Next to duct tape baking soda (or sodium bicarbonate) is one household item that seems capable of doing just about everything.
Well did you know it is also an effective supplement for boosting your muscular endurance? Athletes in a wide variety of sports use baking soda to increase their ability to push through limits.
Chemically all you really need to understand is that when working out or competing your body becomes more acidic in nature. This is where the familiar lactic plays comes into play. Normally your body stays in ph (acidic to alkaline) balance. As you become more acidic you experience the ache of fatigue in your muscles. Baking soda is alkaline in nature, which means it can balance out the increased acidity during exercise. “This alkaline soda neutralizes the acid that accumulates during high-intensity training, resulting in greater endurance and power output.”
Many research projects conducted throughout the last 20 years evaluated the efficacy of supplementation with baking soda. These studies looked at everything from proper doses, to timing, and the best type of exercise to use it with.
For dosing the typical recommendation is about .3 grams for every 2lbs of bodyweight. Take it about 90 minutes before exercising as well.
Adding baking soda to your pre workout routine has the greatest effect when you are doing high intensity work. This is when the buffering of the lactic acid will be more noticeable. In one study on repeated sprint workouts “ingestion induced higher blood pH (less acidic) … before exercise and during the bouts.”
There is a drawback though. Many participants in these studies experienced nausea when supplementing with baking soda, but side effects were mitigated when it was taken with food. Athletes also tolerated it better after supplementing regularly. My advice would be to begin by taking a very small amount (300mg or less) 90 minutes before exercise with food. Then build up as you feel comfortable. Always check with your doctor as well before adding new supplements to your diet.