Calcium carbonate in tums

Tums is the brand name for the generic, over-the-counter supplement calcium carbonate.

This antacid treatment is indicated to alleviate symptoms associated with heartburn such as upset stomach or burning chest pain, and it may also serve as a calcium supplement.

Consuming too many Tums may result in a calcium carbonate overdose and may cause unpleasant side effects. Contact your doctor immediately if you develop any of the symptoms associated with a Tums overdose.

Proper Dosage

If you’re an adult and suffer from heartburn or stomach upset, you may take one to four Tums tablets every hour as necessary; however, do not consume more than 16 Tums tablets in a 24-hour period or you may be at risk of a calcium carbonate overdose.

Alternatively, if you choose to use Tums as a calcium supplement, do not take more than 12 Tums over the span of one day to limit your risk of developing overdose symptoms.

Upset Stomach

Eating too many Tums may irritate your digestive tract and may cause side effects of nausea and vomiting. Stomach discomfort may also contribute to a temporary loss of appetite.

If you experience persistent vomiting or severe nausea, seek additional care from your physician.

Constipation or Diarrhea

Constipation is a potential side effect associated with taking too much calcium carbonate. Difficult or infrequent bowel movements may be accompanied by abdominal pain, cramping or bloating.

Alternatively, intestinal irritation caused by too many Tums may lead to diarrhea. If either of these side effects recur or do not subside, contact your doctor.

Severe or chronic constipation or diarrhea may result in serious medical complications including stool impaction and dehydration.

Mood or Mental Changes

High levels of calcium carbonate in your body may affect the way the nerves in your brain transmit signals.

Consequently, you may experience unusual mood or mental changes, such as confusion, delirium, depression or coma as side effects of a Tums overdose, the University of Maryland Medical Center warns.

These side effects require immediate attention from a medical professional.

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Side Effects Of Taking Too Many Antacids

If you have heartburn a lot and pop Tums like candy, be careful. It’s fine every once in a while. But here are five side effects you can experience if you overdo it and take too MANY antacids…

1. You become more susceptible to food poisoning. The main job of stomach acid is to help digest food. But it also kills BACTERIA before it gets to your gut. So if you take too many antacids, there won’t be enough acid left in your stomach to protect you.

2. Fatigue. A lot of heartburn meds contain calcium carbonate or sodium bicarbonate, which can slow down your breathing. It probably won’t KILL you or anything, but it can make you feel tired.

3. Muscle twitching from getting too much calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. Your muscles can also end up feeling weak or tender if you take too many antacids.

4. Kidney stones. High amounts of calcium can also cause something called milk-alkali syndrome where you end up with calcium deposits in your kidneys, or even your lungs. If it’s bad, it can cause organ failure and KILL you. But you’d have to take a lot of antacids for a long time. And it’s reversible if you stop taking them.

5. Constipation. Again, it’s caused by high amounts of calcium in things like Tums and Rolaids. Then at the other end of the spectrum, some people take Milk of Magnesia to treat heartburn. And all the magnesium in it can cause diarrhea.

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TUMS During Pregnancy

Using TUMS During Your Pregnancy

Heartburn is a common discomfort experienced during pregnancy. However, many women experience heartburn for the first time after getting pregnant. Generally, it is harmless but it can be uncomfortable. This common concern raises the question, is it safe to take TUMS during pregnancy? TUMS is not specifically created for expecting mothers. Below you will find information about TUMS, however, you might want to explore Healthy Mama, which created a product called Tame the Flame! made specifically for expecting mothers who are experiencing heartburn.

What is Heartburn?

Heartburn (also called acid indigestion or acid reflux) is a burning sensation that often extends from the bottom of the breastbone to the lower throat. It is caused by hormonal and physical changes in your body. During pregnancy, the placenta produces the hormone progesterone. Progesterone relaxes the smooth muscles of the uterus, but it also relaxes the valve that separates the esophagus from the stomach. This allows gastric acids to seep back up, which causes the unpleasant burning sensation.

Is it Safe?

Most people know antacids can provide fast, safe relief for heartburn. The question you have is whether or not it is safe to take TUMS during pregnancy? TUMS provides safe heartburn relief for women who are pregnant. TUMS also adds calcium to your body. When you are pregnant, your body may need between 1,000 mg and 1,300 mg of elemental calcium per day.

Be sure to take TUMS at a different time than you take iron supplements. It is recommended to space doses of these antacids and iron supplements one to two hours apart, to get the full benefit from each medicine or dietary supplement. You should consult with your healthcare provider before taking any antacids containing sodium bicarbonate.

Health Steps You Can Take

Altering your diet or adjusting your lifestyle should be the first thing you try when looking to manage your pregnancy heartburn. If you pay attention, you will probably notice certain foods are more likely to trigger heartburn. Here are some steps you can take:

  • Avoid food and beverages that cause you gastrointestinal distress – For example caffeine; chocolate; acidic foods like citrus fruits and juices, tomatoes, mustard, and vinegar; processed meats; mint products; and spicy, highly seasoned, fried, or fatty foods.
  • Do not eat big meals. Instead, eat several small meals throughout the day. Take your time eating and chew thoroughly.
  • Avoid drinking large quantities of fluids during meals — you don’t want to distend your stomach. (It’s important to drink eight to ten glasses of water daily during pregnancy, but sip it between meals.)
  • Try chewing gum after eating – Chewing gum stimulates your salivary glands, and saliva can help neutralize the acid.
  • Do not eat close to bedtime – Give yourself two to three hours to digest your food before you lie down.

Keep in mind the majority of pregnant women experience heartburn during pregnancy, take TUMS for relief and go on to have a normal and healthy pregnancy. Another product similar to TUMS, called Tame the Flame, is provided by Healthy Mama.

Last updated: October 11, 2019 at 20:27 pm

Compiled using information from the following sources:

1. Mayo Clinic. (2004).Mayo Clinic Guide to A Healthy Pregnancy. United States of America: Harper Collins.

2. Barbieri, Robert L., and Reecce, E. Albert. (2010Obstetrics and Gynecology The Essentials of Clinical Care. Berlin, Germany: Thieme Publishing Group.

Calcium Carbonate Dosage

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Dec 3, 2019.

  • Overview
  • Side Effects
  • Dosage
  • Professional
  • Interactions
  • More

Usual Adult Dose for:

  • Hypocalcemia
  • Dyspepsia

Usual Pediatric Dose for:

  • Dyspepsia

Additional dosage information:

  • Renal Dose Adjustments
  • Liver Dose Adjustments
  • Dose Adjustments
  • Precautions
  • Dialysis
  • Other Comments

Usual Adult Dose for Hypocalcemia

Recommended dose: 1250 mg orally 2 to 3 times a day with meals
Use: Prevention of calcium deficiency

Usual Adult Dose for Dyspepsia

Chewable Tablets:
-Recommended dose: 1000 to 3531 mg orally up to 4 times a day as needed
-Maximum dose: 6750 to 7500 mg/day
-Duration of therapy: Up to 2 weeks
Recommended dose: 500 mg (1 piece) orally every 2 to 4 hours as needed
Maximum dose: 6000 mg/day (12 pieces/day)
Duration of therapy: Up to 2 weeks
Recommended dose: 1250 mg orally as needed for symptoms
Maximum dose: 7500 mg/day
Duration of therapy: Up to 2 weeks
Powder Packets:
Recommended dose: 1000 mg (1 packet) orally as needed for symptoms
Maximum dose: 8000 mg/day (8 packets/day)
Duration of therapy: Up to 2 week
-This drug should only be used for 2 weeks except under the supervision of a healthcare provider.
Use: Relief of upset stomach due to heartburn, acid indigestion, and/or sour stomach

Usual Pediatric Dose for Dyspepsia

Chewable Tablets:
2 to 5 years OR 24 to 47 pounds:
-Recommended dose: 400 mg orally up to 3 times a day as needed
-Maximum dose: 1200 mg/day
-Duration of therapy: Up to 2 weeks
6 to 11 years OR 48 to 95 pounds:
-Recommended dose: 800 mg orally up to 3 times a day as needed
-Maximum dose: 2400 mg/day
-Duration of therapy: Up to 2 weeks
12 years and older:
-Recommended dose: 1000 to 2000 mg orally up to 3 times a day as needed
-Maximum dose: 7500 mg/day
-Duration of therapy: Up to 2 weeks
Granule Formulations:
2 to 5 years OR 24 to 47 pounds:
-Recommended dose: 375 mg orally up to 2 times a day as needed
6 to 11 years OR 48 to 95 pounds:
-Recommended dose :750 mg orally once a day as needed
-Duration of therapy: Up to 2 weeks
12 years and older:
-Recommended dose: 500 mg (1 piece) orally every 2 to 4 hours as needed
-Maximum dose: 6000 mg/day (12 pieces/day)
-Duration of therapy: Up to 2 weeks

-Weight-based dosing is preferred for pediatric patients.
-This drug should only be used for 2 weeks except under the supervision of a healthcare provider.
-Once opened, granule packets should be used within 2 weeks.
Use: Relief of upset stomach due to heartburn, acid indigestion, sour stomach, and/or overindulgence in food/drink

Renal Dose Adjustments

Data not available

Liver Dose Adjustments

Data not available

Dose Adjustments

Pregnant patients:
-Maximum daily dose: 4500 to 5000 mg/day


Safety and efficacy have not been established in patients younger than 2 years.
Consult WARNINGS section for additional precautions.


Data not available

Other Comments

Administration advice:
-Chewable tablets: Patients should thoroughly chew or suck on the tablet before swallowing.
-Effervescent tablets: Patients should completely dissolve the tablet in water before drinking the solution.
-Granule packets: Once the correct dose is determined, the powder should be poured into a cup with 0.51 oz (approximately 15 mL) of water, stirred, and consumed.
-Liquid formulations: Shake well before use.
-Powder packets: Once the packet is opened, the powder should be placed on the tongue and swallowed, with or without water.
Storage requirements:
-The manufacturer product information should be consulted.
-Effervescent tablets contain insoluble calcium carbonate; when the tablet is added to water, it is converted into absorbable calcium carbonate.
-Periodic plasma calcium levels and urine calcium excretion tests, especially in patients with mild to moderate renal dysfunction, on prolonged treatment, or those with mild hypercalciuria and/or with a history of kidney stones
-Serum creatinine and other renal function tests, especially with long-term treatment and/or those on treatment with cardiac glycosides or diuretics
Patient advice:
-Patients should be advised to report any signs/symptoms of milk-alkali syndrome (e.g., frequent urination, continuous headache, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, unusual tiredness/weakness, hypercalcemia, alkalosis, renal impairment).

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Medical Disclaimer

Choosing a calcium supplement

What you should know about taking calcium to boost your nutrients

Published: March, 2017

Experts agree that the ideal way to get the nutrients you need to stay healthy is from food. But when it comes to taking calcium, some people may not find it practical or possible to meet the recommended daily intake (RDI) from diet alone. For adults, the RDI is 1,000 milligrams (mg) daily, which rises to 1,200 mg per day for women over age 50 and men over age 70.

If your doctor advises you to take a calcium supplement, how do you choose among the dizzying array of available choices, which include pills, chewable tablets, flavored chews, and liquids? The following information may help you decide.

What form of calcium?

The calcium in supplements is found in combination with another substance, typically carbonate or citrate. Each has benefits and downsides. Calcium carbonate supplements tends to be the best value, because they contain the highest amount of elemental calcium (about 40% by weight). Because calcium carbonate requires stomach acid for absorption, it’s best to take this product with food. Most people tolerate calcium carbonate well, but some people complain of mild constipation or feeling bloated. Some well-known calcium carbonate products include Caltrate, Viactiv Calcium Chews, Os-Cal, and Tums.

Calcium citrate supplements are absorbed more easily than calcium carbonate. They can be taken on an empty stomach and are more readily absorbed by people who take acid-reducing heartburn medications. But because calcium citrate is only 21% calcium, you may need to take more tablets to get your daily requirement. Calcium citrate products include Citracal and GNC Calcimate Plus 800.

How much calcium per serving?

Reading the labels with an eye toward cost and convenience may help you sift through your options. Check the serving size and the “% Daily Value” for calcium and multiply the percentage by 10 to find out how much elemental calcium the product contains. For example, if the label says a serving of the product contains 40% of the Daily Value, it has 400 mg of elemental calcium.

While products that yield a high amount of calcium may seem to be the best bet at first blush, they may not serve you best. Because your body has difficulty absorbing more than 500 mg of calcium at a time, more of the mineral may go to waste. So, while you may think that you’ve met your daily requirements by taking that 1,000-mg calcium pill, you may actually be only halfway to your target. Calculate your cost per serving based on how many tablets or chews the package contains, and consider whether you might find it inconvenient to take several tablets a day.

Here are some final tips for choosing and taking calcium supplements as found in the Harvard Special Health Report Osteoporosis: A guide to prevention and treatment:

  • Avoid products made from unrefined oyster shell, bone meal, dolomite, or coral, as they may contain lead or other toxic metals.
  • Don’t exceed the daily dose recommended by the manufacturer—doing so increases the risk for side effects.
  • If you take iron or zinc supplements, tetracycline antibiotics, or levothyroxine (used to treat hypothyroidism), take them several hours before or after takingcalcium to avoid affects potential negative interactions.
  • Make sure you’re also getting enough vitamin D, which helps your body absorb calcium. If you aren’t getting enough from sunlight, your diet, or your multivitamin, you may want to choose a calcium supplement that contains vitamin D.

– By Julie Corliss
Executive Editor, Harvard Heart Letter

As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

Yes, over-the-counter antacid pills (Tums or the generic alternative) aren’t harmful–they can help reduce acid in your stomach and help you feel better when you’ve encountered a meal that doesn’t agree with you. They also contain calcium, so that’s great too. But, too much antacid can have backfiring effects for health. I just learned about this and I wanted to share it with you…

I was listening to NPR recently, and a reporter was interviewing an immunologist about the recent listeria-tainted cantaloupe that have been in the news lately. The question asked: Why are people getting so sick from this bug, and what can we do to protect ourselves?

The expert mentioned something that shocked me: He said that antacids are known to increase our risk for stomach bugs and infection because we’re essentially neutralizing the acid in our stomach, which is our body’s first line of defense from harmful pathogens that we ingest everyday. Yes, our intestinal tracts also provide some immune protection, but we up our chances of getting sick when we’re constantly taking antacids. In a sense, those pills may be dulling our immune systems.

The point of this post isn’t to say that Tums, and other similar products are bad–far from the case. Take them if you need them, but rather, I hope you’ll think about the times that you’re popping Tums when you really don’t need to. Are you having full-fledged indigestion, or are you just taking a pill out of habit? Something to think about!

Do you take antacids often?

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Feeling the burn? Antacids can provide some relief

But these remedies aren’t the best choice if you have frequent heartburn.

Published: April, 2019

You feel the familiar sensation in your chest: heartburn. Again, you find yourself reaching for the bottle of antacids in the medicine cabinet. It’s something you’ve done a few times a week for the past six months. Is it okay to keep popping over-the-counter acid reducers, or is it time to see a doctor?

We asked two experts, Dr. Jennifer Nayor and Dr. Molly Linn Perencevich, both instructors in medicine at Harvard Medical School, for their thoughts on heartburn, including when it’s okay to use over-the-counter antacids and when you should seek other treatments. Below are their responses.

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