Baking Soda as a Supplement: Something for Crossfitters?

Think baking soda is only good for baking and cleaning? You might be missing out on an opportunity to boost your performance in the gym.

As it turns out, this cheap and accessible product, hidden underneath your kitchen sink, is a supplement that Crossfit athletes might want to try next.

Chemical compounds

Sodium Bicarbonate is usually produced by the reaction of ammonia, sodium chloride and carbon dioxide in water. It has many uses:  to put out fires, as a disinfectant, for cooking, as a pH balancer or to clean for example.

The main purpose or use of sodium bicarbonate is to negate the effects of acidosis. This is where it becomes interesting.

Use as a supplement

When performing a strenuous type of activity, your blood acidity builds up (lactate). Studies have shown that sodium bicarbonate creates a buffer between lactate and lactic acid, creating a significant delay in the lactic acid build-up. The time-frame for these effects takes place 1 to 7 minutes into the activity.

The effects can be compared to effects of beta-alanine, without the tingling.

Baking soda

Baking soda

A study on the effects of sodium bicarbonate on the power output of different athletes, during 10 second sprints on a cycle ergometer, resulted in the bicarbonate group producing a higher average power output, and also a higher peak power output each time.

Dosage

The recommended dosage of sodium bicarbonate is 200-300 mg per kg body weight and should be taken 60-90 minutes before a workout. Taking the dosage  hours before a workout is useless, since our body will process it right away. Additionally you can’t “load” in the same way that you can with creatine for example.

However, some caution is advised, consuming a large amount in a short time-frame can cause an upset stomach or nausea. Also, since about 28% of sodium bicarbonate is actually sodium, it’s not advised for people with high blood pressure.

Always start with a smaller dosage, to see how your body reacts.