CEEMS is funded by the National Science Foundation, grant #1102990
Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
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The human stomach makes hydrochloric acid to digest food. However, too much stomach acid causes health problems such as heartburn and acid reflux. Many over the counter and prescription antacids have been developed to treat this problem. Most of these products use inorganic chemical compounds to neutralize stomach acid. With an increasingly health conscious population, treatment of this problem through natural organic substances is gaining more attention. What natural organic foods are effective at neutralizing stomach acid and could be potential remedies for excess stomach acid?
Design an antacid from a natural organic food that will neutralize the same amount of acid as an over the counter commercial antacid.
Show several old antacid commercials:
Ask the question: From your understanding of these commercials, what are antacids designed to do and what is their composition?
A (real world Application) – Millions of dollars each year are spent in buying products or getting medical treatment for acid indigestion and heartburn. Many health issues arise because of these maladies. In this unit, students will explore the effectiveness of organic foods that can act as natural antacids. This will encourage students to investigate the causes and treatment of these medical problems and stimulate thought about their diet and health.
C (career connections) – Careers impacted by this unit will include chemists and chemical engineers. Other careers that could be impacted by this unit include medical and dietary professionals. By completing this unit, students will better understand the role that chemists (developing the product), chemical engineers (manufacturing the product) and medical and dietary professionals (utilizing the product play in improving human health.
S (societal impact) – Most people have either experienced acid indigestion or heartburn in varying degrees or have friends or family that have talked about heartburn. Many remedies have been developed to treat these problems, including prescription and over the counter medicines and dietary restrictions. More emphasis has been placed on chemical solutions to these problems than to natural solutions. With a more health conscious society today, this unit focuses on natural organic products that might possibly be used as an antacid. This unit allows the student to explore some of the chemistry involved in finding organic foods that can help society address the problems associated with acid indigestion and heartburn.
This unit has a design project called Natural Antacids where students design an antacid from a natural organic food that will neutralize the same amount of acid as an over the counter commercial antacid. Students investigate the chemistry of antacids, research and test existing antacids, brainstorm ideas for organic food products that will neutralize acid, select and test organic foods for their acid neutralization capacity, and present their research results and natural antacid though a group presentation.