Natural Remedies & Treatments For Acid Reflux | Natural Remedy For GERD

Calcium Citrate Remedy for GERD Uncovered

Calcium is an essential mineral and plays an important role in the body. Calcium helps repair bones; it is necessary for the normal functioning of nerves, muscle contractions, and blood clotting and also protects heart health. It is also helpful in managing the secretion of insulin and hormones and in preventing osteoporosis. Calcium also tightens the LES though this is not an antacid effect. Calcium is never found free in nature because it forms compounds known as calcium salts e.g. calcium citrate, calcium carbonate, calcium phosphate, etc. The label "elemental" designates the percentage of the substance that is pure calcium.

The recommended calcium intake for adults is 1000 mg to 1300 mg daily depending upon age and gender. Pregnant, breast feeding and menopausal women require more dietary calcium. Calcium supplements may be taken as calcium carbonate or calcium citrate. They are appropriate for people with GERD with antacids and H2 antagonists and prescription medications such as Prilosec.

Regular use of antacids, used in the treatment of GERD, causes a decrease in gastric acid called hypochlorhydria which affects the absorption of important minerals one of them being calcium which in turn increases the risk of hip fractures particularly in older patients. Patients who have been on long term proton pump inhibitor therapy for GERD should be routinely screened for osteoporosis. Older adults who require long-term therapy with proton pump inhibitors should be advised to take calcium supplements, particularly calcium citrate because it does not require stomach acid to be absorbed like other calcium salts. In addition, it causes much less bloating and gas than calcium carbonate. Calcium carbonate is an insoluble salt and must be ionized by the stomach before it is absorbed. In older patients who are severely deficient in stomach acid, barely 4% of the calcium in this form is absorbed. Although calcium citrate is also an antacid, it is already in a form that the body can use and is absorbed more efficiently. But it is more expensive and has half the elemental calcium as that of calcium carbonate.

On the other hand, calcium citrate enhances the absorption of aluminum from the aluminum hydroxide present in some antacids. The two must not be prescribed together especially in patients with impaired renal function. Aluminum is excreted by the kidneys and toxic amounts can impair kidney function. It can also accumulate in the brain and cause seizures and reduced mental alertness. Fortunately, calcium citrate does not interfere with iron absorption and it also binds with oxalates to prevent renal stone formation.  

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