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tums and alcohol

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Tums and Alcohol: Uses, Interactions and For Hangovers

Afterdrink Author Kathy Caldwell
Kathy Caldwell

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Evidence based

Can you take Tums after drinking alcohol? Do tums help with hangovers? If you’ve landed on this page, chances are you’re looking for answers to some questions about tums and alcohol.

Tums are one of the most popular antacid brands in the US and sold over the counter in stores and pharmacies around the country.

You may be wondering whether taking tums interacts with alcohol. Or even whether tums can be beneficial for hangovers.

In this article, we aim to clear things up by taking a closer look at everything you need to know about using tums with respect to alcohol.

Table of contents

How do tums work and what are they used for?

As you probably know, tums is an antacid. Its main use is to settle symptoms of indigestion, also known as “heartburn”.

The active ingredient is calcium carbonate which helps neutralize stomach acid.

There are many different types of antacids available on the market and they all work in slightly different ways. Tums would sit on the weak side of the spectrum in terms of how well it neutralizes stomach acid.

In fact, in the UK at least, calcium carbonate based antacids are not routinely used for this purpose.(1)

So, with the basics out the way, let’s focus on all things tums and alcohol-related.

Do Tums interact with alcohol?

A drug interaction is a change in the action or side effects of a drug caused by taking it with something else. Be it with food, beverage, supplement, or another drug.

The active ingredient in tums, calcium carbonate, does not interact with alcohol.()

So, in theory, there shouldn’t be a problem with taking tums if you’ve been drinking alcohol. That said, everyone is different and may experience adverse effects.

Can you take tums after drinking alcohol?

If you’ve had a few drinks and are experiencing heartburn symptoms, then, yes tums can be taken after drinking alcohol.

Developing heartburn after drinking alcohol is actually quite common and there are many different causes. Alcohol relaxes the muscles in your lower esophagus that prevents the contents of your stomach from splashing back.

In addition, alcohol can increase stomach acid secretions and also inflame your stomach lining.(3)

With that said, the manufacturers say that you tums are not intended for use prior to or while consuming alcohol as a way to prevent heartburn.(3)

This means you shouldn’t be taking tums in anticipation of getting heartburn to prevent those symptoms from coming on.

Do Tums help with hangovers?

Hangovers are caused by drinking too much alcohol. The science behind alcohol and hangovers is complex, however, scientists generally believe that dehydration, inflammation and poor sleep quality are implicated. In combination, this causes hangover symptoms which include nausea, headache, muscle aches, and poor concentration to mention just a few.

Some people also get hangover heartburn and in this case, tums may help.

However, for the vast majority of the symptoms of a hangover, tums will have no benefits.

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Do Tums prevent hangovers?

You may be wondering if tums can be used to prevent a hangover from happening in the first place.

Unfortunately, tums have no role in this. Taking tums before drinking alcohol to prevent hangovers will have zero effect.

As an antacid, its only function is to neutralize stomach acid. Hangovers are prevented by drinking less alcohol and at a slower pace so that your liver can metabolize it before damage is caused.

Tums will definitely not prevent a hangover.

Do Tums help with an upset stomach after alcohol?

“Stomach upset” means different things to different people. We’ve mentioned that if referring to indigestion after drinking alcohol, then tums could help.

However, if by an upset stomach you mean abdominal pain or diarrhea, tums are unlikely to help.

There are many different causes of stomach pain and diarrhea and tums are only useful for neutralizing stomach acid.

Anything else to consider?

If you’re experiencing indigestion, heartburn or any sort of stomach upset, you should always try and speak to your pharmacist or doctor for advice before taking tums.

At the same time, if you’re taking tums regularly and still experiencing symptoms, it’s time to seek expert help.

Trying to remedy any of the negative effects of alcohol with tums is the wrong approach. The best way to prevent adverse effects from drinking alcohol is to reduce how much you’re drinking. Furthermore, the type of alcohol you’re drinking could also be the source of your problems. For example, intolerances to gluten or congeners in alcohol. You can find out more about this in our article about bloating after drinking alcohol.

Tums and alcohol – Final words

That brings us to the end of our look into all things related to tums and alcohol.

In summary, taking Tums will:
– Help with acid reflux / heartburn / indigestion
– It does not interact with alcohol
– Will not prevent or treat a hangover

If you are experiencing symptoms after drinking alcohol, it’s always best to speak to your doctor before assuming your symptoms are related to a specific medical problem. After all, that’s what they are there for!

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