Dr. Joseph Mercola,
Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate or NaHCO3), popularized by Arm & Hammer more than 150 years ago, is a staple in many homes for baking and cleaning purposes, but this inexpensive ingredient also has a number of medicinal uses and benefits. It rates right up there with hydrogen peroxide as one of the most inexpensive and safe health tools around, so it makes sense to learn all you can about the many uses of baking soda.
It’s commonly known to have alkalinizing, antacid and electrolyte replacement properties.1 When taken internally, baking soda is thought to raise the pH of your blood. This appears to be the basic premise behind its recommended use against colds and influenza symptoms, recounted in a 1924 Arm & Hammer booklet on the medical uses of baking soda.2,3
Long-distance runners have also engaged in a practice known as “soda doping” — taking baking soda capsules — before races to enhance performance — a measure thought to work similarly to carbohydrate loading. In this case, by increasing the pH of your blood, this practice is thought to offset the acidity produced in muscles during intense activity. While I do not suggest or recommend you try this at home, use of baking soda has also been shown to improve speed among swimmers.4
Research5 has also shown drinking baking soda solution can help pregnant women who are having a slow or difficult labor to avoid C-sections in about 20 percent of cases by neutralizing acid in their womb. This could spell the difference between life and death in developing countries and/or instances where C-section is not an option.
Baking Soda May Be An Inexpensive Treatment For Autoimmune Diseases
Most recently, research funded by the National Institutes of Health suggests baking soda may be an effective treatment adjunct for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and other autoimmune diseases. According to this study,6,7 led by renal physiologist Paul O’Connor and published in The Journal of Immunology, drinking a solution of water and baking soda appears to prime your immune system against inflammation.
Although this study suggests some benefits from baking soda for rheumatoid arthritis, there are far more fundamental approaches that should be tried before this as detailed in “Inspiring Account of How to Put Rheumatoid Arthritis Into Remission.” Additionally, one could avoid lectins for autoimmune diseases like RA.
The theory was initially tested on rats, and later in human subjects. According to O’Connor, baking soda may indeed be “a really safe way to treat inflammatory disease,”8 including arthritis. As reported by Medical News Today:9
“Their experiments tell a complex story about how this salt provides a signal to a special kind of cell called ‘mesothelial cells,’ telling them that the body is fine and not under attack, rendering an aggressive immune system unnecessary. Thus, harmful autoimmune responses are averted. Mesothelial cells line the internal organs as well as many different cavities in the body…
Basically, in O’Connor words, mesothelial cells learn that ‘[i]t’s most likely a hamburger not a bacterial infection.’ So they, in turn, do not activate the spleen’s ‘army’ of macrophages, or white blood cells tasked with clearing up potentially harmful cellular detritus. ‘Certainly, drinking bicarbonate affects the spleen and we think it’s through the mesothelial cells,’ O’Connor explains.”
Baking Soda Alters Immune Cell Activation, Triggering Anti-Inflammatory Response
Mesothelial cells are found in your blood and kidneys, and baking soda is already used in the treatment of chronic kidney disease. It was this that led the researchers to explore the mechanisms by which baking soda benefits renal function, slowing the progression of kidney disease. It was during this investigation they noticed that baking soda shifted the balance of immune cells in the kidneys, boosting anti-inflammatory immune cells while simultaneously decreasing inflammatory cells.
Further tests revealed baking soda has the same anti-inflammatory effect on blood and spleen as well. But how does it do this? Mesothelial cells, which line your internal organs, communicate with the organ in question via microvilli that emit a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine, and this appears to be an important part of the equation.
A previous hypothesis suggested the anti-inflammatory signals were being transmitted through the vagus nerve, which connects your gut, brain and other organs. Experiments revealed this idea did not hold true. Even when the vagus nerve was completely severed, it did not suppress the anti-inflammatory signaling of the mesothelial cells.
Eventually, they realized the inflammatory response is being mediated via acetylcholine signals through the microvilli connecting the mesothelial cells and the organ they line. The anti-inflammatory response triggered by drinking baking soda-infused water was found to continue for a minimum of four hours. As explained by the authors:
“Following oral NaHCO3 loading, macrophage polarization was shifted from predominantly M1 (inflammatory) to M2 (regulatory) phenotypes, and FOXP3+CD4+ T-lymphocytes increased in the spleen, blood, and kidneys of rats. Similar anti-inflammatory changes in macrophage polarization were observed in the blood of human subjects…
Our data indicate that oral NaHCO3 activates a splenic anti-inflammatory pathway and provides evidence that the signals that mediate this response are transmitted to the spleen via a novel neuronal-like function of mesothelial cells.”
Conventional Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment Is Fraught With Health Hazards
Considering the devastating side effects inherent with rheumatoid arthritis drugs, the idea that something as safe and inexpensive as baking soda water may alleviate the inflammation driving this and other autoimmune diseases is as welcome as it is intriguing. Indeed, the drugs commonly prescribed for rheumatoid arthritis are among the most dangerous on the market.
These include prednisone, TNF-alpha inhibitors (sold under brand names such as Humira, Enbrel and Remicade. Side effects of these drugs include infection and an increased risk for cancer), and harsh anticancer drugs like methotrexate. Chronic use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and analgesics like Tylenol can also result in life-threatening liver and/or kidney damage.
Acetaminophen is actually the No. 1 cause of acute liver failure in the U.S. It’s tragic that conventional medicine doesn’t promote lifestyle changes before drugs for arthritis as, in my own practice, about 80 percent of my arthritic patients were able to achieve significant improvement or complete remission simply by following my nutritional and lifestyle recommendations.
In 2015, I interviewed a former patient of mine, Sarah Allen, about her successful remission. You can review that interview, and a summary of the most important lifestyle changes required to control this condition, in “Inspiring Account of How to Put Rheumatoid Arthritis Into Remission,” hyperlinked earlier.
Other Medicinal Uses for Baking Soda
In addition to the examples given at the beginning of this article, baking soda can also be beneficial for a number of other conditions and ailments, including the following. Keep in mind, you do not need to seek out aluminum-free baking soda, as all baking soda is aluminum-free. The aluminum issue is related to baking powder, some brands of which may contain aluminum sulphate.10
Facilitate splinter removal
Add 1 tablespoon of baking soda to a small glass of water, then soak the affected area twice a day. Many splinters will come out on their own after a couple of days of this treatment.
Add one-half cup of baking soda to lukewarm bathwater, then soak in the tub for natural relief. For added relief, let your skin air dry rather than toweling off the excess baking soda. You can also add a mixture of baking soda and water to a cool compress and apply it to the sunburn directly.
If you want to avoid the parabens and aluminum found in many deodorants and antiperspirants, try a pinch of baking soda mixed with water instead. This simple paste makes an effective and simple natural deodorant.
For an effective tooth and gum paste, use a mixture of six parts baking soda to one part sea salt. Place them in a blender and mix for 30 seconds, then place in a container to use. Wet the tip of your index finger and place a small amount of the salt and soda mixture on your gums. Starting with the upper outside gums and then the inside of the upper, followed by the lower outside of the gums then the lower inside, rub the mixture onto your teeth and gums.
Spit out the excess. After 15 minutes rinse your mouth. This mixture is incredibly effective at killing bacteria. For a natural way to whiten your teeth, crush one ripe strawberry and mix it with one-half teaspoon of baking soda. Spread the mixture onto your teeth and leave on for five minutes. Then brush your teeth as usual and rinse. This method should be used no more than once a week, as excessive use could potentially damage your tooth enamel.
Relieve itchy rashes
Apply a paste made of baking soda and water to insect bites to help relieve itching. You can also try rubbing the dry powder onto your skin. This is also effective for itchy rashes and poison ivy.
Soothe aching feet
Add 3 tablespoons of baking soda to a tub of warm water for an invigorating foot soak.
Natural exfoliator and skin scrub
A paste made from three parts baking soda to one part water can be used as an exfoliator for your face and body. It’s natural, inexpensive and gentle enough to use every day.
Baking soda and apple cider make a wonderful spa-like bath for soaking away aches and pains and detoxing. As a bonus, it also cleans the tub and drain.
Sources and References
1 National Center for Biotechnology Information. PubChem Compound Database; CID=516892
2 Arm & Hammer Booklet on Therapeutic Uses of Baking Soda (1924)
3 Baking Soda Uses in Daily Health (PDF)
4 Int J Sports Med. 2008 Jun;29(6):519-23
5 Eurasia Review January 28, 2018
6 Journal of Immunology April 16, 2018, ji1701605
7 Eurekalert April 25, 2018
8, 9 Medical News Today April 26, 2018
10 Montreal Gazette June 3, 2016
Baking soda — also known as sodium bicarbonate — appears to tell the body to calm down its autoimmune response. Instead, it helps to strengthen the anti-inflammatory response. So, cells from the spleen and stomach can tell a faulty immune system that there's likely no need to turn itself on, only to attack.
Summary: A daily dose of baking soda may help reduce the destructive inflammation of autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, scientists say.
Baking soda may lower acidity in your mouth and stomach, fight body odor, improve kidney function, and alter autoimmune activity. If you want to try it, start slowly with low doses. Then gradually work up to 1/4 teaspoon a day, in 20 ounces of water. Watch for side effects.
A recent study in the Journal of Immunologyfound drinking a tonic of baking soda and water may help reduce inflammation.
Drinking small amounts of baking soda is not usually dangerous. In adults, this can provide short-term relief from indigestion. However, drinking large amounts of baking soda is dangerous, and it is not suitable for long-term use, use during pregnancy, or use in children.
If you're prone to tummy woes or just want to boost your general health, Brandon advises dissolving a teaspoon of baking soda in an eight-ounce glass of water every morning "to help maintain a healthy pH balance throughout the digestive system for optimal digestion, minimized acid reflux, and healthy bowel functioning. ...
In addition, baking soda has a variety of health benefits. For example, it may alleviate heartburn, boost exercise performance, and even whiten your teeth.
- Eat more plants. Whole plant foods have the anti-inflammatory nutrients that your body needs. ...
- Focus on antioxidants. They help prevent, delay or repair some types of cell and tissue damage. ...
- Get your Omega-3s. ...
- Eat less red meat. ...
- Cut the processed stuff.
All you need is half teaspoon of baking soda and a glass of water, which is about 200 millilitres. Mix both the ingredients and drink once in a day or as the doctor suggest. Do not drink it daily or if you must, make sure it is done under supervision.
Some beverages that have shown to reduce markers of inflammation include: Coffee. Fruit/vegetable concentrates (100% orange juice, pomegranate juice, tomato juice, blackcurrant juice, tart cherry juice, cranberry juice, mandarin juice, red orange juice, 100% Concord grape juice, beet juice) Green tea.
Tea is one of the best beverages for arthritis patients due to its many health benefits. Green, black and white teas are all rich in anti-inflammatory compounds like polyphenols. Green tea is generally viewed as the most beneficial because of its active ingredient “epigallocatechin-3-gallate” or EGCG.
A 1/8 teaspoon of baking soda in 1 quart of water will make even the more acidic water alkaline. A pinch of Celtic sea salt or Himalayan pink salt in a glass of water helps nourish adrenal fatiguesufferers and boost alkalinity. Enjoy organic herbal teas such as rooibos, peppermint, ginger, lemongrass, and nettle.
High blood pressure: Sodium bicarbonate might increase blood pressure. People who already have high blood pressure should avoid sodium bicarbonate.
We found that sodium bicarbonate did not improve physical function or quality of life compared with placebo. Sodium bicarbonate also did not improve kidney function, bone health or blood vessel health compared with placebo.
Use natural alternatives whenever possible to help your liver. Good non-toxic cleaning products include sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), and ordinary white vinegar.
Apple cider vinegar may protect against viruses and bacteria, improve blood sugar levels, and help you lose weight. Meanwhile, baking soda may strengthen your teeth, improve exercise performance, and perhaps even protect you from certain diseases.
Early after an ingestion of too much baking soda, vomiting and diarrhea are common as the body tries to correct the high sodium concentration by pulling more water into the digestive tract. After absorption, high sodium concentrations can cause seizures, dehydration, and kidney failure.
But here's the thing: That baking soda might cause even more bloating in the short-term (its byproduct, again, is carbon dioxide—so you'll burp it out eventually). So uh, while baking soda might help your stomach feel better, it definitely won't help you lose weight.
You can use it to: Calm indigestion: Add 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda to a glass of water to zap acid in your stomach. But acid doesn't cause all kinds of indigestion, so if your symptoms don't improve after 2 weeks, call your doctor. Don't take baking soda within 2 hours of other medications.
What is the strongest anti-inflammatory medication? Research shows diclofenac is the strongest and most effective non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicine available. 10 Diclofenec is sold under the prescription brand names Cambia, Cataflam, Zipsor, and Zorvolex.
Vitamin C. Vitamin C, like vitamin D, is an essential vitamin that plays a huge role in immunity and inflammation. It's a powerful antioxidant, so it can reduce inflammation by neutralizing free radicals that cause oxidative damage to your cells ( 55 ).
- Berries. From strawberries and blackberries to cranberries and blueberries, these gemlike fruits are particularly potent in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity. ...
- Apples. ...
- Stone fruits. ...
- Grapes. ...
- Citrus. ...
- Pomegranates. ...
- Image: Kwangmoozaa/Getty Images.
The alkaline substance, more commonly known as baking soda, has been given to heart attack victims to prevent lactic acidosis, a build-up of damaging acids in the blood. But the researchers found that solutions of the sodium bicarbonate worsened heart and liver functions in patients.
The first involves diluting 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda in 1–2 cups (240–480 mL) of water and drinking this concoction on an empty stomach whenever it's most convenient during the day. The second requires mixing 1 teaspoon of baking soda with 2 tablespoons (30 mL) of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice.
Green tea is one of the best drinks to avoid back pain, according to Orthopaedic Surgeon, Dr Branko Prpa. It's a natural anti-inflammatory, and along with its other numerous health benefits, could prevent one of the key causes of back pain - inflammation, he said.
Curcumin is the active chemical in turmeric root; it blocks inflammatory cytokines and enzymes in two inflammatory pathways. Several human trials have shown an anti-inflammatory benefit, which can translate to reduced joint pain and swelling. The yellow spice is popular in curries and other Indian dishes.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids. ...
- Vitamin D. ...
- Turmeric. ...
- Ginger Root Extract. ...
- Fruits, Vegetables and Whole Grains. Fruits, veggies and whole grains, as part of a healthy diet, fight inflammation naturally and can also help control your weight.
Indian frankincense is an Ayurvedic remedy that can be purchased over the counter in capsule form. It can prevent the production of inflammatory substances in the joints.
- Tea. Tea is one of the most-studied drinks when it comes to its benefits for arthritis patients. ...
- Coffee. Research shows coffee also has antioxidant polyphenols. ...
- Milk. ...
- Juices. ...
- Smoothies. ...
- Alcohol. ...
Herbal supplements such as evening primrose and valerian may help ease aching joints. Evening primrose is an oil containing high levels of omega-6 fatty acids. It may help to decrease pain and inflammation and reduce morning stiffness. Valerian is an herbal supplement from the roots of the valerian plant.
Infusions and Teas
Willow bark and ginger are two teas used for arthritis because of their anti-inflammatory properties. To get the dose right using loose herbs, you can consult with an herbalist or a traditional Chinese medicine physician.
Mixing baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and vinegar (acetic acid) causes a chemical reaction that produces a salt (sodium acetate) and water, as well as carbon dioxide gas.
Baking Soda and Vinegar Science Experiments - YouTube
What Other Drugs Interact with Sodium Bicarbonate?
- aspirin rectal.
- aspirin/citric acid/sodium bicarbonate.
- blessed thistle.
- choline magnesium trisalicylate.
- devil's claw.
Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, naturally relieves problems associated with too much stomach acid, such as sour stomach, heartburn and indigestion. Additionally, it alkalizes bodily fluids, including the blood and urine.
- Take a warm bath or shower. Stay in your shower or bath for at least 15 minutes and enjoy the warm water. ...
- Do a breathing exercise. Take a deep breath from your core, hold your breath for about two seconds, then slowly exhale. ...
Use nutrients such as fish oil, vitamin C, vitamin D, and probiotics to help calm your immune response naturally. Exercise regularly — it's a natural anti-inflammatory. Practice deep relaxation like yoga, deep breathing, biofeedback, or massage, because stress worsens the immune response.
There are no cures for autoimmune diseases, but symptoms can be managed. Everyone's immune system, genetics and environment are different. That means that your treatment must be unique.
Autoimmune disorders in general cannot be cured, but the condition can be controlled in many cases. Historically, treatments include: anti-inflammatory drugs – to reduce inflammation and pain. corticosteroids – to reduce inflammation.
Eating a well-balanced diet and getting regular exercise may also help you feel better. BOTTOM LINE: The main treatment for autoimmune diseases is with medications that bring down inflammation and calm the overactive immune response. Treatments can also help relieve symptoms.
Sarsaparilla and yarrow are commonly thought to treat autoimmune symptoms by purifying the blood and reducing joint and muscle inflammation. Sarsaparilla has been used all over the world as a folk remedy for gout, arthritis, fevers, digestive disorders, psoriasis and other skin diseases.
Vitamin D and marine derived, long chain omega 3 fatty acids are two nutritional supplements investigated as potential autoimmune disease treatments. In vitro, the lipid soluble active form of vitamin D (1,25-hydroxyvitamin D) regulates genes involved in inflammation and acquired and innate immune responses.
In a new study, investigators from Brigham and Women's Hospital found the people who took vitamin D, or vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, had a significantly lower rate of autoimmune diseases — such as rheumatoid arthritis, polymyalgia rheumatica, autoimmune thyroid disease, and psoriasis — than people who took a ...
The exact cause of autoimmune disorders is unknown. One theory is that some microorganisms (such as bacteria or viruses) or drugs may trigger changes that confuse the immune system. This may happen more often in people who have genes that make them more prone to autoimmune disorders.
US and UK stand out with higher disease prevalence of two autoimmune diseases. Autoimmune diseases occur when a body's immune system attacks its own healthy cells.
- High-fiber whole grains.
- Monounsaturated fats (avocados, olive oil, nuts, nut butters, seeds)
- Polyunsaturated omega-3 fats (walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds, and aquatic foods including salmon, herring, sardines, mackerel)
Avoid high doses of vitamin C, beta carotene, cat's claw, echinacea and ginseng, among others. Why add fuel to the fire? Doing so may cause you to slip out of remission and into more misery.
- Joint pain and swelling.
- Skin problems.
- Abdominal pain or digestive issues.
- Recurring fever.
- Swollen glands.
The antinuclear antibody test, anticardiolipin test, anticentromere test, etc. are often used to detect the presence of autoantibodies, which are basically the markers for various autoimmune diseases.
Some people with mild forms of autoimmune arthritis can benefit from taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. These include ibuprofen (Advil) and naproxen (Aleve). For other types of arthritis, a doctor may prescribe medications called disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs).
The Johns Hopkins Hospital is ranked #1 in the nation for Rheumatology, according to U.S. News & World Report's 2022–23 Best Hospitals list.