Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) is used as an antacid for short-term relief of stomach upset, to correct acidosis in kidney disorders, to make the urine alkaline during bladder infections, and to minimize uric acid crystallization during gout treatment. A prescription sodium bicarbonate product is given by injection to treat metabolic acidosis and some drug intoxications. Sodium bicarbonate is available as a nonprescription drug alone (sodium bicarbonate tablets) or in combination with other nonprescription drugs for short-term treatment of various conditions to treat fever and mild to moderate pain.
Folic acid is needed by the body to utilize vitamin B12. Antacids, including sodium bicarbonate, inhibit folic acid absorption.1 People taking antacids are advised to supplement with folic acid.
In a study of nine healthy people, sodium bicarbonate administered with 10 mg of iron led to lower iron levels compared to iron administered alone.2 This interaction may be avoided by taking sodium bicarbonate-containing products two hours before or after iron-containing supplements.
1. Russell RM, Golner BB, Krasinski SD, et al. Effect of antacid and H2 receptor antagonists on the intestinal absorption of folic acid. J Lab Clin Med 1988;112:458–63.
2. O’Neil-Cutting MA, Crosby WH. The effect of antacids on the absorption of simultaneously ingested iron. JAMA 1986;255:1468–70.
Last Review: 05-01-2013
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