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Product Quality and Cost – Sodium Bicarbonate (Baking Soda)

Published on March 8, 2010


Though I have been using Bob’s Red Mill sodium bicarbonate I have recently received two boxes of Arm and Hammers and I sat for quite a while admiring their boxes and all the information on them. I have been in touch directly with the company and have been reassured of its absolute purity meaning there is no aluminum in it. Arm and Hammers is as aluminum free as Bob’s Red Mill, which advertizes itself specifically to be aluminum free, and in the process has convinced most people I know that Arm and Hammers has aluminum when it does not.

The proper mixing of bicarbonate concentrate is an issue and certainly this is a major safety concern at every dialysis facility in the world, which use sodium bicarbonate every day. Oral sodium bicarbonate is used to treat metabolic acidosis in patients with renal tubular acidosis. Since infants and young children are unable to swallow tablets, those affected must ingest sodium bicarbonate in a powder or liquid form. Pharmacy-weighed sodium bicarbonate is expensive and inconvenient to obtain; some pharmacists are reluctant to provide it.

We determined that the sodium bicarbonate contained in 8-oz boxes of Arm and Hammer Baking Soda® was sufficiently constant in weight that dissolved in water to a given volume, it yielded a quantitatively acceptable therapeutic solution of sodium bicarbonate at a cost of approximately 3 percent of that of pharmacy- weighed sodium bicarbonate. Grocery store baking soda can be a safe, economical, and convenient source of sodium bicarbonate for the treatment of chronic metabolic acidosis in infants and young children.[1]

The Church & Dwight name may not be familiar to many people, but their ARM & HAMMER® brand is recognized and respected by just about everyone. That’s because Church & Dwight has been producing ARM & HAMMER brand products for almost 160 years, ever since Austin Church, a physician, and John Dwight, his brother-in-law, began selling their high-quality sodium bicarbonate to grocers in New York City. The most demanding applications are in the area of healthcare, with hemodialysis in particular requiring exceptional purity and consistency. A leading force in modern bicarbonate hemodialysis Church & Dwight’s contribution to modern dialysis dates back to the early 1980s, when medical literature about the benefits of bicarbonate-buffered dialysate over acetate began to appear.

Anecdotal reports, and then clinical studies, showed an improved response when patients were dialyzed with bicarbonate instead of acetate. Beginning in 1982, Church & Dwight applied their technological expertise to the task of establishing exacting standards for hemodialysis grade sodium bicarbonate. Within two years, they were meeting those standards in full-scale production. When  USP specifications for sodium bicarbonate used in hemodialysis were published in 1987 and formally issued in 1988, Church & Dwight hemodialysis grade sodium bicarbonate not only met the specifications, it exceeded them.

Bob’s Red Mill costs $2.61 a pound and Arm and Hammers costs less making it the least expensive medicine in the world. Personally I could not tell a difference between the consistencies in the two, both are equally fine. Sodium bicarbonate is widely available in most supermarkets and discount chains across the country at a cost of just over $2 per pound. Many different sizes are available depending on your needs ranging from 1 lb packages up to 14 lb packages. (normally used by people with pools to adjust pool water pH).

Do not confuse baking soda with baking powder which does or may contain aluminum. These are two very different products with baking powder having a mix of baking soda with various acidic ingredients. Make sure you are purchasing pure 100% baking soda or sodium bicarbonate.

Special Note: For perfect therapeutic bath add one pound or more of sodium bicarbonate with one pound or more of magnesium bath flakes.

[1] Clinical Pediatrics, Vol. 23, No. 2, 94-96 (1984) DOI: 10.1177/000992288402300205

Hi, I'm Dr. Mark Sircus, AC., OMD, DM (P), a doctor and writer of more than 23 books that have sold over 80,000 copies all over the world. My best-selling book is "Sodium Bicarbonate: Rich Man's Poor Man's Cancer Treatment" which has been translated into Chinese, Russian and Spanish.

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