Baking soda is a cooking product that helps batter rise. This article discusses the effects of swallowing a large amount of baking soda. Baking soda is considered nontoxic when it is used in cooking and baking.
Soda loading refers to drinking baking soda. Some athletes and coaches believe that drinking baking soda before competition helps a person perform for longer periods of time. This is very dangerous. Besides having side effects, it makes the athletes unable to perform.
This article is for information only. DO NOT use it to treat or manage an actual overdose. If you or someone you are with overdoses, call your local emergency number (such as 911) or the National Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.
Sodium bicarbonate can be poisonous in large amounts.
Baking soda contains sodium bicarbonate.
Seek medical help right away. DO NOT make a person throw up unless poison control or a health care provider tells you to.
Before Calling Emergency
Have this information ready:
- Person's age, weight, and condition
- Name of product
- Time it was swallowed
- Amount swallowed
The National Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) can be called from anywhere in the United States. This national hotline number will let you talk to experts in poisoning. They will give you further instructions.
This is a free and confidential service. All local poison control centers in the United States use this national number. You should call if you have any questions about poisoning or poison prevention. It does NOT need to be an emergency. You can call for any reason, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
What to Expect at the Emergency Room
Take the container with you to the hospital, if possible.
The health care provider will measure and monitor the person's vital signs, including temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure. The person may receive:
- Activated charcoal
- Blood and urine tests
- EKG (electrocardiogram or heart tracing)
- Intravenous fluids (through a vein)
- Medicines to treat symptoms
The outcome of a baking soda overdose depends on many factors, including:
- Amount of baking soda swallowed
- Time between the overdose and when treatment began
- Person's age, weight, and overall health
- Type of complications that develop
If nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea are not controlled, serious dehydration and body chemical and mineral (electrolyte) imbalances may occur. These can cause heart rhythm disturbances.
Thomas SHL, White J. Poisoning. In: Walker BR, Colledge NR, Ralston SH, Penman ID, eds. Davidson's Principles and Practice of Medicine. 22nd ed. Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2014:chap 9.
Update Date 7/11/2015
Updated by: Jacob L. Heller, MD, MHA, Emergency Medicine, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.