Magnesium is a common ingredient in antacid medication. It may help reduce acid reflux symptoms by neutralizing stomach acid.

Acid reflux occurs when stomach acid flows backward through the lower esophageal sphincter into the esophagus. This can lead to irritation, discomfort, and chest pain.

Various over-the-counter (OTC) medications can bring short-term relief from acid reflux symptoms.

In addition to other active ingredients, many OTC medications include magnesium. It neutralizes stomach acid, helping to improve uncomfortable symptoms.

This article looks at using magnesium for acid reflux, the best types, and how much a person should take to relieve symptoms.

Magnesium may help with acid reflux. Many OTC and prescription treatments include magnesium as an ingredient, including:

  • Proton pump inhibitors: These drugs reduce the amount of acid the stomach makes. Examples include esomeprazole magnesium (Nexium), omeprazole magnesium (Prilosec), and lansoprazole magnesium (Prevacid).
  • H2 receptor blockers: These medications reduce stomach acid secretion by glands in the stomach lining. Examples include famotidine magnesium (Pepcid) and ranitidine magnesium (Zantac).
  • Antacids: These neutralize stomach acid. Examples include magnesium hydroxide/aluminum hydroxide (Maalox) and magnesium hydroxide/simethicone (Mylanta).

Research shows that magnesium can effectively treat acid reflux.

For example, an older 2014 study found that proton pump inhibitors containing magnesium improved gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) symptoms. GERD is a chronic form of acid reflux.

Additionally, a 2019 study used a magnesium-alginate-based formula in infants with symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux. The researchers found that it reduced symptoms in infants who nursed and those who consumed formula.

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Various forms of magnesium may help with acid reflux symptoms. Some common forms of magnesium found in antacids include:

  • magnesium hydroxide
  • magnesium oxide
  • magnesium carbonate

Ultimately, the best type of magnesium to use will depend on an individual’s specific needs and preferences. A person should consult with a doctor who can provide personalized recommendations based on the individual’s medical history, current medications, and overall health status.

The appropriate dosage of magnesium for acid reflux should follow the recommendations of a healthcare professional or the dosage instructions provided. A person must follow these guidelines to ensure safe and effective use.

The recommended dosage may vary depending on factors such as age, overall health, and the severity of symptoms.

Milk of magnesia (magnesium hydroxide) is a popular OTC acid reflux treatment. Dosage recommendations for adults are 5–15 milliliters (ml) at a time, which can be repeated up to 4 times daily as needed. The dose should not exceed more than 60 ml in any 24 hours.

Most people tolerate magnesium antacids without problems.

However, some people may experience side effects, such as diarrhea. Many OTC antacid medications include aluminum hydroxide in the formulation to reduce this risk, but this can cause constipation.

People should only use magnesium antacids to alleviate occasional acid reflux. If a person has regular acid reflux, they should contact a doctor for an assessment.

Continuously reducing stomach acid with antacids can be harmful as the body needs stomach acid to absorb magnesium. If a person regularly uses antacids, proton pump inhibitors, and other acid-blocking medications, it could cause poor magnesium absorption.

Conversely, consuming high levels of magnesium through antacids or supplementation can cause diarrhea, nausea, and stomach cramping. Adults should not consume more than 350 milligrams (mg) of magnesium daily.

Anyone experiencing frequent acid reflux symptoms should contact a doctor.

If a person is considering using magnesium for managing acid reflux, they may want to ask some of the following questions:

  • Is magnesium appropriate for my condition?
  • Which type of magnesium would be most effective for my acid reflux symptoms?
  • What is the recommended dosage of magnesium for my acid reflux?
  • Are there any potential interactions between magnesium and my current medications?
  • What are the potential risks and side effects associated with magnesium use?
  • How long should I take magnesium for acid reflux relief?
  • Are there any dietary or lifestyle modifications that can complement the use of magnesium for acid reflux?

Magnesium for acid reflux is an effective option for many people. Various OTC and prescription acid reflux medications include magnesium as an ingredient.

While magnesium can provide short-term symptomatic relief from acid reflux, it does not address the underlying cause.

Individuals should consult a doctor for a comprehensive evaluation, accurate diagnosis, and personalized treatment plan.