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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Baking Soda! The Latest Fitness Craze?

No one eats baking soda straight, of course, but sprinkling a little bit into your water glass--as gross as it sounds--may offer some surprising health benefits, say researchers.

The strangest news you'll hear all day? Baking soda--taken in very small amounts--may boost exercise stamina, or so say researchers from China who studied the effect of sodium bicarbonate (known as baking soda) in a small group of tennis players.

Their findings, appearing in a new issue of the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, indicate that "tiny" amounts of baking soda helped increase stamina in the athletes studied.

“We found that sodium bicarbonate supplementation can prevent the fatigue-induced decline in skilled tennis performance seen during matches,” Chen-Kang Chang, head of the Taiwanese research team, said in a news release.

Of course, the study leaves all kinds of questions unanswered: How much baking soda? Are their side effects? Are the benefits only unique to tennis? What about other sports? All of which makes me wary about jumping on the baking soda bandwagon, but I admit: I'm fascinated. Staying energized during a workout is a challenge for many people (me included), and it's fun to think that a little baking soda could help.

But, not so fast with that box. Let's hold the baking soda until we hear more from researchers. (And, I question the safety of using too much baking soda (many brands contain aluminum, and you probably don't want too much heavy metal in your bod).

Source: Sarah Jio, Glamour Magazine

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