Say What? Coca-cola Can Be Used to Treat Stomach Blockages

Jessica Ferri
Healthy LivingJanuary 7, 2013

Your mother always told you that soda would rot your teeth, and she was right, sort of. But it turns out that the same aggressive acidity of the soft drink that rots your teeth also dissolves harmful stomach blockages.

Believe it or not, the chemicals in coke act similarly to gastric acid, which helps to digest food, and can work to dissolve a gastric phytobezoar, a blockage in the stomach that can lead to bowel obstruction, infection, and in some cases, death.

What soft drinks are doing to your body

A new study conducted by the University of Athens shows that Coca-cola was successful in treating 90 percent of patients with phytobezoars-helping them to avoid surgery. The carbonization of the drink only helps to speed along the process.

The formula for Coca-cola has long been a source of speculation, as the drink was developed in 1886 by a pharmacist, and at some point contained a small amount of coca leaves, hence the commonly-held belief that Coke once contained cocaine.

The company has never revealed its recipe for the popular soft drink, though presumably any chemist could figure out the breakdown of ingredients from a sample.

This surprising study, which involved 46 patients over 10 years and was published in the Journal of Alimentary Pharmacology and Theraputics, returns Coca-cola to its medicinal roots, though the medical community in the past two decades has largely vilified soda, blaming the rise of obesity, particularly in children, to the consumption of large soda drinks that contain enormous amounts of sugar. Health-conscious Americans as well tend to criticize soda as unnatural and toxic.

Out of the 46 patients, "exactly half saw the drink destroy the blockage completely and a further 19 only needed non-invasive treatments as a result of Coke's help. Only four needed full surgery giving Coca-Cola a success rating of 91.3 percent," the study says.

And according to the study, it doesn't matter whether the Coca-cola is the classic brand or Diet Coke, or Coke Zero-all are effective-so patients can opt for the less sugary version of the drink.

So it turns out that some of those very "unnatural" ingredients can now be used as a safe, affordable, and most importantly, successful medical treatment.

That said, soda will probably still rot your teeth, and regular consumption of soft drinks is definitely tied to obesity and diabetes. We say: Unless you have a stomach blockage, it's probably best to stick to seltzer.

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