Physicians around the world are now bubbling over with enthusiasm for the use of Coca-Cola in solving some potentially serious stomach impactions, known as gastric bezoars. Lab results made news January 7, bringing relief to soda lovers and certain stomach sufferers alike.
What is a gastric bezoar?
Essentially, a bezoar is a mass of undigested food, fruit, hair, medicine, vegetable, or other matter that forms inside the gastrointestinal tract. These buildups are usually diagnosed by endoscopy or x-ray.
Although gastric bezoars may initially cause no unpleasant symptoms, they may eventually lead to such troubles as bad breath, nausea, vomiting, abdominal bloating, pain, ulcers, internal bleeding, unexpected weight loss, and even intestinal obstruction.
“Take two Cokes, and call me in the morning.”
Why would a carbonated beverage prove therapeutic for breaking down belly blockages?
Colas contain bubbles, as well as carbonic and phosphoric acids, which seem to aid in digesting and dissolving the dreaded gastrointestinal masses. Administered orally, nasally, or even injected directly into the stomach, these fizzy beverages may diminish or even dissolve bezoars. Basically, the cola components seem to mimic the stomach’s own acids.
A recent 10-year study documented many cases, in which Coca-Cola proved to be a promising, economical, and non-invasive means of attacking gastric bezoars in more than 90 percent of the patients studied. Diet and sugared colas performed comparably in experiments.
Can a soft drink do hard labor, gastronomically speaking?
For generations, folks have passed along stories of soaking hunks of cheese or even meat in glasses of cola overnight, only to find such specimens eroded or completely dissolved by morning. Perhaps the same principle applies to these recent therapeutic uses of the popular caramel-colored carbonated beverage.
Previously, physicians aimed at eliminating bezoars by traditional, endoscopic, or laser surgery.
Pop, goes the gastric phytobezoar.
Maybe that will be the stuff of a new soda ad campaign.
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