Amino Acids and Vitamin C vs. Sodium Bicarbonate

Since aminos and vitamin c is an acid, if you consumed it with a base such as baking soda, would the baking soda neutralize them and prevent you from absorbing them?

Amino acids are weak acids. In fact they are molecules with a carboxilic acid and and amine. Amines are bases so they ordinarily deprotonate the carboxilic acid and the molecule exists as a zwitter ion (+ and -) charges.
The reason I go into this detail, is that the carboxilic acid is of roughly the same acidity as carbonic acid (I mean rough, I did not look anything up). Carbonic acid (which in turns becomes CO2) is what you get when you react bicarbonate with an acid. Based on this reasoning I would guess that an amino acid and bicarbonate would react slowly at best.

Maybe when I get home I'll mix some vitamin C and sodium Bicarbonate to see what happens.

Either way, I’m sure that the bodys absorption rate won’t be that much changed. Both speicies are polar and water soluble in either the protonated or deprotonated form. Of course I’m not a doctor or dietary spacialist so have no real knowledge of how things are absorbed.

Depends on which amino acid were talking. Not all are. It’s a mess of different strengths.

Baking Soda is not carbonic acid. It’s a bicarbonate which is <Geek gets going on a long winded answer…> delete delete delete

Sorry. Chemistry teacher. Ahh the complexity of the problem is that all three components (amine, carboxy group and NaHCO3) actually canbe forced to be acidic or basic. And to make matters worse, the amines and the carboxy’s have their strengths adjusted by the rest of the amine molceule. (On which there can be more amines or carboxy’s).

And lastly, unless we’re talking a pure sample of one amon acid, they’ve already joined and the active groups aren’t really going to change unless somebody big and bad comes along. (I believe there was a post about what to do with extra HCl around here somewhere… :wink:

(And yes, that was the short answer :smiley:

It’ll fizz, unless your pills are actually sodium ascorbate, which is pre-neutralized.
The ionic state of an amino acid makes little difference to its bioavalability. No matter the form you eat them in, they all end up swimming in a vat of HCl.


Cabonic acid is the conjugate acid of sodium bicarbonate. My point was that since amino acids exist as zwiter ions, they are clearly not potent enough acids to protonate the caboxylate group. Since they won’t protonate the carboxylate, they are probably not likely to protonate the carbonate (making carbonic acid.)

When you say the active groups are linked, are you refering to peptides?

Your digestive tract is plenty acidic. If you eat enough base to significantly change your internal pH, you’ve got bigger problems than difficulty absorbing amino acids (which wouldn’t be affected, incidentally).

What they said WRT AAs. There’s just no way to affect those things with edible bases.

As for Vitmain C, you should realise that it’s commonly delivered as sodium ascorbate anyway. Even if you did get a reaction with sodium bicarbonate all that would be produced is sodium ascorbate which, if you look at the ingredients of your vitamin tablets, is a normal delivery form for the vitamin anyway. It certainly doesn’t hinmder absorption.

Amino acids are zwitterions - when dissolved in water, the very first thing is that the carboxylic acid protonates the amine. Ammonium ions (pKa 9) aren’t strong enough to protonate bicarbonate (carbonic acid has a pKa of 5).

In the stomach, however, you’ve got a ton of HCl around, and as someone pointed out, eating enough base to get rid of all that acid is a whole other story. So eating a little sodium bicarbonate with your food won’t change their protonation states in your stomach.

And even if you did somehow make sodium ascorbate in your stomach, it wouldn’t affect absorption – most essential nutrients are actively transported across your intestinal lining. They don’t rely on passive diffusion (which WILL be hindered by making something more anionic).