Using Baking Soda for Gout: Is It Effective?
What is Gout?
A common type of arthritis, gout is characterized by swelling and pain in your joints, particularly in the big toe. Gout happens due to uric acid crystallization on the joints. If left untreated, gout may produce crystals that form kidney stones over a period of time. It can also produce hard bumps, known as tophi that form under your skin or near your joints.
This is not to say that the pain caused by gout affects a person all the time. Gout attacks keep coming and going. It can come on quickly and then keep returning over a period of time. This condition slowly causes harm to the tissues in the joint where inflammation is present. Gout has also been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and metabolic disease. It is an extremely painful condition and it is also one of the most commonly occurring forms of inflammatory arthritis in men. While it is more likely to affect men, women also become susceptible to developing gout after menopause.
Using Baking Soda for Gout
Many practitioners of natural healing techniques firmly believe that baking soda has a big role to play in easing the symptoms of gout. The theory behind this is that due to the fact that baking soda, which is basically sodium bicarbonate(1), helps in neutralizing stomach acid, it should when consumed, also increase the alkalinity of your blood, and reduce the amount of uric acid present in the body.
According to data from Kidney Atlas(2), the ideal dosage of baking soda recommended by advocates of this treatment is half a teaspoon of baking soda dissolved in water. This is to be taken at least 8 times a day. These baking soda advocates also recommend that people who have high blood pressure, or those who are monitoring their salt intake, should definitely consult their doctor before trying out this method.(3)
Is Baking Soda Effective in Treating Gout?
There is a huge amount of anecdotal support for the use of baking soda as an effective treatment for gout. However, there is very little clinical research to actually show that baking soda helps lower the levels of uric acid in the blood, that too to an extent that is enough to impact gout.
Baking soda does, however, helps in lowering stomach acidity. Studies from Michigan State University(4) have shown that baking soda is effective for helping in cases of occasional indigestion. However, it also quickly breaks down inside the stomach into carbon dioxide and water. This is why it is likely to have little effect on the acidity levels of the blood.
Is It Safe To Ingest Baking Soda?
While it is safe to consume baking soda in small amounts and when dissolved in water, but according to research done by the National Capital Poison Center(5), consuming too much of baking soda can cause the following:
Stomach ruptures, especially after binging on alcohol or after having a large meal
Some Alternatives to Gout Medication
Some research has shown that there are certain alternative therapies also that are viable for the treatment of gout. These therapies work by lowering the levels of uric acid in the body. These include:
Gout can also be managed through diet. A diet that attempts to address the symptoms of gout needs to be limiting on the consumption of fructose. You also need to avoid the intake of high purine foods and high fructose corn syrup.(6)
Before trying out any alternative medication or treatment, though, it is always recommended that you consult your doctor once.
There are a wide variety of home remedies for treating gout. These can easily be found on the internet. While some are anecdotal, some are backed by clinical research. You need to keep in mind that every person tends to respond differently to each of the treatment types. If you are considering the use of baking soda or any other alternative treatment for gout, you should always seek your doctor's advice.
Your doctor will help you understand and determine whether the treatment is appropriate for your condition or not. They will also take into consideration the severity of your condition and the possibility of interactions with other medications you are presently taking, before recommending any alternative therapy for gout.
- Bjornstad, P., Maahs, D.M., Roncal, C.A., Snell‐Bergeon, J.K., Shah, V.N., Milagres, T., Ellis, S.L., Hatch, M., Chung, L.T., Rewers, M.J. and Garg, S., 2018. Role of bicarbonate supplementation on urine uric acid crystals and diabetic tubulopathy in adults with type 1 diabetes. Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism, 20(7), pp.1776-1780.
- Kidney Atlas. (2019). 8 Gout Home Remedies… But Only 1 Works Well - Kidney Atlas. [online] Available at: https://www.kidneyatlas.org/gout-home-remedies/ [Accessed 16 May 2019].
- McCall, A. (2019). Baking Soda’s Health Benefits. [online] University Health News. Available at: https://universityhealthnews.com/daily/nutrition/baking-sodas-health-benefits/ [Accessed 16 May 2019].
- MSU Extension. (2019). Endless uses of baking soda. [online] Available at: https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/endless_uses_of_baking_soda [Accessed 16 May 2019].
- Poison.org. (2019). My Child Got Into the Baking Soda. [online] Available at: https://www.poison.org/articles/2016-mar/baking-soda [Accessed 16 May 2019].
- Singh, J.A., Bharat, A. and Edwards, N.L., 2015. An internet survey of common treatments used by patients with gout including cherry extract and juice and other dietary supplements. Journal of clinical rheumatology: practical reports on rheumatic & musculoskeletal diseases, 21(4), p.225.
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