The Full Information to Baking Soda Dietary supplements


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Baking soda is a family product that most individuals use as a baking ingredient or multipurpose stain and odor remover.

It’s additionally fairly entertaining to combine it with vinegar in a sealed container. 🙂 

Apart from its makes use of for cooking, cleansing, and leisure, athletes have begun utilizing baking soda as a complement.

That’s as a result of baking soda is barely alkaline (it’s a “base” in chemistry lingo), so theoretically, it will possibly assist neutralize the acidic compounds that construct up in your muscle tissues while you train. This, in flip, ought to scale back the purpose at which you fatigue. 

Is that this true, although? 

How a lot do baking soda dietary supplements truly have an effect on efficiency? 

And is it secure to snarf giant quantities of the stuff? 

All good questions—hold studying to study the solutions, in keeping with science!


What Is Baking Soda?

Baking soda is the frequent identify for sodium bicarbonate (aka bicarb), a white, odorless powder composed of sodium and bicarbonate ions.

In a family setting, individuals typically use baking soda as a cleansing product, a remedy for heartburn, and a leavening agent in baking.

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What Are Baking Soda Dietary supplements?

When individuals speak about a “baking soda complement” (or a “sodium bicarbonate complement”), they’re not referring to a sports activities complement within the conventional sense. 

That’s, baking soda isn’t (at the moment) offered as a health complement. If you need a baking soda complement, you purchase and take plain outdated baking soda—the sort you discover within the baking aisle of your native grocery retailer.

Why Do Athletes Use Baking Soda as a Complement?

We use the pH scale to measure how acidic or alkaline (primary) one thing is. We class something with a pH of seven as impartial (neither acidic nor alkaline), something decrease than 7 as acidic, and something larger than 7 as alkaline.

On your organs to perform optimally, your physique should preserve a blood pH of ~7.4. This is named the acid-base steadiness, and it’s primarily managed by your kidneys and respiratory system.

Usually, your physique does a superb job of sustaining this steadiness, although it will possibly grow to be upset by some well being situations or, extra importantly for us, while you work out arduous sufficient in your muscle tissues to depend on anaerobic metabolism. 

At relaxation and through light-to-moderate train, your physique is ready to generate all the vitality it wants utilizing your cardio vitality system, which depends on a gradual provide of oxygen. As you improve the depth, although, you attain a degree the place your muscle tissues’ want for oxygen outstrips your physique’s capacity to offer it, and so your muscle should depend on a special vitality system to make up for the deficit. 

Particularly, it cranks up your anaerobic vitality system, which can also be generally known as your glycolytic system (because it primarily makes use of a type of saved carbohydrate in your muscle tissues referred to as glycogen). “An-” means with out and “cardio” means referring to oxygen, so “anaerobic” metabolism refers to the creation of vitality in your muscle cells with out the presence of oxygen. 

Whereas anaerobic metabolism can produce vitality sooner than cardio metabolism, it additionally produces a number of “metabolic byproducts” that construct up in your muscle tissues and trigger fatigue (usually after about 2 minutes). 

You possibly can consider the anaerobic system like afterburners in a jet engine—it supplies a fast however unsustainable enhance in efficiency that additionally produces a number of “exhaust” within the course of.

Most of this “exhaust” is within the type of hydrogen ions, which lowers the pH of your muscle tissues, creating an acidic atmosphere. This is likely one of the causes your muscle tissues burn while you do intense train resembling weightlifting, cycle sprints, or bounce rope.

That is the place baking soda enters the image. 

Baking soda is alkaline with a pH of 8.4, so theoretically, consuming it may “buffer” the hydrogen ions produced throughout anaerobic train, permitting you to redline your muscle tissues a bit longer earlier than you hit the wall.

That’s the thought, anyway, however what does science say?

Do Baking Soda Dietary supplements Enhance Efficiency?

Scientists have been learning how baking soda impacts athletic efficiency for nearly 100 years, so as a substitute of reviewing each examine on this matter, we’ll have a look at how baking soda impacts sports activities and weightlifting efficiency particularly. 

Baking Soda Dietary supplements and Sports activities Efficiency

Most research investigating baking soda’s impact on sports activities efficiency contain biking, operating, rowing, swimming, and fight sports activities. Let’s contemplate every individually:


In an early examine performed by scientists on the College of Tasmania, researchers discovered that taking baking soda was no more practical than a placebo at enhancing efficiency on biking bouts lasting 10-to-30 seconds. This dovetails with the outcomes from related research, displaying cyclists who take baking soda earlier than finishing a 30-second biking dash carry out no higher than those that take a placebo.

Nevertheless, if the trip lasted 2 or 4 minutes, cyclists who took baking soda may do extra complete work (measured in kilojoules, or kJ) than those that took a placebo (~74 kJ vs. ~68 kJ within the 2-minute job and ~122 kJ vs. ~113 kJ within the 4-minute job).

Later analysis involving a 4-kilometer time trial (lasting ~6 minutes) discovered that taking baking soda diminished the time to complete by 5-to-8 seconds (~2%), whereas in a examine performed by scientists on the Institute of Human Motion Sciences, researchers discovered cyclists who supplemented with baking soda took ~24% longer to succeed in exhaustion throughout a 12-minute biking trial than those that took a placebo.

Different research involving longer biking exercises (20-to-68 minutes) have uncovered blended outcomes, with some displaying a profit and others suggesting baking soda isn’t any more practical than a placebo.

Research involving biking interval coaching usually present that baking soda improves efficiency, particularly throughout the latter levels of the interval exercise and when the remaining durations between intervals are quick. That is particularly related to biking, the place most races are received or misplaced within the closing push to the end line after a number of hours of using.

For instance, in a single examine, cyclists accomplished 4 1-minute sprints interspersed with 1-minute relaxation durations, adopted by one closing dash to exhaustion. Those that supplemented with baking soda lasted ~47 seconds longer throughout the closing dash than those that took a placebo (~160 seconds vs. ~113 seconds).

Scientists have discovered related outcomes in a number of different research, too.

General, baking soda reliably boosts biking efficiency throughout intervals lasting 1-to-12 minutes (and works significantly nicely throughout interval exercises the place the intervals fall inside this vary). 


Preliminary analysis revealed in Medication & Science in Sports activities & Train discovered that runners who supplemented with baking soda accomplished an 800-meter run 2.9 seconds (1.8%) sooner than runners who took a placebo.

Likewise, research present that runners require much less time to finish 400- and 1500-meter runs after they complement with baking soda. Particularly, taking baking soda improves 400-meter operating time by ~1.5 seconds (1.1%) and 1500-meter operating time by ~3 seconds (2.9%).

Baking soda additionally seems to delay fatigue in runners. As an illustration, in a single examine performed by scientists at VU Amsterdam, runners who took baking soda ran 6% longer earlier than reaching exhaustion (~82 seconds vs. ~77 seconds) throughout an incline treadmill operating exercise than those that took a placebo. 

As with biking, baking soda appears handiest throughout interval exercises, particularly towards the tip of the run. For instance, in a examine performed by scientists on the College of Hull, researchers discovered that sprinters who took baking soda coated extra distance throughout 3 all-out 30-seconds sprints than after they took a placebo, however solely as a result of they ran additional throughout the third and closing dash.

Lastly, analysis involving the “Yo-Yo intermittent restoration check” (an endurance operating job that requires contributors to run two 20-meter intervals at progressively sooner speeds with 10-second rests between runs) reveals supplementing with baking soda boosts efficiency. 

That is necessary for individuals who play sports activities as a result of the Yo-Yo check predicts how nicely athletes will carry out in sports activities that require intermittent sprints, resembling basketball, soccer, hockey, soccer, cricket, badminton, and rugby.

General, analysis means that taking baking soda advantages runners throughout runs that final 30 seconds or longer.


Since all rowing races are carried out over a 2000-meter distance within the Olympic Video games and world championships, most research examine baking soda’s results on 2000-meter rowing efficiency.

Whereas just a few research involving a handful of contributors confirmed that baking soda was a dud for enhancing rowing efficiency, extra in depth and dependable research involving extra contributors present in any other case. 

As an illustration, in a single examine performed by scientists at Nottingham Trent College, researchers discovered that rowers who supplemented with baking soda shaved ~1 second off their 2000-meter time. 

A 2019 meta-analysis of 17 research revealed within the Worldwide Journal of Sports activities Physiology and Efficiency additionally discovered that baking soda supplementation improved 2000-meter rowing efficiency by ~1.4%.

Whereas there isn’t as a lot analysis on how baking soda improves rowing efficiency, what little we do have usually reveals it helps. 


Most research on swimming have too few contributors to get a dependable indication of how baking soda impacts efficiency. To counter this, researchers at Victoria College performed a meta-analysis to see if pooling outcomes would supply extra perception. 

Their outcomes confirmed that supplementing with baking soda didn’t support swimming efficiency in 100-yard and 100-meter swimming assessments lasting 50-to-60 seconds. Nevertheless, baking soda did enhance efficiency in 200- and 400-meter swim assessments lasting ~2-to-5 minutes.

Thus, baking soda dietary supplements possible boosts efficiency in longer-distance swimming races.

Fight Sports activities

Fight sports activities require fighters to carry out a number of quick, intense actions (punching, kicking, throwing, and clinching an opponent, for instance), which is why scientists have studied them within the context of baking soda supplementation.

Three research on judokas present that taking baking soda will increase the variety of throws an athlete can carry out throughout the “Particular Judo Health Take a look at” (a check involving three 15-to-30-second durations throughout which a judoka should full as many throws as doable) by ~2 throws (6%).

Research performed on athletes competing in boxing, karate, taekwondo, and wrestling have uncovered related outcomes.

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Baking Soda Dietary supplements and Weightlifting Efficiency

Analysis persistently reveals that taking baking soda will increase muscle endurance (you’ll be able to carry out extra reps per set than you’ll be capable to in any other case).

Whereas commonly doing extra reps per set ought to lead to extra muscle acquire over time than doing fewer, there are just a few necessary caveats to think about.

For instance, in a single examine, weightlifters needed to preserve an isometric contraction (mainly maintain a weight with their muscle tissues contracted) at 20, 50, and 80% of their most isometric energy. On this examine, taking baking soda solely improved the time the weightlifters may maintain the lightest weight, most likely as a result of they couldn’t maintain the opposite weights lengthy sufficient to expertise any profit (within the assessments that concerned holding weights equal to 50 and 80% of their most isometric energy, the weightlifters solely held the weights for 58 and 20 seconds, respectively) .

An analogous examine confirmed that baking soda benefitted weightlifters who needed to maintain an isometric contraction for 85 seconds. Based mostly on the outcomes of those two research, it’s possible that baking soda solely boosts endurance throughout units that last more than one minute.

Baking soda’s capacity to help muscle endurance may also hinge on how near failure (the purpose at which you’ll’t full a rep regardless of giving most effort) you prepare.

For occasion, baking soda doesn’t supply a lot profit in research which have weightlifters prepare shy of failure. In research the place weightlifters take a number of units to failure, nevertheless, baking soda boosts efficiency. 

Since coaching to failure isn’t needed for constructing muscle and may very well hinder energy acquire, it’s troublesome to know whether or not baking soda would enhance the efficiency of weightlifters who carry out most of their units within the 4-to-12 rep vary (which shouldn’t take greater than a minute) and barely prepare to failure.

In terms of energy, baking soda seems to be even much less of a boon. A 2020 meta-analysis of 11 research revealed in Sports activities Medication (Auckland, N.Z.) discovered that baking soda was no more practical at enhancing energy than a placebo.

That stated, whereas baking soda could not improve energy per se, it’d stop the decline in energy you expertise as you tire.

One examine performed by scientists on the College of Brighton confirmed that basketball gamers who supplemented with baking soda and carried out leg extensions earlier than a sport and once more on the finish of every quarter skilled solely a 9% discount in energy between the primary and closing buzzer. Gamers who did the identical and took a placebo noticed their energy dip by 15%.

That is pertinent to weightlifters as a result of analysis reveals that the extra you’ll be able to preserve your energy set-to-set, the extra energy you’ll acquire over time. Mainly, it could enhance your stamina all through your exercise.

Drawbacks of Utilizing Baking Soda Dietary supplements

Aspect Results

Regardless of positively affecting athletic efficiency, many athletes are dissuaded from utilizing baking soda as a complement due to its unwanted effects.

Whereas consuming giant quantities of baking soda is secure from a well being standpoint, the buildup of CO2 within the intestine following baking soda supplementation could trigger bloating, abdomen cramps, nausea, vomiting, and stomach ache.

These unwanted effects are dose-dependent, which implies their incidence and severity improve because the dose will increase. 

The excellent news is you’ll be able to decrease or keep away from these signs by consuming baking soda in smaller doses all through the day, ideally with meals, and about three hours earlier than your exercise (extra on the specifics quickly). Taking it in capsule kind could assist, too.

Placebo Impact

One of many criticisms of analysis on baking soda is that it’s significantly prone to the placebo impact, a phenomenon during which individuals profit from an inert remedy purely as a result of they consider it’s serving to them.

The first motive for that is that individuals usually know after they’ve taken baking soda as a result of it makes them really feel bloated, and after they know they’ve taken one thing that they count on to enhance their efficiency, they have a tendency to carry out higher. 

In a single examine, researchers counteracted this by giving contributors a placebo that didn’t have an effect on efficiency however brought about related unwanted effects to baking soda. On this examine, baking soda improved biking efficiency by 17.5%, whereas a placebo that upset the contributors’ stomachs elevated efficiency by 9.5%.

Even when unwanted effects are undetectable, the placebo impact is prevalent in baking soda analysis. As an illustration, in one other examine, the researchers informed contributors that they had been all the time taking baking soda drugs after they had been truly taking a placebo half the time. Whether or not they took a placebo or baking soda, their operating efficiency elevated to an analogous diploma—1.5% and 1.7%, respectively.

When the researchers reversed the experiment and informed the contributors they had been all the time taking an inert tablet despite the fact that half the time they had been taking baking soda, the contributors’ efficiency didn’t enhance. 

Research like these, and extra like them, are what led researchers of a giant overview performed by scientists on the College of São Paulo to estimate that round 30% of the performance-enhancing advantages of “buffering brokers” (substances like baking soda that neutralize the acid in muscle tissues) could possibly be attributed to the placebo impact.

This doesn’t essentially invalidate research displaying baking soda boosts efficiency, nevertheless it’s price holding in thoughts when weighing its significance in your complement routine, particularly for those who expertise unwanted effects.

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Tips on how to Take Baking Soda Dietary supplements

There are two methods to take baking soda as a complement: In single or a number of doses. 

The distinction is that in a single-dose protocol, you’re taking a single dose shortly earlier than coaching, and in a multiple-dose protocol, you’re taking a number of doses for a number of days main as much as an necessary exercise or competitors.

The optimum dose for a single-dose protocol is 0.3 grams of baking soda per kilo of physique weight taken 1-to-3 hours earlier than train. Taking greater than this received’t enhance efficiency additional and will increase the danger of experiencing unwanted effects.

For a multiple-dose protocol, take 0.4 or 0.5 grams of baking soda per kilo of physique weight per day for 3-to-7 days main as much as a key exercise or competitors. You possibly can take it on the day of competitors as nicely, nevertheless it’s finest to not if it upsets your abdomen.

With this strategy, it’s finest to take baking soda in small doses all through the day as a substitute of 1 giant dose (0.1-to-0.2 grams of baking soda per kilo of physique weight at lunch and dinner, for instance). Multidosing baking soda like this reduces the danger of unwanted effects.

Analysis additionally reveals baking soda may fit synergistically with different dietary supplements to spice up your efficiency. 

Particularly, research present that taking baking soda with beta-alanine and creatine could make all three dietary supplements more practical than taking every alone.

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Analysis reveals that supplementing with 0.2-to-0.5 grams (16-to-41 grams for a ~180 pound man) of baking soda per kilo of physique weight improves muscular endurance throughout high-intensity train lasting between 30 seconds and 12 minutes.

The advantages appear small—just a few seconds generally—however this can be the distinction between ending first and ending as “first loser,” which is paramount for those who’re a aggressive athlete.

Thus, offered you’ll be able to mitigate the unwanted effects and preserve the knotty dosing protocol, baking soda is an inexpensive, accessible complement that will nicely offer you a aggressive edge. 

+ Scientific References


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