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Baking Soda — The Secret Hack of Performance and Health

Why and How to Tap into the Science-backed health benefits of Baking Soda

By Z3n Ch4nPublished 3 years ago 7 min read
Image by Evita Ochel from Pixabay


Baking Soda is a common household product that you can buy in many places. It is also popular in house cleaning as it is very effective in removing oil. This time, I want to focus on baking soda's health benefits that do not have much attention.

How I discovered this

During the first time when planning for the 72-hour fasting, I tried baking soda as an additive in drinks. The first time tried was with Apple Cider Vinegar (ACD), a hunger suppressor with multiple health benefits. I saw the bubbles rising when baking soda was added to the vinegar with water.

I only knew that it neutralizes the sour taste of vinegar or any other sour beverages at that time. Later I found out there are various advantages of using baking soda. The chemical in baking soda, sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO₃) was widely researched and applied in professional sports. I will highlight them so that more people know it and enjoy the benefits of this cheap and over-the-counter product.

Chemistry of NaHCO3 — 101

Let’s talk about the chemical effects of Sodium Bicarbonate to have a clearer understanding of how it can help our body. In chemistry, we called sodium bicarbonate a “buffer,” used to stabilize a solution's pH. Sodium Bicarbonate has a pH of 9 by itself, so it is alkaline in nature.

That means when the solution becomes more acidic. Sodium bicarbonate releases more bicarbonate ions to neutralize the effect, while the release of sodium ions can act in reverse. It is also a safe buffer agent as it is chemically not reactive to other compounds (will normally have chemical reactions with others).

Benefits of Sodium Bicarbonate in our body

I will try my best to explain all health benefits in this article as simple as possible so that most of us can understand, not just the elite athletics.

1# Improve Digestion

The plainest and simple effect of baking soda is digestion. Amidst its chemical properties as a buffer and alkaline in nature, intake of baking soda after a meal can reduce the discomfort of acid reflux and heartburn by balancing the acidity in our stomach. (The key here is slow, do not take a large amount once.)

2# Stabilize Blood Acidity

What contributes to acidity in blood?

The main sources of blood acidity are eating and breathing. Oral Breathing, as I mentioned in the previous article, contributes to blood acidity. It is, therefore, a good practice to always breathe with your nose.

The second source, eating or more accurately speaking — over-consumption of sugary food, and meats are the problem. Different food influences our blood acidity differently. The term “potential renal acid load (PRAL)” describes the impact of acid formation on food after intake. In the study of 2019, it pointed out:

Diets high in PRAL induce a low-grade metabolic acidosis state, which is associated with the development of metabolic alterations such as insulin resistance, diabetes, hypertension, chronic kidney disease, bone disorders, low muscle mass and other complications.

Foods that have high Dietary acid load include:

  • Red Meat and other animal proteins
  • Cheese and dairy products
  • Soft drinks and sweetened beverages
  • Refined grains

Baking Soda and Blood pH

Kalani Raphael, MD (University of Utah) and his colleagues looked at how pH level measurements link with long-term survival in relatively healthy older individuals. They investigated the pH in our blood is directly related to Carbon Dioxide (from breathing and eating) and Bicarbonate levels in the blood. In the study:

People with normal or high bicarbonate levels had a similar risk of dying during follow-up, but participants with low bicarbonate had a 24% higher risk compared with these groups.

Older people with a sufficient level of bicarbonate have a relatively stable blood acidity even after meals. The optimal pH of blood is around 7.3 to 7.45. in this range, the body can remain functional, and cells remain healthy. This study indicates that the importance of having enough Bicarbonate as a buffer in blood.

3# Antibacterial and Antifungal properties

A study tested the effect of oral baking soda with bacteria and showed that baking soda could effectively kill oral bacteria.

Use of oral health care products with high concentrations of baking soda could conceivably result in decreased levels of cariogenic S mutans in saliva and plaque.

We know about the antifungal properties of baking soda in cleaning mold. That is why we use it to clean the washroom, especially the black spots on fabric and soft plastics. In another study about skin and nail infections, baking soda showed antifungal properties in three fungal groups (yeasts, dermatophytes, and molds).

Photo by Elena Mozhvilo on Unsplash

4# Reduce inflammatory immune responses

A study in The Journal of Immunology in 2018 showed the result of oral NaHCO3 could activate an Anti-inflammatory response from your spleen (Activates a Splenic Anti-Inflammatory Pathway).

The presence of bicarbonate signal to the spleen’s mesothelial cells from your spleen during digestion in which mesothelial cells reduce inflammation (immune response from the spleen).

Drinking baking soda, the MCG scientists think, tells the spleen — which is part of the immune system, acts like a big blood filter and is where some white blood cells, like macrophages, are stored — to go easy on the immune response. The conversation, which occurs with the help of the chemical messenger acetylcholine, appears to promote a landscape that shifts against inflammation.

As shown in the study, drinking baking soda is a safe and cheap way to remediate inflammation-related diseases.

5# Improve Athletic Performance

Baking Soda has been researched and found in studies regarding improving athletic performance and delaying muscle fatigue. These benefits are produced from baking soda in different levels, from blood to cellular levels.

According to research, taking Baking Soda before exercise helps your body flush metabolic wastes from the muscle tissue. Also, in the study, the Effect of Sodium Bicarbonate on [HCO3−], pH, and Gastrointestinal Symptoms showed:

NaHCO3 ingestion has been proposed to enhance performance by increasing extracellular buffering capacity.” This means taking baking soda works on a cellular level in our body creating a better chemical environment (by stabilizing the pH level) for our muscles.

More effective removal of metabolic wastes leads to enhancement in endurance (delayed fatigue).

Further study in Effects of chronic NaHCO3 ingestion during interval training on changes to muscle buffer capacity, metabolism, and short-term endurance performance:

The group ingesting NaHCO3 before each training session had larger improvements in the lactate threshold (LT) and endurance performance, possibly because of a reduced metabolic acidosis during training and a greater improvement in muscle oxidative capacity.

The study also suggested that long-term ingesting of baking soda (3 times a week for 8 weeks) could significantly reduce hydrogen ions in the blood (that causes high blood acidity), especially during intense continuous exercise.

In simple English, loading with baking soda before exercise can help you to train harder and longer. While taking baking soda afterward could reduce the negative effects of your training sessions.

How and when to use baking soda to hack your health

1# Daily intake

The natural way to increase our bicarbonate is by eating more vegetables and fruits that help the body produce more bicarbonate. Do not get fooled by acidic food that contains citric acid. They are eventually converted into bicarbonate by our liver.

You can get it solely from food sources like lemon or lemon juice, for instance, would be a great choice. Drinking water with 1 tsp of baking soda in the morning is also worth trying. I personally make a drink before sleep that includes baking soda.

2# Before and After exercise

The best protocol for Baking Soda Loading involves a dose of 0.25 to 0.3g per kg of body mass, divided across 1–3 servings. You can do this 24 before the training session for loading the buffer in your blood.

For long-term loading before a race, the study above provided an 8 weeks protocol with 3 times a week is optimal. One more thing is if you ingest baking soda with coconut water, no need to add salt as Baking Soda has a vast amount of sodium.

Photo by Marc Babin on Unsplash

3# During Fasting

Let me share with you my fasting remedy drink:

  • 1/2 tsp of honey (I use Manuka)
  • 2 tsp of Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 tsp of baking soda
  • 1 tsp of MCT oil

It is used to reduce hunger, lower blood sugar, and help me sleep during a long fast. You can see more about how to make a fast easier below:


Thank you for reading. I want to share this safe and over-the-counter substance with more people about its health benefits after I discovered it from preparing a fast. If you like this, please share it with people that may be interested.

In Summary, Baking Soda could help to:

  • 1# Improve Digestion
  • 2# Stabilize Blood Acidity
  • 3# Antibacterial and Antifungal properties
  • 4# Reduce inflammatory immune responses
  • 5# Improve Athletic Performance, both endurance, and training load.

To enjoy the benefits, you can use it:

  • 1# as daily intake, from food or baking soda with water
  • 2# Before and After exercise, by baking soda loading
  • 3# During Fasting as a remedy drink.

Happy Reading and Happy baking soda loading.


About the Creator

Z3n Ch4n

Interested in Infosec & Biohacking. Security Consultant. Love reading and running.


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