About 44 percent of Americans experience heartburn at least once a month, with 7 percent suffering from the condition every day, reports The Wall Street Journal. Opt for a natural treatment like baking soda instead of an over-the-counter antacid the next time you have that burning sensation in your chest.
Cover Your Bases
Baking soda is simply sodium bicarbonate, which is a component used in many antacids, according to Tekoa L. King and Mary C. Brucker, authors of "Pharmacology for Women's Health." As a base, baking soda neutralizes stomach acid. It is easily absorbed and can work within 15 minutes, state King and Brucker. Arm & Hammer, the manufacturer of one brand of baking soda, suggests using 1/2 teaspoon in 4 ounces of water to treat heartburn.
Keep It Short
Because 1/2 teaspoon contains 616 milligrams of sodium, restrict your use of baking soda to the short term. Medline Plus recommends using it no longer than two weeks unless a doctor directs otherwise. Don't use more than seven 1/2-teaspoon servings in 24 hours or more than three times in 24 hours if you are over 60. Common side-effects include belching, stomach cramps or increased thirst. Discontinue use and notify your doctor if you have more serious side-effects, like intense headaches, weakness or blood in the stool.