Baking Soda is a Natural Remedy for Heartburn

29 November, 2020
While baking soda can be a quick and easy way to relieve heartburn, it's important not to take too much. In case of acid reflux, it's best to see a doctor.

Did you know you can use baking soda as a natural remedy for 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? We’ll tell you more below.

Can baking soda be used to combat heartburn?

Baking soda shouldn’t be considered a first-choice treatment for acid reflux. Although it’s attributed with effects as an antacid, its use should be done with moderation, in mild and sporadic cases.

To date, there’s no strong evidence to support the use of this ingredient as a treatment for acid reflux or for digestive problems. However, due to its composition and alkaline pH, it’s said to temporarily neutralize excess acid in the stomach.

In other words, it can be an adjuvant to soothe the sourness that comes from too much or irritating food, but it shouldn’t be an option in case of acid reflux. The latter should be addressed by your physician or gastroenterologist and should be addressed with other treatments.

Furthermore, baking soda may not be suitable for people who suffer from 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 by other preventative measures.

Some baking soda foaming because it's being mixed with water.
There’s currently no strong evidence to support the use of sodium bicarbonate as a remedy for acidity. However, it’s believed to be useful in specific cases.

General tips to avoid heartburn

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
  • Sauces
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Chocolate
  • Citrus fruits
  • Spicy food

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 as a natural remedy for heartburn

The Canadian Society of Intestinal Research reminds us that baking soda is only a temporary solution. Its use should be moderate, in mild cases of reflux, since taking it in excess carries some risks. So, how to use it?

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Baking soda in tablet form as a natural remedy for heartburn

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.

  • Drink it an hour after meals or when you start feeling discomfort.
  • 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 as a natural remedy for heartburn

You can also use powdered baking soda to help combat heartburn when used in small quantities. Dissolving it in a glass of water can quickly relieve symptoms.

Some baking soda in a bowl.
Diluting a small amount of baking soda in water is useful against souring. However, it shouldn’t be a remedy for regular use.

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp. of baking soda powder
  • 1 c. of water

Instructions

  • 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

Recommendations

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. In addition, it’s best to avoid it in cases where it’s contraindicated.

Consult your doctor to find out about possible reactions and secondary effects that it can have on your body, especially when you have an underlying disease.

  • Mathews, H. M. L., & Moore, J. (1989). Sodium bicarbonate as a single dose antacid in obstetric anaesthesia. Anaesthesia. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2044.1989.tb11450.x
  • Alecci U, Bonina F, Bonina A, et al. Efficacy and Safety of a Natural Remedy for the Treatment of Gastroesophageal Reflux: A Double-Blinded Randomized-Controlled Study. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2016;2016:2581461. doi:10.1155/2016/2581461
  • Ness-Jensen E, Hveem K, El-Serag H, Lagergren J. Lifestyle Intervention in Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2016;14(2):175–82.e823. doi:10.1016/j.cgh.2015.04.176