Baking soda is a compound called sodium bicarbonate. Although it's used in baking, drinking it is not necessarily beneficial for your health. It could potentially play a role in treating heartburn and indigestion under the facilitation of a medical professional. Otherwise, it's best not to drink baking soda even in small amounts due to the serious health risks it imposes.
High Sodium Content and No Nutritional Value
Baking soda contains no macronutrients, such as carbs, fat or protein. It's also devoid of micronutrients, except for sodium. Every teaspoon of baking soda contains about 1.3 grams of sodium (7). The Institute of Medicine suggests you need about 1.5 grams of sodium daily, and recommends an upper limit of 2.3 grams. Therefore, having just one teaspoon of baking soda will constitute almost all of your daily recommended intake of sodium. Depending on what else you eat and drink that day, you could be at risk of consuming too much sodium. This would increase your risk of developing high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke (8).
Potential Medicinal Uses
According to the National Institutes of Health, your doctor may prescribe baking soda as an antacid to treat heartburn and indigestion. Baking soda in certain conditions can lower the acidity in your blood and urine, leading to these symptoms and others. Always consult with a doctor before drinking baking soda and follow your doctor's recommended dosage and preparation methods (1).
Dangers of Drinking Baking Soda
According to an article in the "Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology" in 2011, baking soda can cause a serious condition called alkolosis when taken in high doses. Due to its high sodium content it can be especially dangerous for people with kidney and heart problems (2). Side effects people have experienced drinking baking soda include pain and cramping, diarrhea and bloating (4). You could also experience shortness of breath, dry mouth, increased urination and thirstiness (5).
Benefits of Sodium Bicarbonated Water
When sodium bicarbonate is used in mineral water in trace amounts, it can be healthy. In a study published in the "British Journal of Nutrition" in 2005, healthy older women consumed either sodium bicarbonated mineral water or mineral water without sodium bicarbonate while consuming a fattening meal. The scientists found that the sodium bicarbonated mineral water sped up the metabolism of triglycerides in the women compared with the other mineral water. They concluded that sodium bicarbonated water helps reduce spikes in triglyceride levels after eating (3).