Heartburn and acid reflux are very common all across the planet.
However, medications are not equally popular, because of their side-effects and often not a satisfactory outcome.
That’s why home remedies gain always more popular among people who suffer from heartburn and acid reflux.
Among these natural solutions, certainly, baking soda deserves our greatest attention.
In fact, it has been considered (and still is) as a good fix for short-duration heartburn symptomatology.
In other words, we should consider it as an option only when heartburn is not a chronic one.
However, we must be clear: there are several contraindications about the use of baking soda for heartburn.
It’s really important to make things as clear as possible to avoid mistakes.
Natural solutions are good and must always take precedence over drugs.
To be more precise, natural solutions are the second (not the first) step.
The first thing to do, always and forever, is to eat well, by introducing in your diet the right foods that help your heartburn slow down.
And, when possible, to counteract the root causes (not just the symptoms) of your reflux.
By doing that, there are more than solid chances to avoid the need for medications, and, if you eat well, there will not even be a need for natural solutions.
Whatever the case, please remember just like kind of a general rule that baking soda is a short-term solution.
Baking Soda For Heartburn: A Long Time Solution
This remedy has a long story behind it.
In fact, it has been used as a low-cost antacid for many years.
In some cases, it’s also possible that your doctor will suggest you take baking soda to relieve heartburn.
This is right because baking soda has an alkaline pH (higher than 7), which means it can effectively counteract the low pH (acidic) of your stomach content that goes back into the esophagus.
The key to everything is the ingredient sodium bicarbonate, which temporarily relieves symptoms of acid reflux. This is possible because it neutralizes stomach acid. We can say that sodium bicarbonate is a “natural antacid”.
Interesting note: the pancreas produces bicarbonate to lower the acidic content of digested foods, along the digestive tract (check the image below from Zuniv.net)
This is a further demonstration of the effectiveness of using bicarbonate-based products for heartburn and acid reflux.
So, baking soda is considered a good option just because it mimics the effects of natural sodium bicarbonate production by the organism.
Only to make an example, OTC antacids (for instance, Alka Seltzer), exactly contain sodium bicarbonate (even though you know that we don’t suggest drugs and medications for getting rid of heartburn and reflux).
Baking soda for acid reflux
Given that baking soda can be used, even though for short-term treatment only, we can dive deeper into the specific formulation and how to take it properly.
When it comes to reflux, there are several forms available.
There are two most common uses for baking soda.
The first one is the famous Alka Seltzer. It’s an OTC medication that contains sodium bicarbonate.
The other case is Zegerid, a PPI (Proton Pump Inhibitor) medication which formulation does contain bicarbonate. This helps the omeprazole (the PPI’s active principle) to be more effective than normal. With more detail, the action is longer than commonly happens, which means better management of acidity-related symptoms.
This is particularly valid in the case of severe reflux, with an important inflammation of the esophagus.
In these complicated and serious cases, taking Zegerid (omeprazole + sodium bicarbonate) once or twice a day effectively heals severe reflux esophagitis and improves GERD symptoms. With 8 weeks of treatment is possible to expect a significant remission of symptoms and, what does matter more, to avoid the fearsome complication of Barrett’s esophagus.
Baking Soda Health Benefits
Baking soda has many benefits, which make it one of the most used products.
We can group such benefits for health into two main categories.
The first one is directly related to human health.
The other is related to hygiene and the improvement of sanitary conditions.
Among the first category, we’ll see extensively how baking soda can help in the case of heartburn and acid reflux.
It’s a short-term measure, but effective.
In addition, baking soda has been proven effective in calming indigestion.
You can use effectively baking soda also to treat insect bites and stings. However, please always remember that the pH of the skin is slightly acidic. This means that baking soda is not good for health in general. But under some circumstances, it can help a lot.
The mouth can also experience several benefits: a toothpaste containing baking soda has a better effect in whitening, and it can also freshen the breath.
For more specific and serious conditions, it has been observed that baking soda helps fighting cancer. To be honest, there’s a lot of buzz around the topic. It needs all our attention and interest for sure. Anyway, we want to post below a famous video made by Dr. Sircus about pH medicine, in order for you to better understand the great potential of baking soda as a whole.
Finally, kidneys can experience good help by baking soda.
For what concerns the second category of benefits, baking soda is a great product when it comes to controlling odors.
It works very well no matter the origin of the odor, (strong acids like sour milk, or strong bases, like spoiled fish).
The addition of baking soda changes the pH balance. For example, putting an open box of baking soda in the fridge makes odors become neutral. The same thing happens to surfaces sprayed with the product.
But baking soda also presents several side effects.
Baking soda side effects
We have to be clear: taking baking soda may present some significant side effects.
The first one is called “acid rebound”.
This means that because of a sudden decrease in stomach acidity the symptoms may be back at a later time, and they can be even worse than before. That’s why this remedy always has to be considered as a short-term solution.
In addition, we want to report a more than interesting study review about the evidence of several side effects brought by using bicarbonate as a treatment.
However, there’s a case with many proven and unquestionable positive effects brought by sodium bicarbonate. It’s the case of kidney disease, one of the best domains of application for this remedy.
This because of the observation of several spontaneous gastric ruptures, due to the production of large volumes of carbon dioxide after bicarbonate ingestion (as shown by the picture below from medical news today).
Finally, people who suffer from high blood pressure and take baking soda, increase the sodium concentration in the body and this may lead to worsening the problem with blood pressure.
According to this study, immediately after the intake of baking soda, the blood pressure increases a lot.
In all these cases, avoid using baking soda and focus your attention on the root cause of your heartburn.
This will help you much more, without any risks for your pressure and/or other diseases.
Baking soda overdose: an extreme case
Despite being little know, it’s also possible and it happens, when people take way too much baking soda, without any guidance or knowledge.
That’s why, even if baking soda helps in the short run, it’s important to learn from a scientific source. The DIY when it comes to dosage may be very dangerous.
If the amount of taken baking soda is too high, a condition called metabolic alkalosis may appear.
When it happens, it can reduce the contractility of the heart, which leads to serious troubles. Metabolic alkalosis also does have respiratory consequences, with breath impairment due to the hypercapnia.
To make things worse, there may be neurological effects including paresthesias, muscle twitching, and tetany, due to the presence of hypocalcemia.
The above reported are exceptional facts, however, when bringing scientific information to the people, we have the duty to be 100% transparent and inform about everything.
Baking soda and other medications
People who are under medication should be very careful because baking soda can interact with those drugs and modify their effectiveness.
The list of medications that possibly can interact with baking soda is quite long.
That’s why we decided to make things easy for you: just click the box below and you’ll be immediately redirected to the page that lists all the 142 known drugs that interact with baking soda.
As you can read, there is only one major drug interaction (with dolutegravir, used for HIV infection), while the other 82 interactions are classified as “moderate” and 59 as “minor” drug interactions.
IMPORTANT: Do you know the relationships between PPIs and COVID-19? Please read here to stay informed.
A general rule to follow is not to take baking soda within 2 hours of other medications.
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Baking Soda And Water For Heartburn
Before to start using baking soda, we must consider how to take it.
For this purpose, it will be mixed with the water.
This because dissolved bicarbonate is safer, in this case.
It’s a matter of distribution and the alkaline effect that baking powder triggers.
As we’re about to read (in the section below), a complete dissolution of baking soda in water is one of the most important requirements when preparing a recipe for the short-term relief of heartburn.
Unless otherwise specified, we refer to cold water, meaning the normal temperature (not frozen or something like that).
However, and we’ll point out later, warm water is also a good means to introduce baking soda.
Warm water does have some good properties by itself, and in this case, we can couple it with baking soda (as well as another, highly useful natural remedy).
But the most relevant point to consider is the right dosage.
Baking soda dosage
We’ve considered before the importance of avoiding the intake of too much bicarbonate.
This is important because the excess leads to a very serious condition, called metabolic alkalosis.
In the section above we’ve seen some useful tips and recipes that really help in the case of heartburn and acid reflux. Now, it’s time to build a general rule on the correct baking soda dosage, to be sure of staying away from the risk of an overdose.
To this end, let’s read what’s found the exact instructions for oral use of one of the most popular baking soda products (Arm and Hammer®; Church and Dwight, Princeton NJ) as found on the side of the package.
Let’s take the text above as a general guideline for the correct use of baking soda and, in general, sodium bicarbonate for health purposes.
IMPORTANT: To know everything about the very best herbal remedies for reflux, you can find all that you need here.
But there’s more.
In fact, this “rule” also envisages the warning against the use of the maximum dose for more than 2 weeks. It also recommends the user to ask a doctor before any use if the patient is on a sodium-restricted diet or is taking other medications.
Moreover, some indications for children. Under the age of 5, bicarbonate should not be administered, because of reported seizure and respiratory depression in little patients.
Baking soda recipe for heartburn
To stay safe, we can refer to what we’ve read before on the package of one of the most popular baking soda products.
One-half teaspoon to one-half glass (4 fl. oz) of water, every 2 hours (or different, in the case your physician has another suggested dosage).
There are two important things: first of all, baking soda has to be completely dissolved into the water.
In addition, you have to measure more than carefully the right half-teaspoon dose.
As a general recommendation, do not exceed 7 half-teaspoons a day or 3 half-teaspoon a day if you’re older than 60 years.
This is the general recipe to avoid any troubles and possible complications.
However, there are some variations we can try.
For example, you could try adding some lemon juice drops to the above preparation.
Lemon is acidic, and not suggested in general terms, but many people report a good benefit when it’s added to the water + baking soda.
This is due to the flavor and to the action of the acidic content of the stomach.
Another possibility is to mix baking soda with warm water.
Once done, you can add a teaspoon of honey and dissolve it inside the mix (it has to be totally dissolved).
Honey is one of the best natural solutions to help people with heartburn, and this case is not an exception. It may work well even in the combination with baking soda.
Finally, you can also add some drops of lemon juice to the mix made of honey + warm water + baking soda.
The final effect is better, according to some people, because of the flavor and also the beneficial effect in lowering the acidity of stomach content.
As you can see, there are some possibilities to test. What matters most, however,r is not to exceed the recommended dose.
What not to do with baking soda
The first thing not to do with baking soda is to exceed the recommended dosage.
Then, there are some important, more specific recommendations to follow.
You should not take baking soda in case you have GERD (meaning that you have been diagnosed with certainty). Always remember that baking soda is a temporary solution, which cannot solve heartburn or reflux permanently.
That’s why you must work on the root causes.
You should not drink the solution too quickly, because it may lead to some side effects, the most common of which are diarrhea and gas.
As considered above, the intake of baking soda can cause acid rebound, with an increase of harmful symptoms.
That’s why the product has to be completely dissolved in at least 4 ounces of water and sipped slowly.
It’s important to go to a doctor in the case you experience stomach pain after the use of baking soda, as well as other possibly occurring symptoms, such as:
- unexpected weight loss
- frequent urination
- edema (swelling in the limbs and feet)
- troubles in breathing
- bloody urines
- bloody or tar-like stools
- coffee-ground vomit
The listed above are common symptoms observed in severe reflux cases, meaning that if not properly used, baking soda can harm the health.
Apple cider vinegar and baking soda for acid reflux
This is a frequently searched solution by many people who suffer from heartburn and acid reflux.
Apple cider vinegar has, in fact, gained much attention over the years, because it may help to solve several issues.
We dedicate a more detailed space to apple cider vinegar here and we strongly suggest reading it if you’re looking for more info about that.
For this specific case, we want to report a short, though effective, recipe based on apple cider vinegar + baking soda.
As observed in the previous case, water is important. You want to prepare a drink with vinegar, baking soda, and water.
The first step is to add 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to one glass of water.
Then you want to add 1 teaspoon of baking soda to the same glass of water.
Once done, you must stir it very well (again, the ingredients have to be dissolved completely into the water).
Finally, you can drink that mix and this will help you relieving acid reflux and also indigestion if the case.
This is a temporary remedy, however, you can drink it ore times per day (suggestion: 2-3 times) depending on the severity of your symptoms.
Difference between baking powder and baking soda
It’s not suggested to take the baking powder, while baking soda can help if taken properly.
This because of the solid form (powder) of bicarbonate, which still presents some acidic components.
Once mixed into the water, it is not able to modify the pH of the solution, that’s why we need something different.
Baking soda can do it, it changes the pH value of the acidic content and relieves the heartburn, even though for a limited period of time.
That’s why we want to prefer baking soda to baking powder.
Baking Soda For Gas
Among the benefits that baking soda can provide, there is also a good action to reduce gas.
There are two slightly different ways of using baking soda when addressing gas, and it’s important to make things clear about that.
We have to consider: stomach gas and intestinal gas. In other words, when you have gas in the upper digestive tract or in the lower tract.
For what concerns stomach gas, we can take a half-teaspoon of baking soda, and then add it into a glass of hot water.
Stirring is important because baking soda has to completely dissolve into the water.
Then it’s possible to drink the mix on an empty stomach, for the best performance.
This home-made remedy can be taken as needed when experiencing a gas problem. However, like any other baking soda-related solution, it’s a temporary remedy, for temporary relief.
The other situation occurs when in the presence of intestinal gas.
Not related to reflux, but it’s worth a description.
The recipe is basically the same, with the addition of lemon juice at the beginning of the process.
This means that the first step is to cut a lemon in half, then squeeze the juice in a glass of water.
Then, after the complete dissolution of lemon juice and baking soda into the water, the drink is ready and can be consumed as needed.
In this case, warm water is not mandatory.
But, as we noticed before, this only works for temporary fixes of bloating and stomach gas.
Baking Soda For Heartburn While Pregnant
During pregnancy, it’s not suggested to take baking soda.
All over the period, it’s much better to act on specific measures to work on the whole condition, by controlling foods and lifestyle.
There are several studies that present side effects and even some serious conditions due to the use of baking soda during pregnancy.
There is one that presents a list of gastrointestinal drugs and medications totally to avoid over the period. among them, we also read sodium bicarbonate.
In the most complicated cases, patients had a long history of excessive consumption of baking soda.
For example, there is a special condition called baking soda pica (pica refers to a compulsory intake of non-nutritive products, just like baking soda).
By taking a lot of baking soda, serious effects may appear, like heart problems up to cardiomyopathy.
However, after the cessation of baking soda intake, conditions improve a lot.
Now that you’ve read so much information about baking soda for heartburn, it’s time for taking away the most relevant things.
There are at least 29 things (or “hacks”) to remember and never forget about using baking soda for relieving reflux and the subsequent heartburn.
What To Do Next
Thank you for your time spent reading the information we provided.
Now, it’s the moment to put into practice what you’ve learned.
Our TOP suggestion is to visit the page dedicated to the best herbal mixtures you can use to get rid of reflux faster.
If you are concerned about the relationships between PPIs and COVID-19, you can read here to keep informed and safe.
We also strongly recommend you check the resources below.
Inside these resources, you’re going to find some of the most surprising, but effective, applications for baking soda and other natural remedies to get rid of your heartburn as soon as possible.
We selected and reviewed the resources below according to some essential principles, such as the effectiveness, the speed of action, and, even more important, the long-term durability of the solution.
That’s why you should check all of them and then decide which one you like the most.
Full Programs For Acid Reflux
Are you looking for the best "all-in-one" natural treatments for heartburn and acid reflux?
If so, please check these complete and deep resources to learn how to treat reflux fast.
You're going to find what to eat, what not to eat, how to eat, and much more.
The 5-Step System
3 Best Ingredients
The Reflux Report
All three are equally good but, as you know, the personal taste still counts a lot, when it comes to natural remedies.
Thanks again for your stay!