Sodium bicarbonate is commonly called baking soda. People can mix the powder in water and drink it to reduce stomach acid, and relieve heartburn and indigestion. Chewable tablets of sodium bicarbonate also are available. Some precautions should be kept in mind before using sodium bicarbonate for medicinal purposes.
Most Common Side Effects
Most people have no problems taking sodium bicarbonate. High doses can cause headache, irritability and nausea.
Unusual side effects calling for medical attention include confusion, fatigue, frequent urination, muscle pain or weakness, nervousness, slow breathing, and vomiting.
Sodium bicarbonate contains a large amount of sodium, so people on a low-sodium diet might need to avoid taking it. This extra sodium can cause swelling of the ankles or feet (oedema). People who already have problems with oedema should not take sodium bicarbonate.
It might be dangerous for people to take sodium bicarbonate if they have appendicitis, heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney disease, liver disease or urination problems.
Sodium bicarbonate can worsen intestinal or rectal bleeding; people with those conditions should not take this medication.