Purpose of Bicarbonate
Bicarbonate is naturally found in the human digestive system, body fluids and organs. It plays a vital role in maintaining the pH balance of the body.
Bicarbonate is produced naturally in the stomach by the gastric membrane. In alkaline conditions the production will be low,but rises in an acidity environment.
In the blood and other body fluids, bicarbonate acts as a neutralizer to support the normal levels of pH. Foods or medications taken orally affect the the pH level and the function of the kidneys and lungs. .
Testing Bicarbonate Levels
A blood test for electrolytes usually includes testing bicarbonate levels. A bicarbonate test can be taken with a routine blood test, or more specifically because your physician suspects an electrolyte or pH imbalance.
Low or High Levels
Higher than normal bicarbonate levels may mean the body is having difficulty maintaining its pH balance, possibly by not removing carbon dioxide, or because of an electrolyte imbalance, most commonly a deficiency of potassium.
Low bicarbonate levels are seen with starvation, shock, metabolic acidosis, respiratory alkalosis (which can be caused by hyperventilation) and during kidney failure.
Benefits of Oral Supplement
Orally taking bicarbonate, either by pill or drinking mineral water, before exercising can assist in reducing muscular fatigue and increase short- term physical exercise performance.