If you suffer from heartburn and indigestion, an antacid can help relieve your symptoms by reducing the amount of acid in your stomach. But with so many options available, you may be wondering which one best suits your needs. That’s why we reached out to Tessa Spencer, PharmD, a specialist in community pharmacy and functional medicine, to ask for insights on the best antacids on the market. She says there’s one particular antacid she commonly recommends, and two more you may want to consider under special circumstances. Read on to learn which antacid she considers best-in-class, and whether you should consult a medical professional before taking it.
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Spencer says there are a few things to consider before taking an antacid—most pressingly, whether any other underlying health conditions may make you more prone to unwanted side effects. “Antacids are safe for most people, but it’s important to speak to a pharmacist or your healthcare provider first if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, have liver disease, kidney disease or heart failure, have an illness that means you need to control how much salt (sodium) is in your diet, such as high blood pressure or cirrhosis, or are taking other medicines,” Spencer says.
In addition to taking an antacid, she also advises making certain lifestyle changes that may help improve your symptoms. These may include eating smaller meals, cutting back on foods and drinks that can cause heartburn, avoiding lying down within three hours of meals, elevating the head of your bed by six to eight inches, and asking your pharmacist if other medications you take could be aggravating your heartburn.
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Spencer shares that the antacid she considers “best overall” is Pepto Bismol Original Liquid, which is used to treat not only heartburn but also diarrhea, nausea, and upset stomach. She adds that going with the product’s generic version, called bismuth subsalicylate, may help you save money while providing the same benefits.
“Bismuth subsalicylate coats the stomach and soothes heartburn” in those with “mild, intermittent heartburn,” she says. However, she notes that this product can sometimes cause constipation, so you’ll have to weigh that risk against its benefits.
Spencer points out that sometimes customers prefer to take chewable antacids, and in this case, she recommends Rolaids Extra Strength Antacid Chewable Tablets.
“Rolaids Extra Strength Antacid Chewable Tablets incorporate two ingredients—magnesium and calcium carbonate,” she explains. “There are many different acid reflux medications that contain magnesium. Combined with calcium carbonate, this combination neutralizes stomach acid both in the stomach and the esophagus. The combination of these two active ingredients can alleviate nausea and discomfort.”
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Spencer notes that some antacids are not recommended for children, especially those under 12 years of age. For them, she recommends Mylicon Children’s Tummy Relief, which is suitable for children between the ages of two and 11.
“The acid-reducing calcium carbonate combined with simethicone make it an effective antacid for kids who occasionally experience indigestion and those who experience stomach pain more frequently,” says Spencer, adding that this treatment is “free of gluten, saccharin, alcohol, and artificial flavors.”
Speak with your doctor if you have questions about which antacid is right for you, or if you suspect your medical history or other medications may interfere with treatment.
Best Life offers the most up-to-date information from top experts, new research, and health agencies, but our content is not meant to be a substitute for professional guidance. When it comes to the medication you’re taking or any other health questions you have, always consult your healthcare provider directly.