Dr. Thomas Dwan - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Thomas Dwan

Is Baking Soda Bad For You?

Also Known As: sodium bicarbonate, NaHCO3



Short answer

Baking soda is great for you - least of all because it is a key ingredient in many of the baked goods we love to eat. It has far reaching medical benefits and just may be a life saver.



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Long answer

Sodium bicarbonate, or baking soda as we know it, is commonly used in (surprise!) baking. However, it has many other benefits, often when mixed with some water, which you may not have been aware of before. Baking soda is alkaline, meaning it raises the overall alkalinity in the body, which is very important when the acid-base balance is out of order. Off balance acid-base levels are often the case in several diseases such as metabolic acidosis, kidney disease, heartburn, and even cancer. When mixed with water, baking soda can be drunk to relieve the aforementioned afflictions. In the case of cancer, studies done on animals point to it being able to raise the pH value of cancerous tumors without disturbing the surrounding blood and tissue, thus effectively stopping the tumor from metastasizing. In one very promising study, baking soda was shown to reduce kidney degeneration by 2/3 among test subjects with just 6.5% requiring dialysis by the end of the study (compared to 33% of those who were not given baking soda).

Additionally, drinking baking soda can help increase athletic performance by acting as a buffer for lactic acid that builds up in the muscles after a bout of exercise, reducing fatigue. When used topically, baking soda can be used as an antiseptic. It also relieves symptoms associated with the skin condition psoriasis. 

Sodium is often thought of as a trigger to raising blood pressure, but this characteristic of salt (sodium chloride) does not apply to sodium bicarbonate. Furthermore, bicarbonate reacts with water to encourage belching, which relieves bloating and gas. When used topically, it is completely nontoxic and when ingested, it is safe provided the recommended amount is not exceeded. In the case of drinking a large quantity of baking soda, possible side effects are nausea and diarrhea.

Possible short-term side effects

  • nausea (with excessive consumption)
  • diarrhea (with excessive consumption)


  • may prevent cancer from metastasizing
  • can be used as an antiseptic
  • can be used as an antacid
  • treats high acidity in the body
  • helps treat osteoporosis
  • helps treat arthritis

Our Wellness Pick (what is this?)

Bob's Red Mill Baking Soda

  • Multi-purpose ingredient
  • Pure and natural
  • No added chemicals
  • Gluten-free product
  • 16 oz dual pack
Learn More!

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Jeff Volling
Published on: 03-10-2016
Last updated: 12-15-2023

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Jeff Volling
Published on: 03-10-2016
Last updated: 12-15-2023

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