SODIUM BICARBONATE

OTHER NAME(S):

Baking Soda, Bicarbonate of Soda, Bread Soda, Cooking Soda, Sodium Hydrogen Carbonate.

Overview

Overview Information

Sodium bicarbonate is a salt that breaks down to form sodium and bicarbonate in water. This breakdown makes a solution alkaline, meaning it is able to neutralize acid. Because of this, sodium bicarbonate is often used to treat conditions caused by high acidity in the body, such as heartburn.

People use sodium bicarbonate for athletic performance, kidney damage caused by contrast dyes (contrast induced nephropathy), indigestion (dyspepsia), stomach ulcers, dental plaque, tooth discoloration, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

People also use sodium bicarbonate, or baking soda, as an ingredient in baking.

How does it work?

Sodium bicarbonate is a salt that breaks down in fluids, including blood and urine, to form sodium and bicarbonate. This breakdown buffers the blood and makes it less acidic. This ability to neutralize acid helps treat conditions related to high acidity in bodily fluids, such as indigestion, which is caused by too much acid in the stomach.

Uses

Uses & Effectiveness?

Possibly Effective for

  • Athletic performance. Research suggests that taking sodium bicarbonate by mouth 1-2 hours before short-term, high-intensity exercise improves power during exercise in trained men. Other research shows that taking sodium bicarbonate by mouth up to 3 hours before short-term, high-intensity exercise improves performance. However, taking sodium bicarbonate does not appear to improve performance in females or non-athletes. Also, it does not appear to improve performance during exercises that last longer than 10 minutes.
  • Kidney damage caused by contrast dyes (contrast induced nephropathy). Some research suggests that injecting sodium bicarbonate intravenously (by IV) before using contrast dyes during scans can reduce the risk of kidney damage. But it might not work better than other options.

Possibly Ineffective for

  • Tissue damage caused when there is limited blood flow and then blood flow is restored (ischemia-reperfusion injury). Clinical research shows that giving sodium bicarbonate intravenously (by IV) does not prevent kidney problems in people who have had heart surgery.

Insufficient Evidence for

  • Long-term kidney disease (chronic kidney disease or CKD). Early research shows that taking sodium bicarbonate by mouth three times daily for 12 months improves nutrition status and reduces the amount of time that people with CKD spend in the hospital. However, other research shows that increasing the amount of sodium bicarbonate that is used in standard prescription dialysis does not benefit people with kidney disease.
  • Tooth plaque. Brushing teeth with toothpaste containing sodium bicarbonate daily for up to 4 weeks might remove plaque better than using a toothpaste without sodium bicarbonate. However, research is limited. It is not clear that sodium bicarbonate-containing toothpastes are more effective when used for a long time. Also, it is not clear if sodium bicarbonate helps prevent plaque when used in a rinse.
  • Earwax. Early research shows that using sodium bicarbonate ear drops twice daily for 5 days before ear cleaning helps clean the ears better than no treatment. However, sodium bicarbonate might make earwax removal more difficult than some other earwax softening products.
  • A mild form of gum disease (gingivitis). Early research shows that using a toothpaste containing sodium bicarbonate helps to reduce swelling and bleeding of the gums.
  • Jellyfish stings. Early research shows that putting a paste made with sodium bicarbonate on a jellyfish sting does not reduce pain.
  • Reviving newborns that have stopped breathing. Early research shows that injecting sodium bicarbonate intravenously (by IV) for 3-5 minutes does not improve survival or reduce the risk of brain damage in newborns that are unable to breathe.
  • Tooth discoloration. Using a toothpaste containing sodium bicarbonate might help with teeth whitening. But it doesn't seem to remove stains caused by a product called chlorhexidine.
  • Pneumonia in people on breathing machines in the hospital. People who are on breathing machines have a higher risk of getting pneumonia. Early research shows that using a mouthwash containing sodium bicarbonate doesn't protect against getting pneumonia.
  • Chemical burns.
  • Eczema.
  • High levels of potassium in the blood (hyperkalemia).
  • Indigestion (dyspepsia).
  • Infertility.
  • Inflammation in the mucous membranes lining the digestive tract.
  • Insect bites or stings.
  • Itchy skin (pruritus).
  • Poison oak and poison ivy.
  • Scaly, itchy skin (psoriasis).
  • Stomach ulcers.
  • Urinary stones.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate sodium bicarbonate for these uses.

Side Effects

Side Effects & Safety

When taken by mouth: Sodium bicarbonate is LIKELY SAFE when taken appropriately, short-term. Over-the-counter antacid products containing sodium bicarbonate are considered safe and effective by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA suggests a maximum daily dosage of 200 mEq sodium and 200 mEq bicarbonate in people up to 60 years old, and maximum daily dosage of 100 mEq sodium and 100 mEq bicarbonate in people over 60 years old for up to 2 weeks.

Taking sodium bicarbonate by mouth in high doses is POSSIBLY UNSAFE. Complications including stomach rupture and serious changes in electrolyte levels have been reported following long-term or excessive use of sodium bicarbonate.

When given by IV: Sodium bicarbonate is LIKELY SAFE when administered intravenously by a healthcare provider.

When applied to the skin: There isn't enough reliable information to know if sodium bicarbonate is safe to use or what the side effects might be.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Sodium bicarbonate is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth or used intravenously (by IV) during pregnancy. There is some concern that it might increase the risk of water retention or pH imbalances in the tissues. There isn't enough reliable information to know if sodium bicarbonate is safe to take if you are breast feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Children: Sodium bicarbonate is POSSIBLY SAFE when used by IV under appropriate medical supervision in infants and children. Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) is POSSIBLY UNSAFEwhen applied to the skin, as there have been reports of high sodium blood levels in children following use. There isn't enough reliable information to know if sodium bicarbonate is safe to take by mouth in children. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Diabetic ketoacidosis: Sodium bicarbonate increases blood acids called ketones, which are associated with a diabetes complication in which blood acid levels are too high. People with this condition should avoid sodium bicarbonate.

Swelling (edema): Because sodium bicarbonate contains sodium, it can increase the risk of swelling caused by excess fluids in the body. People with heart failure, liver disease, or other conditions associated with fluid build-up should use sodium bicarbonate with caution.

High calcium levels in the blood: People with high calcium levels in the blood can have trouble excreting bicarbonate. Therefore, using sodium bicarbonate might increase the risk of complications such as milk-alkali syndrome.

High sodium levels in the blood: Sodium bicarbonate might increase sodium levels in the blood. People who already have high levels of sodium in the blood should avoid sodium bicarbonate.

High blood pressure: Sodium bicarbonate might increase blood pressure. People who already have high blood pressure should avoid sodium bicarbonate.

Low potassium levels in the blood: Sodium bicarbonate might lower potassium blood levels. People who already have low levels of potassium should avoid sodium bicarbonate.

Iron deficiency: Sodium bicarbonate decreases how much iron the body absorbs. People with iron deficiency should take sodium bicarbonate and iron supplements separately.

Interactions

Interactions?

We currently have no information for SODIUM BICARBONATE Interactions.

Dosing

Dosing

The following doses have been studied in scientific research:

ADULT

BY MOUTH:
  • For athletic performance: 100-400 mg/kg body weight taken 1-3 hours before exercise has been used.
BY IV OR SHOT:
  • For kidney damage caused by contrast dyes (contrast induced nephropathy): A sodium bicarbonate solution has been administered by a healthcare provider before and after cardiac angiography.

View References

REFERENCES:

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