Gout is a form of arthritis. It’s characterized by uric acid crystallization that can cause swelling and pain in the joints, especially in the big toe.

Untreated, gout might produce crystals that form kidney stones or hard bumps (tophi) under the skin on or near your joints.

Some practitioners of natural healing suggest baking soda may ease gout symptoms. Since baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) can neutralize stomach acid, they believe consuming it will increase the alkalinity of your blood, and lower the amount of uric acid.

According to Kidney Atlas, the dose recommended by baking soda advocates is ½ teaspoon of baking soda dissolved in water, up to 8 times per day. They also suggest that those with high blood pressure, or those who monitor salt intake, consult with their doctor prior to trying this method.

Although there’s a large amount of anecdotal support for baking soda as a gout treatment, there’s little current clinical research that shows baking soda can lower the level of uric acid in the blood enough to impact gout.

Baking soda does however, appear to lower stomach acidity. Michigan State University suggests that baking soda may be effective for occasional indigestion, but it quickly breaks down in the stomach into carbon dioxide and water so it has little effect on the acidity of the blood.

Although safe in small quantities when dissolved in water, according to the National Capital Poison Center, ingesting too much baking soda can result in:

According to the Mayo Clinic, some research has been done to suggest that certain alternative therapies for gout might be viable ways to lower uric acid levels, including:

As with any alternative medication, discuss the idea with your doctor.

Gout can also be addressed through diet, by:

  • avoiding high purine foods
  • limiting fructose and avoiding high fructose corn syrup

A range of home remedies for gout, can be found on the internet — some anecdotal and some based in clinical research. Keep in mind that each individual responds differently to each treatment type. When considering baking soda (or any alternative treatment), ask your doctor for advice.

Your doctor can help determine whether or not the treatment is appropriate for you. They’ll consider the severity of your condition, as well as possible interactions with other medications you’re currently taking.