By Dr. Mercola
Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate or NaHCO3), popularized by Arm & Hammer more than 150 years ago, is a staple in many homes for baking and cleaning purposes, but this inexpensive ingredient also has a number of medicinal uses and benefits. It rates right up there with hydrogen peroxide as one of the most inexpensive and safe health tools around, so it makes sense to learn all you can about the many uses of baking soda.
It’s commonly known to have alkalinizing, antacid and electrolyte replacement properties.1 When taken internally, baking soda is thought to raise the pH of your blood. This appears to be the basic premise behind its recommended use against colds and influenza symptoms, recounted in a 1924 Arm & Hammer booklet on the medical uses of baking soda.2,3
Taking one-half to 1 teaspoon or so of baking soda dissolved in a glass of water is also an inexpensive way to ease heartburn. Long-distance runners have also engaged in a practice known as “soda doping” — taking baking soda capsules — before races to enhance performance — a measure thought to work similarly to carbohydrate loading.
In this case, by increasing the pH of your blood, this practice is thought to offset the acidity produced in muscles during intense activity. While I do not suggest or recommend you try this at home, use of baking soda has also been shown to improve speed among swimmers.4
Research5 has also shown drinking baking soda solution can help pregnant women who are having a slow or difficult labor to avoid C-sections in about 20 percent of cases by neutralizing acid in their womb. This could spell the difference between life and death in developing countries and/or instances where C-section is not an option.
Baking Soda May Be an Inexpensive Treatment for Autoimmune Diseases
Most recently, research funded by the National Institutes of Health suggests baking soda may be an effective treatment adjunct for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and other autoimmune diseases. According to this study,6,7 led by renal physiologist Paul O’Connor and published in The Journal of Immunology, drinking a solution of water and baking soda appears to prime your immune system against inflammation.