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Is Sodium Bicarbonate Safe to Drink?

author image Emma Watkins
Emma Watkins writes on finance, fitness and gardening. Her articles and essays have appeared in "Writer's Digest," "The Writer," "From House to Home," "Big Apple Parent" and other online and print venues. Watkins holds a Master of Arts in psychology.
Is Sodium Bicarbonate Safe to Drink?
Baking soda and water is mixed in a small bowl with a spoon. Photo Credit: Russell Sadur/Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images

Although adverse reactions are possible, sodium bicarbonate -- baking soda -- is generally safe to drink to reduce stomach acid, ease gastrointestinal ulcers and to raise the pH of your blood and urine. Take sodium bicarbonate if your doctor diagnoses a condition and prescribes the remedy. Do not use baking soda without medical supervision to reduce the risk of side effects.

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Heartburn Relief

Take sodium bicarbonate as your doctor’s prescription instructs. The general recommendation for heartburn is 1/2 tsp. of baking soda diluted in one glass of water every two hours. That dose is for individuals older than 12 years of age. Your child’s pediatrician has to determine the safe dosage for her if she is younger.

pH Adjustment

When your doctor prescribes baking soda for acidic urine and blood, he also tells you how much of it to take every day. In general, the dose starts at 1 tsp. of sodium bicarbonate mixed in one glass of water daily. If lab results show your fluids remain acidic, your doctor increases the amount of baking soda, not exceeding 4 tsp. daily.


Sodium bicarbonate, as the name indicates, is a salt. If a medical condition limits how much sodium you can eat, baking soda may not be the ideal antacid for you. The substance can also affect the therapeutic properties of other medicines, rendering them ineffective. Taking them two hours from each other can prevent negative interactions. Besides, sodium bicarbonate is for short-term use and not recommended for addressing chronic problems. Certain gastrointestinal symptoms may be related to appendicitis. Do not use sodium bicarbonate until your doctor rules out the inflammation as the cause of your discomfort.

Potential Side Effects

Report to your doctor if you feel different or unwell when you take sodium bicarbonate. She needs to determine whether the substance causes side effects in you and what to do about it. Adverse reactions include headaches, muscle pain and depressed breathing. You may also feel uncharacteristically nervous, tired or moody. In addition, baking soda can induce excessive urination, nausea and loss of appetite. Besides, swollen feet and legs are possible.

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