Can you drink baking soda for gout, or is it an old wives’ tale? Read this post to know the answer.
In this article:
- What Is Gout?
- What Is Baking Soda?
- Why Is Baking Soda Good for Gout?
- Who Can Drink Baking Soda?
- When Is the Best Time to Drink Baking Soda?
- How Do You Take Baking Soda for Gout?
- What Are the Side Effects of Using Baking Soda to Treat Gout?
- What Are the Other Home Remedies for Gout Besides Baking Soda?
Baking Soda for Gout: Does It Work to Ease Symptoms?
What Is Gout?
Gout is one of the many types of arthritis or joint inflammation. It commonly affects the big toes, but it can occur in other parts of the body.
One of its primary causes is the buildup of uric acid, which forms into crystals. These can lodge in between the joints, leading to inflammation and limited mobility.
The body produces uric acid naturally. A poor diet, though, can also significantly contribute.
A diet that’s high in meat, for example, may not be ideal for people with gout or prone to the condition. This type of food is high in purine, which has uric acid as a by-product once consumed.
Other risk factors for gout include:
- Genetics or family history
- Medications like those for hypertension
- Sedentary lifestyle
Usually, the body can get rid of excess uric acid. It becomes a problem when its levels are high, or the kidneys do not work well.
Some of the most common symptoms of gout are:
- Sudden joint pain, the severity of which can last for hours
- Significant joint discomfort
- Signs of inflammation such as redness, tenderness, and soreness
- Limited movement
What Is Baking Soda?
Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate and is a type of salt. You can use it in different ways, such as cooking and cleaning.
It is a popular baking ingredient, and it works similarly to baking powder. They are leavening agents, which allow the dough to rise when exposed to heat.
Still, they’re significantly different. Baking soda is pure sodium bicarbonate, while baking powder contains baking soda and an acidifying or drying agent.
While baking soda is effective as cleaning and cooking material, some studies suggest it may also be good for health. A systematic review in 2016 revealed it is both safe and effective in treating some diseases:
- In a 2004 study involving ten patients with colorectal cancer, those who consumed baking soda experienced decreased vomiting and better appetite.
- Postmenopausal women who drink baking soda lowered their risk factors for cardiovascular disease. These include total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (bad cholesterol).
- A 2013 research showed that sodium bicarbonate improved the speed of swimmers compared to the control group.
Why Is Baking Soda Good for Gout?
With the supposed health benefits of baking soda, some health pundits believe it may also be ideal for gout. It could be for the following reasons:
1. It Is an Alkaline Substance
One of the potential health benefits of baking soda for gout is potentially increasing your body’s alkalinity. Sodium bicarbonate has a pH level of 9.
It is also a base. When you mix it with water, the solution also becomes alkaline.
Raising your body’s alkalinity may help reduce the risk of inflammation. Studies such as this 2013 research showed a close link between acidosis (or high levels of acidity) and increased inflammatory markers.
2. It May Slow Down the Progress of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)
A high level of uric acid may be an indication of chronic kidney disease, a progressive condition characterized by the gradual dysfunction of the kidneys.
The kidneys are necessary to help filter blood and remove excess waste such as uric acid. They also help manage your blood pressure.
A 2014 study revealed that consumption of sodium bicarbonate slowed down the progression of stage 4 CKD. It also improved the nutritional health of individuals with stage 5 CKD.
3. Baking Soda May Reduce Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
Gout and rheumatoid arthritis are not the same. The latter is an autoimmune disease, which means the body attacks the organs due to an overactive immune response.
Their symptoms, such as joint pain and swelling, overlap. It means if sodium bicarbonate can work for RA, baking soda for gout may also be possible.
In a 2018 research, a team from the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta University cited how the kitchen staple can control RA.
According to them, the substance regulates the mesothelial cells that act as the protectors of the spleen. The cells signal the organ that helps produce immune cells not to mount an immune response.
What are mesothelial cells? These are specialized cells that line cavities in the body.
Who Can Drink Baking Soda?
Drinking baking soda may work for the following people:
- Those clinically diagnosed with gout
- Individuals prone to or diagnosed with other joint diseases or arthritis
- People who are obese since they are prone to joint pain
- Those who consume a diet high in purine
- People who may be taking medications for hypertension
Notes: Do not drink baking soda for gout or other medical conditions without the approval of your doctor. A baking soda solution is not ideal for children, especially those below six years old and pregnant women.
When Is the Best Time to Drink Baking Soda?
No study suggests it is safe—or unsafe—to drink baking soda daily. To be on the safe side, you may consume it occasionally.
If you’re suffering from gout, you may consider drinking it as soon as the initial symptoms appear. You may also make the solution if you’re eating a high-purine diet.
How Do You Take Baking Soda for Gout?
Baking soda for gout is one of the easiest solutions to make. All you need are baking soda and water.
- In a glass of cold or warm water, add a teaspoon of baking soda.
- Mix them well until you can no longer see the powder.
- Drink slowly.
Note: You may add lemon if you want to improve its taste and further increase your alkalinity.
What Are the Side Effects of Using Baking Soda to Treat Gout?
Although baking soda may have some health benefits, it may also introduce some side effects:
- Abdominal cramps
- Increased thirst
If you have gastrointestinal issues, it’s best to skip baking soda or talk it over with your doctor first.
What Are the Other Home Remedies for Gout Besides Baking Soda?
What if you cannot consume baking soda for gout? There are still other home remedies you can try:
- Eat an anti-gout diet.
- Perform low-impact exercises to help take care of the joints.
- Spend less time sitting and more time being active.
- Take Body Protective Complex (BPC). It can decrease inflammation, increase the production of collagen, and repair damage to the connective tissues.
- Manage your weight.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Monitor your kidney function.
- Avoid alcohol.
- Elevate the affected feet to improve circulation.
- Switch between hot and cold compress to minimize the swelling and pain. Use a cold compress for half an hour and a hot compress for three minutes.
Can you drink baking soda for gout? Based on the studies, it’s a possible solution to ease joint pain and decrease inflammation or swelling.
Scientists, though, need to do more research before you can get a definite answer. In the meantime, do the best you can to not only reduce symptoms of gout but prevent it altogether.
How do you manage joint pain? Share your tips in the comments section below!