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From: Steve Harris <>
Subject: Re: Does calcium citrate reduce stomach acid?
Date: 23 Sep 2005 15:15:06 -0700
Message-ID: <> wrote:
> I occasionally get a mild sour stomach and I've always tried not to
> take Tums or Rolaids because I don't like to take "medicine" if
> possible. I just noticed that the active ingredient in Tums is calcium
> carbonate. That's same ingredient found in my calcium tablets that I
> take every day along with calcium citrate. My question is will a
> calcium carbonate/citrate tablet work just as well for reducing acid in
> your stomach? What about calcium citrate by itself without the
> carbonate?


The carbonate is what neutralizes stomach acid, and the calcium goes
along for the ride. You could use sodium carbonate or bicarbonate just
as well (and this is done), but calcium products are more convenient,
more dense, and less salty. Unfortunately, calcium also produces an
acid rebound some hours later (something the TUMS people don't tell you
about the effect of calcium on acid production). So I'd suggest that if
you're using a carbonate for immediate acid neutralization, I'd suggest
you pop a generic Pepcid/famotidine along with it. These are pretty
cheap these days.

Contrary to what you heard, calcium citrate is not an ester, but a
simple chemical salt of calcium and citric acid (which is NOT vitamin
C).  Basic citrate salts do have some acid-neutralizing capability
against strong acids like HCl in your stomach, but aren't nearly as
good as carbonate salts. They are used as sources of calcium mainly for
people who don't have a lot of stomach acid. If you use other buffers
or acid blockers, it's hard to tell if that's you or not.


From: Steve Harris <>
Subject: Re: Does calcium citrate reduce stomach acid?
Date: 23 Sep 2005 17:11:46 -0700
Message-ID: <>

Robert wrote:

> You forgot to mention Milk alkali syndrome.
> "With the development of nonabsorbable alkali and histamine-2 blockers for
> treatment of peptic ulcer disease, milk-alkali syndrome became a rare cause
> of hypercalcemia; however, with increased use and promotion of calcium
> carbonate for dyspepsia and as calcium supplementation, a resurgence of
> milk-alkali syndrome has occurred in the last few years."


Yep. Milk-alkali syndrome (too much calcium in the blood from taking
calcium plus base, in the old days bicarbonate of soda and milk)
generally takes upwards of 4 grams of calcium a day (that's about a
dozen regular TUMS or 6 Ultastrength TUMS) to give you too much calcium
in the blood, but you never know how much is too much, people are so
variable in how they handle calcium. All in all, the combo of TUMS and
pepcid, keeping the TUMS down to 6 regulars or (at most) 3 ultras a
day, is the best idea.

Somebody's now probably going to ask what happens if you get the
milk-alkali syndrome. Probably the first noticable feature is diuresis
(too much urine), and thirst. But the symptoms of hypercalcemia are so
variable I'd rather not go there.


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