What Does Baking Soda Do in Pre-workout?

Medically reviewed by Dr Dimitar Marinov
What Does Baking Soda Do in Pre-workout?

Baking soda is one of those products that sits so unassumingly in almost everyone’s grocery cupboard. It’s a really versatile product that can be used for baking, personal hygiene and cleaning; just go look at cleaning hacks on the internet. 

It’s not so surprising knowing it has so many functions that it could also be used in pre-workout, but what does it actually do? In our guide, we’ll let you in on everything baking soda does in a pre-workout – including the benefits and potential side effects. 

Taking sodium bicarbonate could help athletes enhance their performance, particularly in high-intensity activities and sports. It decreases the acidity in working muscles to help people exercise for longer periods.

What Is Baking Soda?

Sodium bicarbonate is a mildly alkaline salt comprised of sodium and bicarbonate ions that goes by many different names – cooking soda, baking soda, bicarb, bicarbonate of soda, bread soda and NaHCO3 (its chemical formula).

Baking soda is usually found in nature, dissolved in mineral springs, but is commonly recognised as a white, odourless, non-flammable powder. 

What Are The Benefits Of Baking Soda In Pre-workout Supplements?

Enhance athletic performance

When you’re doing high-intensity exercises, this signals the human body to release hydrogen ions – a metabolic waste product that causes an acidic environment and decreases your athletic performance. 

Research indicates sodium bicarbonate supplementation binds the acids and, therefore, acts as a buffer and keeps the body’s acidity levels as close to neutral as possible. This allows for enhanced energy output during high-intensity exercise sessions as energy metabolism is increased.

Balanced pH levels 

Your body functions best when your pH is neutral or balanced (pH of 7). When you do high-intensity activities, your body releases hydrogen, which increases acidity. The body works hard to maintain a neutral level, and when you ingest baking soda, it has the ability to reduce the acidity and prevent the buildup of lactic acid.

The most effective dose, according to research, is 0.3 grams per kg. Exceeding this dosage does not provide additional benefits.

How Should You Take Baking Soda?

One of the best ways to take baking soda is to drink the recommended dose (0.2 – 0.4 g per kg of body weight) mixed with one litre of fluid.

Taking baking soda with a carbohydrate-rich meal and spreading the doses throughout the day, during the 180 minutes before exercise, can make its effects a lot easier on your stomach and help to reduce unwanted side effects.

It doesn’t have a pleasant taste, so we’d definitely recommend using a flavouring to make it go down smoother.

When Should You Take Baking Soda?

Ingesting sodium bicarbonate is most effective when taken prior to intensive workouts. It’s recommended to take it an hour to 180 minutes before your exercise session.

Where Can I Buy Pre-Workout Supplements With Baking Soda In?

You can buy baking soda from any market, but to ensure you’re using it safely and effectively as a supplement. You can add this to your pre-workout, and for that, we’d recommend buying from a reputable retailer like Power Supps. You can find a great range of high-quality pre-workouts here.

What Are The Potential Side Effects Of Baking Soda Supplementation?

Baking soda is considered safe to use as a pre-workout when the recommended dosage is followed (0.3 grams per kg). There are a few side effects that this salt could cause. 

Stomach Issues

When bicarbonate of soda mixes with your stomach acid, it produces gas. The side effects caused by gas production are considered to be dependent on the dosage and personal sensitivity. A higher dose of baking soda may lead to worse side effects. 

This can cause side effects such as:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Bloating

High Blood Pressure

Consuming baking soda could also potentially raise your blood sodium levels, and this leads to increased blood pressure in some people.

Water Retention

When increasing the amount of sodium in your body, it can cause your body to retain water. Increasing your hydration could be useful when you’re exercising in the heat, but it may be a bit of a disadvantage if you’re competing in weight-category sports.

Always check with a healthcare professional before you add baking soda to your pre-workout. It may not be suitable for those with certain health conditions, like acid reflux and high blood pressure.

Final Thoughts On Baking Soda Do in Pre-workout Supplements

Baking soda is really easy to come by and can be found in your local grocery store. 

With the effective dosage of this salt in your pre-workout, you can potentially improve your exercise performance and endurance. It helps you make the most out of high-intensity activities by decreasing the acidity in your muscles as they work. 

While the benefits could be great, it’s best to always get advice from a medical professional before adding bicarb to your diet, as it could cause unwanted side effects.

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