A daily dose of baking soda, the common kitchen staple used for cooking, cleaning, and treating indigestion, could dramatically slow the progression of disease in patients with chronic kidney disease. British scientists say the white powder, also known as sodium bicarbonate, is so effective that it could spare patients from having to undergo dialysis.
“It's amazing,” said study leader Magdi Yaqoob, renal medicine professor at the Royal College of London. “This is the first randomized controlled study of its kind. Baking soda is not classed as a drug so this study has never been tried before.”
Researchers studied 134 patients with kidney disease. One group received a small dose of sodium bicarbonate in addition to their regular care. The patients were followed for one year. At the end of the study, only 9 percent of the group taking baking soda showed a rapid progression of their disease, compared with 45 percent of those who did not.
In addition, those taking baking soda were much less likely to progress to end-stage renal disease and require dialysis. In fact, the rate of their decline in kidney function was similar to the normal decline seen with aging.
“A simple remedy like sodium bicarbonate, when used appropriately, can be very effective,” Yaqoob said.
According to Yaqoob, baking soda prevents inflammation in kidneys by limiting the production of ammonia.
“This study shows baking soda can be useful for people with kidney failure,” Yaqoob said. “This cheap and simple strategy also improves patients’ nutritional well-being and has the potential to improve quality of life and of course a clinical outcome that can remove the need for dialysis.”