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Aluminum Hydroxide

Drug Information

Aluminum hydroxide acts as an antacid and is most commonly used in the treatment of heartburn, gastritis, and peptic ulcer. This drug is also sometimes used to reduce absorption of phosphorus for people with kidney failure.

Aluminum hydroxide is found in a variety of antacids. People should read the ingredient label for over-the-counter (OTC) drugs carefully before purchase to know exactly what they contain.

Common brand names:

AlternaGEL, Amphojel

Summary of Interactions with Vitamins, Herbs, & Foods

Types of interactions: Beneficial Adverse Check

Replenish Depleted Nutrients

  • Calcium

    Aluminum hydroxide may increase urinary and stool loss of calcium. Also, aluminum is a toxic mineral, and a limited amount of aluminum absorption from aluminum-containing antacids does occur. As a result, most doctors do not recommend routine use of aluminum-containing antacids. Other types of antacids containing calcium or magnesium instead of aluminum are available.

  • Folic Acid

    Folic acid is needed by the body to utilize vitamin B12. Antacids, including aluminum hydroxide, inhibit folic acid absorption. However, folic acid supplementation can mask a vitamin B12 deficiency. Therefore, people taking antacids are advised to supplement with folic acid and vitamin B12.

  • Phosphorus

    Depletion of phosphorus may occur as a result of taking aluminum hydroxide. For those with kidney failure, reducing phosphorus absorption is the purpose of taking the drug, as excessive phosphorus levels can result from kidney failure. However, when people with normal kidney function take aluminum hydroxide for extended periods of time, it is possible to deplete phosphorus to unnaturally low levels.

Reduce Side Effects

  • none

Support Medicine

  • A thick gel derived from algae has been used together with aluminum antacids to treat heartburn. Together, alginate gel and antacid were more effective at relieving symptoms and improving healing. Alginate is believed to work by physically blocking stomach acid from touching the esophagus. According to these studies, two tablets containing 200 mg alginic acid should be chewed before each meal and at bedtime.

Reduces Effectiveness

  • none

Potential Negative Interaction

  • Several studies have shown that combination of citrate, either as calcium citrate supplements or from orange and lemon juice, with aluminum-containing antacids increases aluminum levels in the body. Calcium in forms other than calcium citrate has been shown to not increase aluminum absorption. Drinking 7–10 ounces of orange juice provides sufficient citrate to be problematic. Intake of 950 mg calcium citrate greatly elevates aluminum absorption. People with renal failure may be at particular risk of kidney damage due to elevated aluminum levels if they combine aluminum hydroxide with citrate.

Explanation Required 

  • none

The Drug-Nutrient Interactions table may not include every possible interaction. Taking medicines with meals, on an empty stomach, or with alcohol may influence their effects. For details, refer to the manufacturers’ package information as these are not covered in this table. If you take medications, always discuss the potential risks and benefits of adding a new supplement with your doctor or pharmacist.

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