The benefits of soda – do we overestimate it?

Soda is the colloquial name of sodium hydrogen carbonate, whose main pharmacological application is an antacid. It interacts with hydrochloric acid in the stomach by neutralizing it with the production of sodium chloride and carbonic acid, which in turn is unstable and decomposes with carbon dioxide (gas) and water. Therefore, a brief eruption (burping) is observed shortly after soda intake. 

1. The   use of soda as an antacid is actually the most important thing. It is an extremely appropriate means of relieving acute attacks of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, gastritis, ulcer, oesophagitis, etc., but is extremely unsuitable for periods of more than two weeks.
 The recommended dose is half a teaspoonful dissolved in about 120 ml of water and can be repeated within 2-3 hours. 

The maximum recommended daily dose for adults is 3 teaspoons, and for those over the age of 60 one and a half since they have a reduction in gastric juice secretion of up to 80%.  It is advised not to take it suddenly due to the possibility of flatulence, colic, diarrhea.  Often after the intake of soda, the so-called “Rebounds” effect , which has a worsening of the initial symptoms and increased gastric secretion.  Such an effect is also seen with the proton pump inhibitors, so it is good to only accept it when it is necessary, and instead to take a change in lifestyle. Prolonged intake and high doses may result in hypokalaemia, hypochloremia, hypernatraemia, heart failure, kidney failure, swollen limbs, and the like.

 2.  Secondly, it is the combination of soda with certain drugs- It increases the rate of excretion of acidic drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen, antibiotics, furosemide, warfarin, barbiturates and much more. This may be a desirable effect on drug-drug intoxications and a first emergency relief measure, but it can also be an unwanted effect – for example, if you are taking an antibiotic due to a bacterial infection and taking the soda at the same time. Therefore, if you do not know the acid-base nature of a drug, it is advisable not to take the soda 2-3 hours after it. This interaction of soda is also based on the popular Internet claim that soda treats cancer. This, of course, is not the case, but it is found to aid chemotherapy in some cases – in others, however, the drug becomes more toxic. 

3. Thirdly, baking soda can be used in a variety of bacterial infections in the absence of a medical alternative or in combination with it. For example, in bacterial pharyngitis (inflammation of the throat) the soda gargle is particularly useful and destroys the bacteria for two reasons. First it creates an unfavorable base environment for their development. And secondly, it creates conditions for plasmolysis of bacteria: when we make gargle with soda, its concentration in the middle is higher than intracellular. 

This leads to plasmolysis – an osmotically mediated transition of water from the cell to the environment where the bacterial cells are “dried”. The same thing happens with normal lining cells. Therefore, it should not be overstretched.

 Exactly this indirect antibacterial action of soda is also used to cope with the unpleasant odor in the axillary well . However, it is extremely undesirable to use soda in the intimate area for women, due to disturbance of the natural pH and flora of the vagina, which increases the risk of infectious and inflammatory changes. 

4. Fourthly, soda is used in various skin irritations and insect bites on a limited surface – treatment of large surfaces can lead to atopic reactions. 

5. Fifth, baking soda has abrasive properties – this is used to exfoliate skin areas as well as to whiten the teeth. 

According to a number of studies, soda improves physical endurance at short intensive loads and is used by many athletes. This is associated with a decrease in pH of the blood from the lactate released during the stresses.  In conclusion, soda bicarbonate is a non-specific drug and finds a number of uses. Yet its central role is in coping with acute crises of reflux disease, gastritis and ulcer.