Baking soda is a white crystalline powder that has an alkaline taste. Baking soda, sodium bicarbonate, and bicarbonate of soda are all different names for the very same thing. Baking soda is used in baking, and is used in a lot of medicines. It is also used in fire extinguishers, effervescent salts, and artificial mineral water. Baking soda is also helpful in getting rid of heartburn.
Heartburn, best known for the burning sensation in the upper chest, and often accompanied by chest or stomach pains, is due to stomach acids rising back up into the esophagus. This is most often due to an improperly closing valve that lies between the stomach and the esophagus. Other symptoms of heartburn may include: excess gas, bloating, a nasty sour taste in the mouth, nausea, and sometimes difficulty breathing. Baking soda can help relieve these symptoms.
How Baking Soda Helps Heartburn
Baking soda helps to neutralize the stomach acid that is needed to digest our foods. It is an effective, short-term antacid, and should not be taken in excess. Taking too large of a dose, or taking it too often, can result in a lot of stomach pain and discomfort due to an over-neutralized condition. Baking soda should only be used for a few days. If heartburn continues, it is best to seek the advice of your doctor and get stronger medicine to help control your heartburn.
Dosage of Baking Soda
For fast results, mix one teaspoon of baking soda into one cup of warm water. Sip this just until any pain or discomfort is gone; only drink as much as you need to relieve the pain. You can make another glass of this mix if you are still not feeling well, but do stop when you feel better. Baking soda is loaded with sodium. Those on a sodium restricted diet need to be careful when taking baking soda.
People with heart disease and high blood pressure should stay away from baking soda as a remedy for their heartburn. The sodium level in baking soda may cause fluid retention which causes swelling in the legs and feet. Pregnant women should also avoid baking soda. Edema is common in pregnant women, adding extra sodium would just make the condition worse.
Side Effects of Baking Soda
There are side effects from taking too much baking soda, these include increased thirst and stomach cramps. Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these more serious problems: swollen feet, mental changes, nausea, a change in the way you are breathing, or an all over body weakness.
Our stomach needs acids to digest foods properly. Baking soda and water should not be consumed with meals, only between meals. Some people say that a good nighttime help is to mix a teaspoon or two of baking soda into eight ounces of water, and drink the whole glass of water at once – on an empty stomach – this will relax the stomach for the night. If you do use baking soda, make sure you are using only pure sodium bicarbonate. Some brands actually have impurities, like aluminum, included in it. Finally, if you have high blood pressure, or are on a low sodium diet, it would be more than wise for you to consult with your doctor before you let sodium bicarbonate pass through your system.