Using Coca-Cola to dissolve phytobezoars

Coca-Cola isn’t just for drinking. It also has a medical use: to dissolve gastric phytobezoars (masses of indigestible material in the gastrointestinal system). Doctors administer the Coca-Cola via a tube threaded through the nose down into the intestines. As noted in a 2015 article in the World Journal of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, "An administration of Coca-Cola® is believed to be the primary choice for phytobezoar treatment because it is safe, inexpensive, and effective."

The same article further explains:

Although the mechanism has not been fully elucidated, it has been speculated that some ingredients in Coca-Cola® play a key role in bezoar dissolution. Such hypotheses include enhanced bezoar digestion by the mucolytic effect of sodium bicarbonate and/or by the acidifying effect of carbonic acid and phosphoric acid. Destruction of the bezoar may also be assisted by the carbon dioxide bubbles, which penetrate into the bezoar through the microscopic pores on its surface. Diet Coke®, Coca-Cola Light®, and Coca-Cola Zero® all contain these ingredients. Since the clinical success of bezoar dissolution by Diet Coke®, Coca-Cola Light®, and Coca-Cola Zero® was documented in previous reports, several authors have speculated that these sugar-free beverages have the same effect of bezoar dissolution as the regular version of Coca-Cola®.

     Posted By: Alex - Wed Jun 26, 2019
     Category: Medicine | Soda, Pop, Soft Drinks and other Non-Alcoholic Beverages

Surely some of us did that biology experiment where we put rat teeth in a vial of Coke and they disappeared? But they never taught us that Coke would clean us out, like flushing a radiator or something. Maybe that was in Auto Shop.
Posted by RiChard on 06/26/19 at 03:00 PM
Instead of the invasive procedure of pushing a tube into our nose down our throat, why don't doctors let us drink the stuff?
Posted by Yudith on 06/26/19 at 07:26 PM
@Yudith -- They have to get it past the stomach so gastric juices don't dilute it.
Posted by Phideaux on 06/26/19 at 08:21 PM
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