Tonic Water & Club Soda for an Upset Stomach

Indigestion is an experience familiar to most people. It can have a variety of causes and symptoms, but overall "indigestion" is a catchall term for gastric discomfort after eating. It can take the form of an uncomfortably full sensation, a sharp cramp or the burning acidic sensation of heartburn. Regardless of the cause or symptoms, a few basic home remedies may provide relief. The best soda for an upset stomach could be club soda or seltzer water.

Sometimes, just some club soda or seltzer water is all that's needed to calm an upset stomach. (Image: Mindstyle/iStock/GettyImages)

Tip

Drink club soda and seltzer water for an upset stomach. It can actually help you feel better and also help to rehydrate you.

What Is Indigestion?

Many ailments or malfunctions of the digestive system produce the symptoms recognized as indigestion. These include peptic ulcers, problems of the pancreas or bile duct, some forms of cancer and gastroesophogeal reflux disease or GERD. It can also be provoked by more innocuous causes, including spicy or acidic foods.

Ordinarily indigestion will go away on its own over time or can be treated with commercial antacids or home remedies. See your doctor immediately if your indigestion continues to get worse, especially if you experience frequent vomiting or blood in your vomit.

About Club Soda

Club soda, is carbonated water that has alkaline substances added to neutralize its acidity and to mimic the flavors of natural mineral water. These can include potassium sulfate, sodium chloride, sodium phosphate, and sodium bicarbonate. Carbon dioxide is also added.

Club soda is manufactured from the regular tap water available at the bottler's location. The manufacturer adds sodium bicarbonate to the water to make it faintly alkaline and adds carbon dioxide gas under pressure to create the carbonated "fizz," or bubbles. This works in two different ways to reduce the effects of indigestion. First, the carbon dioxide gas encourages burping, which can help relieve pressure or a painfully full sensation in the stomach. Second, the sodium bicarbonate — also known as baking soda — helps neutralize excess stomach acid.

A September 2002 study in the European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology that remains the gold standard of studies of the effect of sparkling water on stomach pain, cited by BBC Future in 2015, found that carbonated water, such as that found in club soda, can soothe an upset stomach, cited by the in 2015. MyelomaCrowd, Crowdcare Foundation, recommends club soda for nausea caused by chemotherapy.

Seltzer water is also carbonated, so you get that fizzy taste, but it does not have added minerals. It is sometimes bottled from carbonated water that occurs naturally. It tastes more like water, and has no added sodium. It has similar benefits to soda water, however, and is also slightly acidic. If you're looking for that fizzy taste, but don't want the added sodium in club soda, seltzer water is a good alternative.

Tonic Water Benefits — or Not

Tonic water contains several more ingredients than soda water, including sweeteners and flavorings. Manufacturers use these to counteract the famously bitter flavor of its active ingredient, quinine. Quinine is an alkaloid refined from the chinchona tree, a shrub native to Peru and Bolivia. It has been used to treat malaria and many other conditions, and that is the

Small doses of quinine found in tonic water have long been used as a home treatment for indigestion and muscle cramps. The evidence of its ability to help isn't there either, however. Tonic water side effects include nausea, stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting.

More About Carbonated Water

Many people who experience indigestion on a regular or semi-regular basis are also affected by constipation. A 2002 Italian study reported in the European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology found that test subjects who drank carbonated water experienced relief from both indigestion and constipation, compared to a control group drinking still water.

Drinking more water is always healthier. If drinking soda water or seltzer water helps you to increase your daily fluid level, then these are good options for you. Tonic water benefits, however, haven't been shown for either an upset stomach or as a strategy to increase your fluid intake. The sugar in tonic water makes it higher in calories, and its effectiveness against stomach upset is not proven. It's fine as the occasional mixer in a drink, however.

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