If you pop ibuprofen for post-workout soreness several times a week, there may be a better way to soothe your aches and pains. New research from Augusta University in Georgia shows that baking soda—yep, the same stuff you use to kill odors in your fridge—could be effective in treating soreness and inflammation in the body.
The study was published in the The Journal of Immunology earlier this year, and it builds off of previous clinical trials that showed a baking soda solution could help people slow the progression of kidney disease.
In the new study, participants drank baking soda stirred into water, which elevated their body pH to higher alkaline levels and reduced inflammation. From there, researchers hypothesized that baking soda could help reverse dangerous inflammation in the body linked to diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, and could ease day-to-day muscular inflammation, too.
More research is needed, says study co-author Paul O’Connor, but since baking soda is reasonably innocuous, it can’t hurt to try. To ease your soreness, stir 1⁄4 tsp of the kitchen staple into eight ounces of water—and save the pills for when you’re feeling really achy.