If you suffer from GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) or LPR (Laryngopharyngeal Reflux) you will most likely have heard of Gaviscon. It commonly comes in liquid form from which you are meant to take after meals and at bedtime to help prevent reflux.
It works relatively well for treating reflux for both GERD and LPR though Gaviscon Advance is definitely a superior version particularly when it comes to treating LPR.
The Secret Ingredient – Alginate
Gaviscon Advance importantly the UK version is the best option out there when it comes to Gaviscon. This is primarily because of its high concentration of (sodium) alginate. If you didn’t know alginate is an extract from seaweed so its completely natural which is a nice bonus. The main effect of this alginate is once taken after eating it creates something like a foam like barrier on top of the stomach contents. This barrier will help a lot with stopping against acid reflux and other problematic digestive enzymes like pepsin being refluxed (which is specifically important for people who suffer with LPR). You can read more about pepsin in my complete LPR guide.
When comparing the US version of Gaviscon Advance and the regular US version the concentration of alginate is significantly lower. This means that this barrier like effect is basically nonexistent in comparison to the UK version of Gaviscon Advance.
Also, on top of this barrier like effect you also get the effect of when the Gaviscon liquid is being taken any acid or things like digestive enzymes that have passed into the esophagus and throat the Gaviscon will have an almost binding like effect that can grab and attach to these acids and bring them back down into the stomach where they belong which will directly help with reflux symptoms.
Treating GERD with Gaviscon Advance
When it comes to directly treating GERD with Gaviscon Advance it has been shown to be effective in studies. You can check out this study here. That study in particular showed it was more effective when compared with regular Gaviscon and that GERD symptoms improved when taking it. This is mainly because of the reasons I mentioned in the above section. It’s also worth mentioning you can also take it alongside PPIs (proton pump inhibiters) tablets to get a bonus effect (read more about it in this study). For more information on GERD check out – Acid Reflux / GERD – Ultimate Guide.
Treating LPR with Gaviscon Advance
Just like with GERD there have been studies done to show its effectiveness in treating LPR. In this study patients showed great improvements over each of the time brackets. For me Gaviscon Advance(UK version) is easily the best Gaviscon for LPR / silent reflux and the best medication which can be used to treat LPR, and unlike GERD which can be also treated with PPI anti-acid tablets whereas LPR has been shown to not be positively affected by PPI treatment in this study.
Gaviscon Advance Side Effects
The great thing about Gaviscon Advance is that it has little to no side effects and the Gaviscon Advance ingredients are not harmful in anyway. This is because one of the main active ingredients is totally natural and the base liquid isn’t like a traditional anti-acid solution. In fact, its effect in lowering stomach acid is quite low when compared with other similar liquid combinations which means a more natural stomach acidity which is important for nutrient absorption and general digestion.
It also has no aluminum unlike most other US versions of Gaviscon which use aluminum as one of their active ingredients which has been shown to be problematic for some people taking it long term. There have been some studies linked to Alzheimer’s disease and aluminum intake but there is no clear link between them as of now. Anyway, you don’t have to worry about that as the UK version of Gaviscon Advance doesn’t contain any aluminum.
Gaviscon Advance Peppermint Flavor?
If you didn’t know peppermint causes reflux so at first when I saw a peppermint flavor for a reflux medication I was confused. Later down the line I learned that this peppermint flavor isn’t from real peppermint and is only an artificial flavor and therefore will not cause any reflux issues. Finally, my own confusion was solved!
How to Take Gaviscon Advance.
If you weren’t already aware the best way to take Gaviscon is after eating and not directly after as I used to do myself for a long time. In fact, taking it about 30 minutes after eating will give the best effect. This is because 30 minutes after eating is when digestion is at the most active stage and when digestive enzymes are at their most active point in the stomach. So, taking the Gaviscon at this time will give the biggest benefit.
How Long Does Gaviscon Last
Usually after you take Gaviscon it should offer you protection for about 2-4 hours time. Keep in mind that if you drink or eat soon after taking it, that it can somewhat lessen the effect that it will help you, so ideally try to not eat/drink soon after taking it (45-60 mins) for the utmost benefit.
Where to Buy Gaviscon Advance UK Version
Luckily if you are based in the US it is quite easy to get the UK version of Gaviscon Advance. It is available here on Amazon.
Why is Gaviscon Advance Not Sold in the US?
It’s worth mentioning about Gaviscon advance in the US. Sometimes I am asked why is Gaviscon advance not sold in the US? Well it actually is sold in the US though it does not included the same ingredients that the UK version does. Importantly it only includes a fraction of the alginate that the UK version has and thus doesn’t have the same barrier effect that the UK version make up does. It also includes a form of aluminium which is not ideal for taking long term. People want Gaviscon without aluminium so the US version is no good for that.
Treating the Root Cause
While Gaviscon Advance will undoubtedly help with your GERD and LPR symptoms its important to know that it will not treat the root cause of your problem. You need to truly target the root cause to get everything healed and back to normal – for a lot of people this would be treating a malfunctioning LES(stomach sphincter). Also, for both GERD and LPR I recommend following a low acid diet like the Wipeout Diet which will target the root cause and get you healed and back to normal as soon as possible. You can read more about this diet in my complete LPR guide (the treatment section).
More Frequently Asked Questions
What is Gaviscon Advance Used For?
Typically Gaviscon Advance is used for helping lessen and aid the symptoms from acid reflux like heartburn and indigestion.
Is Gaviscon Advance Better than Gaviscon?
This is dependant on opinion and can be different for everyone. The UK version for Gaviscon advance for example I believe is a better combination than the standard version and the US version. This is because the active ingredient sodium alginate helps create a foam like barrier on top of the stomach contents which greatly prevents acid reflux. The great thing about that is its an extract from seaweed!
Is Gaviscon Advance Good for Acid Reflux?
Yes, usually it will help common acid reflux symptoms because of the barrier like effect it creates on top of the stomach and also lowering the acid level of the stomach.
What are the Side Effects of Taking Gaviscon?
It depends what version you are taking, for example the US version of Gaviscon advance contains aluminium which isn’t ideal for taking especially long term. In comparison the UK version doesn’t have aluminium and there is no concern about that there. It’s worth noting the side effects that are possible are nausea, headache, constipation or diarrhea. Though do keep in mind that are quite uncommon.
Can I Drink Water After Taking Gaviscon?
Ideally after taking Gaviscon it is best not to drink water for at least 30-60 minutes. This is because of the barrier effect the Gaviscon creates on top of the stomach. If you go and drink water after taking it this will make the barrier break down somewhat and become less effective. So as I already mentioned try to wait ideally 60 minutes after taking it for the best effect. Of course you can drink it before this time but it will definitely lessen the Gaviscons effectiveness.
Why Does My Acid Reflux Get Worse at Night?
Usually acid reflux gets worse at night because you don’t have the advantage of gravity helping keep the acid down in the stomach. This means more pressure on the valve above the stomach which should stay closed but when you are laying down you have more pressure on it so it makes it more likely to open and for you to get acid reflux symptoms.
More Talking Points –
Gaviscon Advance Dosage for LPR
Ideally take 1-2 teaspoons 30 minutes after a meal and just before sleeping. It doesn’t have to be 30 minutes exactly every time but this is when you will get the biggest benefit from taking it. I personally take it roughly 15-30 minutes after eating which works great for me.
Gaviscon Advance Tablets
Just like the liquid you can get Gaviscon Advance tablets. Just like the liquid you would take them ideally 30 minutes after eating and just before sleeping. When compared with the liquid I feel they are inferior and less effective but they are a good option when you are travelling or at work when carrying the liquid isn’t practical. Ideally take the liquid but the tablets are also helpful.
Gaviscon Advance Alternatives
Any alternative medicine that has a solid amount of sodium alginate – I am considering a good amount at least 250mg per teaspoon. As a reference Gaviscon Advance the UK version has 500mg per teaspoon.
How Does Gaviscon Advance Work?
It creates a creates a foam like barrier on top of the contents of the stomach. This helps prevent acid from refluxing up into the esophagus and even the throat. It also has an alkalising effect helping to lower the acid in the stomach as well.
Gaviscons Effect on GERD/Heartburn?
It lowers the acidity of the stomach and also creates a foam like barrier on top of the stomach contents helping prevent acid from spilling up and causing heartburn etc.
Gaviscons Effect on Silent Reflux/ LPR?
The important effect for Gaviscon Advance on silent reflux and LPR is the barrier effect that it creates on top of the stomach contents. This is the primary benefit. Also when you take it, it can help bind to any pepsin in the throat which is the main cause for LPR so this effect also can help lessen the effects of LPR and silent reflux.