because it is an alkalizing agent
..... and there are others
It's even been reported to reduce tophi, but you should note that even those it helps get different results.
Some people find that even a 1/4 teaspoon serving four times a day can deal with their gout attack, and if you can, so much the better, because of the high amount of sodium.
Warning! Baking soda may not be your natural gout cure. It MUST ONLY BE TRIED with your doctor’s approval since this could have many side effects including high blood pressure, headaches, appetite loss, nausea, vomiting, stomach pains and others. Baking soda is high in sodium, so cut down your salt intake as much as possible if taking it. Gout attacks raise blood pressure, and so does excess sodium. Get a regular blood pressure reading.
Moreover people with heart, kidney, and liver disease, and appendicitis should not try it, without their doctor's agreement. It is contraindicated with some prescription medicines. Take too much for too long and you could get alkalosis. So speak to your doctor first. It should not be taken when the stomach is too full. An empty stomach is better.
Sir Alfred Garrod, the Britishman who discovered that an excess of uric acid in the blood is the cause of gout in the mid 19th century, was a practicing gout doctor who ended his career as a physician to Queen Victoria. He also wrote The Nature and Treatment of Gout and Rheumatic Gout.
In this book he explained he believed in alkalising (alkalizing) the blood, or as we would put it today, raising blood pH. These are his key statements about it:
"Any diminution in the alkaline state of the blood lessens its power of holding urate of soda (uric acid) in solution and hence promotes its deposition, especially in tissues in which the reaction is naturally less alkaline than in the blood."
"The causes exciting a gouty fit (i.e. flare/attack) are those which induce a less alkaline condition of the blood, or which greatly augment for the time, the formation of uric acid, or such as temporarily check the eliminating power of the kidneys."
Sodium bicarbonate alkalises (alkalizes) the blood (by removing hydrogen ions), and this is the key. The blood is able to hold more uric acid without crystallising (crystallizing). And when this happens crystal deposition ceases, or better said, usually ceases, because baking soda doesn't always halt gout attacks. Moreover, in some mysterious way, deposited crystals often begin to dissolve.
Note the cautions above about using it, and discuss with your doctor before using it.
Online poll In an online poll about sodium bicarbonate and and gout, about 85% of respondents say that it's of value, or great value, and only about 15% do not find it of value. Some doctors reportedly don't think so either. So baking soda is not the cure-all for all gout cases.
Dietary supplements There are supplements which neutralise the acid in foods and beverages before you eat or drink them. Others restrict acid build up in the body.
Water ionizers You can make alkaline water at home with a water ionizer which makes them a natural home remedy for gout. Alkaline (ionized) water is water with excess oxygen in the form of OH-, not O2. It's described as being lively and much tastier than regular water. The best water ionizers adjust for the overall quality of water supply input. By so doing, they produce a correct pH level, irrespective of water supply quality, water pressure and flow rate.
These products are not known to cause side effects.
BAKING SODA, GOUT AND KIDNEY DISEASE
Baking soda is very under researched in gout and other disease treatments. But things may be looking up. In July 2009 The Journal of the American Society of Nephrology published, on its website, the results of a study at the Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel, London.
Gout and kidney disease are associated mainly because uric acid levels can rise, if kidney functioning is impaired.
The chief finding in this study was that kidney disease progressed rapidly in only 9% of patients given baking soda, compared to 45% of those who did not receive it. And study patients who took sodium bicarbonate were less likely to reach the stage where they required dialysis. Hopefully the positive results from this study will encourage research into gout and baking soda.