Baking Soda Benefits and Controversies
The Many Baking Soda Benefits
Baking soda (sodium-bicarbonate) is a substance that everyone probably has stored somewhere in the kitchen. Its use is quite versatile, since it can be used for baking, to absorb odors in refrigerator and for cleaning the sink. You probably won’t be surprised to know that it has many health benefits as well, and it comes quite cheap.
It is safe for treating minor injuries or as a hygienic product, being skin friendly. One can use it as a paraben and aluminum-free deodorant in its dry form or as a home-made paste to be used for treating insect bites and rashes caused by poison ivy to relieve the itching. One of the widely known uses is a remedy for heartburn, since it neutralizes stomach acid, thus being effective against indigestion and even ulcer.
It is safe for regular use as an exfoliating agent in a paste made with three parts baking soda and one part water. By adding three tablespoons of baking soda in a tub of warm water you can prepare yourself a pleasant and invigorating foot soak. By adding some apple cider to the blend, you will get a spa-like treatment and additionally clean the tub and the drain. With 3/1 paste you can scrub and clean your hands daily. By mixing a tablespoon of baking soda in a small glass of water you can make a remedy for relieving the skin of splinters. For sunburns, add ½ cup of baking soda in a tub with lukewarm water and soak yourself in it for natural relief.
Some of the lesser known baking soda benefits is “soda doping”, practiced by some sportsmen – like distance runners and swimmers. It is thought to have the same function as carbohydrate loading. It is a natural way to alkalize the body and reduce the muscular acidity caused by extensive, intense physical activity.
It is safe for oral hygiene as well, and you can use it to treat gums and wash your teeth, even to whiten them. Baking soda is known to remove plaque and kill streptococcus mutans, the main contributor in tooth decay. And these are just some of the widely known baking soda benefits.
Does Baking Soda have Aluminum?
With all the benefits of baking soda, there must be some undesired effects and downsides. The most commonly presented is associated with presence of aluminum in baking soda, the ingredient that supposedly causes a number of diseases. Nobody really knows how and where this information arose, but one thing that must be set straight is that it is a misconception, and baking soda does not contain aluminum! This misconception can be contributed to some of the baking powder brands that do contain aluminum, but baking soda, as it comes, does not. So, the next time you go out looking for aluminum free baking soda, and see those marked ‘aluminum-free’, rest assured that even those cheaper, but not marked as aluminum-free are in fact free of aluminum. On the other hand, be wary to steer clear off the baking powders that could contain it.
Baking Soda Ingestion Controversy
Baking Soda is high in Sodium(Its non Sodium counterpart, Potassium Bicarbonate also can be taken internally for same benefits). Only take baking soda internally on occasion. When it comes to alkalizing your body, other safer milder alternatives include wheat grass juice, spirulina, mullberry and raspberry leaf tea due to either their high concentrated chlorophyll content or/and other alkalizing nutrients.
Most people generally tolerate sodium-bicarbonate well, and can enjoy all the baking soda benefits as long as they keep the dosage right. If you misuse this substance, you might experience some of these symptoms: headache, nausea, muscle weakness, swelling in feet or ankles and too dark stool and dark vomit upon ingestion of too much baking soda. Should you notice some or any of these, consult a physician or pharmacist.
Those on a sodium restricted diet should steer clear of sodium-bicarbonate, as well as those already taking stomach related drugs, such as antacids. It is very important not to take baking soda when you are full of food or drink. In case you experience severe stomach pain after taking baking soda, consult a physician. Some additional symptoms may include: slow breathing, muscle pain or twitching and frequent urge to urinate.
Those who ingest sodium-bicarbonate frequently may experience hyporeninemia and hypoaldosteronemia due to the vein expansion, and experience of metabolic issues like water retention and weight gain, or respiratory issues due to increased CO2 concentration within veins, causing suppressed respiratory drive. Irritability, tetany, mental stupor, coma, and intraventricular hemorrhage are some of the nervous system dysfunction related conditions.
The problems may appear locally, and also cause cardiovascular problems due to decreased cardiac contractility caused by sodium-bicarbonate infusions, and problems on gastrointestinal level like gastric ruptures, in rare cases, but can also cause urinary alkalinization and “false proteinuria”.