Baking Soda Could Prevent Contrast-Induced Nephropathy From Afflicting Kidneys After X-Rays

Researchers from the University of Michigan have found a new way of protecting someone from contrast-induced nephropathy (CIN). CIN is caused by contrast materials or contrast agents, chemicals used to improve pictures produced by x-rays, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance (MR) imaging, and ultrasound.

These are not dyes. They can be administered several ways; swallowed, administered by enema, or they can be injected into a blood vessel. Contrast agents are used in countless procedures in Europe and in the US and are the third leading cause of acute renal failure in hospital patients. In fact, they account for 10% of those suffering from renal failure in hospital settings. Although it is known to usually be temporarily, in 30% of cases CIN can result in lasting kidney damage.

Researchers examine data from 17 random, controlled trials which showed administering baking soda mixed with water was the best strategy. A total of 2,633 people were looked at in this research. They found in patients who received the baking soda before the procedure, 109 out of 1,327 people develop CIN. In patients who received normal saline, 175 out of 1306 patients fell ill with CIN.

Researchers do not know exactly how baking soda protects the person from CIN. One theory is the baking soda increases the alkalinity of tubular fluid and limits the amount of free radicals which can be produced.