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Can Baking Soda Improve Endurance, Speed, And Anaerobic Threshold?

Can endurance athletes increase their stamina, power, and speed by ingesting baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)? EndurElite Chief Endurance Officer Matt Mosman brings you the research-backed answer.

Video Transcript:

Can Baking Soda Improve The Performance Of Runners, Cyclists, OCR, And Other Endurance Athletes?

Good morning, family of fast. Matt Mosman, the chief endurance officer over at EndurElite coming at you with Saturday's Endurance Fast Fact. 
Today, we're gonna talk about sodium bicarbonate and if it is a potential ergogenic or performance-enhancing aid for endurance athletes. Now, sodium bicarbonate is just plain old baking soda that you can find in your local grocery store. And here's how sodium bicarbonate is theorized to work. 

How Baking Soda Works To Improve Endurance

So as we all know as exercise intensity increases muscle acidity starts to rise and acidic muscles just don't like to work and fatigue a lot quicker. So what sodium bicarbonate does is basically act as an acidity buffer kinda like beta-alanine so it will just delay the rise in muscle acidity a little bit more so you can exercise stronger for longer. But the real question is does taking sodium bicarbonate actually increase endurance performance? Well, let's go right to the research. 

What Does The Research Say About Cyclists Who Use Baking Soda?

So multiple research studies have shown that ingesting sodium bicarbonate can increase peak power, peak torque, strength, total work capacity, and various other factors related to endurance performance. And, in fact, there is one study done by Edge [SP] and colleagues that had cyclists ingest sodium bicarbonate for eight weeks before doing really highly-intense interval training sessions. And what they found, and I got my notes here, and I'm just gonna take a look. What they found compared to placebo group is the cyclists who ingested sodium bicarbonate daily before exercise before doing these really hard interval sessions were able to significantly increase anaerobic threshold, increase time to fatigue and peak power again versus the placebo group. 

Does Taking Baking Soda Before Exercise Have Any Side Effects?

So the research is pretty solid when it comes to sodium bicarbonate. And you may be thinking right now like, "Man, this sodium bicarbonate thing is really awesome." But I forgot to mention one thing, sodium bicarbonate can cause some massive diarrhea and the last thing you wanna do is poop your pants during a race. So you kinda got to weigh if the benefits outweigh the risks of pooping your pants. Sorry, pooping is just funny today.

Baking Soda Dosage and Timing

So if you wanna try sodium bicarbonate, I definitely recommend you try it in training before you try it in a race. And here is what you want to do. You want to consume about 136 to 227 milligrams per pound body weight anywhere from 45 to 90 minutes before exercise. And what's really, really important is you don't want to slam it in whatever beverage you put it in, you want to sip on it so it doesn't cause major diarrhea or explosive diarrhea because that is not funny. There's other studies suggests that 90 milligrams per pound body weight is a dose where you can avoid these negative side effects but that 90 milligrams per pound of body weight doesn't really show any performance-enhancing benefits. So definitely stick with the 136 to 227 milligrams per pound body weight 45 to 90 minutes before endurance exercise and be sure to sip on it.

The Bottom Line On Baking Soda And If Athletes Should Use It

So what's really the bottom line? Yeah. Absolutely, sodium bicarbonate is really a good performance-enhancing ingredient but you really got to figure out if it's worth it based on the negative side effects. And in my opinion, beta-alanine is a lot better option that accomplishes the same thing without giving you those negative side effects. But hey, you know, baking soda's cheap. It may be worth a try and see how it affects your performance. 

So that is all I have for today my endurance friends. If you have a friend that currently takes baking soda or is looking for that really extra endurance edge, please share this video with them. If you want other videos like this on endurance training, nutrition, and supplementation, subscribe to the EndurElite YouTube channel or head on over to the EndurElite blog at www.endurelite.com. Get social with us on Instaslam and our Facebook Training and Nutrition Club page. And until next time my sexy endurance friends, stay fueled, stay focused, stay fast, and stay informed.



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