If you don’t know what antacids are, then consider yourself lucky. (And what’s your secret?)
To those of you that do know what antacids are, welcome to the club. Indigestion, heartburn and acid reflux are facts of life for people like us, and we know the pain all too well. It really is no fun. Acid reflux is the kind of chronic pain that sounds like a minor annoyance when you describe it to someone else, but when you’re suffering from this medical condition, it’s actually extremely painful.
Heartburn, also known as acid reflux or gastic reflux, is caused when stomach acid moves above your esophageal sphincter, causing a painful burning sensation. The Mayo Clinic also describes chronic heartburn, which is also called gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD.
For those of you suffering from these types of gastrointestinal issues, the best antacids can sometimes offer fast relief. According to the United Kingdom’s National Health Service, antacids work to neutralize the acid in your stomach and provide a sense of relief from heartburn, acid reflux, stomach ulcers and gastritis.
Antacids for Heartburn: What Do the Experts Say?
Although these over-the-counter medications are typically fast-acting and can provide relief, antacids are more or less a bandage. Remember: they won’t effectively treat the root of the issue long-term, so if you’re struggling from chronic heartburn and indigestion, no amount of Tums or Pepto Bismal is going to take away your pain for good. Because of this, you shouldn’t be using them every day, so if you are, you should probably talk to your doctor about other options.
“Simply popping an antacid is like putting a bandaid on a deeper issue,” says Rachel Dew, the Co-founder of ModiHealth and a double-board certified Doctor of Natural and Integrative Medicine. “It is so important for your health to take this powerful feedback and work towards resolving the root issue.”
Of course, as members of the aforementioned heartburn and indigestion club know from painful first-hand experience, the best antacids really can offer fast relief from pain. You just have to be careful about how much you’re coming to rely on these medications.
When should you take antacids? If you’re wondering what time of day to take antacids and the optimal ingestion method, we posed these questions to our expert. “The best time to take antacids is with water right after a meal or before going to bed,” said Dew. “However, consider using them ONLY when absolutely necessary and taking steps to correct the cause of the symptoms long term.”
Can I drink alcohol after taking antacids? According to the National Health Service in the United Kingdom, “You can drink alcohol while taking antacids, but alcohol can irritate your stomach and make your symptoms worse.”
Most antacids are available over the counter for easy purchase in the form of chewable tablets and liquids, making them incredibly easy to purchase online through Amazon, Target, Walmart and more.
The Top Antacids for Heartburn and Indigestion
Whether you’re a common user of the best antacids or you’re looking for a way to quickly relieve some tummy-related issues, check out all the best antacids below. We’ve included the most popular and top-rated options from the best antacid brands. And just like you would when starting new supplements, check with a doctor to see if they fit with your lifestyle. Your doctor can also tell you whether the symptoms you’re experiencing are the results of an underlying issue. In some cases, changes to your diet may also resolve symptoms.
1. Prilosec OTC
If we could give Prilosec a big kiss on the lips, we would. According to the members of the SPY team that suffer from heartburn, Priolosec OTC is by far the most effective antacid. We aren’t the only ones who think so. According to Priolsex, it’s also considered the #1 doctor, gastroenterologist and pharmacist recommended antacid available for purchase.
Here’s how it works: you take one pill a day for fourteen days total. In return, you’ll get 24-hour heartburn relief. That’s it. Go throughout your day without shoving antacid after antacid in your mouth to relieve your heartburn. Prilosec can take up to fourteen days total to work, so take that into consideration when starting. You can only take Prilosec once every four months, so this isn’t something you can swallow as random symptoms arise. Though, in our experience, there’s a solid chance that won’t happen if you follow the dosage instructions. Speak to your doctor before taking Prilosec, but once you do, it’s available for purchase at an incredibly low price below.
2. Pepto Bismol
Ah, Pepto. This multi-symptom medication has been around for as long as we can all remember. There’s a solid chance you can vividly recall the taste of this stuff from times you were sick as a kid no matter how old you are — it’s been around for 100 years! If you’re experiencing anything such as *cue the theme song* an upset stomach, indigestion, nausea, heartburn or diarrhea, then Pepto Bismol is one of the best over-the-counter treatment options and your first line of defense against gastrointestinal troubles.
Unlike Prilosec, you can take up to two tablespoons of liquid Pepto every half hour to an hour as needed for up to a total of eight doses in a day. Doing so, this antacid works to coat your stomach to help it from overproducing acid, which could be the issue for what’s going on inside of you.
Read More: The 15 Best Appetite Suppressants (Including Dark Chocolate!)
3. TUMS Extra Strength Antacid Tablets
Tums is perhaps the most well-known of all the top OTC antacids, and TUMS are a no-brainer for occasional heartburn sufferers. If you’re feeling heartburn, it’s beyond effortless to pop a couple of TUMS and let them do their job.
TUMS Extra Strength comes in a bottle of 330 for just $15, meaning you’ll get them at just $0.04 a tablet. Flavors range in an assorted fruit selection including orange, cherry, lime and lemon, so you won’t taste any unpleasant flavors in your mouth. Although you might think of TUMS solely as heartburn combat, TUMS are actually multi-relief and can also fight an upset stomach and acid indigestion. TUMS has a reputation for working fast and neutralizing symptoms quickly.
These tablets have been around for over 90 years now and are trusted by folks all over the country as some of the best antacids in the world. If you love spicy and acidic foods, then you really can’t go wrong with carrying a container of TUMS.
4. Rolaids Ultra Strength Antacid Chewable Tablets
Rolaids prove that you don’t need to spend an arm and a leg for a fast-acting antacid. For just $6, you will get 72 Rolaids total, costing you just $0.08 a tablet. Let that sink in for a second — just as well as Rolaids sink into your stomach.
These mint-flavored antacids go to work once swallowed in order to help neutralize over 100x the tablet’s own weight in stomach acid to soothe your symptoms. Using both calcium carbonate and magnesium hydroxide, these tablets fight heartburn, acid indigestion and an upset stomach. While you should not take more than seven tablets in a 24-hour period, users may take two to three at a time to help combat stronger symptoms for faster relief.
5. Mylanta Antacid and Gas Relief
Just like these other antacids, Mylanta works to combat heartburn as soon as it comes into contact with the problem area. Though it is gentle on the body, this antacid liquid has the power to effectively soothe heartburn and gas. Doctors agree, too — this is the #1 doctor-recommended liquid antacid on the market, according to Mylanta. The formula helps neutralize stomach-related issues quickly, and you can even use it every day if desired (though not indefinitely).
6. Zantac 360 Maximum Strength Tablets
Zantac 360 Maximum Strength Tablets come in a 50-count bottle at 20mg a pop to relieve heartburn fast. By blocking a histamine receptor within the body that triggers the flow of stomach acid, Zantac 360 works to relieve heartburn before it even begins. How? Well, this is an antacid you take around ten minutes to an hour before eating or drinking something that might give you a stomach-related issue.
This doesn’t mean you should eat all the foods you know you shouldn’t, but if you do happen to indulge for a second, Zantac 360 should help.
7. Genexa Antacid Maximum Strength
Looking for an antacid with ingredients you never have to worry about? Take Genexa for a whirl.
Genexa is free of just about everything you might fear that resides sneakily within modern medicines. With this antacid, you won’t get any talc, artificial sweeteners, preservatives, flavors or dyes, parabens and common allergens. Each tablet is also certified vegan, gluten-free, lactose-free and non-GMO.
Essentially, this is the antacid for folks who are always mindful of what’s going into their bodies. Genexa may lack the name-brand recognition of TUMS and Pepto Bismal, but this antacid has generated more than 1,600 5-star ratings from Amazon customers.