Do I need a baking soda supplement?

Survival tip: Some patients need a sodium bicarbonate supplement to reduce the acid in their blood. Your doctor will prescribe tablets if you need to add this to your diet. The tablet is easier to swallow than a spoonful of baking soda and is the same thing!

The final lab that I mentioned in the post about important lab values is sodium bicarbonate. This tablet is simply a perfectly measured easy-to-swallow tablet made from baking soda like you use in the kitchen or put in the refrigerator. If you drop the tablet into water, it immediately breaks down into powder. 

Did YOU KNOW that the chemical compound name of sodium bicarbonate is NaHCO3. The shortened name, sodium bicarb, is also commonly used. Sodium hydrogen carbonate and many other synonyms and names are listed in section 3.4 of this National Institutes of Health reference.

Baking SodaWhat does sodium bicarbonate do?

According to the National Institutes of Health a lack of the electrolyte sodium bicarb affects your body’s use of vitamin D, causes muscles to weaken, reduces the amount of albumin and impairs and alters kidney tissue.

Adding sodium bicarbonate can increase serum albumin, the measure of protein intake for nutrition, and essential amino acids (building blocks of protein).

The short answer for why you might need sodium bicarbonate is that it neutralizes acid in the blood. If the body is too acidic, it takes minerals from vital organs and bones. Our organs and bones face enough challenges from kidney disease!

Oxygen doesn’t reach cells well and oxygen cannot be transported to your organs if the body is too acidic. Then our bodies take minerals from vital organs and bones, just as too much phosphorus causes the body to leach calcium from the bones.

The less acidic your body is, the better your body can combat illness.

Kava CoffeeI am going to go out on a limb and say reduce your acid intake, especially tea and coffee, to limit the acid introduced to your body. Because we can’t have but a little bit of fluid each day, water is the best option, but if you must have that cup of coffee each morning, try Kava. Kava is an acid neutralized brand of instant coffee.

Let your doctor regulate your sodium bicarbonate. If you need to adjust the amount in your body, your labs will show it, and your medical team will address necessary changes. You don’t need to do anything to regulate this number, but the doctors prescribed sodium bicarb for me off and on, and I wanted to know why. So I am sharing it with you!

I intended to discuss ways to cut the cost of eating healthy this week, but the sodium bicarbonate post was a little long. So come back next week. I have part one of the post written and ready!

If you or someone you care about is facing dialysis, share your experiences and concerns. This is a forum for learning and inspiration where we can ask questions and be honest with others in the same situation. What are your experiences and challenges with dialysis?


If you would like Beth, the Dialysis Gal, to speak to your group, reach out via e-mail or the comments.


About dialysisgal

When I joined the 450,000 Americans on dialysis, I wondered what "normal" would be. Would people stare at my access and ask what was wrong? In this blog, I hope to save other patients and their families from the difficulties I have faced. I want to share my experiences, what I learned, had to ask and was shocked to find. I am not a medical professional, but I hope we can have a conversation to help you better understand what you or someone you love with chronic kidney disease (CKD) might expect while living with dialysis.
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