Skip to page content

What are antacids?

An antacid medication is used to help relieve the symptoms of mild acid reflux, including heartburn and indigestion. Antacids are available over-the-counter at pharmacies and supermarkets in tablet form or as liquid antacid. Examples of antacids include sodium bicarbonate, calcium carbonate, and magnesium hydroxide.

What are alginates?

Alginates are another over-the-counter medication used to help relieve symptoms of mild to moderate reflux. Alginates are naturally occurring sugars that are found in brown seaweed. Sodium alginate has special characteristics that make it effective for suppressing reflux.

How do alginates work?

When sodium alginate mixes with the acid in your stomach, it forms a “raft” that floats on the top of your stomach contents. This creates a physical barrier over your stomach contents, which stops the excess stomach acid coming back up into your oesophagus (food pipe) – helping to soothe the burning pain in your chest associated with heartburn and indigestion. Treatment with an alginate product can also help reduce the amount of pepsin and bile in your stomach contents – other digestive acids that can contribute to reflux symptoms.

Better together: antacids plus alginates for acid reflux

Because they work in different ways, antacids and alginates are commonly used in combination together. Gaviscon Dual Action is a combination alginate antacid that effectively neutralises your stomach acid while forming a protective barrier to stop excess stomach acid reaching your oesophagus. Gaviscon Dual Action Liquid starts to soothe heartburn in just 4 minutes and provides long-lasting relief for up to 4 hours.

This article is for general information only and not intended as a substitute for medical advice. All information presented on these web pages is not meant to diagnose or prescribe. In all health-related matters, always consult your healthcare professional.

This medicine may not be right for you. Read the label before purchase. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist, talk to your health professional.

RB-M-30027

Article published September 21, 2021