The baking soda and lemon juice combination has become a popular home remedy. Some people claim that baking soda and lemon juice can improve skin, treat heartburn, and whiten teeth. Several scientific studies have looked at the health benefits of baking soda and lemon juice separately, but there isn’t much research to support the combined effects of these two ingredients.
This article discusses some of the potential benefits of consuming baking soda and lemon juice mixtures.
A note on pH
A baking soda solution is alkaline, while lemon juice is acidic. The idea of combining baking soda and lemon juice is inspired by the basic principles of acidity and the pH scale. Scientists use the pH scale to measure the acidity of a solution. A solution can have a pH between 0 and 14.
The lower the pH, the more acidic the solution, so:
pH levels below 7 indicate an acidic solution
A pH greater than 7 indicates an alkaline or basic solution.
Neutral solutions, like pure water, have a pH of 7.
Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, is a base. This means that when you dissolve baking soda in water, it forms an alkaline solution. For example, a 0.1 molar solution of baking soda has a pH of approximately 8.3. Lemon juice contains citric acid and has a pH of around 3. Adding baking soda to lemon juice will raise the pH to produce a more neutral solution.
Usually the skin has a weakly acidic pH of around 5.7. Bases, like baking soda, raise the pH of the skin. Higher pH levels can disrupt the skin’s barrier function, which can lead to dryness, excess oil production, and acne. Lemon juice seems to have obvious skincare applications, as it contains high concentrations of vitamin C and citric acid, both of which provide powerful benefits for the skin. Citric acid is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that manufacturers commonly use in chemical peels. However, skin cells naturally repel water-soluble molecules, such as vitamin C. This means that very little vitamin C actually penetrates the skin. The high acid content of lemon juice can lower the pH level of the skin. Low pH can cause skin irritation, hyperpigmentation and sensitivity to UV rays.
Using a homemade mixture of baking soda and lemon juice can potentially be harmful to the skin. Instead, one can try using neutral cleansers or chemical peels that contain AHAs, such as glycolic acid.
Neutralize stomach acid
Citrus fruits are a rich source of citric acid. Excess stomach acid can cause uncomfortable symptoms, such as heartburn, vomiting, and indigestion. Many people with excess stomach acid take over-the-counter antacids to relieve their symptoms. Consuming baking soda and lemon juice together can also neutralize stomach acid in the same way as an antacid. A 2017 study looked at the antacid effects of various foods. The authors of this study created an artificial stomach acid with a pH of 1.2. Although lemon juice by itself had almost no effect, sodium bicarbonate was able to neutralize synthetic stomach acid.
Many over-the-counter antacids contain sodium bicarbonate and citric acid. Lemons and other citrus fruits are rich sources of natural citric acid.
When a person mixes lemon juice and baking soda, the citric acid reacts with the baking soda to produce a buffer called sodium citrate. A buffer is a weak acid or base that prevents drastic changes in pH. Although lemon juice does not neutralize stomach acid, it can help stabilize the pH level in the stomach.
Using baking soda and lemon juice to combat excess stomach acid can be a good home remedy, as over-the-counter antacids contain similar ingredients. However, mixing the right proportions of baking soda and lemon juice can be tricky.
Here are other home remedies to reduce excess stomach acid:
avoiding or reducing acidic foods and drinks
limit caffeine intake
limit alcohol consumption
eat smaller meals
drink more water
get enough sleep.
People with acid reflux or severe or persistent heartburn should see a doctor or gastroenterologist.
Many oral hygiene products contain baking soda because of its antibacterial properties and its ability to remove plaque without eroding tooth enamel. Baking soda can also help remove superficial tooth stains, making it an effective and affordable alternative to traditional teeth whitening. However, there is little evidence to suggest that adding lemon juice to baking soda enhances the dental benefits of baking soda.
A 2017 report that reviewed 21 studies concluded that toothpaste containing baking soda effectively and safely removed dental stains. However, the report did not include studies involving lemon juice. It’s also important to note that lemon juice contains high concentrations of citric acid and ascorbic acid, or vitamin C. The acidic compounds can erode enamel and lead to tooth decay. However, the combination of baking soda and lemon juice should produce a more neutral pH solution.
Mixtures of baking soda and lemon juice are popular health tips. People use them for things like skin care, teeth whitening, and treating heartburn and indigestion. However, the scientific evidence for the benefits of these blends is currently limited, making it difficult to draw firm conclusions. Both baking soda and lemon juice have several health benefits. However, combining these two ingredients without specific dosage or usage guidelines can lead to unwanted side effects.
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