Your dietitian might suggest this simple test involving baking soda and water, known as ‘The Baking Soda Test’.
Here is why.
Your stomach is like a chemical factory, churning out various acids to break down the food you eat.
Sometimes, this acid production can get out of balance. Some folks end up with too much stomach acid, leading to reflux issues. Others might have too little stomach acid, which can mimic reflux symptoms such as bloating, fullness, and discomfort.
Now, let’s dive into some basic chemistry: Baking soda is a base (or alkaline substance), and it reacts with stomach acid to produce carbon dioxide gas.
If you take baking soda on an empty stomach, it should trigger a burp within a few minutes due to the gas formation. If you don’t burp, it could be a sign that your stomach isn’t producing enough acid.
It is important to note that this is not a diagnostic test and that your results may vary over the days you do the test.
This is why we recommend doing the test 3 days in a row and averaging the times.
If you do not burp within 3-5 minutes of taking the baking soda, your dietitian will discuss what this may mean and what steps to take next.
Note: if you are taking a PPI (esomeprazole, famotidine, pantoprazole etc), do not complete the test – these medications reduce stomach acid and the test is not helpful in this situation.
- Mix ¼ tsp baking soda in 4oz/120ml of water
- Drink first thing in the morning (it can be helpful to set this up on your dresser/night stand or bathroom the night before)
- Set a timer when you drink the liquid and stop the timer when you burp
- If you do not burp within 5 minutes, stop the timer and record ‘no burp’
- Complete the test 3 days in a row and note the test and times you get in Cronometer.
If you have any concerns about this test, please speak with your Dietitian.
The mixture does taste soapy, so it isn’t the most fun thing to do, but it is helpful for your Dietitian and can provide another piece of the puzzle in your digestive issues.