Is sodium bicarbonate harmful?

Ingestion of excessive sodium bicarbonate (more than 2 teaspoons a day) can lead to a metabolic alkalosis. This is a serious condition that can require hospital admission for breathing support. People with poor kidney function may become alkalotic with less than this amount as their bodies are less able to excrete it. Our bodies are very good at correcting a too acid condition, but not so good when we make ourselves too alkaline. Despite widespread claims of the benefits of bicarbonates for alkalizing the body, ingested bicarbonate will be rapidly excreted in the urine, and if more bicarbonate than can be excreted is ingested, a dangerous alkalosis can be caused.

Regular ingestion of sodium bicarbonate will make the urine constantly alkaline which can encourage some forms of urinary calculi.

Regular ingestion of sodium bicarbonate may theoretically exacerbate high blood pressure due to excessive sodium intake and should be avoided by those on a low sodium diet.

Sodium bicarbonate taken before or with meals will neutralize stomach acid that protects from bacteria and aids in protein digestion. Excessive or habitual use of any antacid may lead to poor protein digestion and food poisoning.

Sodium bicarbonate applied to skin will remove the protective acid mantle of the skin, can encourage infection, and irritates the skin.

Recent claims that sodium bicarbonate is a cure for cancer are unproven, and contradict many years of research into cancer. Animal experiments suggest that sodium bicarbonate encourages tumor growth. The doctor who promotes this therapy has been convicted of fraud and homicide in Italy where he has been banned from practicing medicine for life, and has been blamed for a number of other deaths. He is either a misunderstood genius being persecuted by Big Pharma, or a dangerous quack.