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Raft-forming alginates, which are derived from algae, are a natural remedy for relief from heartburn. Their primary role is to block the reflux of food contents and stomach acid into the esophagus. And they do so by creating a natural, raft-like barrier over food in the stomach.
Alginic acid, an element in raft-forming alginates, forms a gel-like substance in the presence of gastric acid in the stomach. And when potassium bicarbonate, another substance in raft-forming alginates, comes in contact with the same gastric acid, CO2 bubbles are formed, which get trapped in the gel. The process leads to creation of a foam that floats on the surface of gastric contents, similar to a raft floating on water.
We look at three key differences between raft-forming alginates and traditional antacids.
Studies say that raft-forming alginates are capable of providing longer-lasting relief when compared to traditional antacids. Interestingly, raft formation happens within seconds and the relief can usually be felt for several hours.
For a long time, the medical community been advocating the use of antacids for reducing symptoms of acid reflux. However, antacids come with harmful side effects such as depleting nutrients from the body. On the other hand, raft-forming alginates are free from side effects because they are entirely natural.
Raft-forming alginates reduce the symptoms of acid reflux as well as prevent repeated episodes. They do not change the acid content in the stomach, because we need stomach acid for breaking down food. Apart from blocking stomach acid, they also block other acidic content (such as acidic drinks) from rising into the esophagus.