Another study has recently confirmed the myriad benefits of taking sodium bicarbonate orally. This study observed that after 6 months of taking sodium bicarbonate, CKD patients had both a higher eGFR and lean body mass than those CKD patients who did not consume sodium bicarbonate.
Metabolic acidosis is a buildup of excess acid in the blood, and this is a common complication faced by those living with impaired kidney function. The solution? According to the research, sodium bicarbonate! It can help lower acid levels, thereby reducing abnormalities and risk factors associated with higher mortality rates.
A Brief History of Baking Soda
This study builds upon an already impressive list of health benefits known to exist in sodium bicarbonate. What is it and why is it so great for you? Well, sodium bicarbonate, or baking soda, as it’s more commonly known occurs in nature as a mineral called nahcolite, itself a component of the mineral natron. Natron has been used since antiquity as everything from a baking aid to soap. It wasn’t until the early 1900s that the beloved box of baking soda we have all come to know and love was born, freshening fridges ever since.
And aside from eliminating odors, a few other amazing uses:
- Deep-cleaning scalp
- Soak to help remove splinters
- Ease irritation from burns and bug bites
- Whiten teeth
Among the many brands of Baking Soda commercially available, Arm & Hammer is probably the most widely-known, but despite its widespread availability and popularity in most households, many people remain woefully unaware of this amazing little compound’s numerous medicinal *and* preventative properties.
Baking Soda Can Protect Against:
Many people undergoing surgical procedures or even routine tests, will be exposed to intravenous dyes at some point. These are dyes that can help identify underlying medical issues by creating a contrast between internal body structures and the dye’s pigment, improving visibility in imaging methods like those used in CT scans or x-rays.
These dyes, however, are not without their dangers and, as many are derived from iodine, they can easily cause problems (namely, contrast-induced nephropathy) for people who already have impaired kidney function.
One of the best ways to protect yourself against any ill effects is to opt for a hydrating IV solution that is sodium bicarbonate-based instead of saline-based. As a study from the Glickman Urological & Kidney Institute discovered, sodium bicarbonate-based hydration solutions reduced nephropathy risk by more than 50%.
Further Evidence-Based Research On Sodium Bicarbonate’s Benefits for CKD
Metabolic acidosis, as we’ve mentioned earlier, is a buildup of acid in the blood that is very common in CKD. In people unaffected by CKD, the kidneys typically help to foster a more alkaline pH of 7.4 in the body. This is because healthy kidneys are able to effectively filter out the acidic build-up which occurs from the body’s natural processing of foods. When the kidneys aren’t able to do this, the acid reaches dangerous levels and results in a catch-22 situation whereby the kidneys are further damaged by the metabolic acidosis their impaired function contributed to in the first place.
Sodium bicarbonate as an oral treatment can buffer this acid, preventing further kidney damage from occurring and the resulting ill effects such as hypotension, impaired mineralization of bones, breakdown of muscles and inflammation.
In a study that assigned two groups oral sodium bicarbonate or regular standard-of-care, researchers discovered that the sodium bicarbonate group experienced a slower rate of creatinine clearance decline and overall improved nutritional parameters. The sodium bicarbonate group was also significantly less likely to experience rapid kidney decline.
In another different study that followed two groups and attempted to control acidity through diet in one and sodium bicarbonate in the other, the group that was assigned sodium bicarbonate therapy attained significantly better results and generally lower acidity levels along with improved kidney function over the course of 5 years. The dietary group experienced benefits as well, although these benefits were not as marked as those exhibited by the sodium bicarbonate group.
Sodium Bicarbonate As Treatment for PKD
Polycystic kidney disease is a variant of kidney disease which is typically marked by the presence of clusters of cysts which form on the kidneys. These cysts cause blood in the urine, back pain and a feeling of fullness in the abdomen along with a host of other symptoms. But, sodium bicarbonate has been shown to make great, positive strides against this variety of kidney disease as well.
In a study that tracked the effects of administering sodium bicarbonate to laboratory rats, the rats were shown to exhibit smaller cysts in addition to benefiting from significant preventative attributes which protect against uremia, fibrosis, inflammation and even the development of PKD in those as yet unaffected by the disease.
You can read more about PKD and sodium bicarbonate in a previous article we did on the subject, here.
1. American Journal of Kidney Diseases. https://academic.oup.com/ndt/advance-article/doi/10.1093/ndt/gfy214/5058005.