Bismuth – what it is, how it works and side effects!

Bismuth ( Bi ) is a chemical element with atomic number 83. Supplements containing this element usually contain it as a salt. Also, people take salts of this element by mouth for inflammation of the colon lining (colitis), constipation, diarrhea , indigestion, Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection.

Odor caused by an opening in the belly wall during surgery (ileostomy), stomach problems caused by non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), stomach ulcers , stomach flu, and prevention of traveler’s diarrhea .

People apply bismuth salt to the skin for hemorrhoids.

They use it as an enema for the pouch. This problem involves inflammation in an artificial rectum created after surgery for ulcerative colitis.

Salts of this element are also added to cosmetics, batteries, paints and plastic pigments in manufacturing.

How it works?

The salts of this element seem to eliminate the bacteria that cause stomach problems such as diarrhea and stomach ulcers . Its salts also work as an antacid to treat problems like indigestion. It can also speed up blood and water clotting .

Uses and Efficacy of Bismuth:

Research shows that taking bismuth subsalicylate the day before traveling and continuing to take it 2 days after returning home reduces a traveler’s risk of diarrhea by up to 41%.

Prevention of ulcers caused by a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori);

Research shows that taking bismuth by mouth three times a day for 4 weeks does not cure H. pylori infection when taken alone. However, some research shows that bismuth salts can improve healing when taken with antibiotics. But taking it with antibiotics can increase your risk of side effects.

Bismuth salts have also been taken in combination with antibiotics and drugs that decrease stomach acid (proton pump inhibitors).

Research shows that this combination can treat H. pylori infections, as well as other antibiotic combination therapies. Also, this combination may work better than antibiotic combination therapies in people who have developed resistance to some of these antibiotics.

Stomach ulcers:

Previous research suggests that taking salt three times a day for 4 weeks is as effective as taking cimetidine medicine daily for 4 weeks in preventing stomach ulcers from recurring.

Taking this bismuth salt may also improve the effects of antibiotics when used to treat stomach ulcers associated with H. pylori infection.

Bismuth side effects:

Taking a certain salt called subgallate orally is safe when used to treat odor caused by an opening in the belly wall during surgery. In addition, another salt called bismuth subsalicylate is also safe when taken orally in the short term and as indicated to treat diarrhea .

Other forms of salts are possibly safe when taken orally appropriately in the short term. Additionally, bismuth salts appear to be safe when taken in doses of 400-2100 mg per day for 56 days.

This element is possibly unsafe when taken orally in large amounts due to the risk of kidney failure, and when taken long-term due to the risk of nerve damage.


Bismuth subgallate and subsalicylate are safe when taken by mouth on a short-term basis. Additionally, taking 200-400 mg of bismuth subgallate by mouth up to four times a day is approved as a deodorant medication for children at least 12 years of age.

Taking 1.05 grams of bismuth subsalicylate orally every hour for up to 2 days is approved for diarrhea in children at least 12 years old.

There is no reliable information about the safety of consuming other salts of it by mouth in children. In addition, it is unsafe when taken orally in large amounts or over an extended period of time.

Salicylate allergy:

Many supplements contain the salt of this element called bismuth subsalicylate. Also, when taken orally, bismuth subsalicylate breaks down in the stomach to form salicylate. In theory, people who are sensitive to salicylate could have a serious side effect from these supplements.

Interactions:  We currently don’t have information for about the interactions of this element;

Dosage:  The following doses have been studied in scientific research;

By Mouth:  To prevent ulcers caused by a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori);

As a triple therapy, 120 mg of subcitrat was used. 500 mg of amoxicillin and 250 mg of metronidazole four times a day for 14 days.

Useful links: 

As a bismuth quadruple therapy (BQT), 240-1680 mg of salts were used daily. 400-1500 mg metronidazole per day, 1500-2000 mg tetracycline per day. It is a medication that lowers stomach acid (proton pump inhibitor) over a period of 7 to 14 days.

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