This Is What Happens When You Mix Tums And Alcohol

Tums tablets are a popular way to treat stomach upset. And alcohol can cause inflammation of the stomach and intestines, leading to stomach trouble (via Medical News Today). But can you take the remedy if you're drinking alcohol, or is there a hidden reason to avoid it?

Taking Tums before, after, or while you drink is actually safe, according to Healthline, and shouldn't cause any problems. However, that doesn't mean it's a good idea. Calcium carbonate is the main ingredient in Tums and it doesn't interact negatively with alcohol. However, according to Tums' parent company, GlaxoSmithKline, alcohol relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter, causing acid reflux and heartburn. So, alcohol may be undoing any positive effect you would normally receive from Tums. The company notes that Tums is not intended to be a way to prevent heartburn caused by alcohol.

When drinking, some people also take an anti-inflammatory, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, to avoid the headache that comes with a hangover. These drugs can irritate the stomach lining, however, further leading to stomach upset.

What are Tums best used for?

Tums works because it has a high pH value, which neutralizes the low pH value of stomach acid. It is commonly used to treat heartburn or acid reflux, pain from a stomach ulcer, and stomach upset. According to the National Health Service, however, antacids like Tums only treat symptoms and not the root cause of pain. For that reason, they should only be used in the short-term and a doctor should be consulted if you find you need them regularly.

There are several types of antacids, including magnesium carbonate, sodium bicarbonate, and calcium carbonate. Because Tums is comprised of calcium carbonate, it is used by some people as a calcium supplement. The company's site states that Tums contains the highest amount of elemental calcium of all the different configurations calcium comes in. You should always speak with your doctor before adding a new supplement into your routine, however, including Tums for calcium.