33 Surprising Baking Soda Uses and Remedies
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33 Surprising Baking Soda Uses and Remedies

Dr. Josh Axe — Food is Medicine
May 7, 2018

Amazingly, of the many uses, baking soda has been shown to kill off bacteria including Streptococcus mutans, which is a type of bacteria associated with tooth decay. It is also effective against various fungal groups including yeasts, dermatophytes and molds that cause skin and nail infections in humans.

What is baking soda used for? Baking soda uses are plentiful to say the least. Many of us think of baking soda as just an ingredient for baking or something that helps to keep our refrigerators odor-free, but baking soda is incredibly good for your health and your entire home, too! If you haven’t used baking soda for cleaning, get ready to be pretty amazed. Baking soda beauty uses? Yes, there are many!

Talk about an affordable natural remedy, a box of baking soda typically costs a dollar or even less. Baking soda has been used since ancient times as a deodorizer, soother and cleanser. Baking soda uses range from basic daily hygiene (think toothpaste and shampoo) to baking soda health benefits including digestive issues and even kidney problems.

Let’s take a look at all of baking soda’s super impressive benefits and baking soda uses, but first what is baking soda?

What Is Baking Soda?

Baking soda is a familiar household product that also goes by the names sodium bicarbonate, bicarbonate of soda and sodium hydrogen carbonate. The baking soda chemical formula aka the sodium bicarbonate formula is NaHCO3. This baking soda formula represents its composition of sodium ions and bicarbonate ions. It’s a substance known for its alkalizing effects thanks to a baking soda ph of 9. (1)

What is sodium bicarbonate? In its most natural form sodium bicarbonate is also known as nahcolite, a mineral that is found in various locations around the world. It is commercially mined in areas of California, Colorado, Botswana and Kenya. There are also large deposits in Mexico, Uganda and Turkey, and Mexico. (2)

Some people get confused with baking soda vs. baking powder. Baking soda is a chemical leavening agent and so is baking powder, which means that when used in baking both baking soda and baking powder cause batters to rise. Throughout history, baking soda has been used as a rising agent when baking. It’s 100 percent sodium bicarbonate; so when mixed with acid, baking soda makes bubbles and gives off a carbon dioxide gas, causing the dough to rise. Baking powder and baking soda are similar yet different since baking powder is made up of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and one or multiple acid salts. (3)

Possible Health Benefits of Baking Soda

Baking soda is a great tool for cleaning and removing stains, but there are many health benefits associated with the use of baking soda, too.

Sodium bicarbonate is sometimes used as a supplement because it provides dietary bicarbonate. When taken orally, baking soda can raise serum levels of bicarbonate. What is bicarbonate? Bicarbonate is typically made by the kidneys and it acts as an acid buffer in the body. (4)

Some of the most common baking soda uses for health include:

Helps with Digestive Issues

Baking soda is known to help to neutralize acid and improve pH balance in the body. Baking soda is often used internally to quell digestive dismay such as acid reflux or heartburn. When these complaints are due to overconsumption of acidic foods or a generally acidic state of the body, slowly drinking some baking soda in water can help to neutralize the acid and get your body’s pH back to a better place. (5)

Don’t think more is better when it comes to taking baking soda. It’s important to note that consuming too much baking soda can cause an increase in acid production.

Anti-Fungal and Antibacterial

Baking soda has been shown to kill off bacteria including Streptococcus mutans, which is a type of bacteria associated with tooth decay. (6) Baking soda is also effective against various fungal groups including yeasts, dermatophytes and molds that cause skin and nail infections in humans. (7)

Boost Kidney Health

Research reveals that baking uses include the promotion of kidney health. A clinical study published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology looked at the effects of sodium bicarbonate on 134 patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and low blood bicarbonate levels.

What did they find? The subjects who supplemented with bicarbonate tolerated it well and were significantly less likely to experience rapid progression of their kidney disease.  Additionally, there were fewer patients that developed end-stage renal disease (ESRD) in the bicarbonate group compared to the control group. Overall, the researchers conclude, “This study demonstrates that bicarbonate supplementation slows the rate of progression of renal failure to ESRD and improves nutritional status among patients with CKD.” (7)

Alleviate Urinary Tract Infections

According to the CDC, urinary tract infections (UTIs) are one of the most common infections and as Mayo Clinic points out, women have a higher risk of developing a UTI than men. (89)

A scientific study published in 2017 looked at the effects of baking soda on female patients with lower urinary tract symptoms who also had acidic urine pH levels lower than six. After four weeks of taking baking soda orally, the researchers found the urine of the subjects was alkalinized and there was “a significant level of positive effects on symptoms and symptom scores.”

Overall, baking soda appears to be an easy, inexpensive way to improve UTI symptoms accompanied by acidic urine with little to no unwanted side effects. (10)

Reduce Muscle Pain and Fatigue

A scientific article published in 2013, titled “Practical considerations for bicarbonate loading and sports performance,” points out that studies to date have demonstrated that taking sodium bicarbonate before exercise (also known as bicarbonate loading) may have “a moderate positive effect” on athletic performance that includes one to seven minutes of sustained strenuous exercise. In addition, sodium bicarbonate may also be helpful for prolonged physical activity involving intermittent or sustained periods of high-intensity training. (11)

So is there a benefit to using baking soda as a training aid? According to the author of the article, Dr. Louise Mary Burke, “It could be useful to try and support the training session to allow the athlete to train harder, but also to reduce some of the negative side effects of having a high acidity in the muscle so you may get less damage to the muscle and a better training outcome in the long-term.” (12)

Another small clinical study of eight healthy male subjects found consuming baking soda before intermittent cycling improved their sprint performance. (13)

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