Antacids - Aluminum, calcium, and magnesium-containing preparations


Medications include:

  • Aluminum Hydroxide and Magnesium Hydroxide
  • Calcium Carbonate
  • Calcium Carbonate and Magnesium Hydroxide



Osteoporosis (bone loss) is the main disease that happens when you do not get enough calcium. Lack of calcium may be associated with bone pain and spinal problems. Low levels can also cause muscle cramps, irregular heartbeat, and depression.

Calcium carbonate antacids may raise calcium levels, depending on how they are used. Ask your health care provider.


It is rare to have low levels of copper. Signs and symptoms of low levels of copper over a long period of time include anemia, changes in the structure and appearance of hair, heart damage, slow growth, problems with bone formation, osteoporosis, and emphysema (lung disease).


Low levels of iron may lead to anemia and a weakened immune system. Symptoms of anemia include dizziness, fatigue, shortness of breath, pale skin color, and sometimes an irregular heartbeat.


Magnesium deficiency also affects calcium and vitamin D levels in the body. It may be associated with muscle cramps, heart problems, high blood pressure, diabetes, and osteoporosis.


It is rare to have low levels of phosphorus. Over a long time, low levels are associated with muscle weakness, bone pain, mental confusion, anorexia, anemia, increased susceptibility to infection, respiratory difficulties, seizures, and even death.


Symptoms of potassium deficiency include loss of appetite, nausea, drowsiness, feelings of apprehension, fatigue, muscle pain and weakness (usually of the legs). Severe cases may lead to irregular heartbeat.

Vitamin B12

Noticeable symptoms of a vitamin B12 deficiency can take years to show up. Irritability, weakness, numbness, anemia, loss of appetite, headache, personality changes, and confusion are some of the signs and symptoms associated with very low levels of vitamin B12. Low levels of this vitamin may also be associated with an increased risk of colon cancer, heart disease, brain problems, and birth defects.


Signs and symptoms of low levels of zinc include loss of appetite or sense of taste, weakened immune system, slow growth, skin changes, and increased susceptibility to infection.

Editorial Note

The information presented here covers some of the nutrients that may be depleted when you take certain medications. The signs and symptoms listed can be associated with other conditions, so if you have these signs and symptoms, it does not necessarily mean you have low levels of these nutrients. Many factors affect the level of nutrients, including your medical history, diet, and lifestyle, as well as how long you have been taking the medication. Please talk with your health care provider. They can best addresses your health care needs to determine whether you are at risk for low levels of any nutrients.

Supporting Research

Ames BN. Micronutrient deficiencies: A major cause of DNA damage. Ann NY Acad Sci. 2000;889:87-106.

Cashman K, Flynn A. Optimal nutrition: calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. Proc Nutr Soc. 1999;58:477-487.

Covington T, ed. Nonprescription Drug Therapy Guiding Patient Self-Care. St Louis, MO: Facts and Comparisons; 1999:467-545.

Dali-Youcef N, Andres E. An update on cobalamin deficiency in adults. QJM. 2009;102(1):17-28.

Faloon, WW. Drug production of intestinal malabsorption. N.Y. State J. Med. 70:2,189, 1970.

Hambidge M. Human zinc deficiency. J Nutr. 2000;130(5S Suppl):1344S-1349S.

Herzog P. Antacid therapy -- changes in mineral metabolism. Scand J Gastroenterol Suppl. 1982;75:56-62.

Herzog P. Effect of antacids on mineral metabolism. Z Gastroenterol. 1983;21 Suppl:117-26.

Marx: Rosen's Emergency Medicine. 7th ed. Elsevier Mosby; St. Louis, MO. 2009.

Pelton R, LaValle J, Hawkins E, et al. Drug-Induced Nutrient Depletion Handbook. 2nd ed. Hudson, OH: LexiComp, Inc.; 2001.

Version Info

  • Last reviewed on 12/28/2014
  • Steven D. Ehrlich, NMD, Solutions Acupuncture, a private practice specializing in complementary and alternative medicine, Phoenix, AZ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.

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