Bicarbonate is an important part of our diets. According to the article "Bicarbonate Has Beneficial Effects on Health" found in the Magnesium Web Online Library, bicarbonate is necessary for digestion and aids in reducing acidity of proteins. The human body secretes bicarbonate on its own, but athletes and people suffering from problems related to stomach acidity can take bicarbonate dissolved in mineral water to help keep the body balanced.
Natural Secretion of Bicarbonate
The Magnesium Web Online Library says that bicarbonate is naturally secreted in the stomach, where it aids in digestion by neutralizing gastric acid. About half a gram of bicarbonate is secreted daily; the body may secrete more if needed. Once it neutralizes acid, the reaction produces carbon dioxide, which is excreted from the body.
Bicarbonate and Athletes
When athletes exercise, lactic acid may build in the muscles. Lactic acid is a byproduct of anaerobic respiration; when exercising, the body may deplete itself of oxygen faster than the oxygen can be replaced and have to temporarily rely on anaerobic respiration to keep muscles moving. According to the Magnesium Web Library, bicarbonate can help neutralize lactic acid.
Bicarbonate and Renal Stones
Renal stones are caused by incomplete break-down of proteins, leading to higher acidity in the urine. Stones form in the kidneys as a result of this condition; it can be painful to urinate when passing a kidney stone.
A bicarbonate-rich diet can neutralize acid, helping to prevent the formation of renal stones and break down stones that are already formed.
The body secretes enough bicarbonate for most people, but if you want to add more bicarbonate to your system, you can do so through diet. Most potassium-rich foods are also rich in bicarbonates. Potassium-rich foods include potatoes, bananas, prune juice, and orange juice. It is also a good idea to have low fat dairy products such as skim milk and leafy green vegetables.
Bicarbonates and Mineral Water
If you are worried about your bicarbonate intake, you can also take bicarbonate mixed into mineral water. Most bicarbonates dissolve in mineral water and can be easily ingested; sodium bicarbonate is the most common bicarbonate.