Baking soda can dramatically slow the progress of chronic kidney disease (CKD), new research suggests.
A daily dose of the simple household product, known as sodium bicarbonate, is so effective it could even stop patients needing kidney machines, the results show.
There are about three million sufferers of CKD in the UK. The condition, which may have a number of causes, ranges in severity from a mild degree of poor functioning to complete kidney failure.
Patients suffering from severe kidney problems sometimes have to spend time each day on a dialysis machine, which carries out the same function of the kidneys.
On average, every patient on dialysis costs the NHS £30,000 a year and 3% of the entire NHS budget is spent on caring for patients with kidney failure.
Doctors have often pondered the potential value of baking soda for kidney disease patients, many of whom suffer from a condition called metabolic acidosis, which means they have low bicarbonate levels.
The pilot study conducted at the Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel, was the first controlled test of the treatment in a clinical setting.