Doctors are prescribing Coca-Cola to treat patients suffering from a painful stomach condition known as gastric phytobezoar or stomach blockage, according to a new study.
The study found that the soda treatment has an astonishing success rate of more than 90 percent and is now being favored over surgery.
Unless successfully removed or destroyed, gastric phytobezoar can often lead to a bowel obstruction.
The stomach blockage is usually caused by certain fruits that are hard to digest in the stomach. For example, there have been many cases of stomach blockage in Asia as the result of eating persimmons.
While a variety of treatments from lasers to non-surgical endoscopies to surgery are being used to treat stomach blockage, researchers from Athens University found that Coca-Cola, Diet Coca Cola and Coke Zero are all highly effective at treating the condition.
Researchers detailing their findings in the journal Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics found that the fizzy drink contains chemical ingredients that act in a similar way as gastric acid and helps the stomach digest fiber while the carbonated bubbles help speed up the process.
The study included 46 cases where patients with gastric phytobezoar were treated with Coke in hospitals worldwide over the past decade.
The results found that half of the patients treated with Coca-Cola saw the drink destroy the blockage completely and another 19 percent only needed non-invasive treatment after being treated with Coke.
Researchers found that of all the patients involved in the study, only four needed full surgery, giving Coca-Cola a success rate of 91.3 percent.
"Coca-Cola administration is a cheap, easy-to-perform and safe procedure that can be accomplished at any endoscopy unit," researchers wrote in the study,
Researchers explain that because the famous fizzy drink has an acidity level of 2.6 on the pH scale and contains both carbonic and phosphoric acid, it "resembles gastric acid, which is thought to be important for fiber digestion."
"In addition, NaHCO3 mucolytic effect and CO2 bubbles enhance the dissolving mechanism," researchers added.
Researchers wrote that if Coca-Cola does not completely destroy whatever is causing the stomach blockage, the fizzy drink is likely to make the problem blockage smaller by softening the phytobezoar to make it easier to remove without resorting to full surgery.