Humble baking soda may turn out to be a great treatment for autoimmune disorders. It’s not a cure, but a recent study in the Journal of Immunology demonstrated a moderate drop in inflammation in the joints and soft tissues most affected by rheumatoid arthritis. Inflamed tissues inside and around the joints result in the intense pain from arthritis and and rheumatoid diseases, as well as lupus and a host of other maladies. Even a slight reduction in swelling can mean a big drop in pain. But does plain sodium bicarbonate really come to the rescue? It seems too good to be true, but recent research is bearing out the truth: baking soda helps. The process by which it relieves inflammation and swelling isn’t immediately easy to grasp, but scientists think they have a good understanding of what happens.
Baking soda in the bloodstream reduces the activity of one type of cell, the M1 macrophage, that causes an inflammatory immune response, while increasing the number of anti-inflammatory M2 macrophages. Macrophages are cells that patrol the tissues and bloodstream, actively attacking and destroying threats to the body. Immune disorders are often the result of the immune system turning on the tissues of the body they’re supposed to protect. These cells originate in the mesothelial cells of the stomach and spleen. It’s the mesothelial cells in the spleen that react most significantly to baking soda. They send out the M2 cells, that send chemical signals to the rest of the immune system, essentially telling that very complex system to stay calm.
Baking soda is nothing more than sodium bicarbonate, a naturally occuring compound that’s alkaline. The body’s natural alkalinity is balanced around a pH of 7. If our body’s pH slides down into the acidic range, cellular waste products build up. The M1 cells tend to become overactive in a situation where the body’s tissues become too acidic, and a lot of detritus is accumulating in the tissues.
Thus, increasingly alkalinity with sodium bicarbonate lowers the activity of inflammation causing cells, while activating anti-inflammatory tissues. We know that alkalinity offsets the effects of acids in the stomach. However, as the increased alkalinity also seems to relax the tendency of the human immune system to overreact. . Indeed, baking soda helps a number of ailments. People are familiar with it as a cure for an upset stomach, but its usefulness goes beyond soothing a furious stomach. A teaspoon of sodium bicarbonate may help reduce the signs and symptoms of lupus, another painful autoimmune disorder.
There’s considerable medical evidence that the body is at its fittest when the overall tissue and fluid pH is slightly alkaline. The dosage required to get this balance is 2 teaspoonfuls a day, every day, in eight ounces of water.