Is drinking baking soda in water a remedy for common health problems or does it pose some risk? Learn the potential benefits and possible risks of ingesting baking soda in a glass of water.
The Effect of Baking Soda in the Body
Baking soda, or bicarbonate of soda, is a well-known external remedy. It can be used for problems ranging from acne to insect bites. It helps to balance pH levels and has a cleansing, softening effect on the skin. What about drinking baking soda in water? What are the health benefits of ingesting bicarbonate of soda and what are the health risks?
Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) is generally well tolerated. However, high doses may cause headache, nausea or irritability. If any of these effects continue or become bothersome, inform your doctor. Notify your doctor if you develop: muscle weakness, slow reflexes and confusion, swelling of the feet or ankles, black tar-like stools, coffee-ground vomit. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
- Antacid: When ingested, baking soda helps to balance body pH. In cases where the body is too acidic, it has an alkalizing effect. For this reason it may be taken as an antacid, relieving heartburn, acid indigestion and an upset stomach due to heartburn and indigestion, to use baking soda for heartburn relief use:1/2 teaspoon of baking soda 4 ounces of waterDissolve the baking soda completely and then drink every two hours. Do not have more then seven one-half teaspoon servings within any twenty-four hour period. To use properly be sure all the baking soda is dissolved in water and do not consume on a full stomach. Do not take if you are taking other antacids or prescription drugs or if you have high blood pressure.
- Gout: Gout is a type of arthritis that occurs when there is an accumulation of uric acid in the blood, tissue and urine. As drinking dissolved baking soda can balance your body’s pH level, some doctors may recommend bicarbonate of soda to help address the uric acid build-up. As with using it for heartburn, to use as a remedy for gout, the baking soda must be completely dissolved. You should talk to your doctor about proper doses, as there are side effects of drinking baking soda in water regularly.
- Urinary Tract Infections: Baking soda’s alkalizing effect may also benefit urinary tract infection sufferers. Drinking a full glass of water with one teaspoonful of baking soda, completely dissolved, may prevent further symptoms and help the body overcome the infection by making the urine less acidic. Drinking plenty of water and cranberry juice can help as well.
- Baking soda may be ingested for heartburn, gout or even urinary tract infections. Mixing a small amount of this white powder for relief is a relatively simple and very inexpensive way to help improve your body’s pH so that these health conditions are not as severe. Baking soda is not a cure for any disease, nor is it a substitute for regular medical care. Be sure to talk to your doctor first to see if ingesting baking soda is right for you and how much is safe.
- Baking soda is high in sodium and is not safe in high doses nor should it be used over a long period of time. It is also not safe for people who have certain medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, liver or kidney disease or edema. Pregnant women and nursing mothers should avoid it unless directed by their doctor. If not dissolved properly or if taken on a full stomach it can cause an upset stomach.
- Possible side effects of drinking baking soda in water include stomach cramps and increased thirst. If you notice more serious side effects such as nausea, weakness, slow breathing, mental changes or swelling of the feet, contact your doctor.
Baking Soda Toxicity
Because baking soda breaks down into sodium ions in the body — an electrolyte that can have powerful effects — taking too much baking soda can disrupt the activity of your muscles, heart and brain. According to a study published in the December 2013 issue of the “Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics,” more than 50 percent of the 192 people reported to the California Poison Control System for baking soda between 2000 and 2012 had to go to the emergency room for treatment. Dosages ranging from a quarter of a box to more than a full box caused seizures, abdominal pain, chest pain, muscle pain and other serious conditions.