Heartburn and acid reflux both have one thing in common -- stomach pain. Excess stomach acid is the culprit behind the discomfort, oftentimes requiring a neutralizer to relieve the symptoms. Baking soda is an age-old neutralizing remedy that may help quell your pain.
Why Baking Soda?
The scientific name for baking soda is sodium bicarbonate, or NaHCO3. A salt compound, baking soda has base properties and a pH of 8.4, which makes it an excellent component for some antacids. According to Elmhurst College, antacids such as baking soda reduce excess amounts of hydrochloric acid in the gut. The combination of stomach acid and baking soda base creates a chemical reaction that has a neutralizing effect on the acid, easing stomach pain.
Several types of antacids on the market contain baking soda. Others contain calcium carbonate or aluminum bases. Used as directed, each may be equally effective. Those who prefer to bypass the pharmaceutical amount ingest the baking soda itself to find relief. According to Mayo Clinic, dissolving 1 to 2 ½ teaspoons of baking soda in a glass of cold water may bring relief to adults. The adult dose of baking soda should not exceed 5 teaspoons per day.
If you have persistent stomach pain, it may warrant an x-ray -- electromagnetic radiation -- to determine the precise cause of your symptoms. This is especially true if your physician suspects blockages, ulcer or hiatal hernia as the source. According to New York University’s Langone Medical Center, baking soda may be utilized during the x-ray testing procedure. The ingestion of baking soda increases gases in the abdomen, improving x-ray images.
Talk to Your Physician
The oral ingestion of baking soda does not cure any conditions associated with stomach pain, nor is it a remedy that is safe for everyone. Before taking baking soda to relieve your stomach pain, check with your physician. Since baking soda is a sodium salt, New York University’s Langone Medical Center recommends avoiding its use as an antacid if you have high blood pressure or follow a salt-restricted diet. Your physician may have a more suitable prescription or over-the-counter remedy to ease your stomach woes.
- Elmhurst College, Virtual Chembook; Neutralization Reaction -- Acids and Bases; Charles E. Ophardt; 2003
- Mayo Clinic: Sodium Bicarbonate
- New York University’s Langone Medical Center; Upper Gastrointestinal Series; September 2010
- New York University’s Langone Medical Center; Nonprescription Medicines and Products; Caroline Rea; May 2008