Baking soda is a favorite cleaning tool in most homes. It also serves as a whitening agent. But, did you now that baking soda can help fight autoimmune diseases? Yes! Researchers reveal that regular consumption of baking soda can help alleviate inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases.Scientists from the Medical College of Georgia (MCG) recently published the result of their study in the Journal of Immunology. The team presented evidence on how baking soda encourages the spleen to create an anti-inflammatory environment. The results may be achieved by taking simple and inexpensive antacids (sodium bicarbonate) bought over the counter.
The experiment was conducted on both rats and humans. The findings showed that drinking a solution of baking soda triggers the stomach to create more acid to help digest the next meal. It also signals the mesothelial cells on the spleen not to generate a protective immune response.
The spleen is part of the body’s immune system and serves as a blood filter. It also stores white blood cells, like microphages, and mounts an immune response when it thinks the body is under attack.
Baking Soda and Mesothelial Cells
Dr. Paul O’Connor, a renal physiologist at Augusta University, is the study’s corresponding author. He says drinking baking soda or sodium bicarbonate affects the spleen through the mesothelial cells.
They line the body cavities, and act as a protective covering for vital organs to keep them from rubbing against one another. The mesothelial cells have “microvilli” or little fingers which warn the organs of invaders or infections. The signal, in turn, triggers an immune response.
“In the spleen, as well as the blood and kidneys, they found after drinking water with baking soda for two weeks, the population of immune cells called macrophages, shifted from primarily those that promote inflammation, called M1, to those that reduce it, called M2. Macrophages, perhaps best known for their ability to consume garbage in the body like debris from injured or dead cells, are early arrivers to a call for an immune response,” the Science Daily reported.
Moreover, O’Connor said that their clinical trials on baking soda showed reduced acidity in the blood of subjects with chronic kidney disease. It also slowed the progression of the disease itself. Patients now receive a daily dose of baking soda as part of therapy.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) there are an estimated 30 million adults in the US with chronic kidney disease.
“The shift from inflammatory to an anti-inflammatory profile is happening everywhere,” O’Connor says. “We saw it in the kidneys, we saw it in the spleen, now we see it in the peripheral blood.”
Getting to Know Acetylcholine
The signal that triggers or mediates anti-inflammatory responses come from the mesothelial cells. Acetylcholine, a chemical released by nerve cells to send signals to other cells, aids the mesothelial ones.
O’Connor hopes drinking baking soda can one day produce positive results for people with other forms of autoimmune diseases.
For now, the research, funded by the National Institutes of Health, helps combat inflammation. The scientist hopes this is just the beginning. Further research and additional trials may one day result to more bold discoveries which will make a big impact in the medical field.
So the next time you see sodium bicarbonate on the supermarket shelf, think of all the good that it can do.