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Nasal Irrigation Boosts Exercise PerformanceStudy conducted by West Chester University Kinesiology Department shows nasal irrigation boosts exercise performance

This study examining whether nasal irrigation boosts exercise performance was published in the Journal of Sport and Human Performance. According to the study’s abstract, the purpose was to, “examine nasal irrigation as a possible sodium bicarbonate ergogenic aid and observe its effect on exercise performance.”

Many studies have been conducted related to consuming sodium bicarbonate – commonly known as “baking soda” – to improve exercise performance. According to an article in Healthline, “Sodium bicarbonate clears acid out of muscle cells, helping restore an optimal pH. This may decrease fatigue and increase performance.”

However, consuming sodium bicarbonate orally can cause uncomfortable gastrointestinal distress. This study examined the effectiveness of delivering sodium bicarbonate through nasal rinsing instead of swallowing it. The twenty healthy male subjects in the study used nasal irrigation. “Nasal irrigation is the process of rinsing out one’s nasal passageway with an isotonic saline solution consisting of sodium chloride and sodium bicarbonate,” the study explains.

The sodium bicarbonate was absorbed by the body through the nasal membranes, instead of passing through the gastrointestinal system.

Study participants exercised on treadmills both with and without nasal irrigation. Data points were collected before, during and after the exercise test. Data included heart rate, blood pressure, blood lactate, and perceived exertion.

The study shows nasal irrigation prior to exercise results in marked improvement in all data points, including overall exercise time, and enhancement of the recovery period after exercise. Conclusions of the study state heart rate was significantly lower with nasal irrigation, blood pressure was significantly lower, and total exercise time increased.

The study concludes: “Nasal irrigation prior to an acute bout of exercise may improve total exercise time and could potentially enhance the post-exercise recovery period.”

Read the full Journal of Sport and Human Performance article HERE.

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Related Topic: Can Athletes Benefit from Nasal Rinsing?