Heartburn occurs when hydrochloric acid from the stomach escapes into the oesophagus. The Gaviscon® brand of products uses chemistry to ‘keep the acid where it works not where it hurts’. The active ingredient in Gaviscon liquid is sodium alginate, a linear polymer of sugar-like monomers which is derived from seaweed and cross links to form a layer on top of the stomach contents and prevent the hydrochloric acid escaping. Gaviscon liquid also has a small effect on the pH of the stomach contents but not to the same extent as Milk of Magnesia.
Links to the curriculum
This section contains information relevant to the following areas of your chemistry curriculum:
- Acid-base neutralisation
- Weak acids
- Carboxylic acids