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My Workout Gives Me Heartburn. Can I Take a Daily Antacid?

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Find out if it's safe to treat daily exercise-induced heartburn with an antacid.
Q. My workout gives me heartburn. Is it okay to take a daily OTC antacid?"

A. Not really. "While antacids are fairly harmless, you need to figure out why you're getting exercise-induced indigestion in the first place," says gastroenterologist Robynne Chutkan, MD, founder of the Digestive Center for Women in Chevy Chase, Maryland. Most likely your stomach is still processing your last meal, especially if it was a fatty one. "Because fat is harder to digest, it sits in your stomach longer than carbs or protein. If you exercise while your stomach is full, acid is more likely to come up into your esophagus, causing heartburn," Dr. Chutkan says. Since fat isn't always the culprit -- some people simply digest slowly -- don't eat anything heavy three to four hours before your workout and avoid caffeine and chocolate, which are classic sources of heartburn. If you still require antacids after adjusting your diet, see your doc for an evaluation.

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, April 2010.



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