Advocates for home remedies often use apple cider vinegar and baking soda on their own. But now, many have infused both items together in hopes of enhancing their effects. The mixture is touted for numerous health benefits ranging from reducing pains to fighting cancer.
With an acid-base combo like that, one might wonder about its safety, its effectiveness, and its suggested use. Let us dissect each of its many benefits and see what the research says about this potential combo.
Apple Cider Vinegar and Baking Soda
The type of vinegar produced from the fermentation of apples goes by the name of apple cider vinegar. It is high in acetic acid, produced during fermentation, and dates back to a long culinary history. The first reported use of ACV in medicine was by Hippocrates, and since then, it has been a consumer favorite.
Baking soda is the common name of sodium bicarbonate, an alkali compound, also associated with a long history of kitchen work. Much like ACV, baking soda found its way into medicine after anecdotal evidence eventually led to research seeking to confirm or deny the validity of its health claims.
Benefits of Baking Soda and Apple Cider Vinegar
The new combination rotating over the internet is interesting, particularly because it involves two powerhouses. Few can deny the numerous health benefits ACV and baking soda pose, even outside the field of medicine.
Each of them works in removing toxins from the body, restoring pH levels, treating digestion problems, and much more.
For Hair & Scalp Health
In beauty, apple cider vinegar and baking soda are popular means of adapting to the “no-poo” hair wash. Under this technique, natural detox and cleansing agents replace shampoo to create an ACV hair rinse as part of your hair care regimen.
A 2018 study published in the Skin Appendage Disorders aimed to examine the effect of these cleansing conditioners, including ACV and baking soda. It concluded that, as compared to sulfate-containing shampoos, the substances are more capable of fighting frizzy and dry hair. (1)
Additionally, a 2005 study declared the efficacy of sodium bicarbonate baths for psoriasis, a common skin condition on the scalp. After the failure of specific immunosuppressive treatments, the NaHCO3 bath helped the subjects fight irritation, itchiness, and other severe symptoms. (2)
- More Reading: Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar Bath
For Weight Loss
Research hasn’t demonstrated any additional benefit in combining baking soda with ACV for weight loss. However, studies have shown ACV’s singular influence on fat accumulation in the body. It is known to promote satiety after meals, reduce body fat mass and alter triglyceride levels. (3)
There may be an indirect benefit when drinking ACV to lose weight. A 2016 report from the Frontiers in Nutrition declared increased hydration as a means aiding weight loss. Consuming ACV, diluted in water or lemon juice, is a common method of consumption amongst proponents, and a great way to stay hydrated. (4)
For Acid Reflux
In 2015, the Journal of the National Medical Association published a report evaluating the use of home remedies amongst African American and white adults. Interestingly, the highest reported usage was for vinegar and baking soda. These substances are often effective in treating cases of upset stomach, and heartburn which may ultimately lead to acid reflux. (5)
The claim for using the mixture for enhancing digestion seems rational when you consider the antimicrobial capacity of both components. There is also some evidence to suggest that ACV can speed up the breakdown of food, allowing it to pass into the intestines before it has a chance to cause digestive issues or bloating.
Research seems to show some evidence that ACV and baking soda on their own may help cancer. However, none of the research includes both of them together or uses human subjects.
A Japanese study performed on mice concluded that anti-tumor effects prolonged the life of the mice due to tumor regression. Additionally, since acetic acid transforms to acetate in the stomach, ACV shows potential for destroying cancerous cells. (6)
Another 2009 animal research trial found baking soda to inhibited metastatic growth from prostate cancer cells within mice. (7)
For Gout Relief
There is also some evidence supporting the use of baking soda and ACV for gout relief. As gout is an inflammatory condition caused by the crystallization of uric acid, the alkalinity of the soda is deemed beneficial for neutralization. ACV’s acidity then helps maintain an acid-base balance.
A 2016 study surveyed subjects who consumed dietary supplements to treat gout. Baking soda and ACV were among the list of natural remedies. Both were found effective in reducing gout flares within a month, showing potential for further research. (8)
Baking Soda and ACV have also demonstrated sufficient evidence within diabetic subjects when used on an individual basis. Currently, there is no evidence to suggest the combined effects of both products would be an improvement when compared to each on their own.
One study found vinegar can help lower blood glucose and improve insulin levels. (9)
Further research using baking soda showed that it can reduce systemic inflammation and have a positive impact on insulin resistance in mice with type 2 diabetes. (10)
For Blood Pressure
While some randomized animal studies have concluded the possibility of using ACV for blood pressure, it is generally not advised. In some cases, ACV can lower potassium levels which may contribute to increased blood pressure. (11)
Similarly, ingesting sodium bicarbonate was also shown to promote hypertension rather than inhibit it. (12)
- More Reading: Does Apple Cider Vinegar Expire?
ACV and Baking Soda Recipe
Remember, not much evidence exists to suggest any additional benefits in mixing these two components. For safety reasons, we recommend just sticking to a basic apple cider vinegar recipe.
If you’ve already consulted with a medical professional regarding ACV and baking soda, combining the two substances with the help of a drink recipe isn’t that hard.
Here’s how you can do it:
- Grab a glass and put in 1-2 tablespoons of ACV.
- For baking soda, use half that amount. For instance, for every 2 tablespoons ACV, use 1 for baking soda.
- Dilute the mixture with sufficient cold water.
- Add in a sweetener of your choice.
- Top it off with a personal touch by using ginger, turmeric, cayenne pepper, or anything you’d like.
Potential Side Effects
- Baking soda’s misuse as a home remedy can lead to metabolic alkalosis.
- ACV’s acidity can worsen heartburn if not consumed in an appropriate amount.
- Pregnant women, children, and adults with serious medical history can suffer from electrolyte and acid/base imbalances in the body.
- ACV can cause throat burns and damage to tooth enamel. Do not oversaturate its concentration in the mixture.
- The mixture may interfere with previous medical conditions or worsen them.
- The neutralization reaction between the soda and vinegar produces gas. Ingestion of said gas can cause bloating and other respiratory problems.
Tips for Consumption
- Make sure the baking soda thoroughly dissolves with the vinegar before you add in water.
- Do not let the mixture remain in your mouth for long, lest the acidity causes any side effects.
- Keep the frequency at bay and do not consume more than a glass every 2 days.
- If you have had any past medical history, always consult with a medical professional first.
- Use a raw ACV with “the mother” for best results.
Other Ways to Take ACV
Many wouldn’t want to directly gulp down ACV as a drink. ACV is versatile, not only with the benefits it presents but also with its consumption methods. You may use one of the following alternating techniques to consume ACV beyond its liquid form.
- ACV gummies for a more palatable option
- ACV capsules for an easier approach
- ACV hair wash to strengthen the scalp
- ACV face wash for skin health
Final Thoughts on ACV and Baking Soda
The bottom line is that each of the proven benefits of baking soda and apple cider vinegar applies to their individual usage. To claim they’re more powerful as a mixture is anecdotal at best, and may expose you to additional risks.
Science has not condemned it, but more research is needed to actively endorse it. Until then, keep the safety tips in mind, and if all else fails, practice a healthier lifestyle.