What Effect Does Tums Have on Your Calcium Level?

Made of calcium carbonate, Tums is a brand of antacid tablets available over the counter. The calcium carbonate helps ease the burning and discomfort associated with heartburn, and it can also increase your overall calcium intake. Don't take Tums without speaking to your doctor first, and don't rely on it for your calcium needs, either.

A pile of antacid tablets on a table. (Image: DennyThurstonPhotography/iStock/Getty Images)

How Tums Works

Along with heartburn, Tums can also be used to treat indigestion and upset stomach, according to the Drugs.com website. The product treats these conditions by neutralizing the acid in your stomach and esophagus.

Tums and Calcium

Tums contains calcium, an essential nutrient that helps build and maintain strong bones. Calcium carbonate itself can be used to treat low calcium levels, so Tums can help you increase your intake of this essential nutrient. You shouldn't rely on Tums for all your calcium needs, however, and you shouldn't take more than the recommended dosage of Tums without approval from your doctor.

The Drawbacks

The problem with Tums antacids is that they don't contain vitamin D. Vitamin D is crucial because it enables your body to absorb calcium. Because Tums tablets don't also have vitamin D, your body might not absorb all of the calcium in the tablets. Trying to take excess amounts of Tums to get all the calcium you need can lead to an overdose. Too much calcium carbonate can cause stomach pain, diarrhea, constipation, headache, nausea, vomiting, bone pain, irregular heartbeat and confusion, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Warnings and Things to Consider

Talk to your doctor if you suspect you don't get enough calcium in your diet and before you take Tums. If you're pregnant or breast-feeding, you need additional calcium in your diet, and taking Tums is safe during pregnancy as long as you follow your doctor's dosing instructions exactly. Tell your doctor about any other medicines or supplements you're taking because certain ones can cause a negative interaction with the calcium carbonate.

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