Baking soda: an anti-inflammatory hero?

Baking soda: an anti-inflammatory hero?

The old adage that an apple a day keeps the doctor away may have competition. How does a glass of baking soda a day keeps inflammation at bay sound?

Scientists writing in The Journal of Immunology report that regularly chugging a small amount of baking soda mixed in water appears to send signals to the spleen, a key part of the immune system, to remain calm.

It’s a finding that may prove useful in the fight against puzzling autoimmune diseases. Such illnesses signal the immune system, including the spleen, to overreact, revving up protective inflammatory responses unnecessarily. The researchers, from the Medical College of Georgia, believe a specific chemical component of baking soda is the main messenger in this calming effect. Chemical signals from the baking soda seem to travel through the mesothelial [mes-oh-THEIL-ial] cells that line body cavities and protect the outsides of our organs, reaching the spleen and inducing a type of biological zen.

The pantry staple also seems to promote the production of stomach acid, which could help with digestion of a coming meal. That’s certainly better than an allergic reaction to a food meant to nourish, not harm.

The researchers tested the practice of drinking baking soda in rats and in healthy people. They saw positive results in both groups of subjects. And, after two weeks of consumption, they noted a dominance of inflammation-reducing cells in the spleen and kidneys, rather than inflammation-inducing ones. Baking soda is already known to fight kidney disease. The new findings show how it may be doing so.

Not bad for a combo of water and an inexpensive kitchen essential. Bottoms up!

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