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Heartburn is an acid reflux symptom that generates a burning feeling in the chest and an unpleasant taste in the mouth. People who are coping with this issue may attempt numerous tips and tactics to get rid of it, or they may resort to medicine. Some over-the-counter and prescription medications containing sodium bicarbonate have been shown to be effective heartburn treatments.

However, some individuals use regular baking soda to treat heartburn. Yes, the one you most likely have in your kitchen cabinet right now. Continue reading to discover how to use baking soda for heartburn and about any additional advantages or limits it may have.

What Exactly Is Baking Soda?

Baking soda, commonly known as sodium bicarbonate, is a salt made up of sodium and bicarbonate ions. It is often found as a white crystalline solid or fine powder. Does this sound familiar? This is most likely due to its frequent usage as a baking ingredient that is activated by a liquid and an acid to aid in leavening, allowing your sweets to become light and fluffy.

It is critical to identify baking soda from baking powder when utilizing it outside of the kitchen. The latter is a full leavening agent, which means it includes both sodium bicarbonate and acid and is therefore not an alkaline-only powder like baking soda.

What Is Acid Reflux?

Acid reflux is a prevalent illness that affects over 15 million people in the United States every day.

It occurs when the esophageal valve fails to seal correctly, enabling stomach acid to flow up into the esophagus.

When acid reflux becomes persistent, the condition is known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Symptoms of acid reflux

Heartburn is the most common symptom of acid reflux and GERD.

Heartburn is a burning sensation in the chest that may go up and down the throat.

Other acid reflux symptoms include:

  • The sensation of liquids or food rising up into the chest is known as regurgitation.
  • Pain or burning in the chest that intensifies while laying down or leaning over
  • Bitter, hot, sour, acidic, or unpleasant aftertaste
  • Throat discomfort
  • Hoarseness
  • Pain or discomfort that occurs after a substantial or spicy meal

Causes of acid reflux

Acid reflux occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (a ring of muscles at the esophagus’s end, where it joins the stomach) weakens or relaxes excessively.

This causes stomach acid to travel back up the esophagus.

Some people’s lifestyle and dietary choices might cause acid reflux.

You are more likely to have acid reflux if you:

  • Eat a lot of food.
  • Consume hot, fatty, or oily meals.
  • Consume acidic foods such as tomatoes and citrus.
  • Close to bedtime, eat
  • Drink a lot of caffeinated, alcoholic, or carbonated beverages.
  • Feelings of stress
  • Smoke
  • Wear clothing that is form-fitting.

Additionally, the following conditions may lead to acid reflux in certain individuals:

  • There is too much acid in the stomach.
  • Stomach emptying is delayed.
  • Inadequate esophageal clearance of food or acid
  • Pregnancy
  • Hernia hiatal

Though everyone has acid reflux from time to time, GERD is a chronic ailment that, if left untreated, may progress to more severe complications.

Baking Soda and Heartburn Relief

Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is an alkaline chemical substance. It is available as a pill, solution, or granule (like the powder used in baking).

Sodium bicarbonate may be used to treat heartburn due to its alkaline qualities. It functions by neutralizing excessive stomach acid. It is an antacid, which is a kind of medication.

Off-label uses for sodium bicarbonate include treating ulcers (in the stomach or duodenum) and making blood and urine more alkaline in certain medical situations. Before attempting any supplement or drug, consult with your healthcare professional.

How to Use Baking Soda for Heartburn

Sodium bicarbonate has an alkaline pH, which helps to counteract gastric acidity. A half teaspoon of baking soda mixed in a 4-ounce glass of water is usually enough to ease heartburn symptoms.

You may use this procedure every four hours or as instructed by a healthcare expert, but if it doesn’t work after three or four attempts, you should try another treatment strategy. If you utilize this strategy consistently for two weeks and still experience symptoms, it may indicate a broader issue that needs to be addressed.

If you don’t like the taste of baking soda or don’t want to measure an exact quantity of baking soda (the baking soda to water ratio is critical for efficacy), you might use Alka-Seltzer. This over-the-counter (OTC) drug includes sodium bicarbonate as well as flavorings that make the drink more appealing.

If baking soda is giving temporary relief but you desire a longer or more strong impact, you can try Zegerid (sodium bicarbonate with the proton pump inhibitor omeprazole) for more long-lasting comfort.

Efficacy of Baking Soda for Heartburn

Baking soda may be an effective treatment for occasional acid reflux, particularly if used as directed.

It is beneficial to take the same dosage at the same time every day. To prevent adverse effects and medical issues, do not take it more often or for a longer period of time than suggested.

Antacids, such as sodium bicarbonate, may temporarily neutralize acid in the esophagus but have little effect on stomach pH or prevent repeated heartburn attacks, according to research.

As a result, antacids are not indicated for the treatment of chronic heartburn. PPIs offer prolonged suppression of stomach acid production and are superior than antacids for controlling gastric acid and treating recurrent heartburn.

Side Effects

While baking soda has been proved to be an effective heartburn therapy, it should only be taken with caution and under the supervision of a healthcare practitioner. Baking soda has the following common negative effects:

  • Bloating and gas
  • heightened thirst
  • Cramps in the stomach

Usually, if you stop taking baking soda, these symptoms will go away. However, if any of your adverse effects continue or your heartburn symptoms are not resolved by alternative kinds of therapy, contact your healthcare professional.

You don’t want to use too much baking soda. Too much antacid may alkalinize, or raise the pH of the blood. This might result in a condition known as metabolic alkalosis, which is a medical emergency, thus it is critical that you take this drug exactly as recommended or carefully follow the directions on the package.

Antacids should not be administered to young children (those under the age of six) unless recommended by their healthcare professional. This is because an adolescent’s body is more susceptible to the drug’s active elements. As a consequence, your kid may have digestive problems such as stomach distress, loose stools, or constipation.

Heartburn Home Remedies

Many individuals explore natural therapies to help manage their acid reflux, including herbal medicines and lifestyle changes. Home cures that are regularly utilized include:

  • Creating herbal tea Digestive aids include ginger, chamomile, aloe juice, and licorice.
  • Making use of the apple cider vinegar method. A teaspoon of apple cider vinegar mixed with water, like baking soda, may help with digestion.
  • Chewing sugarless gum Chewing sugar-free gum for 30 minutes may enhance saliva production, having a calming impact on the stomach and lowering acid production.
  • Eating a banana (or another high alkaline food). Bananas are rich in potassium and so an alkaline food. This implies it is an excellent diet for neutralizing the stomach acid that is aggravating your esophagus.
  • Choosing not to use cigarettes or other tobacco products. Smoking lowers saliva production, which increases stomach acid production.
  • Keeping my head up after meals. Anything that pulls on the belly or prevents gravity from keeping your food (and stomach acid) down might trigger or aggravate heartburn, so don’t lie down just after eating. You may also wish to unbuckle your belt buckle or wear loose-fitting clothes to reduce any abdominal stress.

It is vital to know that the federal government does not examine herbal treatments for safety and efficacy. They are not FDA authorized and often do not have to fulfill the same manufacturing and packaging criteria as prescription pharmaceuticals.

You should never use a herbal treatment instead of regular medicine or without first informing your healthcare practitioner.

Why Baking Soda Works for Acid Reflux?

Baking soda is a classic home treatment for acid reflux (a.k.a. sodium bicarbonate).

Baking soda acts to neutralize stomach acid and temporarily ease indigestion and heartburn symptoms.

Baking soda is the active component in various safe and effective OTC antacids, such as Alka-Seltzer.

When to See a Doctor?

Many mild cases of acid reflux can be managed with home remedies and OTC medication.

However, if you experience any of the below symptoms, contact your healthcare provider:

  • Extensive headache
  • Nausea
  • Unintentional weight reduction or appetite loss
  • Vomit that is bloody or resembles coffee grounds
  • Vomiting often
  • Urge to urinate often
  • Tarry black stool
  • Constant, severe stomach ache
  • Sucking difficulty that worsens with time
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Shortness of breath, perspiration, or radiating chest discomfort to the neck, jaw, or arm
  • Stress or effort causes chest discomfort.
  • Skin or eye discoloration
  • Symptoms of heartburn or acid reflux that persist more than two weeks

How long does baking soda help relieve acid reflux?

It’s important to note that while baking soda works instantly to neutralize the acid, it provides temporary relief. That’s why it’s important to avoid heartburn and only rely on baking soda for short-term, occasional relief.

Here are a few easy tips from Harvard Health to relieve heartburn:

  • Graze throughout the day rather than bingeing.
  • Reflux-causing meals and drinks should be avoided (fatty foods, spicy foods, onions, garlic, and alcohol)
  • Consume gently.
  • Keep your eyes open after meals (no food coma naps!).
  • Sleeping on an angle

Final thoughts

Baking soda is not only an excellent cleaning and leavening agent, but it is also an effective heartburn remedy. Baking soda and water might provide immediate relief by neutralizing gastric acid.

It is not, however, suggested as a long-term therapy, particularly for persons on a low-sodium diet. If you suffer from persistent heartburn that interferes with your everyday life, see your doctor, who will assist you in determining the best treatment choice for you.