Baking soda isn’t just for baking anymore. It’s been used for years as a cheap, natural remedy for heartburn, teeth whitening, calluses, and so much more.
But now, scientists may have found another new amazing use for this household substance: combating autoimmune disease.
STUDY SHOWS BAKING SODA MAY HELP REDUCE HARMFUL INFLAMMATION
Preliminary research from the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University published in the Journal of Immunology shows that baking soda, which is found in almost every home, may promote an anti-inflammatory environment beneficial in the face of inflammatory diseases like autoimmunity.
Researchers found that when rats or healthy people drank a solution of baking soda and water, it did two things:
Triggered the stomach to create more acid for digesting food
Led mesothelial cells on the spleen—a fist-sized organ that plays many roles in your body, including filtering blood as part of the immune system and fighting certain types of bacteria—to calm down its immune response
These mesothelial cells contain microvilli, little “fingers” that sense invaders in the body and alert the organs to produce an immune response. Basically, the baking soda told the spleen to calm down that response.
To understand the importance of this further, let’s look at further connections between the immune system and inflammation.
HOW INFLAMMATION AND AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE ARE CONNECTED
Autoimmunity refers to when the immune system turns against its own healthy tissues and cells, leading to a negative immune response, or autoimmune disease.
Common autoimmune diseases include:
Type I diabetes
Inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis
These types of immune responses cause harmful inflammation in the body. At the same time, lifestyle factors that promote inflammation, such as a diet full of refined sugars and carbs, may be the root of some inflammatory autoimmune conditions.
This is why reducing inflammation and cooling down the immune response can provide relief.
In the case of this study, it was found that after two weeks of drinking the baking soda-water solution, there were changes in certain immune cells called macrophages. These cells help “clean up” debris from dead or damaged cells and are often seen early on in an immune response.
The researchers began to see less M1 cells, which promote inflammation, and more M2 cells, which reduce inflammation.
They also found these anti-inflammatory effects were happening in other areas too, including in the kidneys and blood circulating through the body.
In addition, there was a positive shift in other immune cells prevent the immune system from creating a response. This was found to last at least four hours in humans after the baking soda was consumed.
OTHER FACTORS THAT AFFECT INFLAMMATION
Overall, this new research is an exciting look at another potential inexpensive and holistic way to address autoimmunity. This follows other natural factors found to support a healthy level of inflammation in the body, including:
Omega-3s from fish oil, fatty fish, or krill oil
Organic leafy green vegetables
Low-carb ketogenic diets (which help regulate inflammation in the brain and body)
Keto diets rich in healthy fats and very low in inflammatory carbs and sugars can help regulate inflammation in your body, which is why many with autoimmune disease turn to the Keto Zone diet for relief.
To learn more about the benefits of the Keto Zone for autoimmune disease and overall health, pick up a copy of the book here.
A common dosage recommendation is adding a fourth of a teaspoon of baking soda to a glass of water. This can help to reduce stomach acid, but it’s important to remember that not all indigestion is caused by an overproduction of acid so if you still have symptoms two weeks later, speak to your doctor.
It’s always best to slowly sip a baking soda and water mixture. When taking baking soda internally AVOID:
Taking a baking soda and water mixture in which the baking soda is not fully dissolved
Taking more than 3.5 teaspoons of baking soda in a given day
Taking more than 1.5 teaspoon a day if you’re over 60 years old
Taking the maximum dosage for longer than two weeks
Drinking baking soda solution too quickly
Taking baking soda when you’re overly full (to avoid severe stomach pain)
6 Additional Health Benefits of Baking Soda
Baking soda is a great tool for cleaning and removing stains, but there are many health benefits associated with the use of baking soda, too. Sodium bicarbonate is sometimes used as a supplement because it provides dietary bicarbonate. When taken orally, baking soda can raise serum levels of bicarbonate.
What is bicarbonate? Bicarbonate is typically made by the kidneys, and it acts as an acid buffer in the body. Some of the most common baking soda uses for health include:
1. Helps with Digestive Issues
Baking soda is known to help to neutralize acid and improve pH balance in the body. Baking soda is often used internally to quell digestive dismay such as acid reflux or heartburn. When these complaints are due to overconsumption of acidic foods or a generally acidic state of the body, slowly drinking some baking soda in water can help to neutralize the acid and get your body’s pH back to a better place.
Don’t think more is better when it comes to taking baking soda. It’s important to note that consuming too much baking soda can cause an increase in acid production.
2. Anti-Fungal and Antibacterial
Baking soda has been shown to kill off bacteria including Streptococcus mutans, which is a type of bacteria associated with tooth decay. Baking soda is also effective against various fungal groups including yeasts, dermatophytes and molds that cause skin and nail infections in humans.
3. Boost Kidney Health
Research reveals that baking uses include the promotion of kidney health. A clinical study published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology looked at the effects of sodium bicarbonate on 134 patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and low blood bicarbonate levels.
What did they find? The subjects who supplemented with bicarbonate tolerated it well and were significantly less likely to experience rapid progression of their kidney disease. Additionally, there were less patients that developed end-stage renal disease (ESRD) in the bicarbonate group compared to the control group. Overall, the researchers conclude, “This study demonstrates that bicarbonate supplementation slows the rate of progression of renal failure to ESRD and improves nutritional status among patients with CKD.
4. Alleviate Urinary Tract Infections
According to the CDC, urinary tract infections (UTIs) are one of the most common infections and as Mayo Clinic points out, women have a higher risk of developing a UTI than men.
A scientific study published in 2017 looked at the effects of baking soda on female patients with lower urinary tract symptoms who also had acidic urine pH levels lower than six. After four weeks of taking baking soda orally, the researchers found the urine of the subjects was alkalinized and there was a “a significant level of positive effects on symptoms and symptom scores.”
Overall, baking soda appears to be an easy, inexpensive way to improve UTI symptoms accompanied by acidic urine with little to no unwanted side effects.
5. Reduce Muscle Pain and Fatigue
A scientific article published in 2013, titled “Practical considerations for bicarbonate loading and sports performance,” points out that studies to date have demonstrated that taking sodium bicarbonate before exercise (also known as bicarbonate loading) may have “a moderate positive effect” on athletic performance that includes one to seven minutes of sustained strenuous exercise. In addition, sodium bicarbonate may also be helpful for prolonged physical activity involving intermittent or sustained periods of high-intensity training.
So is there a benefit to using baking soda as a training aid? According to the author of the article, Dr. Louise Mary Burke, “It could be useful to try and support the training session to allow the athlete to train harder, but also to reduce some of the negative side effects of having a high acidity in the muscle so you may get less damage to the muscle and a better training outcome in the long-term.”
Another small clinical study of eight healthy male subjects found consuming baking soda before intermittent cycling improved their sprint performance.
6. Help Alleviate Chemotherapy Side Effects
Chemotherapy side effects as make the list of baking soda uses for health. If you or someone you know has gone through chemotherapy, then you probably already know how bad the side effects of this cancer treatment can be. For example, undesirable changes to the mouth and throat can occur in some patients.
Rinsing with a baking soda mixture daily can help to improve these unwanted side effects. Combine a fourth of a teaspoon of baking soda, an eighth of a teaspoon of sea salt with one cup of warm and rinse your mouth three times per day. Each time, follow the baking soda salt mixture with a rinse of just plain warm water.
These are just some of the many possible health benefits of baking soda! In the following section, you’ll learn about even more health uses and benefits of this amazing natural remedy.