Bicarbonate therapy for prevention of chronic kidney disease progression

Kidney Int. 2014 Mar;85(3):529-35. doi: 10.1038/ki.2013.401. Epub 2013 Oct 9.


Kidney injury in chronic kidney disease (CKD) is likely multifactorial, but recent data support that a component is mediated by mechanisms used by the kidney to increase acidification in response to an acid challenge to systemic acid-base status. If so, systemic alkalization might attenuate this acid-induced component of kidney injury. An acid challenge to systemic acid-base status increases nephron acidification through increased production of endothelin, aldosterone, and angiotensin II, each of which can contribute to kidney inflammation and fibrosis that characterizes CKD. Systemic alkalization that ameliorates an acid challenge might attenuate the contributions of angiotensin II, endothelin, and aldosterone to kidney injury. Some small clinical studies support the efficacy of alkalization in attenuating kidney injury and slowing glomerular filtration rate decline in CKD. This review focuses on the potential that orally administered NaHCO₃ prevents CKD progression and additionally addresses its mechanism of action, side effects, possible complications, dosage, interaction, galenic form description, and contraindications. Current National Kidney Foundation guidelines recommend oral alkali, including NaHCO₃(-), in CKD patients with serum HCO₃(-) <22 mmol/l. Although oral alkali can be provided by other medications and by base-inducing dietary constituents, oral NaHCO₃ will be the focus of this review because of its relative safety and apparent efficacy, and its comparatively low cost.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / prevention & control*
  • Sodium Bicarbonate / adverse effects
  • Sodium Bicarbonate / metabolism
  • Sodium Bicarbonate / pharmacology
  • Sodium Bicarbonate / therapeutic use*


  • Sodium Bicarbonate