Thanks for your answers people! I seriously was about to order the Gaviscon Advanced when I read it contains Potassium Bicarbonate which neutralizes stomach acid - I am already having some digestion/absorption issues (and the Betaine/Pepsin capsule did not cause any discomfort, which probably confirm that I am not producing enough acid) so don't need to neutralize what little acid I have left. I might try just the Sodium Alginate (it is available on its own)later on.
liang - there are so many different versions of Gaviscon out there, even in one country, that it's difficult to keep it all straight. Then add the even further differing versions in other countries, with the weirdest of all being here in the US, where is lists sodium alginate as an INACTIVE ingredient - it can make your head spin.
But they all have various combinations of sodium alginate (or aglinic acid) and some type of carbonate or bicarbonate. And the carbonate comes in various forms as well, usually calcium, magnesium, potassium, or sodium. They way I understand it, you need both ingredients to make it work. The carbonate acts as an activator for the alginate. When they mix together with whatever liquid you drink with it, the carbonate causes the alginate to bubble up into a foamy gel, one that floats on top of all your other stomach contents, creating that barrier to the esophagus. Kind of like oil on top of water. They don't mix.
As far as I can tell, the amount of carbonate needs to be at least 15-20% of the amount of alginate to make it work right. That's the widest ratio I have seen. So if you have 500 mg of sodium alginate, there should be, at the least, about
75 mg of one of the carbonates.
So when you get up to the Gaviscon Advanced formula, with 1000 mg of sodium alginate, there will likely be 200 mg of potassium carbonate per dose. Like you, I am taking betaine HCL. At first it was just with the main meal, but now that I realize I am not making enough acid on my own, I take some with each meal, but a little more with the largest meal. My reflux issue has been only at night while lying down (usually in the middle of the night), so I take Gaviscon every night around 8pm. The Canadian version I use has 63 mg of magnesium carbonate and 313 mg of sodium alginate.
With that small amount of magnesium, I am not worried about
it neutralizing much acid. And I could always take a little more HCl to counteract it if I was. As soon as it mixes with the alginate, which happens right away, it's going to stay up there on top of everything, so I don't think that tiny bit is going to work against me. To put that 63 mg in proper perspective, a single tablet of TUMS contains 750 mg of calcium, and the suggested dose is 2-4 tablets.
Gaviscon can be a life saver - perhaps literally, if you have Barrett's as I do. I wouldn't dismiss if for fear of neutralizing your acid. Or try the Canadian formula or the Life Extension version, if the Advanced seems like overkill. Canada drugs dot com can get you Gaviscon and Amazon the Life Extension brand.
Post Edited (rjdriver) : 2/15/2014 5:13:09 AM (GMT-7)