Almost all of us have a box of baking soda sitting in our kitchen that we use of baking. But do you know that this modest cooking ingredient can make you look fabulous from head to toe and provide amazing benefits for your overall health?
Baking soda (Sodium Bicarbonate) is a natural alkaline substance with potent antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties that addresses your hair, skin and nails issues, improves oral health, whitens teeth, treats cold, flu, sore throat, urinary tract infections, digestive disorders and acid reflux.
And now research and studies show that baking soda is also effective for treating certain types of cancer and kidney disease.
An Italian study from 2014 shows that baking soda can be used as a promising means to control the growth of tumor that also prevents the cancer cells from spreading to other organs.
Another research at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida shows that the alkalizing effect of baking soda on the pH of the body may play an important role in slowing down cancer cell activity.
The U.S. National Health Institute conducted a study that brought the effectiveness of sodium bicarbonate in treating kidney disease to the forefront. It showed that sodium carbonate dialysis is more effective compared to normal dialysis and patients on the sodium bicarbonate dialysis treatment showed higher nitrate oxide synthase, the process which balances the pH of the blood.
In this article, we have put together all the research-backed benefits of baking soda along with the recommended dosage of baking soda and cautions of using it.
What is Baking Soda?
Baking soda is 100% sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) that is popularly used as a raising agent in baking products. When baking soda is mixed with an acid it reacts by producing bubbles and giving of carbon dioxide which makes the dough rise.
Baking soda is known as nahcolite in its natural form and it is part of the mineral natron which also contains huge amounts of sodium bicarbonate. Natron has been used throughout history as a form of baking soda for preparing breads.
Sodium bicarbonate is used by the human body to regulate the pH of the blood and counterbalance acid build up, which is crucial for life. It balances the pH of the cells and tissues and increases CO2 level that supports oxygenation.
Properties of Baking Soda:
Neutralizer – This is perhaps the most beneficial property of baking soda. It helps to maintain the acid-base balance in the body. 7 is the neutral zone of the pH. When pH values move too far in either direction the human health is affected. Sodium bicarbonate helps to maintain the pH at the neutral zone.
Antiseptic – Sodium bicarbonate is a potent antiseptic that is used to treat insect bites, cuts and burns and relieve chronic cold, cough and sore throat. It prevents infection by destroying certain types of bacteria, fungi, molds and parasites.
Antacid – Baking soda is an effective antacid that neutralizes the acids in the stomach and helps to relieve chronic heartburn and acid reflux. Gulping down a glass of baking soda water helps to neutralize the stomach acid that backs up to the throat at times. It eases the burning sensation in the esophagus and reduces bloating and flatulence.
12 Uses and Benefits of Baking Soda:
1. Treating Kidney Disease
Sodium bicarbonate is an alkaline substance that is produced by the body itself to maintain the pH of the blood and counteract the acids. Poorly functioning kidneys caused by diabetes or hypertension face difficulty in removing acids from the body which often leads to a condition known as metabolic acidosis. But sodium bicarbonate promotes nitrate oxide synthase that helps to balance the pH of the blood. Sodium bicarbonate intake slows down the progress of chronic kidney disease and reverses the onset of kidney failure.
In a study, British researchers treated patients with kidney disease and metabolic acidosis with oral sodium bicarbonate along with their usual treatment. It was seen that sodium bicarbonate slowed down the rate of decline of kidney function by 2/3rds.
2. Cancer Prevention
Unhealthy organisms flourish when there is pH imbalance in the body and these organisms damage the organs and tissues and slow down the immune system. Research shows that Consuming baking soda increases the pH of the acidic tumors without changing the pH balance of healthy tissues and blood. Research of human cancer show that oral intake of sodium bicarbonate makes the tumor more alkaline and stops metastasis. Baking soda consumption acts as a source of immune support for people suffering from cancer.
3. Relieve Indigestion and Acid Reflux
Baking soda mixed with water is an effective natural substitute for over-the-counter antacids that helps to treat indigestion, GERD, ulcer pain, acid reflux and heartburn. Baking soda shows immediate effect by neutralizing the stomach acids. Just add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda to a cup of water and drink it an hour after a heavy meal to get instant relief from indigestion.
4. Improved Oral Health
The mild abrasive action of baking soda helps to remove plaque and protects the teeth enamel from corrosive food ingredeints such as lemon juice. No wonder baking soda is widely used as an active ingredient in toothpastes and mouth wash. It also helps to polish your teeth and deodorize your breath. The antibacterial activity helps to destroy the Streptococcus mutans bacteria, which causes tooth decay.
You can prepare your very own baking soda toothpaste by mixing 6 parts of baking soda with 1 part of sea salt. Blend this mixture for 30 seconds and store it in a container. Use it to massage your teeth and gum once every day.
5. Improved Athletic Performance
Not many of us now that baking soda is a powerful performance supplement which improves your athletic performance. It works by absorbing the lactic acid that builds up in the muscles during intense endurance exercise which delays fatigue. This effect is known as the ergogenic effect of baking soda. Simple baking soda induces alkalosis, which is a opposite of acidosis. Baking soda reduces the acidity of the blood and normalizes the cellular tissues. Just consume 0.3 gram of baking soda dissolved in a glass of water or sweetened fluid before hitting the gym.
6. Treat Cold and Flu
As early as the early 1900’s Dr.Cheney found that baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) can reduce the risk of contracting flu and administering generous doses of baking soda can cure the symptoms within 36 hours. Baking soda also reduces the duration of cold and flu. Baking soda dissolves the thick mucous and soothes the inflamed mucous membranes. The alkalizing effect of baking soda on the body creates an unfavorable environment for the bacteria to thrive. Take 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda mixed with a glass of cold water 5 to 6 times a day, at 2-hour intervals for 2 to 3 days.
7. Minimize Sore Throat
The potent antiseptic and antibacterial effects of baking soda helps to cure painful sore throat. Gargling with baking soda water kills the bacteria and fungi that cause infection and lead to sore throat. The slightly alkaline nature of baking soda also soothes the swollen and inflamed tissues of the throat and reduces throat irritation. Add 1/2 teaspoon each of baking soda and salt in a glass of warm water and use to gargle your throat 2 times a day till the pain and irritation subsides.
8. Cure Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
Urinary tract infections are the most common bacterial infection that can affect both men and women, but it is more prevalent among women. Urinary tract infections can affect the bladder, kidneys, urethra and ureters. Combination of baking soda and water can help to ease some of the symptoms of urinary tract infection such as pain, burning sensation during urination and reducing frequent urge to urinate. Baking soda works by raising the acid-base balance of urine and neutralizing the acidity in the urine. Add 1 teaspoon of baking soda to 1 cup of cold water, thoroughly mix the baking soda and drink it once every day till the infection is cured.
9. Heal Gout
Gout is a type of arthritis which is caused due to excess accumulation of uric acid in your blood, tissues and urine. Oral intake of bicarbonate of soda balances the acid level in the blood, relieves acidosis and balances pH of the body which helps to treat gout. When the pH of the urine is less acidic, it converts uric acid into a more soluble form which makes it easier for the body to flush out the excess acid. It is best to consume baking soda with water when using it as a preventive measure against gout attack. Mix 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda with 8 oz. water and drink it 4 times a day to reduce the symptoms of gout.
10. Balance the pH Level
This is perhaps the most important benefit of baking soda. Most of us don’t give much important to the acid-alkaline balance of our body, but unbalanced pH can turn your body into a breeding ground for disease-causing organisms that damage the organs and tissues and suppress the immune system. pH is measure on a scale from 0 to 14. Acidic solution have pH lower than 7 and alkaline solutions have pH higher than 7. pH 7 is perfectly neutral. A slightly alkaline pH is healthiest for the human body. Optimal pH of the human body should be 7.365.Highly alkaline nature of baking soda balances the pH of the body and reduces acidosis naturally. Just mix 1/3 teaspoon of baking soda with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, add it to 8 oz. of water, mix well and drink it.
11. Hair Care
Baking soda is an effective hair cleaner that can be added to your shampoo to get rid of the accumulation of hair products, dirt, dandruff and oil. It also helps to get rid of the dullness and discoloration of hair caused by the chlorine deposition from swimming pools. Add a teaspoon of baking soda to your regular shampoo and use it to wash your hair and scalp 2 to 3 times a week.
12. Dermatological Conditions
Baking soda is used to treat a wide range of dermatological conditions ranging from itching skin, eczema and sunburn to insect bites. The mild abrasive nature of baking soda makes it an effective face exfoliator that can remove dry and dead skin cells from your face. The anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and antiseptic properties of baking soda helps to relieve skin itching and irritation caused by allergic rashes, sunburn, poison ivy or poison oak.
Recommended Dosage of Baking Soda:
There are different ways to take baking soda for your health.
For restoring the body’s pH – First of all you need to measure the pH of your saliva and urine using litmus paper for a few days to determine how acidic you body is. Take the litmus paper test for your urine and saliva every morning for 1 week and track your results. If your pH is consistently lower than 6.0 then you can use baking soda to bring it to healthy levels. The recommended dosage of baking soda is 5 grams per day mix with a glass of water.
For Cold or Flu – Arm and Hammer Company’s recommended dosage of baking soda for curing cold and flu is divided into a three-day period.
Day 1 – Take 6 doses of 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of cold water, at 2-hour intervals
Day 2 – Take 4 doses of 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of cold water, at 2-hour intervals
Day 3 – Take 2 doses of 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of cold water once in the morning and once in the evening.
After that, take 1 dose of 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of cold water each morning till the symptoms of cold are flu are gone.
For Boosting Athletic Performance – Supplemental dosage of sodium bicarbonate should be 200-300 mg/kg range before exercise. It should be taken 60 to 90 minutes before anaerobic activities for maximum benefit.
Side Effects of Using Baking Soda:
Using sodium bicarbonate topically for the skin, hair and nails is absolutely safe and nontoxic. But excessive consumption of baking soda, beyond the recommended dosage can be harmful for the body.
- Too much baking soda can disrupt the body’s acid-base balance and cause nausea, diarrhea, stomach cramps and increase thirst.
- Baking soda has high sodium content and high doses can raise blood pressure, swelling and lead to overload circulation and heart failure.
- Baking soda breaks down into sodium ions in the body. It is an electrolyte that can have serious impact on the body. In excess quantity, it can disrupt the activity of the muscles, heart and brain.
- High doses ranging from quarter of a box to more than a full box caused seizures, chest pain, muscle pain, abdominal pain and other serious health conditions.
- Consumption of baking soda is considered unsafe for people with liver disease, high blood pressure, kidney disease. Pregnant and breastfeeding women and children under 5 years of age should also refrain from consuming baking soda.
Baking soda shows effectiveness when it is used for short periods of time. It is best to refrain from using baking soda for prolong period of time because it can dry out your skin and hair. Also, chronic diseases and conditions should not be treated with baking soda. Another important thing to remember is that baking soda and baking powder are not the same and they are not substitutes. So, do not confuse them while using.