Limited evidence suggests that there may be a connection between baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, and the formation of blood clots in the body, as baking soda's influence on pH balance inhibits blood clotting. However, as scientific trials on the subject remain extremely limited, ingestion of sodium bicarbonate is not an acknowledged or recommended practice for reducing your chances of blood clots.
Understanding Blood Clots
A blood clot, also known as deep vein thrombosis, occurs when coagulation interferes with the blood flow within a vein, potentially causing swelling, redness, pain and a life-threatening interruption in the normal functioning of the circulatory system. Typically, blood clots form because of extremely sedentary behavior, such as during bed rest following an operation. Other contributing factors may include a hereditary predisposition, extreme obesity, varicose veins or a history of strokes or paralysis.
Baking Soda and pH
Baking soda is highly alkaline, meaning that it has a high pH value, the opposite of an acid. Ingesting baking soda therefore changes the body's internal pH value. Specifically, the pH of an individual's blood spikes within 60 to 90 minutes of consuming baking soda. The most common application of baking soda's effects on pH is evidenced in its use as an antacid. According to limited trials published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, or JAMA, baking soda's unique composition also can reduce the tendency for blood to clot properly. However, as reported in JAMA, the trials were based on samples of human blood and not the blood inside living organisms.
Baking Soda and Anticoagulants
The closest that baking soda comes to serving as a medicine to prevent blood clotting is in its use when combined with aspirin and citric acid as an anticoagulant. The three-part medication is used to reduce the likelihood of blood clotting, but it relies on aspirin to thin the blood, not baking soda. The latter ingredient simply serves as an antacid to neutralize stomach acid and reduce indigestion. MayoClinic.com advises using the medication, which is available without a prescription, only at the suggestion of your doctor. Other anticoagulants, available in both injection and pill form, may be prescribed if you have symptoms of a blood clot. Since anticoagulants thin the blood, they can be dangerous to take if you are going to undergo surgery or already are taking a salicylate-based medication.
Taking Baking Soda: Additional Considerations
Whether you're taking an aspirin- and baking soda-based medication for blood clots or a simple sodium bicarbonate-based antacid, it's inadvisable to ingest the substance if you're pregnant or nursing. Likewise, baking soda should not be administered orally to children ages 2 and under. Excessive intake of baking soda may result in the production of excess carbon dioxide and potential disruption of normal kidney function.
- Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality: Your Guide to Preventing and Treating Blood Clots
- International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance; Time Course of Blood Bicarbonate and pH...; M.J. Prince and M. Singh; 2008
- Journal of the American Medical Association: The Effects of Bicarbonate on Blood Coagulation; D.W. Wong, et al; 1980
- MayoClinic.com: Aspirin, Sodium Bicarbonate and Citric Acid (Oral Route)
- Medical Toxicology: Richard C. Dart