the "Antacid". All "Antacids" have a side effect and doctors do not usually recommend them but commercial business's make "Antacids" seem like vitamins. (ex."Tums")
Tums ad - Chicken Wing

Non-Medical Alternatives to Antacids

Baking soda and licorice are two alternatives that can be used other than pills/tablets.
Baking soda is just sodium carbonate which is used in "Tums" but it is just something most house holds have.