It might seem unusual, too cheap or simply crazy to consider baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) as a supplement or a drink. But if you want to find out some very useful tips for improving your health, and ultimately your running experience, then read on :-)
Sodium bicarbonate, commonly known as baking soda, can:
- Enhance endurance and speed
- Reduce the acidity produced in the muscles during sports such as running or swimming
- Ease stomach and digestive troubles
- Help the body to process lactic acid, which is responsible for the burning sensation produced in the muscles during hard exercise
- Help maintain the pH balance in your bloodstream and boost your body’s overall health
- Encourage burping, which helps relieve bloating and gas, when taken mixed with water
- Help to clear/relieve cold and flu symptoms.
This is something I personally came across as a teenager. When I had a stomach-ache my grandmother would give me a glass of water with a little bit of baking soda dissolved in it. Recently one of my health practitioners recommended I drink the same drink. I was a little surprised and decided to find some articles about it. According to my research, athletes have known these benefits of taking sodium bicarbonate internally for years and it seems that science is now proving them right!
According to Dr Mercola, from Canada, there's a whole range of medicinal uses for baking soda, from safely removing splinters from your fingers, to brushing your teeth, to helping with ulcer pain or preventing kidney stones. It has been linked with improved performance in serious athletes.
How does it work?
Baking soda water works as an antacid and antiseptic. An antacid neutralises acid. Water mixed with baking soda helps to neutralise the stomach’s hydrochloric acid, eliminating the problem of heartburn. As a mild antiseptic, baking soda kills certain kinds of parasites, fungi and mould. You can use water with baking soda for gargling, which helps to minimize the symptoms of a sore throat or persistent cough.
Alkalinity is the opposite of acidity. It is considered healthier to have an alkaline pH in your body, because many diseases thrive in an acidic environment. Drinking baking soda dissolved in water creates a more alkaline pH balance in the body. All foods are either acidic or alkaline. If you eat a lot of processed foods, meat, white flower, sugar, and drink sodas or drinks full of sugar, then you are consuming highly acidic foods. This would create acidity in your body, and if it becomes a chronic problem it can cause degenerative conditions such as osteoporosis, arthritis and cancer. It is much better to improve your diet, but as a short term aid drinking baking soda dissolved in water can help a lot.
How much baking soda should I take?
½ level teaspoon completely dissolved in ½ glass of water every two hours or as directed by a physician. You can take it once or twice a day after exercise, to reduce muscle pain.
I also recommend drinking baking soda dissolved in water to clear colds or influenza. This really helped me as I had a cold a week before my race and I managed to get it cleared in time. For colds and flu, try the following:
- Day 1: ½ teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of cool water, at two-hour intervals, 6 times per day.
- Day 2: ½ teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of cool water, at two-hour intervals, 4 times per day.
- Day 3: Take ½ teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of cool water in the morning and evening.
- Day 4 and beyond: ½ teaspoon in a glass of cool water each morning until the cold symptoms are gone.
I hope these tips will help. There are a lot of articles online regarding the recommended amounts for different health issues. I only listed what I tried and what helped me with my health and running, but everyone is different, so please consult a health professional if you are not sure. To avoid any general problems please have a look at the guidelines below. Good luck with your running and with maintaining your healthy body!
General health guidelines
Safety first! You need to follow a few rules in order to get the full benefit from this supplement and avoid any problems:
Rule 1: Do not take more than the following amounts in 24 hours:
- Six ½ teaspoons
- Three ½ teaspoons if you are over 60 years old
Rule 2: Only use half a teaspoon, 0.6 grams, and dissolve the baking soda completely before drinking it.
Rule 3: Be sure to use baking soda. NEVER take baking powder. Baking powder is not the same substance as baking soda or sodium bicarbonate.
Rule 4: Contact and consult your doctor before taking sodium bicarbonate if:
- You are on a sodium-restricted diet, have high blood pressure, have edema, liver or kidney disease
- You are on prescription drugs
- You are pregnant or are a nursing mother
Rule 5: Do not give baking soda with water to children younger than five years old.
Rule 6: If you have a full stomach, do not drink baking soda water until you've had a chance to digest.
Rule 7: Athletes should find out from their personal trainers and doctors if baking soda is considered a banned performance enhancer in their sport.
This is nutritional information that we found very useful and want to share with our customers. But we're not nutrition specialists. The nutritional information on this site is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or sports nutrition. This general information is not intended to diagnose any medical condition or to replace your healthcare professional. If you experience any pain or difficulty with the exercises or advice, stop and consult your healthcare provider.