Drinking baking soda could combat autoimmune inflammatory disease – exciting new research
A daily dose of baking soda may help reduce the destructive inflammation of autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, scientists report in the Journal of Immunology.
The cheap, over-the-counter antacid may encourage the spleen to promote an anti-inflammatory environment that could be helping in the face of inflammatory disease, the Medical College of Georgia scientists explain.
When rats or healthy people drink a solution of baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, it becomes a trigger for the stomach to make more gastric acid to digest the next meal. But it also seems to tell the mesothelial cells sitting on the spleen to tell the spleen that there’s no need to mount a protective immune response.
“’It’s most likely a hamburger not a bacterial infection,’ is basically the message”, says Dr Paul O’Connor, the study’s corresponding author.
Mesothelial cells line body cavities, including the one that contains our digestive tract, and cover the exterior of our organs so they don’t stick together. The cells also have little fingers (microvilli) that sense the environment and warn the organs they cover that there is an invader and an immune response is needed.
But drinking baking soda tells the spleen (which is part of the immune system) not to overreact and promotes a shift against inflammation.
“Certainly drinking bicarbonate affects the spleen and we think it’s through the mesothelial cells,” Dr O’Connor says.
When healthy medical students drank water with baking soda for two weeks, the population of immune cells called macrophages shifted from those that promote inflammation (M1) to those that reduce it (M2) in the spleen, blood and kidneys. There is also a shift in other immune cell types, such as more regulatory T cells, which generally drive down the immune response and help keep the immune system from attacking our own tissues. That anti-inflammatory shift was sustained for at least four hours in humans and three days in rats.
Dr O’Connor concludes:
“[Drinking baking soda] is potentially a really safe way to treat inflammatory disease.”
Click here to read the original findings.
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