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What Is an Acid Reducer?

An antacid.
Antacids.
Acid reducers neutralize or reduce acid in the stomach.
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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 06 April 2014
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An acid reducer is a substance used to either neutralize stomach acid production or decrease the amount of stomach acid that is produced overall. People with heartburn use acid reducers to stop or prevent heartburn symptoms, which can include burning sensations in the chest and throat, strange-tasting fluid at the back of the throat, difficulty swallowing, sore throat and coughing. Acid reducers are available in both over-the-counter and prescription-strength formulas. There are even some natural remedies a person may use to manage heartburn.

Many people use antacids, which start to neutralize stomach acid just a few minutes after consumption, to treat heartburn symptoms. These medications are usually taken right after a person eats and a couple of hours before he plans to go to sleep. Antacids are usually safe for consumption but can cause temporary side effects, such as constipation or diarrhea. They may also stop certain medications from working properly. As such, it’s best to consult a doctor before taking this type of acid reducer along with prescription drugs.

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There’s another type of acid reducer called an H2 blocker. This type of acid reducer doesn’t work to stop symptoms. Instead, it works to prevent them altogether by blocking a substance the body produces called histamine and decreasing stomach acid production. These medications don’t provide the quick relief a person can expect from an antacid, but they work for a longer period of time. In fact, some H2 blockers control acid production for 12 hours, and some of them begin working in as little as one hour after consumption.

A proton pump inhibitor is another type of acid reducer. It stops the work of a person’s proton pump, a molecule responsible for pumping digestive acids. Proton pump inhibitors do not offer quick relief of heartburn symptoms. In fact, they typically take even longer than H2 blockers to work. They last longer, however, providing relief for up to three days at a time.

Many people start off taking over-the-counter acid reducers. Antacids, H2 blockers and proton pump inhibitors are available as over-the-counter or prescription medications. If over-the-counter remedies fail to work, they may move on to prescription medications for relief. Some people try to prevent symptoms naturally by avoiding foods known to cause heartburn, such as garlic and chocolate, and staying upright for a significant period of time after eating. Some heartburn suffers also try natural remedies such as aloe vera juice and slippery elm to treat symptoms.

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Discuss this Article

cupcake15
Post 2

@GreenWeaver- I heard that the Spanish root vegetable malanga is great when you have digestive problems. It is one of the best natural stomach acid reducers because it is easy on the stomach and you can digest it well and it neutralizes the acid.

It sort of tastes like a potato and has a dark brown consistency and it appears a little hairy. You can boil it or microwave it after you peel it and it is wonderful.

GreenWeaver
Post 1

I hate when I have acid indigestion. I try to avoid foods with red sauce or that have a lot of acid at dinner time. I also try not to lay down right after I eat because this tends to cause an acid stomach and give me heart burn.

I read that if you have repeated acid indigestion that it could burn the walls of your esophagus and burn the lining of your stomach. This can also lead to esophageal cancer. That is why I try to avoid things that would give me heart burn and acid indigestion.

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