Baking Soda as a Supplement?
Baking soda…also known as sodium bicarbonate is well-known for its bee sting soothing properties and fridge-stank absorbing powers. But baking soda in supplements? What for?
We found out.
You ready for our favorite word? SSSSSSSCIENCE.
Let’s get some in!
The Science Behind Sodium Bicarbonate
If you don’t remember seeing a box of it propped in your refrigerator as a kid, or making a paste out of it and putting it on a bee sting—maybe you remember chemistry class when some solutions required baking soda. You might remember a fizzy reaction or a cloudy result. If you were mixing it with an acid, that’s because sodium bicarbonate is a base. It buffers acidic solutions by balancing pH levels.
Are you recalling this from chemistry class? For the love of litmus paper, yes, yes you are.
Why does this matter? This UBER matters when it comes to sodium bicarbonate in your supplements.
Because when training, your body’s pH levels decrease and you enter an acidic state.
Whether you call it ‘lactic acid build up’ or “OUCH”– it exists. The delayed onset muscle soreness, aka DOMS.
DOMS causes fatigue. Fatigue reduces performance.
When you train, acidosis is caused by the breakdown of ATP to ADP. At this time, a proton is released. If ATP demands are met, then the protons don’t build up, but if they do, then ATP is supplied from non-mitochondrial sources to fuel muscle contractions..This increases the proton release which results in acidosis.
Additional chemical reactions during training cause the production of CO2 and H+, further contributing to the acidic state, especially in the blood.
These reactions result in a host of things that affect your performance.
Sodium Bicarbonate and Recovery
The buildup of acid results in fatigue, muscle soreness and reduced performance. The body is a balancing machine, so to counteract this, it uses bicarbonate as a buffer to reduce acidity.
While the body has its own buffering system which is fueled mainly by carnosine, it also uses sodium bicarbonate to fight acidic states and prevent fatigue and soreness.
The bicarbonate buffer system used by the body balances carbonic acid, bicarbonate ions and carbon dioxide to maintain healthy pH levels in the blood and tissues.
Athletes have been benefiting from this well-kept secret for decades, and studies have proven sodium bicarbonate improves performance and recovery.
Whoa, it improves performance, too? You betcha.
Sodium Bicarbonate as an Ergogenic Aid
An ergogenic aid is defined as any substance, chemical, nutrient or training method that helps the body work harder. In other words, ergogenic aids improve performance.
During training, as outlined above, the body converts carbs into lactic acid to keep up with the muscle demand for ATP. Due to the buildup of acids in response to the demand, fatigue results. This is because the acid inhibits energy transfer and muscle contraction. Performance suffers as a result.
Because sodium bicarbonate acts as a buffer to reduce the acid buildup and to alkalize the blood, it reduces fatigue which increases endurance, performance and power output.
In turn, studies show ‘soda loading’ causes reduced blood acidity which improves an athlete’s performance because without all that acid, your performance is not diminished.
Sodium Bicarbonate Studies
Still not sold on sodium bicarbonate as a supplement? Let’s see what science says.
In one study, athletes were given sodium bicarbonate and it improved endurance by 42 percent.
In another study, athletes given sodium bicarbonate ran an 800 meter sprint 3 seconds faster, on average.
In another study, rowers who supplemented with baking soda rowed 6 minutes longer before exhaustion.
Another showed improved power output and work in high intensity exercise sets.
Another showed supplementing with baking soda increased the blood bicarbonate levels by sixty percent.
In another study, runners improved their 1500 meter time by an average of 4 seconds.
Finally, in a study on power output, athletes completed six trials, three of which were post-supplementation with baking soda. Ten ten-second sprints were completed, and the results showed the baking soda group had increased power outputs in all ten sprints, and the subjects power increased with each sprint!
Whaat? Is baking soda some miracle supplement the supplement industry doesn’t want us to know about?
Well, sorry supplement secret keepers, we just let the cat out of the bicarbonate bag.
Get a Supplement with Sodium Bicarbonate and Increase Performance
It increases endurance, it increases power and improves recovery. And it’s probably sitting in your mom’s fridge right now. Be smart and pair it with muscle-building fat burning supplements to get the most bang for your buck and the most gains for your pain. Now, go do something that makes you sweat