Antacid - now with calcium!

Why do some brands of antacid, like Tums, brag about being a great source of calcium? Do people really choose their stomach cure based on its dietary supplement, or vice versa? Is this supposed to be an alternative for those allergic to milk, fresh vegetables, and ground-up oyster shells? I’m curious.

I’ve always felt that, if somebody was eating enough antacid that it became a valuable source of calcium, he probably had way bigger problems than his calcium intake to worry about. Like, say, ulcers, stress-induced heart disease, and stuff like that. But, hey, look! Calcium!

I assume you know the benefits of calcium, particularly for women.

The Tums campaign is a simple matter of “extending the brand.” Most people keep some medication around for the occasional heartburn, but never use it for anything else. But if you can chew a couple of Tums each day for your calcium need AND get rid of stomach indigestion FAST FAST FAST, why bother to buy Rolaids, Pepto Bismol or some calcium supplement at the health food store?

Since they already had the calcium in Tums anyway, they probably figured, “Hey, why not bill it as a feature!”


Some brands of antacids contain(ed) aluminum. My favorite Maalox tablets used to. But aluminum got a bad rap as a possible cause of Alzheimers. (See the recent SD update article on this.) So now antacids with Al are getting hard to find (usually combined with magnesium).

So if Company A’s tablets contain calcium and not the Horrible Brain Destroying Element, they’re going to bring this up. Of course there’s no proof that their Element is less Horribly Brain Destroying, so they have to be subtle. Add in the calcium occurs in bones so taking calcium is good for them quasi-logic and you’ve got yourself a good old American Ad Campaign.

Calcium supplements are expensive, Tums are are relatively cheap form of calcium for those at risk for osteoporosis or with mild hypocalcemia. Magnesium hydroxide is in many antacids; taking “milk of magnesia” is a “moving” experience. OTOH, taking aluminium hydroxide is constipating. Usually a mixture of the two with calcium will help keep you regular. Randomized trials suggest aluminium has been given a bad rap.

I’m pretty sure that taking calcium is good has been determinied by non-quasi logic. :slight_smile:

Well, when you’re pregnant, if you don’t get enough calcium in your diet the fetus can leech the calcium from your own bones.

Not only that, but you tend to have wicked bad heartburn.

Draw your own conclusions.