Humor Writing, Personal Essays

The Baking Soda Acid Test

A tip about stomach acid from a friendly doctor:

Recently there has been described in the literature a simple, inexpensive and safe method for detection and quantification of stomach acid production. This tool should prove most valuable in diagnosing those with hyperacidity (too much stomach acid) and also the effectiveness of antacid treatments such as Tums and Rolaids.

The fundamental principal involved in the acid quantifying procedure involves well understood chemical interactions. Sodium Bicarbonate, Na2HCO3, also known as baking soda, dissolved in water, is ingested by the human subject to be tested. This leads to an almost instantaneous reaction of the dissolved sodium bicarbonate and stomach acid (hydrochloric acid or HCL). The results of this interaction produces water (H20), table salt (NaCl) and carbon dioxide (CO2). The carbon dioxide production leads to eructation (belching). The subject being tested eructates into a scored Zuckerman acid quantifying balloon. The amount of eructated CO2 in the balloon is roughly equivalent to the amount of acid in the subject’s stomach. The subject’s height, weight, sex, age, race have no proven effect on the accuracy of this simple inexpensive test that any person can perform on themselves once they have obtained a carton of baking soda and a scored Zuckerman acid balloon!

Note of caution – suppressing the desire to belch can lead to gastro-explosion, stomach rupture, and ensuing death!

Note – use of baking soda for diagnosis. The baking soda acid test can also be used to help diagnose chest pain. Immediate relief of chest pain symptoms, on ingestion of baking soda, indicates the pain was due to acid indigestion and not angina, heart pain. Many a visit to the emergency room has been avoided by the baking soda acid test.

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