Background: There is a claim in folklore medicine in Nigeria that trona (a sesquicarbonate or hydrated carbonate of sodium) causes fetal loss. However, this has not been substantiated or refuted by any scientific evidence.
Aim: This study evaluates whether or not trona causes fetal loss in pregnant female Wistar rats.
Methods: Pregnant Wistar rats of comparable weights were randomized into three groups. Group A (control) was given a single dose of 1.25 mL/kg body weight of lime while groups B and C were given 250 mg/kg and 500 mg/kg body weight of trona, respectively.
Results: There was no significant difference in the body weight gained across all the groups. The dose of 250 mg/kg body weight of trona decreased the number of live fetus, while 500 mg/kg body weight produced no live fetus; 250 mg/kg and 500 mg/kg body weight of trona led to fetal loss rate of 83.33% and 100%, respectively. Trona also reduced the concentrations of serum progesterone and cholesterol and increased serum oestradiol.
Conclusion: This study revealed that trona causes fetal loss. This is possibly via an oestrogen-dependent mechanism, and attributed to the chemical constituents of trona.