recognize that acid/alkaline balancing is the correction of one or more mineral deficiencies in the body and/or the processes the body must perform. Your problems with sodium bicarbonate could have been due to having enough, or too much sodium in your body and not enough potassium or another mineral. Maybe try the same thing with potassium bicarbonate (go slow) and see if there is a difference. Be careful not to swing the pendulum too far in the other direction. DO NOT take too much potassium at one time... I would start with no more than the equivalent of 1 to 300mg total potassium to gauge response. You will be self treating.
As an aside here... I found it interesting that while visiting a student of mine in the hospital ICU, that they replaced her sodium chloride drip with a potassium chloride drip... most likely to balance out the two minerals. The change was evident in her Blood pressure, heart and respiration readings after a time.
I believe that in the U.S. calcium, magnesium and/or potassium deficiencies are much more prevalent than sodium.
Does this mean that someone is not ingesting enough of these minerals in their daily food? No. It means that for what ever reason, they may not be absorbing them and/or putting them to effective use due to another macro or micro mineral deficiency or overload.
What can cause malabsorption? Many things, including an over abundance of an antagonistic mineral... when we become mineral deficient in one or more minerals, especially the macro minerals, we become more susceptible to pollutants including heavy metals as the body will use these to function as best it can in place of the minerals it craves. They also interfere with the absorption and utilization of the very minerals needed to correct the problem.
Moderation in all things begins to have more meaning.