Chances are you’ve got a box or two of sodium bicarbonate in your kitchen right now.
Many of us keep one in the fridge to keep it smelling fresh and another on the pantry shelf for baking.
But it turns out that the latest item to be added to this hard-working chemical’s resume outshines them all.
It turns out a key component of baking soda, bicarbonate, could be the secret to living longer, according to research done at the University of Utah.
More on that in just a moment, but first let us explain what bicarbonate is.
Bicarbonate helps keep our pH in balance
Our bodies naturally produce bicarbonate in the lining of our stomachs.
The chemical is critical to our digestion process and serves as a buffer to keep the pH of our blood from becoming too acidic or basic.1
But as we age, our production of bicarbonate slows down. And now researchers tell us that slowdown could end up shortening our life.
When researchers poured through the collected data from 2287 healthy older folks who had participated in the Health, Aging and Body Composition Study, they discovered something that was really quite remarkable.
Folks low in bicarbonate had a 24% higher risk of death
Some of the volunteers—who were all in their 70s and had been followed for over 10 years—had a frightening 24 percent higher risk of dying during the follow up.
And what those high-risk folks shared was low bicarbonate levels.2,3
According to lead researcher Kalani Raphael, MD, it appears that healthy older folks with low bicarbonate levels have a higher risk of dying.
And here’s the problem…
While bicarbonate levels are sometimes included within the results of certain blood tests, it’s not something that doctors routinely test for or generally look at.
Which means that a whole lot of folks could be walking around with basement low bicarb levels at risk for an earlier death and have no idea.
Raise your bicarbonate levels naturally
While the research is admittedly still in the early stages—and the jury is still out on the cause and effect nature of the findings—if you’re concerned about your own bicarbonate levels you don’t have to wait around for more studies.
You can get more of the chemical through your diet.
Most potassium rich foods are also high in bicarbonate or the building block pre-cursors to bicarbonate.
To naturally raise your bicarb levels concentrate on eating more fruits and vegetables including…
- leafy greens
- root vegetables
You can also consider supplementing with baking soda, but check in with your doctor on this one first. Baking soda is high in sodium and if you’re salt sensitive this may be an issue.
However, there’s evidence that sodium bicarb doesn’t raise blood pressure to the same degree as other forms of sodium.
In one study, seniors given sodium bicarbonate in mineral water didn’t have a rise in blood pressure.4 And in another study a group of men and women ages 24 to 53 who also drank bicarb-spiked mineral didn’t have any changes at all in their blood pressure either.5
So your doctor may give the thumbs up to giving that baking soda on your pantry shelf a new job.
If you’ve already gotten the okay here’s a simple recipe to whip up a quick baking soda drink.
|Baking Soda “Cocktail”|
|This two ingredient recipe for a baking soda drink couldn’t be more simple. You can use it to supplement your diet, get rid of heartburn or settle your stomach.
• Drop baking soda into glass
• Allow glass to sit for a minute or so until cloudiness starts to clear at the bottom
If you’re a visual learner–or you’d just prefer to watch someone else try it first–this short, easy-to-follow video by Health Chef Marcus Guiliano, chef & owner of Aroma Thyme Bistro located in the Hudson Valley of New York, walks you through the steps.
1. Magnesium Online Library: Bicarbonate’s Importance to Human Health
2.” “Dietary Acid, Age, and Serum Bicarbonate Levels among Adults in the United States,” Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, December 06, 2013 vol. 8 no. 12 2034-2042
3. “Low blood levels of bicarbonate linked to earlier death in healthy older adults,” ScienceDaily, 1/14/16
4. “Effect of sodium chloride- and sodium bicarbonate-rich mineral water on blood pressure and metabolic parameters in elderly normotensive individuals: a randomized double-blind crossover trial,” J Hypertens. 1996 Jan;14(1):131-5.
5. “Sodium-rich carbonated natural mineral water ingestion and blood pressure,” Rev Port Cardiol. 2010 Feb;29(2):159-72.
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