The Dangers of Using Baking Soda

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 08/31/2023

Baking soda may be helpful in many ways, but sodium bicarbonate hazards also exist. Learn more about what they are and how baking soda can affect acidity in your stomach.

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In this article:

  1. People May Get Relief from Using Baking Soda
  2. What Is the Function of the Stomach?
  3. Stomach pH and Acidity
  4. Why Does Acid Reflux Occur?
  5. Bicarbonates Alkalize the Small Intestine
  6. Sodium Bicarbonate Hazards
  7. How to Deal with Acid Reflux

What You Should Know About Sodium Bicarbonate Hazards


People May Get Relief from Using Baking Soda

The first thing I want to say about sodium bicarbonate hazards is I do realize a lot of people get relief when they take baking soda. It greatly helps with their acid reflux, for example, and I'm not denying that. But, I want to say it comes with a package so just hear me out.


What Is the Function of the Stomach?

Intestinal lining | The Dangers Of Using Baking Soda: Sodium Bicarbonate Hazards

I want to discuss the function of the stomach first before we go deeper into sodium bicarbonate side effects and acid reflux. The stomach helps you digest proteins, absorb minerals, and kill pathogens, unfriendly microbes. It also functions to produce and make acid, and the acidity level of the stomach normally should be between 1 and 3. When the pH level of your stomach starts to go up, higher than 3, you may experience conditions like acid reflux.


Stomach pH and Acidity

If we look at the pH scale of your body, 7 is the neutral pH, and anything that goes down from that point is more acidic. Anything that goes up is more alkaline. The thing you need to know is the gap between one pH to another is ten times more acidic if you try to go down the scale. For example, from pH 6 going down to pH 5 is ten times more acidic. This means you'll get 10 times more acidic as you go down the scale, so a pH between 1 and 3 is extremely acidic. You need to maintain these scales for the proper function of your stomach.


Why Does Acid Reflux Occur?

Young woman with hands on stomach | The Dangers Of Using Baking Soda: Sodium Bicarbonate Hazards

The stomach normally should be extremely acid, but baking soda is 9, which is pretty alkaline. So, the question is why would someone get acid reflux, in the first place? It happens when you lose your stomach acid primarily because of various reasons, such as chronic stress and vitamin deficiency. When it starts going up to 4 and above, the valve over your stomach does not close correctly, which leads you to a condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). This lets acid reflux up that way.

GERD Definition: A digestive disorder where stomach acid frequently goes back up into the tube that connects the stomach and mouth, which causes irritation on the esophagus lining.

I used to do a test on my clients where they would swallow a capsule with a string, and it would go right down their stomach. I have them lay on their right side for about 15 minutes, and then I pull up the string and measure their pH. Many people would have a pH of 4, 5, or sometimes, 6. These are individuals with acid reflux. This condition is not about having too much acid, but it's about losing the acidity in the stomach. I am not talking about ulcer or gastritis, but I am just referring to acid reflux.

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Bicarbonates Alkalize the Small Intestine

The pancreas normally creates and releases certain bicarbonates. This alkalizes acid coming down into the small intestine. We don't want the strong acid going down into the small intestine. The small intestine should be alkaline. These bicarbonates were never designed to go back up into the stomach, which is what happens when acid reflux occurs. The stomach needs to be acidic to be healthy.


Sodium Bicarbonate Hazards

One of the sodium bicarbonate hazards is it can alkalize your stomach. Baking soda for acid reflux creates a lot of problems with protein digestion, mineral absorption, and the ability to kill pathogens. These pathogens can go down into your digestive system and create other problems.

You also suffer from a depletion of your potassium reserve and a decrease in your chloride levels. Your body needs these to build hydrochloric acid in your stomach for digestion. You also have high levels of sodium, which can lead to health issues like muscle twitching. We only need all of these minerals in the correct ratios.

Hydrochloric Acid Definition: A type of acid in the stomach that aids your body in absorbing, digesting, and breaking down nutrients.

If you want to use baking soda in your toothpaste, for example, that's totally fine topically. If you are going to take it orally, just make sure it's short term and not over a long period. This saves you from experiencing sodium bicarbonate hazards.


How to Deal with Acid Reflux

Bottle of apple organic vinegar | The Dangers Of Using Baking Soda: Sodium Bicarbonate Hazards

When you take baking soda, you are going to feel better temporarily, but you're only patching things up. It's going to eventually get worse because you're taking the acid out of the situation. You are not adding the acid back in.

What you should be doing is adding apple cider vinegar to help you with baking soda exposure controls because it's very effective. You can take a teaspoon of the vinegar and dilute it with water or add honey to taste. This helps neutralize stomach acidity, balancing the pH level in your stomach.

You can also take betaine hydrochloride to help build up the acid. Check the label first on how to consume the supplement or seek advice from your physician if you opt for this. That helps correct acid reflux way more than baking soda will for the long term.

Betaine Hydrochloride Definition: An acidic form of betaine that can aid in providing hydrochloric acid for people with low stomach acid production.

You may experience sodium bicarbonate hazards if you take the chemical compound internally for a long period. To avoid acid reflux, it might be best to take apple cider vinegar or betaine hydrochloride supplements to neutralize acidity in your stomach, considering that baking soda is alkaline. Use sodium bicarbonate topically only and avoid consuming it internally and frequently as much as possible to prevent any health concerns that need medical attention.

What other sodium bicarbonate hazards have you experienced so far? Tell us in the comments section below!

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Disclaimer: Our educational content is not meant or intended for medical advice or treatment.

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