People sometimes use baking soda dissolved in water as a home remedy for gout. The theory is that it reduces the uric acid levels in the body. However, there is limited scientific evidence to support this claim.
The body makes uric acid when it breaks down purines, which are organic compounds present in the human body and in foods. Gout occurs due to hyperuricemia, a condition where there is too much uric acid in the bloodstream. As a result, urate crystals, or monosodium urate, build up in the fluids, tissues, and joints in the body.
There are two ways people believe using baking soda will help with gout. One involves ingesting it, typically mixed in water. The other requires soaking the affected joint in water and baking soda.
In this article, we look at what gout is and whether baking soda is an effective home remedy. We also discuss alternative treatment options.
The general belief is that drinking several glasses of water per day mixed with baking soda will help reduce the amount of uric acid in the body.
However, there is little clinical research to suggest that baking soda is an effective treatment for gout.
In a 2020 study, researchers found that people consuming sodium bicarbonate showed no changes in their uric acid levels after a 20-week intervention.
If a person wants to drink baking soda to treat gout, they can dissolve half a teaspoon of baking soda in water. They can do this multiple times per day. The recommended daily dose of baking soda is a total of 4 teaspoons.
People considering using baking soda orally should seek guidance from a doctor about whether it is safe for them and, if so, what the proper dose should be.
Additionally, consuming large amounts of baking soda can be dangerous to a person’s overall health.
It can also cause neurologic symptoms, including:
According to the Arthritis Foundation, treatment for gout focuses on reducing pain during a flare and preventing the buildup of uric acid in the body, which typically causes flare-ups of gout.
To reduce uric acid levels, a doctor may prescribe medication. They will also likely recommend dietary and lifestyle changes, such as avoiding alcohol, exercising regularly, and limiting certain foods.
A person should work with a doctor to develop a treatment plan that is most suitable for their needs.
A person can try the following to relieve the symptoms of gout:
- taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen
- applying a cold compress onto the affected joint for 20–30 minutes several times per day
- drinking plenty of water to help flush out the uric acid
- resting and elevating the foot, if it has become affected
It is of note that aspirin can worsen gout symptoms.
The Arthritis Foundation recommends people who want to manage or avoid gout drink more:
An important dietary change a person can make is adopting a diet low in purines to help prevent flare-ups. Following the Mediterranean diet or the DASH diet can help reduce the amount of purines a person consumes.
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Gout typically affects one joint at a time, often in the big toe. It can also affect the other toe joints, knee, and ankle.
Some common signs and symptoms occurring in joints affected by gout include:
Gout is a painful form of inflammatory arthritis that typically affects the big toe joint. However, it can occur in other joints as well.
Although some people may consume baking soda to treat gout, there is limited evidence to suggest that this is an effective treatment option.
A person should consult a doctor about the best natural remedies, such as dietary changes, to include in their treatment plan.