How to Use Baking Soda to Combat Heartburn
While baking soda can be a quick and easy way to relieve heartburn, it's important not to take too much, as it could be harmful for your health.
Did you know that baking soda can be useful for combating heartburn? For hundreds of years, people have used this product to reduce excess stomach acid, indigestion and stomach upsets. However, it’s an ingredient that should be used with caution, and in moderate quantities.
Heartburn is a burning sensation that comes from your stomach, and then moves toward the throat. Normally, when liquid or solid food enters the stomach, the ring of muscles at the bottom of the esophagus closes. This ring is known as the lower esophageal sphincter.
If it doesn’t close properly, the stomach contents can start to move back up toward the esophagus. This partially digested material can irritate the esophagus, causing heartburn and other symptoms in the upper digestive tract.
To combat this, there are a number of antacid medications available, including Tums, proton pump inhibitors and over the counter medication. However, some people use baking soda to combat heartburn. But does it actually work?
Can baking soda be used to combat heartburn?
Because of its alkaline properties, baking soda neutralizes the chemical balance in the digestive system. Thus, it’s known as an antacid. In fact, although many people don’t realize it, the pancreas naturally produces sodium bicarbonate in order to protect the intestines.
Because it is an absorbable antacid, it neutralizes the stomach acid, providing temporary relief from symptoms such as acid reflux. However, it’s important to note that baking soda doesn’t have a prolonged effect, and often causes rebound acid.
Furthermore, baking soda may not be suitable for people who suffer problems such as high blood pressure, liquid retention, or kidney problems. Thus, you should consult with your doctor before you try the baking soda treatment. It should also be accompanied with other preventative measures.
According to a publication in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, some lifestyle changes can also help to control heartburn. This includes eating a lighter diet, free from foods that irritate the gastric mucosa, such as:
- Carbonated drinks
- Fatty or seasoned foods
- Citrus fruits
- Spicy food
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Similarly, lifestyle changes such as losing weight, cutting out tobacco and avoiding eating late at night can help. If possible, you could also try to raise the head of your bed to prevent nighttime heartburn.
How to use baking soda
Bicarbonate of soda is characterized by an alkaline pH that can help to relieve heartburn and acid reflux. It comes in a variety of different forms, including tablets, powders, and liquids.
However, the Canadian Society of Intestinal Research reminds us that baking soda is only a temporary solution. As such, if you’re suffering from this condition, be sure to consult with a doctor to find a long-term solution.
Baking soda in tablet form
This form is recommended for relieving occasional symptoms of hyperacidity. In other words, it’s a natural remedy for heartburn. Each medication has its own instructions and restrictions.
However, the regular dose is one tablet (or two, if necessary) completely dissolved in a cup of water (200 ml).
- Drink it an hour after meals or when you start feeling discomfort.
- You shouldn’t take it when your stomach is very full, regardless of whether it’s from food or drink.
- If your symptoms persist or get worse over the course of 14 days, you need to stop taking baking soda and talk to your doctor.
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Baking soda powder
Powdered baking soda can also be used to help combat heartburn when used in small quantities. Dissolving it in a glass of water can quickly help to calm symptoms.
- 1 teaspoon of baking soda powder (5 g)
- 1 cup of water (200 ml)
- First, add a teaspoon of baking soda to a cup of water. Make sure it dissolves and drink it immediately.
- Drink a maximum of two times per day, one or two hours after your meals.
- You shouldn’t ever drink it on a stomach that’s very full or for a prolonged period of time.
While baking soda is an effective remedy, it’s important to know that it does have certain risks. This is especially true if you take it for a prolonged period of time. It’s wise to see your doctor to find out about possible reactions and secondary effects that it can have on your body.