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Short & Long Term Effects of Sodium Bicarbonate

By Miguel Cavazos

Sodium bicarbonate is a white inorganic salt and odorless powder characterized by short-term action in your body. Sodium bicarbonate is common in foods, animal feed and pharmaceuticals. Cosmetic products, detergents and other household cleaning products may contain sodium bicarbonate. A 2002 UNEP report suggests that sodium bicarbonate has a low hazard potential and indicates that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration classifies this chemical as a food ingredient that is generally safe.

Neutralizes Stomach Acids

Sodium bicarbonate neutralizes stomach acids in the short term. According to the Mayo Clinic website, sodium bicarbonate is an antacid. Uses for sodium bicarbonate include heart burn, sour stomach and acid indigestion relief. The Drugs online database indicates that sodium bicarbonate’ short-term antacid effects may provide relief for people with active duodenal ulcers or benign gastric ulcers. Short-term effects of sodium bicarbonate may help suppress symptoms that are associated with gastroespophageal reflux disease or GERD. Sodium bicarbonate may provide short-term treatment of a condition known as erosive esophagitis or reduce the risk of bleeding in the upper gastrointestinal tract in patients with critical illnesses.

Neutralizes Stomach Acids

Sodium bicarbonate neutralizes stomach acids in the short term. According to the Mayo Clinic website, sodium bicarbonate is an antacid. Uses for sodium bicarbonate include heart burn, sour stomach and acid indigestion relief. The Drugs online database indicates that sodium bicarbonate’ short-term antacid effects may provide relief for people with active duodenal ulcers or benign gastric ulcers. Short-term effects of sodium bicarbonate may help suppress symptoms that are associated with gastroespophageal reflux disease or GERD. Sodium bicarbonate may provide short-term treatment of a condition known as erosive esophagitis or reduce the risk of bleeding in the upper gastrointestinal tract in patients with critical illnesses.

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Alkalizes Body Fluids

The Mayo Clinic website suggests that a physician may prescribe dosages of sodium bicarbonate to reduce the acidity of body fluids. The Clinic indicates that sodium bicarbonate provides a short-term alkalizing effect that may help reduce acidity in urine and blood. The Drugs online database indicates that intravenous sodium bicarbonate increases the pH level of your blood and suppresses acidosis. Short-term effects of sodium bicarbonate can provide a treatment for metabolic acidosis that may occur in people with renal disease, uncontrolled diabetes or circulatory insufficiency. The short-term alkalizing effect of sodium bicarbonate may help treat drug intoxications including intoxication by barbiturates, methyl alcohol poisoning and hemolytic reactions that require urine alkalization to diminish toxicity.

Long-Term

The effects of sodium bicarbonate result from short-term chemical activity. Long-term effects do not characterize sodium bicarbonate and there is no clear evidence that long-term use adversely affects your health. According to a publication by the United Nationals Environment Programme or UNEP, there are no studies that directly relate to long-term exposure to sodium bicarbonate. The publication notes that evidence of negative effects of long-term sodium bicarbonate use do not exist. The UNEP suggests that sodium bicarbonate’s lack of negative long-term effects explains the persistent practice of using this chemical as an antacid. However, the UNEP does not recommend long-term use of sodium bicarbonate for antacid therapy, because of its short duration of action and alkalosis producing properties. Alkalosis occurs when body fluids have too much base or alkali. For example, the Drugs website indicates that long-term use of bicarbonate with calcium or milk can cause milk-alkali syndrome.

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