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Imitation Alka Seltzer for a fraction of the cost

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As I was making bath bombs to give for Christmas I felt a little heartburn. I reached for the Alka Seltzer... Wow... $8.99 for 36 tablets! One dose is made of 2 tablets, so that comes to 50 cents per dose. Then I looked at the active ingredients. Citric acid and sodium bicarbonate. Exactly what I was using for the bath bombs! Sour salt and baking soda! I made a rapid calculation: one dose comes to 2 grams of citric acid, and 3.88 grams of baking soda. If I figure that citric acid costs $4/lb and baking soda is $1/lb, the exact same dose of alka selzer's active ingredients would cost me about 2.5 cents to make myself.... Twenty times less than the store bought version! OK to be fair, I didn't figure the cost of filler, and the store bought alka selzer also contained aspirin, but I neither needed nor wanted the aspirin. I was looking for heartburn relief only. Even if you end up spending more on the citric acid and less for the Alka Seltzer than I did, you'll still come out ahead.

Disclaimer: I am neither a doctor, a pharmacist nor a chemist. I figured out the dose of the ingredients by weighing them and then converting the measurements to volumes, because it's a more convenient way of measuring for most people. Also, since there is no aspirin in this mixture it will do nothing for headaches, hangovers, or flu-like symptoms. This is for acid indigestion, upset stomach and heartburn only. All the warnings on the Alka Selzer label apply for this concoction:

Warnings
Ask a doctor before use if you have a sodium-restricted diet
Ask a doctor or pharmacist before use if you are presently taking a prescription drug.
Antacids may interact with certain prescription drugs.
When using this product do not exceed recommended dosage
Stop use and ask a doctor if you have taken the maximum dose for 2 weeks
If pregnant or breast-feeding, ask a health professional before use.
Keep out of reach of children.
.........................................................................................................................................
Directions
adults and children 12 years and older
Fully dissolve two teaspoons in 4 ounces of water before taking
2 teaspoons every 4 hours as needed, or as directed by a doctor
do not exceed 8 teaspoons in 24 hours
adults 60 years and over
2 teaspoons every 4 hours as needed, or as directed by a doctor
do not exceed 4 teaspoons in 24 hours
children under 12 years
consult a doctor

 
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KevinG93 months ago

Thanks Belsey I want to make this as I get extreme allergic reaction in brain.Have done food rotation nothing seems to work to help the symptoms.Alka seltzer Gold helps a lot to relieve the symptoms what would the recipe be if you included potassium bicarbonate? I would like to keep the ingredients as close as possible to

what is in Alka Seltzer Gold?Thank you so much for your reply.I am very grateful!

belsey (author)  KevinG93 months ago
Look at the label of your Alka Selzer gold. They list the active ingredients and their weight -- all you need then is a small scale and the proper ingredients to recreate it. Once you've matched the proper dosage you can add whatever you'd like for the inactive ingredients (sugar, corn starch, etc). You don't need to follow the label for those.
KevinG9 belsey3 months ago
Thanks for your reply, Where and what kind of scale should I buy ?

Thanks Kevin
belsey (author)  KevinG93 months ago

Any small electronic scale which can measure a tenth of a gram will do.

KevinG93 months ago

Thanks Belsey I want to make this as I get extreme allergic reaction in brain.Have done food rotation nothing seems to work to help the symptoms.Alka seltzer Gold helps a lot to relieve the symptoms what would the recipe be if you included potassium bicarbonate? I would like to keep the ingredients as close as possible to

what is in Alka Seltzer Gold?Thank you so much for your reply.I am very grateful!

spark master4 months ago
I was going to take it daily for GOUT, but felt the risks were more then the gains!

Cherries and cherry juice (probably the different varieties have different or better effects), is an age old remedy for gout. There's sour cherries, dark cherries, tart cherries, but I think the tart are suppose to be the MOST medicinal.

sour cherries IS what is called for, but I hate them. Sweet cherries I usually love. Sadly the cherries did nothing for me. Thanks fer the input though.

My friend who had gout swore by the tart cherries (different than sour or sweet). I personally don't like the tart or sour, but the tart worked for him. He also said that aspirin made it worse, but that drinking lots of clean water and putting" raw apple cider vinegar" (1T. unprocessed kind) in an 8 oz glass of water, also helped him alot. Hope this helps at all. Good luck and best wishes :-)

he man for whom I am named (It is an Italian thing), praised apple cider
vinegar for everything including arthritis. Doesn't do jack for me! BUT thanks for the suggestion.

rseiter14 months ago

for heart burn I use a 1/2 cup cold water, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda and heart burn gone in seconds

THANK YOU, I was going to make a similar post... all the CA does is make the bicarb fizz!

belsey (author)  spark master4 months ago
Although plain baking soda will work, the citric acid DOES have a real function, it is not included just for the fun of watching it fizz. It serves as a chemical buffer and therefore it makes the solution a bit easier on your belly. In addition, by fizzing in the cup (rather than inside your belly when the baking soda hits the acidic gastric juices) the carbon dioxide is released in the air, rather than as loud burps, which besides being embarrassing, can also carry with them some of the acidity you are trying to avoid. If you read the instructable to the end, I do mention this -- unfortunately a lot of people seem to skip straight to the comments.

Actually I did read it to the end, but I thought it was to buffer th aspirin, which can do nasties to the stomach lining. I have done straight bicarb over the years when it was late and I could not go to the store to buy tums and the like. Consistent consumption of bicarb does screw with your system, so if you have a lot of heartburn, you need to see a doctor. And silly as it is, some people love to burp, (not I, thank you), so if I needed this I would do it, but only for "occasional discomfort". And I would add the citric acid if I had it.

Is Citric acid (vit C?), also Sour Salt?

thanks

belsey (author)  spark master4 months ago

Citric acid is sometimes called sour salt, but it is not the same as vitamin C (which is ascorbic acid). You could use vitamin C to replace the citric acid. It is also a weak acid so it will buffer your solution too. I'm not sure if you'd replace the citric acid 1 for 1 or if your proportions would need to change a bit. FYI, there's no aspirin in my recipe, only in the commercial aka seltzer.

I did see your stuff is minus the aspirin. You have recreated (from Wiki), except they used tartaric acid as the buffer

Cachet Brioschi

Brioschi is an antacid which uses sodium bicarbonate and tartaric acid as its active agents.[4] It is known for the distinctive blue bottle in which it comes and the fizzing action it exhibits when used.[citation needed] The Brioschi pellets themselves come in several small pale, natural lemon/tan colored rods, which are put in cool water to effervesce which is then drunk to relieve the ache of heartburn.[citation needed] It appears to have an "Alka-Seltzer like" reaction when placed in water, but does not contain aspirin.

After moving from Fair Lawn, NJ to Syracuse, NY in 2011 in an attempt to restart the business,[5] Brioschi Pharmaceuticals International, LLC, filed involuntary bankruptcy in October, 2013.[6]
Their flagship product, Brioschi Effervescent, is no longer being
produced, resulting in remaining supplies being offered for sale online
for extravagant amounts.+

belsey (author)  spark master4 months ago

Interesting, I'd never heard of that company or product. But it's not very surprising that it shares a common ingredient with both alka seltzer and my recipe, since sodium bicarbonate is such a well-know and safe remedy for heart burn (at the right dosage of course).

alberto-a74 months ago

There is a large concern... from medical professionals like myself... about the over usage of Sodium Bicarb. We use it in emergency when patients have an overload of carbon dioxide build up due to lack of adequate breathing. Sodium Bicarb neutralizes the acidity in the blood to maintain metabolic acid/base balance. TOO MUCH sodium bicarb is dangerous.... be careful as it can throw your body into metabolic alkalosis... with iminent problems to follow. Please... do not over do! If you do not know what is that amount...consult your doctor.

belsey (author)  alberto-a74 months ago
Absolutely true, dosage limits should always be followed, even when using a commonly used chemical like sodium bicarbonate. One can OD on almost anything, even milk (as I recall vividly from a stupid bet a friend made in college...). It's just a matter of how much is ingested in what amount of time.
alberto-a74 months ago

There is a large concern... from medical professionals like myself... about the over usage of Sodium Bicarb. We use it in emergency when patients have an overload of carbon dioxide build up due to lack of adequate breathing. Sodium Bicarb neutralizes the acidity in the blood to maintain metabolic acid/base balance. TOO MUCH sodium bicarb is dangerous.... be careful as it can throw your body into metabolic alkalosis... with iminent problems to follow. Please... do not over do! If you do not know what is that amount...consult your doctor.

silkier4 months ago

To people who buy citric acid in bulk you can use it for descaling kettles and irons, it's wonderful stuff. Just add it to boiling water CAREFULLY (it bubbles up impressively) and leave it to do it's work. It's great as being edible there is no fear of horrible chemical residues when you finish, just rinse out well.

belsey (author)  silkier4 months ago
I use it to unclog my drains, too. It won't dissolve all the hairs and gunk, but if you're willing to put in a little effort and pull that stuff out, using this baking soda/citric acid mix will dislodge all the slimy stuff and finish the job (without killing all the fish in your nearby waterways)
sdfer4 months ago

This is very interesting ! ! ! What is the best place to buy the ingredients?

pallc sdfer4 months ago
belsey (author)  pallc4 months ago

This is a great source! You can also get it from cosmetic ingredient suppliers but theirs is not sold as food grade, so this is much better.

pallc4 months ago

I've used a similar recipe where I substituted potassium bicarbonate with just a little sodium bicarbonate instead of just sodium bicarbonate. The ratio is based on the USDA RDI calculator ( http://fnic.nal.usda.gov/fnic/interactiveDRI/ ). Just enter all your pertinent information into the fields and be sure to check the all macronutrients, vitamins and minerals checkboxes so you can view all the nutrients recommended while you are at it. Be careful with using just potassium bicarbonate because if the single dose is too high, you could get faint or go into shock from hypotension or bradycardia. Likewise, the sodium and sugar in some people could cause hypertension and tachycardia. That is why I like the USDA RDI potassium to sodium ratio amount to be safe. As a filler, I'd recommend xylitol ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xylitol ) as may help with helicobacter pylori ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helicobacter_pylori ) related acid reflux and/or ulcers and maybe starch too. Though I have to read up on the starches as there are so many with completely different characteristics. Plus the sugar can cause acid reflux also just like the sodium can. Great call on not using aspartame. Aspartame is yuck. Strange when you look in detail at formula's and risk assessment. Seems some medications don't cure... they only treat the symptoms temporarily so that there is ongoing revenue stream potential from reusing the medications for future interests. Anyhow, so you don't feel awkward; I am a trained chemist/biochemist with about 9 yrs in pharma QC/QS/QA and/or QE/R&D/AR&D technical support.

pallc pallc4 months ago

I should also note if you are interested in the USDA RDI calculation in general, you should consider that the amounts/doses are a little high in my opinion. Review the Cronometer ( https://cronometer.com/ ) associated recommendations also. The CRON-diet ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CRON-diet ) uses the USDA RDI at a 10-25% less amount for RDI. Cronometer.com uses USDA Nutrient Data ( http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/ ) as well as other countries and food manufacturers nutrient data also. Really interesting stuff since diet should be considered also to help prevent acid reflux. Especially if you have some other type of associated disease causing or impacted by the reflux like ulcers or G.E.R.D.

belsey (author)  pallc4 months ago

I calculated my doses based on the alka seltzer I had when I was formulating this recipe... I weighed my active ingredients to match the amount in the commercial package, added the filler then measured the total volume of a dose. I realize that's not lab quality precision, but it's good enough to figure out an approximate (and safe) dosage of these particular ingredients. That said even a commercial tablet, in spite of its being precisely measured, is still a rough estimate of the required dose which varies depending on the individual's weight and the severity of symptoms or, as you point out, diet or the underlying cause of the acid reflux. So it's possible my dosage could be a little high for some individuals, but this dosage won't harm anyone.

belsey (author)  pallc4 months ago

Thanks for sharing your professional and personal experience with us! I'd been thinking of trying potassium bicarbonate as a low-sodium version (and I even bought some to try it out) but I never got around to it. Now thanks to your calculator I can try it without too much anxiety! Xylitol is a good idea as a sweetener, because it's also safe for diabetics and teeth.

pallc pallc4 months ago

Awesome Instructable by the way Belsey! Thanks for sharing! Happy New Year! :-|)

elsie444 months ago

Why is citric acid necessary? For years our family used a teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water and much as I hated the taste, it seemed to work. Now I disguise the taste with water and a splash of lemon or orange juice which would provide some citric acid I guess. And sometimes a half spoon of honey.

Good post - i would like to see your other projects too.

According to my doctor , anyone with any kidney problems should avoid aspirin.

belsey (author)  elsie444 months ago

Copied from step 2:

Several people have commented that plain baking soda can work too -- although it is a common home remedy, adding citric acid has two advantages:
1. when mixed with water and an acid, baking soda has a chemical reaction which produces carbon dioxide. This is the fizz which is produced when this powder is mixed with water. When this reaction happens in your stomach (rather than in the glass, where the gas dissipates into the air) it can cause swelling and tenderness, and it might force more of the acidic stomach juices up the esophagus -- which worsens the heartburn rather than help it.
2. the citric acid acts as a chemical buffer. This means it will not make the Ph of your insides fluctuate wildly as the base (baking soda) hits the acid (stomach juice).
A commenter who tried both methods said the plain baking soda seems to work faster but that soda combined with citric acid prolonged the effect.
Then of course it's simply much more fun (and tasty) to mix a fizzy, sweet drink rather than downing a glass of lukewarm salty water...

The lemon juice you add, since it is also acidic, will serve the same buffering purpose (plus make the drink more palatable) -- so it is a fine substitute for the citric acid, and easier to find in stores.

1233fire4 months ago

This is a great post. Thank you for taking the time. It is interesting that Arm & Hammer Baking Soda has this information on the side panel of their boxes and bags. Few people know that it is there. Please read it (below) before using it. It is located in the Drug Facts panel. I have been using 1/2 tsp in 6 ounces of water and add molasses to taste. It does a good job of masking the flavor. I just dip a clean plastic knife into the molasses jar and whatever sticks to it is all I use. Then stir with the knife until all is dissolved; about 30 seconds. I take it every night at bed time to keep my sinuses clear. It works. I buy 13.5 pound bags at Costco. I also use it to make deodorant, toothpaste and laundry soap. After a lot of research, I wouldn't be without it.

DIRECTIONS FOR USE Antacid
Directions

Add 1/2 teaspoon to 1/2 glass (4 fl. oz.) of water every
2 hours, or as directed by physician.
Dissolve completely in water. Accurately measure 1/2 teaspoon.

Do not take more than the following amounts in 24 hours:

seven 1/2
teaspoons

three 1/2
teaspoons if you are over 60 years

Do not use the maximum dosage for more than 2 weeks.

Other information: each
1/2 teaspoon contains 616mg sodium

acoleman34 months ago

lot simpler and a lot cheaper as well as safer to just use 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of sodium bicarbonate in a short glass of water. btw, it's not sodium that causes health problems but an imbalance of sodium and potasium.

elsie444 months ago

Why is citric acid necessary? For years our family used a teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water and much as I hated the taste, it seemed to work. Now I disguise the taste with water and a splash of lemon or orange juice which would provide some citric acid I guess. And sometimes a half spoon of honey.

Good post - i would like to see your other projects too.

According to my doctor , anyone with any kidney problems should avoid aspirin.

lazemaple4 months ago

icing sugar aka powdered sugar contains cornstarch already so perhaps if you used powdered sugar, left out the added cornstarch it would not clump.

ldmorgan1 year ago

Bravo! Great 'ible!

paizley1 year ago
For me, it's 2 parts citric acid to 1 part sodium bicarbonate. Using very cold water, add the citric acid first and dissolve. Add the the bicarb. Don't stir. It will react. The cold water slows the reaction so it won't overflow. It does help to use a larger glass and only fill half with water. If you want to use aspirin, add it with the citric acid. My ratio is tarter than regular Alka Seltzer but that's how I like it. It's fast and easy.
Tobita5 years ago
I'm pretty sure you could compress it into a tablet if you were to mill the powder much finer before pressing it dry.
belsey (author)  Tobita5 years ago
That might work theoretically, but practically I don't have any way to grind it super fine, and even if I did some powder would probably become air-born and uncomfortable. Just pouring regular citric acid into the bowl can get a little unpleasant, so if the particles were finer I imagine it would be even worse. I see the problem as how to squeeze the powder into shape --  and thinking of your comment, I realized a garlic press might be the perfect tool! Line it with a small piece of aluminum foil, press it, pull it out with the foil and wrap it up... Might just work! Still a lot of labor though, so I'm not sure if it's worth the effort. The powder works just as well spooned into a cup of water...
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