Baking soda is a common kitchen ingredient that has been used in a variety of ways for a long time. Besides it’s common use for rising dough when baking bread, baking soda can also clean a variety of surfaces and resolve numerous health problems. Science is constantly researching baking soda in order to see how deep its benefits go and recently, a study found out that it can treat autoimmune diseases.
Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is a natural substance that has been used as a remedy for centuries. ½ a teaspoon of baking soda can treat acid reflux and heartburn, while a bit of baking soda can also be used to whiten our teeth. However, a recent study from the Augusta University showed that a baking soda solution can assist the immune system in the fight against inflammatory diseases including arthritis.
The team was led by renal physiologist Paul O’Connor and used the solution on rats and humans. The study found out that the substance provides signal to the so-called mesothelial cells which tells them everything in the body is fine and not under attack, preventing an autoimmune reaction. This is a groundbreaking discovery that could change the way we treat these diseases in the future.
Baking Soda And Mesothelial Cells
These cells are in the lining of the internal organs and different body cavities. Besides preventing the tissues from sticking together, they have other functions which lack research. Paul O’Connor’s study is one of the first completed which discovered how baking soda affects the mesothelial cells through an incredible mechanism.
When it enters our stomach, baking soda ramps up the production of gastric acid and assists with digestion. At the same time, it tells the mesothelial cells to tone things down as there’s nothing threatening them. In simpler terms as O’Connor says, “it tells the cells that it’s a hamburger, not a bacterial infection.”
This prevents the spleen from releasing the macrophages army, white blood cells that are used to fight potential threats. The mesothelial cells communicate with other organs through the so-called microvilli, tiny projections that send their messages through the acetylcholine neurotransmitter.
From Inflammatory To Anti-Inflammatory
O’Connor and his team noted that the participants who consumed the baking soda solution experienced a shift in the kinds of immune system cells activated in the spleen. The macrophages (pro-inflammatory cells) were decimated, while the number of the M1 cells increased.
These cells are also present in the kidneys and blood and as you probably already know, baking soda is a great remedy for the kidneys. Baking soda’s effects on the kidneys is why O’Connor and his team actually investigated what mechanisms the substance uses to improve kidney function.
In the beginning, the solution was used on rat models. The decline of macrophages (M1) and boost in the anti-inflammatory M2 cells was found in both health rats and rats with kidney disease, which showed the researchers that baking soda can indeed shift the inflammatory response on a cellular level. The anti-inflammatory response was obviously happening in the spleen and blood as well as in the kidneys.
A Great Way To Fight Inflammatory Diseases?
As one of the study’s authors noted, the greatest revelation is that the anti-inflammatory signals were actually mediated by the mesothelial cells. The theory was that the signals were transmitted through the vagus nerve, a nerve that communicates with major organs such as the lungs and heart.
However, when the scientists cut off this nerve, it was apparent that it didn’t affect the mesothelial cells’ behavior. In fact, the cells were able to communicate with all the organs they’re lining. Of course, more research is needed before anything can be concluded, but for now, the scientists are pretty hopeful by the results and consider baking soda a safe way for treating autoimmune diseases.