Source: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements (2017).

Sodium bicarbonate
Sodium bicarbonate is commonly known as baking soda. Exercising intensely over several minutes causes muscles to produce acids, such as lactic acid, that reduce muscle force and cause tiredness. Sodium bicarbonate can reduce the buildup of these acids.

DOES IT WORK? Studies show that athletes who take sodium bicarbonate might improve their performance a little in intense, short-term activities (like sprinting and swimming) and in intermittently intense sports (like tennis and boxing). But different athletes respond differently to sodium bicarbonate. Sodium bicarbonate might actually hinder performance in some people. The usual dose taken is 300 milligrams per kilogram of body weight or about 4 to 5 teaspoons of baking soda. Some people find this amount of sodium bicarbonate, dissolved in liquid, too salty to drink.
IS IT SAFE? Sodium bicarbonate can cause GI distress, including nausea and vomiting, and weight gain due to water retention. It is also high in sodium (1,260 milligrams per teaspoon).
BOTTOM LINE Sodium bicarbonate might provide some performance benefit in strenuous exercise that lasts several minutes and in sports that require intermittent, intense activity, especially for trained athletes. However, in some people, sodium bicarbonate provides no performance benefit, and it can even reduce performance.
REMARK Many performance supplements in the marketplace contain more than one ingredient, and ingredients can work differently when they’re combined. Because most ingredient combinations have not been studied, it is not known how effective or safe they are in improving performance.

Leave a comment