Bicarbi is a medical food for the management of elevated serum acid levels due to chronic kidney disease. This is also sometimes called low Total CO2 or metabolic acidosis. Properly treating metabolic acidosis from CKD has been shown to slow the progression of kidney disease, help retain kidney function and help avoid or delay the need for kidney dialysis.
Bicarbi is GI friendly enteric coated sodium bicarbonate which is used for the treatment of elevated serum acid levels (measured as TCO2,Total CO2, CO2 or Carbon Dioxide on a lab report). Levels below 22 mEq/L indicate a high acid level.
Bicarbi is designed to help the more than 1/3 of CKD patients who can't tolerate the needed doses of raw sodium bicarbonate due to GI upset, such as Bloating, Belching or Burping as well as acid reflux.
The treatment of elevated serum acid with Bicarbi may delay the progression of kidney disease, help retain kidney function and delay kidney dialysis without the GI side effects seen with raw sodium bicarbonate.
The proper management of serum acid is one of the most profound factors in slowing the progression of kidney disease.
Treatment with sodium bicarbonate, the active ingredient in Bicarbi is supported by guidelines that Health Care Providers follow to properly manage CKD. Lab values that measure serum acid are referred to as Total CO2, TCO2, CO2 or Carbon Dioxide. This value should be between 23-29 meq/L in people with kidney disease. A value less than 22 mEq/L indicates a high acid level.
Elevated serum acid often called metabolic acidosis by doctors, is a condition that occurs when the body produces excessive quantities of acid or when the kidneys aren't removing enough acid from the blood (serum is the liquid part of blood). The acid that is being produced is not the same as stomach acid. The acid from metabolic acidosis is from normal metabolic function.
Yes, clinical data clearly shows that lowering elevated serum acid levels (or raising low bicarbonate levels) with sodium bicarbonate, the active ingredient in Bicarbi, is one of the most profound factors in slowing the progression of kidney disease, retaining kidney function and helping to avoid or delay the need for kidney dialysis.
Serum acid levels are measured under several names including Total CO2, TCO2, and Serum Bicarbonate. The normal range for people with kidney disease is 22-29 mEq/L. A level below 22 mEq/L indicates an elevated serum acid level.
This said, lowering serum acid levels is only one part in improving outcomes for those with chronic kidney disease. Your health care provider will give you guidance on controlling blood pressure, controlling glucose, potential weight loss and some dietary requirements. All of these and more are modifiable factors in improving the outcome of chronic kidney disease or CKD. See 'References' in the 'About Metabolic Acidosis' section if you are interested in some of the published clinical data the importance of properly managing metabolic acidosis.
Sodium bicarbonate is an acid buffer or a base. It is often used to treat metabolic acidosis or to reduce serum acid levels.
An enteric coating allows a capsule to pass through the acid environment of the stomach and not release the active ingredient of the capsule until it is in the small intestine. The active ingredient in Bicarbi is sodium bicarbonate.
Bicarbi has an enteric coating so the sodium bicarbonate in Bicarbi won't react with stomach acids. When uncoated sodium bicarbonate is taken, some of it reacts with the acid in the stomach and is lost and turned into carbon dioxide gas before it can enter into the small intestine where it is absorbed into the bloodstream. The carbon dioxide gas produced can cause bloating, belching or burping as well as acid reflux.
Your healthcare provider will guide you on dosing Bicarbi. The typical dose for Bicarbi is one capsule twice daily, but dosing can vary widely depending on personal needs.