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.
- Chronic kidney disease (CKD). Login for details
- Dental plaque. Login for details
- Earwax. Login for details
- Gingivitis. Login for details
- Jellyfish stings. Login for details
- Muscle Strength. Login for details
- Neonatal resuscitation. Login for details
- Tooth discoloration. Login for details
- Ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP). Login for details
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.
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 UNSAFE when 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.
There are no known interactions with medications. Before taking this product, talk with your health professional if you take any medications.
Calcium: High levels of calcium can decrease how well the body gets rid of bicarbonate. Taking sodium bicarbonate and calcium supplements together might cause bicarbonate levels in the blood to become too high. This can lead to a condition called metabolic alkalosis.
Iron: Sodium bicarbonate reduces how much iron the body absorbs. Sodium bicarbonate and iron supplements should be taken separately.
Sodium: Sodium bicarbonate might increase sodium levels in the blood. If taken with other sodium supplements, sodium bicarbonate might cause sodium levels to become too high.
There are no known interactions with foods.
The following doses have been studied in scientific research:
- For athletic performance: 100-400 mg/kg body weight taken 1-3 hours before exercise has been used.
- 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.
Baking Soda, Bicarbonate of Soda, Bread Soda, Cooking Soda, Sodium Hydrogen Carbonate.
Natural Medicines disclaims any responsibility related to medical consequences of using any medical product. Effort is made to ensure that the information contained in this monograph is accurate at the time it was published. Consumers and medical professionals who consult this monograph are cautioned that any medical or product related decision is the sole responsibility of the consumer and/or the health care professional. A legal License Agreement sets limitations on downloading, storing, or printing content from this Database. Except for any possible exceptions written into your License Agreement, no reproduction of this monograph or any content from this Database is permitted without written permission from the publisher. Unlawful to download, store, or distribute content from this site.
For the latest comprehensive data on this and every other natural medicine, health professionals should consult the Professional Version of the Natural Medicines. It is fully referenced and updated daily.
© Copyright 1995-2021. Therapeutic Research Faculty, publishers of Natural Medicines, Prescriber's Letter, and Pharmacist's Letter. All rights reserved.