Baking soda is a very simple acid reflux remedy. You will probably have it somewhere in your kitchen, so try it out and see if it works for you. Cheap, easy and effective.
The chemical name is pure sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3). It interacts with the acid in your stomach. A chemical reaction transforms acid into a burp (carbon dioxide), water and salt. To combat acid reflux, mix it with water and ingest. It neutralizes any upward traveling stomach acid.
Most of it comes from Green River in Wyoming in the US, where four mining companies supply 1/4 of the world. Green river has large salt deposits, called trona. Trona minerals come from an ancient, 50 million years old, dried out lake. Mining companies dig up trona, crush it and heat it until it turns into soda ash. These ashes contain sodium carbonate (used in glass industry) and sodium bicarbonate (baking soda).
Your pancreas naturally produces natrium bicarbonate. It neutralizes acid stomach content that leaves your stomach, to avoid damage in your small intestine. That doesn't mean that you can safely ingest as much baking soda as you want. It isn't natural to have large quantities of sodium bicarbonate in your esophagus and stomach. Normally it only comes into play, after stomach digestion, when content leaves your stomach. As an acid reflux remedy, you use it during digestion as you mix it with stomach juices.
Dissolve one tablespoon in half a cup of water and drink it down. The fast relief can be particularly useful for acid reflux at night. Don't use ice cold water, because the low water temperature hinders good function of digestive enzymes. If you hate the salty taste, you can buy it in capsules or tablets instead of a solution.
Mixing a small amount of this white powder for heartburn relief doesn't include much risks. Sodium Bicarbonate isn't toxic and your own pancreas produces it. Your body sees it as a 'natural product'.
However everything is dose-dependent. Don't start drinking 10 glasses of sodium bicarbonate per day. You will end up with high amounts of salt inside your stomach, which is dangerous. Research reports cases of hospital admissions after excessive use of bicarbonate to get relief from heartburn.
People who have medical conditions such as high blood pressure, liver or kidney diseases or edema need to pay attention. If your doctor has put you on a low salt diet, you can't take too much baking soda either. Pregnant woman and nursing mothers can't use it because of a possible influence on their baby.
Don't give any sodium bicarbonate to small children or babies. They will find it disgusting and the effect of too much salt in their little body can be risky. Try other acid reflux remedies for babies.
Baking soda makes a perfect stand-in for more expensive acid reflux medication. It is a natural product that acts in the same way as acid reflux medication such as maalox or rennie.
It helps to stop acute heartburn, but it isn't a long-term solution to stop acid reflux. Since it alters your stomach's PH, it interferes with proper digestion. If you have recurrent acid reflux, try to treat it with other acid reflux remedies and go see your family doctor.