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In Your Kitchen? Scientists Find Household Staple May Help Combat Disease

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In Your Kitchen? Scientists Find Household Staple May Help Combat Disease

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A daily dose of baking soda may help reduce inflammation caused by autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, scientists report.

They have some of the first evidence of how the inexpensive, over-the-counter antacid can encourage the body’s spleen to produce an anti-inflammatory environment that could be therapeutic in the face of inflammatory disease, Medical College of Georgia scientists reported in The Journal of Immunology.

Other autoimmune diseases include lupus, celiac disease, multiple sclerosis, and Type 1 diabetes.

Drinking baking soda, the MCG scientists believe, tells the spleen—which is part of the immune system and is where some white blood cells, like macrophages, are stored—to go easy on the immune response. “Certainly drinking bicarbonate affects the spleen and we think it’s through the mesothelial cells,” said Dr. Paul O’Connor, renal physiologist in the MCG Department of Physiology at Augusta University and the study’s corresponding author.

Mesothelial cells line body cavities, like the one that contains our digestive tract, and they also cover the exterior of our organs to quite literally keep them from rubbing together. About a decade ago, it was found that these cells also provide another level of protection. They have little fingers, called microvilli, that sense the environment, and warn the organs they cover that there is an invader and an immune response is needed.

The researchers have shown that when rats or healthy people drink a solution of baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, it becomes a trigger for the stomach to make more acid to digest the next meal and for mesothelial cells on the spleen to send a message that there is no need to mount a protective immune response.

“It’s potentially a really safe way to treat inflammatory disease,” Dr. O’Connor stated.

Other studies have shown that drinking water with baking soda daily can help with indigestion, heart burn, fighting infections, and overall well-being.

For additional simple ways to improve your health, read God’s Principles of Healthful Living.

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