by S. L. Baker
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a serious condition marked by the permanent loss of kidney function. When the kidneys are damaged, the organs can’t remove wastes and extra water from the blood as well as they should and the result can be a host of serious and even deadly health consequences. But now researchers in the United Kingdom have made a breakthrough in the treatment of advanced CKD — and it doesn’t involve a new drug or high tech surgery. Instead, it’s simply a daily dose of sodium bicarbonate or, as it is more commonly called, baking soda.
Used for everything from baking cookies and non-toxic cleaning to relieving indigestion and sunburn, now baking soda has been shown to slow the decline of kidney function in CKD, according to a study set for publication in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN). “This cheap and simple strategy also improves patients’ nutritional status, and has the potential of translating into significant economic, quality of life, and clinical outcome benefits,” researcher Magdi Yaqoob, MD, of the Royal London Hospital, said in a statement to the media.
This is an enormously important finding because CKD is a growing health problem, both in the UK and the US. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), between1990 and 2000, the number of people with kidney failure requiring dialysis or transplantation in the US virtually doubled to 380,000. If this trend continues, around 700,000 people will have serious kidney failure by 2010.
Dr. Yaqoob studied 134 patients with advanced CKD and low bicarbonate levels, a condition known as metabolic acidosis. One group of these patients was treated with a small daily dose of sodium bicarbonate in tablet form, in addition to their usual care. The results? The rate of decline in kidney function was dramatically reduced in these patients. Overall, the decline was about two-thirds slower than in patients not given sodium bicarbonate. “In fact, in patients taking sodium bicarbonate, the rate of decline in kidney function was similar to the normal age-related decline,” Dr. Yaqoob stated.
The patients taking sodium bicarbonate were also less likely to develop end-stage renal disease (ESRD) which causes people with CKD to undergo regular dialysis. In addition, those taking sodium bicarbonate also had improvement in several measures of nutrition. And, even though their levels of sodium went up, they did not experience increased blood pressure.
Low bicarbonate levels are common in patients with CKD and can lead to a wide range of other problems. “This is the first randomized controlled study of its kind,” says Yaqoob. “A simple remedy like sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), when used appropriately, can be very effective.”
The NIH estimates that 20 million Americans have significantly reduced kidney function, and even a small decline in kidney function can double a person’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Many people will experience heart attacks or strokes before they are even aware they have kidney disease. Fortunately, there are many natural strategies that can help prevent, fight and heal kidney disease (http://www.healingfoodreference.com/kidney_d…). For example, avoiding soda pop can lower the odds of developing CKD in the first place (http://www.naturalnews.com/025582_soda_healt…). And, as reported earlier in NaturalNews, eating fish a couple of times a week has been shown to help prevent kidney disease in diabetics. (http://www.naturalnews.com/News_000550_fish_protein_fish_oil_diabetes.html#Comments.