QUESTION TEXT: People should avoid taking the antacid calcium…
QUESTION TYPE: Most Strongly Supported
- People should avoid calcium carbonate in doses large than 0.5 grams.
- It neutralizes stomach acids.
- But above a set dose it increases calcium in the blood and hurts the kidneys.
- And if you have half a gram you could trigger gastrin, a hormone that causes acid secretion.
ANALYSIS: Many people find answer choice D, the correct answer, confusing. The stimulus is written to make it sound as though if you take more than half a gram of calcium carbonate you will increase the amount of stomach acid in your system.
That could be true, but it doesn’t have to be. We’re not told how much stomach acid gastrin produces. It could be a very small amount. We’re also not told how much acid is neutralized by calcium carbonate. It could be a very large amount.
So if you took a gram of calcium carbonate then all we know is that some acid will be neutralized and some extra acid will be produced. But we don’t know if the total amount of acid will go up or down.
- We don’t know how much stomach acid gastrin produces. It could be a very, very small amount. Direct neutralization might be most effective…but we risk hurting our kidneys.
- This is had to say…there are a lot of factors that could affect the kidneys. If people who avoid antacids are also much more likely to drink then maybe their kidneys will be worse off.
- This is very tempting. But we don’t know how much stomach acid is produced when we secrete gastrin. It could be a very, very tiny amount. If you ate ten pounds of calcium carbonate it might neutralize all of your stomach acid.
- CORRECT. The calcium carbonate directly neutralizes stomach acid. But it also triggers gastrin and so it indirectly contributes to the production of stomach acid too.
- It’s the other way around. Calcium in the blood impairs kidney function.
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