How Long Does It Take For Alka-Seltzer To Settle Your Stomach?

Whether you're feeling the effects of having one too many drinks last night or are paying the price for that burrito you ate for lunch, Alka-Seltzer has positioned itself as the go-to medication for addressing unsavory symptoms brought on by a little bit of overindulgence.

With active ingredients like citric acid, aspirin, and sodium bicarbonate, Alka-Seltzer is a combination medication designed to treat upset stomach, indigestion, heartburn, headache, and body aches (per GoodRx). While the aspirin gets to work providing pain relief and reducing inflammation, the citric acid and sodium bicarbonate act as antacids — working together to temporarily neutralize excess stomach acid that may be causing you trouble.

While MedlinePlus suggests that all antacids are equally effective, there's no denying that Alka-Seltzer just has a little extra sparkle. That's because, unlike other antacids like TUMS or Rolaids that are calcium-based, Alka-Seltzer uses sodium bicarbonate and citric acid. When you drop an Alka-Seltzer tablet into a glass of water and it begins to dissolve, a chemical reaction occurs leading to the release of carbon dioxide, which sends hundreds of tiny bubbles immediately swimming toward the top of your glass (per Scientific American).

Alka-Seltzer can give you fast relief

RxList explains that, because antacids that contain calcium carbonate and aluminum hydroxide are capable of neutralizing stomach acid for a longer duration than those that employ the use of sodium bicarbonate, an antacid like TUMS will provide you with longer-lasting relief than Alka-Seltzer can.

However, the thing about antacids is that by the time you decide you need to take one, you're more than likely already experiencing some pretty uncomfortable side effects. And Alka-Seltzer can certainly provide a speedy response time.

According to Alka-Seltzer, other ingestible antacids can only start working once they've dissolved in the stomach. Alka-Seltzer tablets, however, are already dissolved in water before they make it to your stomach. That means that the moment the solution reaches your stomach, the sodium bicarbonate and citric acid can get to work immediately, neutralizing stomach acid on contact. So, if you're struggling with a bad hangover or a sour stomach, you can find relief just as fast as you can down a glass of Alka-Seltzer.