First things first, a quick warning: baking soda is perfectly safe for most people, but if your blood is already alkaline and you take too much baking soda, it can contribute to a condition called hyperalkalosis. If you find you get short of breath or your heart is racing after baking soda, you took too much.
This only happens to a tiny percentage of people, but it’s still a good idea to start slowly with a half a teaspoon and work your way up. It is possible to give yourself a heart attack with a large overdose of baking soda. If you get metabolic alkalosis (very rare) from too much baking soda to push your blood pH >7.55, its bad. Mortality rates are 45% in patients with an arterial blood pH of 7.55 and 80% when the pH is > 7.65!
And don’t take it right after a big meal. A large dose will react with your stomach acid to create a lot of gas, which can damage your stomach. Again, it’s rare, but it’d really suck if it happened to you.
All that said, as long as you take it with care, baking soda deserves a front row seat on your supplement shelf. It’s not as sexy as taking smart drugs, which is probably why people don’t talk about it more, but baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) does a surprising amount of good for you, especially if you’re an athlete.
Baking soda may increase cerebral blood flow by dilating your arteries to bring more oxygen to your brain , although there’s debate about how well it works , and neither side has evidence from healthy adults. What’s more clear is baking soda’s effect on your athleticism.
Baking soda improves athletic performance across the board: weight training , high-intensity interval training (HIIT) , and endurance interval training studies  all showed that the stuff you use to deodorize your fridge doubles as a powerful workout supplement.
The boost isn’t modest, either. People who supplemented with baking soda showed a 28% increase in HIIT endurance after 3 weeks when compared to a placebo group . After 6 weeks they showed a 34% increase. The baking soda group also nearly doubled (+91%) their total force output during workouts, and put on significantly more lean muscle to boot.
Another study found that baking soda increases the effectiveness of creatine and enhances both peak and average muscle strength over those on creatine alone . Baking soda even decreases stress on your immune system following a workout by preventing oxidative damage to your white blood cells .
If you’re following the amount used in the fitness studies, you’ll want to build to a total of 1g/15 lbs. body weight (i.e. 10 grams for a 150-lb. person) each day. Spread the doses out to 4 times a day and take baking soda away from food. For example:
8 AM (before breakfast) – 2.5g
12 PM – 2.5g
4 PM – 2.5g
9 PM – 2.5g
Baking soda dissolves readily into water. To be safe, start with half a teaspoon and work your way up to a full dose over a couple weeks.
You can find a big bag of this stuff for $5 at any grocery store. Try taking it before your workout this weekend.