Healthy lower esophageal sphincter closing too often or

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Last updated: July 11, 2019

Healthy digestion often relies on a normal and balanced stomach pH. The normal volume of stomach fluid should be 20 to 100 mL, and the normal pH should be an acidic (1.5 to 3.5) (Lal, 2016). The pH of stomach acid is important to help break down proteins and enzymes, absorb minerals, and help to digest food.

 An imbalance of pH can often lead to health issues; high or low stomach acid pH can cause the symptoms of acid reflux. Gastroesophageal Reflux disease or Acid Reflux affects millions of people in the world. Acid reflux is caused by the lower esophageal sphincter closing too often or not enough, which then in turn allows stomach acid to move up into the esophagus. The stomach contains hydrochloric acid, which is a strong acid that helps to break down foods. While the lining of the stomach is protective against these strong acids, the esophagus is not. Because the esophagus is irritated by stomach acids, the feeling of pain and discomfort often occurs.

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Symptoms of acid reflux can be heartburn and chest pain (What Is Acid Reflux ).Maintaining a healthy diet and regulating acidic foods like citrus can help to deter the effects of acid reflux. Also switching to an alkaline diet of low acidic foods like beans, vegetables, and nuts is a popular remedy. There are medications though, that can help to  prevent the symptoms of Acid Reflux. Antacids help to neutralize the stomach acid and relieve the heartburn, chest pain, and acid reflux (Gregory, 2017). Common antacids contain aluminum, calcium, or magnesium. These bases help to counteract the stomach acid and lower the pH (List of Antacids). Antacids can be bought over the counter or a prescription can be written by a doctor.

Antacids are fast-acting and can come in either liquid or tablet form. Some common antacids are Alka-Seltzer, Tums, and Pepto Bismol. Tums is an antacid that helps to neutralize the stomach acid and raise the pH. Tums, also known as calcium carbonate, has a molecular formula of CaCO3 and a molecular weight of 100.086 g/mol.

Calcium Carbonate is an odorless and tasteless powder that occurs in nature. Common side effects of taking Tums are dizziness, nausea, constipation, and abdominal distension. Severe side effects include kidney stones, high levels of calcium in the blood, and low levels of phosphate in the blood (Calcium Carbonate (Tums)). Tums can be taken along with other drugs but may hinder the effectiveness of other medications.

Antacids are manipulating the stomach acid, which helps to absorb nutrients into the bloodstream. This process could have a chance of interfering with the absorption of other medications being taken along with the antacid. Gel-capsules and sustained release capsules will be most affected by the stomach acid, because both capsules actually make it into the digestive tract. These interactions of antacids and other medications could result in a delay in absorption or low effectiveness of the drug. Antacids interfere with gastrointestinal drug absorption by either increasing or decreasing the rate at which a drug is absorbed, or the total quantity absorbed (Neuvonen, 1994).

There are different types of medication capsules that help to deliver and distribute the medication throughout the body. The three main capsules are sustained release, gel capsules, and immediate release.  These different capsules are all susceptible to the high acidity of the stomach in different ways. Sustained release tablets have the ability to pass through the stomach without being destroyed by the stomach acid and then disperse elsewhere in the body. Gel capsules are made to be swallowed and broken down in the stomach acid and then absorbed into the small intestine.  Immediate release capsules are designed to release the medication immediately after oral administration.

Sustained release capsules, also known as delayed-release tablets, have a special enteric coating that protects the capsule through digestion. These capsules are able to withstand the corrosive acid found in the gastric cavity (Fava, 2007). Gel capsules are made up of a gelatin material that allows for quick dispersal once in the stomach. These capsules are designed to be broken down by the stomach acid and digested, in order to be absorbed by the small intestine and enter the bloodstream. Immediate release capsules are designed for  relatively rapid drug absorption and immediate results following oral consumption (Modified-Release Drug Products). The stomach acid and pH plays a key-role in the dissolution of medications. If there is an imbalance of pH, this could interfere with the effectiveness of the drugs being taken. Acid Reflux is often the result of problemsome stomach pH.

Antacids are a quick and common remedy for Acid Reflux. While antacids can help neutralize the stomach acid and bring the pH back to a more stable number, they can also interfere with the absorption of other medications being taken. There are different capsules that can withstand the stomach acid and disperse the medications being taken. Gel capsules and sustained release capsules will travel through the body to the stomach, while immediate release capsules will take effect quickly after being taken. While gel-capsules are destroyed by the gastric acids, sustained release capsules have the protective coating that allows them to be completely digested and then dispersed.

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