Whenever I travel to Baltimore to meet with the Insiders’ Cures editorial team, I always take a moment to admire the Bromo Seltzer Tower, which stands illuminated near the Inner Harbor’s iconic skyline. This monument pays tribute to the simple (and often overlooked) sodium bicarbonate—otherwise known as baking soda.
I’ve sung the praises of baking soda many times over. This natural antacid is the right solution for “heartburn,” instead of those terrible proton-pump inhibitors and other drugs that sound just as dangerous as they are.
That’s because baking soda works to ease heartburn and acid reflux by triggering the stomach to make more acid. That may sound counter-intuitive, but more acid actually promotes better digestion.
Despite what those antacid commercials tell you, not having enough stomach acid is actually the real cause of indigestion. And that’s why PPIs—which suppress stomach acid—cause even more damage in the long run.
But baking soda does more than just relieve gastrointestinal upset. New research shows this old kitchen standby may help reduce the harmful chronic inflammation associated with autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.
Of course, inflammation lies at the root of many common chronic diseases—not just autoimmune diseases. So a daily dose of baking soda (with its inflammation-fighting properties) could ultimately prove useful for a whole host of ailments—including heart disease, kidney disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity.
How baking soda switches off cellular inflammation
To understand how baking soda affects inflammation, you first need to know a little about the specialized connective tissue cells (called mesothelial cells) that line your internal organs and body cavities.
These cells have little fingers, called microvilli. Microvilli get a sense for the surrounding environment and warn organs when there’s a microbial invader. This triggers the immune system to mount a protective inflammatory response.
But in people with autoimmune diseases, mesothelial cells may sense threats when there aren’t any. As a result, these cells may signal the body to attack a nonexistent invader through an inflammatory response.
This reaction can worsen rheumatoid arthritis or MS—or increase the risk of developing additional inflammation-related diseases.
Which leads me to this new study.
The “baking soda shift” to good health
Scientists at the Medical College of Georgia found that after study participants drank a solution of sodium bicarbonate, mesothelial cells in the spleen no longer triggered an inflammatory response.1
In fact, the researchers found that drinking a water and baking soda solution daily for two weeks caused the immune cells in the spleen, blood, and kidneys to actually stop promoting inflammation. Instead, they started reducing it. And this “baking soda shift” can last for at least four hours.
This is crucial in controlling chronic inflammation—which, as I mentioned, lies at the root of so many common diseases.
The simple solution to soothe what ails you
As this study shows, simple baking soda is leading to some profound breakthroughs about the basic anatomy and physiology of the human body.
During the 1980s, I heard arrogant scientists at NIH conclude that they already knew everything about the human body.
But in the last few years, researchers have actually uncovered new, basic anatomical discoveries. In fact, the mesothelial cells and connective tissues were recently “officially” recognized as a “new” organ within the body, due to their vital functions and roles.
So as it turns out, those conceited NIH scientists were wrong to scoff at the idea of funding any studies into basic anatomy and physiology.
After all, thanks to one of these investigations, we now know that preventing chronic inflammation—and the diseases associated with it—may be as simple as a daily dose of baking soda and water.
My go-to baking soda remedy
To make your own inflammation-thwarting concoction, here’s all you need:
- ½ to 1 teaspoon of baking soda
- 8 ounce glass of lukewarm, filtered water
(This temperature will help the baking soda dissolve faster.)
- Mix baking soda into water, stirring until it’s fully dissolved.
- Drink the entire glass quickly.
- Repeat this every two hours, up to six times a day.
- Add a twist of lemon to enhance the taste.
1“Oral NaHCO3 Activates a Splenic Anti-Inflammatory Pathway: Evidence That Cholinergic Signals Are Transmitted via Mesothelial Cells.” J Immunol April 16, 2018, ji1701605.