How do I use baking soda as an antacid?

Jar and spoon with baking soda (baking soda).

The product commonly known as sodium bicarbonate is a chemical compound called sodium bicarbonate. This compound is used for various purposes within the home in the kitchen, cleaning and healthcare. Its amphoteric and alkaline properties allow many people to use baking soda as an antacid when they are bothered by heartburn or acid reflux. Drinking water with a small amount of baking soda will temporarily neutralize some of the stomach acid.

Antacids made from sodium bicarbonate.

Baking soda is a naturally occurring mineral that has been used by humans for a variety of applications since ancient times. The compound is useful in part because of its amphoteric properties, which allow it to neutralize acids and bases. This ability to neutralize acid allows people to use baking soda to relieve indigestion and other stomach complaints. Once ingested, the compound reacts with gastric acid in the human stomach and increases the hydrogen potential (pH level). The body itself uses a different bicarbonate compound to help regulate the level of acidity in the digestive system.

Water with a small amount of baking soda can help treat heartburn.

Most home remedies that involve baking soda as an antacid recommend dissolving the powder in a glass of water. Recommended dosages vary, but some manufacturers advise mixing 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 grams) of baking soda with 1/2 cup (about 118 milliliters) of water to get relief from heartburn symptoms. This dosage can be taken every two hours, with a maximum of seven doses taken in a 24-hour period. Taking too much baking soda can prevent the body from digesting food properly. The powder should always be allowed to completely dissolve before drinking the mixture.

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Antacids can be taken to help relieve a sour stomach.

The high sodium content means consumers should be careful when taking baking soda as an antacid. This product should not be taken by children under 5 years of age and people following a salt sensitive diet or taking prescription medications should consult their physician or pharmacist. People over 60 should not take more than three doses in a 24-hour period. The volume of gas released as sodium bicarbonate mixes with stomach acid means that people should not ingest sodium bicarbonate on a full stomach if they want to avoid potential injury from the subsequent increase in pressure.

Home remedies involving baking soda as an antacid recommend dissolving half a teaspoon of baking soda in half a cup of water.

People should also avoid taking baking soda as an antacid for longer than two weeks. Chronic stomach pain and heartburn can be signs of a more serious illness, and people should see a doctor if symptoms persist. While this natural antacid can be an affordable and effective short-term solution to heartburn and indigestion, there are long-term medications available over-the-counter that can help people who suffer from long-term problems related to acid production.

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