Sodium bicarbonate, which is sold in stores in the U.S. as baking soda, is used for cooking and medicinal purposes. Often, the amount used in cooking is just a teaspoon or so divided among many servings so it doesn’t have much effect on the body. If you take baking soda to relieve indigestion or for other conditions and you are also under treatment for a heart condition, you must consult with your doctor to avoid serious problems.
Arm & Hammer, a leading manufacturer of baking soda in the United States, recommends a 1/2 tsp. of baking soda in a glass of water every 2 hours as a treatment for heartburn. Each 1/2 tsp. of baking soda contains 616 mg of sodium, and the American Heart Association recommends you consume less than 1,500 mgs of the mineral a day for the average adult. If you are receiving treatment for a heart condition you may need to keep your intake even lower because sodium can increase your blood pressure.
Make sure you check with your pharmacist or doctor to see if baking soda interferes with any of the medications you are taking in conjunction with your heart treatment. Drugs.com notes that there are a number of prescription medicines that have been shown to interact with sodium bicarbonate, including mecamylamine, methenamine and tetracycline antibiotics. You should inform a health care professional of over-the-counter medications such as antacids as they too make be a problem when taken with baking soda.
A possible side effect you may experience from taking baking soda regularly is hypernatremia. This condition can cause edema, weight gain and water retention. These problems can interfere with your heart treatment. This may be especially dangerous if you are being treated for congestive heart failure. Even if your doctor says it is alright to take baking soda, be sure to inform him immediately if you have unusual swelling to make sure you have not developed hypernatremia.
If you are under a physician’s care for cardiovascular disease, never take baking soda without discussing it with her first. You may need to be monitored regularly for treatment problems. In addition to the possibility of side effects from increased sodium, drug interaction and water retention, sodium bicarbonate may cause decreased cardiac contractility, increased serum osmolality, peripheral vasodilation and decreased ionized serum calcium, all of which can be dangerous to a patient in heart treatment.
Marcia Frost is a writer covering travel, food, wine/spirits, and health. She writes for many on and offline publications, including The Daily Meal, Girls Getaway, Travelhoppers, and Princess Cruises.She also has a popular blog, Wine And SpiritsTravel. She has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Long Island University.