Heartburn - Are Antacids Or Baking Soda The Solution?

Can baking soda from your kitchen cupboard in a glass of water soothe your heartburn or acid reflux? Well, yes it can. But there are some important points you must know about using baking soda or any antacid as a heartburn remedy.

What Happens In Heartburn and How To Take Baking Soda

Some people suffer heartburn after eating too quickly or eating particular foods. It results from a little stomach acid squirting up into your esophagus, which is the tube that leads from your mouth to your stomach. This ‘acid reflux’ irritates the walls of the esophagus resulting in a burning sensation. It actually has nothing to do with the heart but because the burning is felt in the chest area, it was referred to as ‘heartburn’. Symptoms of heartburn can mask the more serious symptoms of heart disease so it is important to find the causes of the acid reflux and eliminate them.

For the occasional, mild heartburn, sipping a little water can help dilute the acid and cool the burning sensation. Saliva produced in the mouth is naturally alkaline and so can neutralize the acid. Chewing gum is a good way to increase the saliva for swallowing.

An effective remedy is baking soda for heartburn because being alkaline it neutralizes the stomach acid in the esophagus. Just sip a solution (one teaspoon in a glass of water) slowly until the discomfort reduces and you feel relief. Compared to over-the-counter antacids, baking soda is cheap, readily available and you do not need a prescription - and it is useful for baking cookies too!

Why Baking Soda and Antacids Should Not Be Over-Used

If you take too much baking soda, or any antacid medication, then you start to neutralize the acid in the stomach. The stomach then compensates by producing more acid, leading to you taking more baking soda or antacid. This can exhaust the stomach cells and so the levels of stomach acid can drop over time. You might think this is a good thing for your heartburn, but reduced levels of stomach acid can impair digestion to such an extent that food is not properly broken down. Allergies and inflammation in various areas of the body can be the result.

Those suffering from high blood pressure should avoid excess sodium, which is present in baking soda and many antacids. Some antacids also contain calcium and magnesium which can cause mineral imbalances over a long period of time and aluminum salts which have been associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Note also that some medicines and also some medical conditions can weaken the esophageal sphincter and cause acid reflux. These include: calcium channel blockers for hypertension, asthma medication, anxiety medication, antihistamines, or prescription pain killers. So consult your doctor if you think your medication might have this side effect, or if you suffer from frequent heartburn.

Baking soda, like any antacid medication, is not a long term solution to your heartburn. Your priority should be to find out the causes of heartburn. Often the causes are the opposite to those you might expect for acid reflux. You also need to look for permanent solutions. Some of these may surprise you. For your long term health, you need to find out a cure for your heartburn.

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About The Author, Natalie Beech
About the author: Natalie Beech is a health writer who writes informatively about heartburn. Discover surprising information about heartburn and acid reflux at The Heartburn Relief Website
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