How Baking Soda Can Help Your Running

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.

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  • Lynda WebberMarch 3, 2016 at 10:19pm

    Hi, Amaravati! I've recently read several articles on the benefits of baking soda with respect to athletic performance. This is one such interesting article by Amber Larsen. It states that "the normal recommendation is that you need one liter of water when ingesting 0.3 grams per kilogram of body mass. The water will help with absorption and decrease your chances of GI distress. Baking soda does not linger around the body, so it’s important to take it and work out about an hour or so later. Don’t take it and then train five hours later." Therefore, if I weigh 62.14kg and multiply that by .3, it appears that if I put 18.65 grams of baking soda (or approx. 3.75 U.S. teaspoons) into one liter of water and chug it down about one and a half hours before a marathon, it might help stave off fatigue and help my performance as well. What are your thoughts on that? What do you feel is the optimum dosage of baking soda (and its ratio to water) before, say, a marathon?

    • Amaravati H. KosuthovaMarch 4, 2016 at 6:55pm

      Hi Lynda,

      Thank you for getting in touch. I very much enjoyed reading the article enclosed about baking soda and athletic performance. I will try the recommendation of one liter of water mixed with 0.3 grams per kg of body mass ratio as its sounds good to me. I am not medicaly trained however so I can only go by my experience of trial and advise from a practitioner therefore, I have to say that you should check that with your doctor before the marathon in case there was something else to consider.

      I did try the ratio of ½ level teaspoon (0.6gram) completely dissolved in ½ glass of water every two hours which I do when I feel I have too much acid or train a lot and take this once or twice a day. This really works for me.

      On the whole my experience was that I can't digest most of the supplements but natural or simple products including baking soda works for me.

      Hope this makes sense and I wish you all the best with your next marathon.

      Kind Regards,


    • JohnJanuary 7, 2017 at 7:29pm
      Hi, do not confuse between body mass and body weight! Body mass is BMI. So, you are consuming too much of baking soda if use your weights x 0.6!

      John Reply
      • Amaravati H. KosuthovaJanuary 9, 2017 at 3:53pm

        Hi John,

        Thank you for your comment. I was actually referring to body weight as opposed to BMI, using an expression body mass meaning body weight. I did not mean the BM Index. Sorry about the confusion.

        All the best

      • StephenFebruary 18, 2017 at 1:45pm
        Is it safe to take backing soda in the morning before I go to work. And in the evening before I workout? Reply
        • Amaravati H. KosuthovaFebruary 20, 2017 at 8:35am
          Hi Stephen

          Thank you for reading my blog post and for getting in touch.

          As I mentioned in my article I am not allowed to advise on dosage, and I recommend you’ll make an appointment with a health professional or a doctor. They can consider your body type and your current health and advise accordingly.

          Best Wishes,

          Amaravati Reply
  • MatJune 23, 2017 at 6:46pm
    Yes I have baking soda as well. I got it as a present when I ordered magnesium oil. Also a sheet of paper comes with it. It says Lightbooster Natron. The word soda comes from egyptian and it means the sacred and divine. It is a present of mother Nature. Soda can do a lot: it is good for the teeth, even as deodorant and for bathing the sweaty feet it can be used.

    God bless ya!!! Reply
  • Giyani JosephApril 24, 2018 at 10:39am
    I have a problem of cramping if I am running 42.2km after 34km cramps starts to interrupt me Reply
    • Amaravati H. KosuthovaApril 25, 2018 at 7:14pm

      Hi Giyani

      Thanks for getting in touch. I recommend you visit an experienced practitioner or a doctor and get an advise specific for your body. You are welcome book with one of the fantastic practitioners at our Sports Clinic.

      Very best wishes


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