Many people use antacids to relieve symptoms of heartburn, stomach indigestion, and acid reflux. Antacids work to reduce or neutralize the acid in the stomach that contributes to these uncomfortable symptoms. Antacids are meant to be used for a short period of time. However, many people use them daily to treat their chronic symptoms. If the original symptoms of acid reflux and heartburn continue long term, it means there is an underlying issue that needs to be addressed. It should be discouraged that people use antacids, like Pepto-Bismol and Tums, as a band-aid for their underlying illnesses.
If antacids are used on a consistent basis, which they commonly are, it has a negative effect on our hydrochloric acid (HCL). HCL is an acid our body creates that is essential to the proper digestion of the food we eat. On a biological level, HCL contributes to the breakdown of proteins so they can be absorbed and used as energy for the body. Antacids will inhibit the production of HCL, which also inhibits the function of our normal digestive process. This can translate into more unwanted symptoms such as worsened indigestion, nausea, headaches, etc.
Kinder options to help neutralize the acid in the stomach include drinking a small cup of water mixed with a teaspoon of baking soda. Lemon water is another method to achieve the same results. Although lemon is acidic, a small amount will help neutralize the acid. Adding a small amount of honey to the lemon water will provide antioxidants, which will protect the body on a biological level. Simply keeping hydrated with plenty of water could mean a noticeable difference in symptoms. Even chewing sugar-free gum will stimulate the digestive system and release digestive enzymes.