Besides sugar and salt, baking soda is one of the most likely ingredients to be found in the kitchen.

Besides using it for cooking as a raising agent, baking soda is often part of many home remedy recipes. If you listen to what people are saying about it, you’d be left with the impression that baking soda can cure every illness.

However, what are the real health benefits of baking soda?

Keep on reading to find out more information about what baking soda is good for and what its side effects are.

Baking Soda Fast Facts

I’m sure that all of you have used baking soda for one thing or another. However, how much do you know about baking soda? Here are some interesting facts about sodium bicarbonate that you can learn to amaze your friends:

  • Baking soda is also called sodium bicarbonate, sodium hydrogen carbonate, and bicarbonate of soda.
  • The chemical formula of baking soda is NaHCO3.
  • If you’ve been paying attention in chemistry, you’ll know that baking soda consists of sodium, hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon.
  • Baking soda has a pH of 9, which makes it slightly alkaline.
  • You can use baking soda for removing stains because it reacts with acids without causing damages, and it’s one of the cheapest cleaning agents.
  • There is a Natural Bicarbonate of Soda Day. It’s celebrated on 30th December. 
  • Baking soda has numerous applications in cooking, science, beauty treatment, and cleaning.
  • There are indications that even the ancients Egyptians knew about baking soda.
  • Apple cider vinegar and baking soda are used for making the volcano experiment.
  • Alfred Bird is the inventor of baking powder in 1843.

Baking Soda Nutritional Profile

Have you ever wondered about the nutritional profile of baking soda? Well, baking soda doesn’t contain any vitamins and minerals, but that doesn’t make it less efficient for treating certain medical conditions.

So, per 100 grams of baking s​​oda we have:

  • 0 kcal
  • 0 grams of total fats
  • 0 grams of cholesterol
  • 27360 mg of sodium
  • 0 grams of carbohydrates
  • 0 grams of fiber

As you can see, baking soda is rich in sodium. So, it has its bad and good sides. It can help you balance the levels of sodium if it’s low. However, the truth is that we often consume far more sodium than our body requires.

The daily recommend amount of sodium a healthy individual needs is no more than 2300 mg, preferably 1500 mg. So, you have to be careful if you’re using baking soda and you’re on a low-sodium diet.

9 Health Benefits of Baking Soda

Health Benefits of Baking Soda

While it doesn’t have any minerals and vitamins, baking soda has potent antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. Besides that, you can’t even imagine how many practical uses baking soda has in your everyday life.

#1 Baking Soda Soothes Indigestion and Heartburn


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Heartburn is a common condition that affects everybody from time to time. It’s that burning sensation in your chest, which you sometimes get after eating or when you lie down after a large meal. 

The reason why you get this burning in your chest is the acid flowing out of your stomach and up the esophagus. Most often,heartburn is caused by greasy food, overeating, or stress. 

Luckily baking soda for heartburn is a simple yet effective way to not only stop or lessen heartburn but also other acid reflux symptoms.

Occasional heartburn is nothing to worry about, and baking soda can help you get rid of the uncomfortable burning in your chest and the sour taste in your mouth.

In fact, baking soda is probably one of the most effective and natural remedies for heartburn and indigestion. It works so well because baking soda is alkaline in nature and has the ability to neutralize the acid that’s traveling up the esophagus.

Just dissolve a teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water. Drink it slowly, and you’ll feel the effect almost immediately.

However, if the symptoms of heartburn continue, you should consult with a doctor. You might have acid reflux and need additional medication to control it. While baking soda will relieve the symptoms, it can’t cure what’s causing the acid reflux. 

#2 Baking Soda Speeds Canker Sore’s Healing

Prevent canker sores

Who hasn’t got a canker sore? It’s a small blister inside your mouth that might make eating or drinking painful. Fortunately, it’s not contagious, but it can take almost two weeks to heal on its own.

However, you can use baking soda to speed up the process. Why? Because baking soda neutralizes the acid in your mouth and acid can irritate the canker sores. In addition to this, baking soda kills bacteria inside the mouth. 

Just mix a teaspoon of baking soda with a glass of warm water and swish it around your mouth. Repeat a couple of times a day, and the canker sore will be gone before you know it.

However, you mustn’t confuse canker sores with cold sores. Cold sores form on the lips, not inside the mouth. A Herpes virus is responsible for the appearance of these sores, so they are contagious.

There are no studies that prove that baking soda can cure cold sores. Despite that, a lot of people use baking soda on cold sores.

#3 Baking Soda is an Effective Mouthwash and Toothpaste

Oral hygiene is important not only for having healthy teeth but for the whole body. And let’s be honest. No one likes to go to the dentist.

So, adding a mouthwash to your oral hygiene is an excellent choice for rinsing your mouth. And baking soda is an excellent choice because it restores the natural pH balance inside your mouth.

It’s also more pleasant to use than alcohol-based mouthwashes. Not to mention cheaper.

Moreover, as I already mentioned, it has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. This means that baking soda takes care of the build-up bacteria in your mouth, which are responsible for bad breath.

But that’s not all. Baking soda can help you whiten your teeth. As some studies indicate, pastes containing baking soda are more effective in removing plaque than toothpaste without it. That’s because baking soda is abrasive.

However, is baking soda safe as a toothpaste? Yes, it is. In fact, if you read the ingredient list on your commercial toothpaste, you might discover that it actually contains baking soda. So, if you want pearly whites, baking soda is the way to go

I should mention that baking soda might be rough on the enamel due to its abrasive nature. But it’s free of chemicals, unlike most of the toothpaste you can get from the store. 

#4 Baking Soda Removes Body Odor

drinking water

Do you know that sweat is odorless?

Yes, that’s right. When you sweat like a pig, you shouldn’t smell like one. However, when sweat combines with the bacteria living on the skin, it starts to smell horrible.

Fortunately, you have the cheapest deodorant possible in your kitchen cabinet – baking soda. It works wonderfully for removing sweat odor because:

  • It balances the pH of the skin
  • Absorbs the excess moistures
  • Kills bacteria

In addition to this, baking soda is non-toxic, doesn’t clog pores, and doesn’t smell bad. The only reason why baking soda is not more popular as an odor remover is because it takes more time to mix baking soda with water than grabbing a deodorant.

#5 Baking Soda Might Promote Good Kidney Health

As a rule, too much sodium is not good for a person with kidney problems. That’s because the kidneys are not working well enough to remove toxins.

However, baking soda might also be beneficial for people with chronic kidney problems if they have a low bicarbonate level.

A study stated that patients with chronic kidney disease were affected positively by a sodium bicarbonate supplement. Those in the bicarbonate group were less likely to experience rapid worsening of their condition, and fewer patients entered the last stage of renal disease in comparison to the control group.

In addition to this, baking soda might be useful for kidney disease if your body can’t remove enough acid from the blood.

However, if you have kidney issues, you must talk to your doctor. Don’t take baking soda on your own or you risk your health. 

#6 Baking Soda Might Help Treat Urinary Tract Infections

Urinary tract infections are common, especially among women. In fact, scientists estimate the risk to be 1 in 2 because women have shorter urethras, and it’s easier for bacteria to enter.

Usually, urinary tract infection cause burning sensation when urinating and frequent trips to the bathroom. It’s treated with antibiotics, but baking soda might also have a positive effect on the symptoms.

It can neutralize the acid in the urine, and thanks to its antibacterial properties, help your body fight off the bacteria, which are the main reason for the infections.

While people claim taking baking soda affected their symptoms positively, not much data exists on the matter.

Only one study was conducted on female patients, and it observed that the participants experienced improvement in their symptoms when taking baking soda. But it’s worth mentioning that the women in the study had a urine PH level lower than six. 

#7 Baking Soda is Beneficial for Relieving Sore Muscles

Pain during trainning

When you work out, your body produces something called lactic acid. Too much lactic acid leads to high acidity levels within your muscles. But drinking baking soda mi​​ght relieve some of the soreness.

If you take baking soda before or after intensive training, it can keep the pH balance within your body. Do you want to know why?

Because baking soda mixed with water creates an alkaline solution that can draw the lactic acid from your muscles. What’s more, baking soda might delay exercising fatigue and allow you to train for a long period of times.

In fact, one study concluded that people who took sodium bicarbonate manage to exercise almost five minutes more than the people who didn’t. 

#8 Baking Soda for Calluses

Have you got calluses? They are rough patches of skin that appear after prolonged friction/pressure. Of course, calluses are not a serious condition, but they can be painful or embarrassing.

Fortunately, baking soda can help you get rid of calluses. Just make a paste by mixing baking soda and water and apply it to the affected area overnight.

Soaking in baking soda or applying a baking soda paste softens the rough skin. In time the calluses will get less noticeable and disappear. What’s more, it will reduce the discomfort and pain you might be feeling.

Moreover, baking soda is safer to use for calluses that commercial removers because it doesn’t contain any harmful chemical that could burn the skin.

#9 Baking Soda Might Help Chemotherapy

Cancer appears when normal cells start to divide and grow rapidly and affect other organs. At the moment, one of the most effective cancer treatment is chemotherapy, which spots the cells from reproducing.

However, chemotherapy is rough on the body and not always very effective. Some preliminary studies indicate that baking soda might improve the effects of chemotherapy. Since it makes your body less acidic, it also affects the tumor environment and reduces its acidity. As a result, chemotherapy medicines work better than before.

But it’s still very early to tell if baking soda can be effective for fighting off tumors.

In the meantime, you can use baking soda to rinse your mouth if the chemotherapy has affected your throat and taste.

What are the Side Effect of Baking Soda?

I already mentioned that you have to be careful with baking soda if you have to follow a low-sodium diet. Other cases in which taking baking soda is not recommended are:

  • Allergies to baking soda
  • Abnormal levels of sodium in the blood
  • High blood pressure
  • A rare kidney disease called Bartter syndrome, which affects the levels of sodium, potassium, and chloride
  • Your body’s pH level is higher than normal
  • You’re pregnant, or you’re planning to get pregnant
  • You’re breastfeeding

Your biggest concern regarding baking soda is taking too much because it’s so rich in sodium. You might not know it, but too much sodium ​​in the body can cause a lot of side effects. For example:

  • Bloating
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Blood chemistry imbalance
  • Low levels of potassium
  • Heart problems
  • Gas
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Coma

In addition to this, you shouldn’t take baking soda along with medications, but wait at least two hours. That’s because baking soda reduces stomach acid. As a result, your body might absorb some medication slowly. It can also change the way some of your pills work.

Also, you should speak with your doctor if you’re on prescribed medication because sodium bicarbonate can interact with medicines, for example, aspirin, barbiturates, corticosteroid, calcium supplements or pills that protect the lining of the stomach.

In conclusion, we can say that baking soda can have a positive effect on the human body in a moderate amount. You can also use it for almost everything from cleaning stubborn stains to removing body odors and treating indigestion.

However, you have to careful when applying it topically or internally so that you don’t disturb the natural pH balance of your body.

What do you think about these health benefits of baking soda? Have you got anything to add to the list? Then don’t be shy to leave us a comment. 

Annalise O'Conner is a Registered Dietitian and Personalized Nutritionist. She is a lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley, teaching nutrition in the School of Public Health and APAN (Asian Pacific Islander American Network) Email: [email protected]

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