Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate, which is an antacid. The many uses of baking soda are based on its alkaline or "acid neutralizing" nature. Based on this innate property, baking soda has been used as a panacea in the treatment and prevention of conditions affecting several body systems. Acid-handling laboratories always ensure replenished stores and quick access to baking soda for use in emergency acid ingestion or contact. Like any other chemical substance, however, several health warnings and controversies surround baking soda. Use caution if drinking baking soda.
Heartburn and Indigestion
Many folks associate drinking baking soda with its laxative and acid-neutralizing property. Drinking baking soda alleviates symptoms of heart burn and indigestion by reversing the acidity associated with these conditions. The same property makes drinking baking soda useful in the treatment of aspirin overdose. Because it is a chemical, however, drinking baking soda for health conditions without medical consultation is not advisable. Use in children without medical advice is particularly dangerous.
Enhancing Sports Performance
Strenuous exercise leads to the buildup of lactic acid with associated muscle pain and fatigue. The longer an athlete can delay lactic acid buildup, the better his performance, especially in situations that require endurance. That's exactly what drinking baking soda does for athletes. Baking soda has been found to be effective in boosting multiple sprint performances by neutralizing lactic acid buildup, thereby delaying muscle pain and fatigue.
Kidney Stone Treament
Your kidneys are sensitive to a delicate balance of ionic constituents and urine acidity. When this balance is disrupted due to derangement in body regulatory functions, serious kidney problems result. If your urine is too acidic, for example, you could be predisposed to forming kidney stones. Drinking baking soda under medical supervision helps to restore the needed balance for health and function. Under such circumstances, doctors simply use baking soda to neutralize the acid in your urine, thereby re-establishing health and function.
Baking Soda Controversies
You've probably seen adverts for baking soda-containing toothpastes being promoted as having superior qualities to regular toothpastes. An April 2001 study reported in "Caries Research" failed to establish any benefits of soda-containing toothpastes over regular toothpastes. The American Dental Association does not recommend direct brushing with baking soda, but it has endorsed toothpastes containing baking soda as an inactive component. Use of baking soda as a mouthwash is also controversial. Baking soda mouthwash has been recommended by the American Dental Association for the relief of vomiting symptoms in cancer patients rather than for the treatment of mouth odor.
Baking soda is a chemical. Please seek medical advice before deciding to start drinking soda. Sportsmen and women also need to seek the advice of their doctors and personal fitness trainers before drinking baking soda for its performance-enhancement properties. Guidelines and clarifications of international sports regulating bodies should also be followed, as the list of allowed and disallowed substances keeps changing. Use in children must be as medically advised.