Heartburn and stomach pain are common ailments that can cause discomfort and inconvenience. Many people turn to antacids like Tums or Rolaids to alleviate these symptoms quickly. While these over-the-counter medications may seem like a quick fix, there are several reasons why they are not a good idea in the long run.
Understand that antacids work by neutralizing stomach acid. While this may provide temporary relief, it can actually worsen the underlying condition in the long run. Stomach acid plays an important role in breaking down food and killing harmful bacteria in the stomach. When stomach acid is consistently neutralized, it can lead to digestive issues such as bloating, constipation, and diarrhea.
The overuse of antacids can lead to a condition called acid rebound. This occurs when the body produces more acid in response to the neutralization caused by antacids. As a result, symptoms of heartburn and stomach pain may actually worsen over time.
In addition, long-term use of antacids can lead to deficiencies in essential nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, and vitamin B12. These nutrients are important for maintaining strong bones, muscle function, and cognitive health.
Stopping the use of antacids can be challenging, but there are several steps you can take to break the cycle of dependency and improve your digestive health.
We look for the root cause which may involve making dietary changes, such as avoiding trigger foods like spicy or fatty foods, caffeine, and alcohol. You may also need to address other lifestyle factors that contribute to digestive issues, such as stress, lack of exercise, or smoking.
Consider natural remedies that can help alleviate symptoms without relying on antacids.
For example, ginger has natural anti-inflammatory properties and can help soothe the digestive system.
Chamomile tea can also help relax the muscles in the digestive tract, reducing the likelihood of acid reflux
Consider taking a probiotic supplement to improve the balance of healthy bacteria in your gut. This can help improve digestive function and reduce the likelihood of heartburn and stomach pain.
If you need help getting off of the antiacid rollercoaster, reach out, and let's chat we'd be happy to talk with you about your gut and discover how we can help you feel better and stop the vicious cycle.
Suzette & Clint Murray are co-founders of Optimal Integrative Health.
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