How does the citric acid in Alka-Seltzer not make heartburn worse (since it is acid)?

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Alka-Seltzer is a medication for acid reflux/heartburn, but one of the active ingredients is “anhydrous citric acid.” I understand that this is what makes it fizzy, but I don’t understand how an acid could be one of the active ingredients in an antacid medication. Can anyone explain?

In: Chemistry

4 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

Citric acid is a weak acid, very weak compared to the hydrochloric acid of the stomach. It’s just there react with the sodium bicarbonate in Alka Seltzer so that when you plop plop it fizz fizzes.

Anonymous 0 Comments

The active ingredient in Alka-Seltzer (besides aspirin) is sodium bicarbonate, which is mildly alkaline. That’s probably where the name comes from.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Remember that time you, uncle Alfie and myself made that neat volcano for your science class? We used baking soda and vinegar, and the result was what made that volcano erupt. It’s because we mixed something with acid, and something that is very different than acid, we’ll call it a ‘base’.
Just like that volcano, Alka-Seltzer has citric acid (the acid) and baking soda (the base). When mixed with water, they mix well, and cause the bubbling we see with Alka-Seltzer. It’s not really important to the end product though. What’s more important is that there is plenty of baking soda in it, and that will mix with your stomach acid and calm it down.

So while it has acid, it has much more of the baking soda, and has the overall effect of reducing stomach acid, and providing relief.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Isn’t it also to cause the acid /base reduction which makes gas to help you burp ?