Why Do I Taste Blood After a Hard Workout?

If you’re wondering why you might taste blood after a hard workout, you’re not alone. Here’s what might be causing it and what you can do about it.


Many people report an unusual aftertaste after a strenuous workout, sometimes described as “metal” or “blood.” This unusual phenomenon has puzzled researchers for years, but recent research has shed some light on the subject and indicates that this post-exercise taste is likely caused by changes in your body chemistry.

Most of the time, it appears that this “bloody” taste is caused by a combination of factors, including dehydration, changes in your pH levels, and electrolyte imbalances. Dehydration can lead to an increase in salt concentration and reduced saliva production. When sweat evaporates from your skin, it takes with it electrolytes – minerals needed by your body to maintain proper bodily functions – including calcium and sodium. These minerals will activate your taste buds and cause a metallic aftertaste on the tongue.

In addition to electrolyte imbalance, your changing pH balance may also contribute to the strange flavor. During exercise, high levels of lactic acid are produced as well as many other metabolic products which can cause a decrease in pH level and create an acidic environment that results in a strong metallic smell or taste.

Finally, other causes may include mucous buildup due to breathing heavily through the nose and mouth during exercise or from lack of oxygen reaching the tongue due to excessive panting during highly strenuous exercise for a long period of time

Causes of Blood Taste During Exercise

After a hard workout, some people may experience a strange metallic taste in their mouth that could taste like blood. This is an unusual phenomenon, but it is not uncommon. There are a few potential causes of the metallic or blood-like taste that can range from the physical to the psychological. In this article, we’ll discuss the various causes of the blood taste during exercise and how it can be managed.


Dehydration is one of the most common causes of a metallic taste during an intense workout. When you are heavily sweating, your body is losing fluids and electrolytes. Sodium helps to regulate the exchange of fluids between cells, and if it becomes too low, it can cause a salty taste in your mouth. Additionally, dehydration can also lead to dry mouth, which can cause a metallic taste in the back of your throat as well. It’s important to stay hydrated during exercise by drinking plenty of water and sports drinks high in electrolytes like sodium, potassium and magnesium.

Low Iron Levels

Low iron levels are one of the most common causes of a “blood-like” metallic taste during and after exercise. This is because the body needs iron to create hemoglobin, a protein that carries oxygen to muscles. When there isn’t enough oxygen reaching the muscles, the body is forced to work harder and can spend more time cycling through anaerobic metabolism — which causes lactic acid buildup within muscles. The combination of these two factors can cause an unpleasant metallic taste in your mouth.

Other possible causes of this sensation include dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, or even localized inflammation inside your mouth due to breathing through it while exercising. If this “blood-like” metallic taste persists after you have rehydrated and replenished electrolytes, it may be wise to visit a doctor and check for more serious conditions such as anemia (a condition characterized by low levels of red blood cells) or other nutrient deficiencies (e.g., vitamin B12). They will be able to advise you on dietary changes or supplements that can help address any underlying issues that may be causing this symptom.

Sinus Infections

Sinus infections, also known as sinusitis, can be a cause of the taste of blood when exercising. Sinusitis is an inflammation or swelling of the tissue that lines the sinuses and can be caused by allergies, a common cold, or an infection. When the sinuses become irritated and swollen due to infection or allergens, your mucus membranes produce mucus in order to clear them out. If this mucus accumulates in your nose and drains back down your throat while you’re exercising, it can give you a metallic or salty taste in your mouth that resembles blood. In some cases, this liquid can even contain small amounts of blood due to inflammation in the surrounding tissues. In such cases it’s best to consult your doctor if this happens frequently as it may indicate more serious underlying conditions such as turbinate hypertrophy or nasal polyps.

Gastrointestinal Issues

Gastrointestinal issues are one of the most common causes for a bloody taste in your mouth during exercise. Exercise-induced gastrointestinal distress is quite common and can be caused by decreased blood flow to the stomach, increased exercise intensity, or abnormal digestive system function. Common symptoms of gastrointestinal issues include nausea, abdominal discomfort, heartburn, and acidic tastes.

You may experience the taste of blood because intense exercise can cause your stomach lining to become irritated or tear. This may allow small amounts of gastric acid or small amounts of digested blood to reach your taste buds. It’s important to speak with a doctor if you experience any gastric distress after intensive exercise as it could be an indication of an underlying medical condition such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Treatments for Blood Taste During Exercise

If you experience a metallic or salty taste in your mouth after a hard workout, it could be a symptom of exercise-induced gustatory sweating. This condition can be annoying and uncomfortable, but there are treatments available to help relieve it. In this heading, we’ll discuss the different treatments for blood taste during exercise.


Being properly hydrated is essential when exercising in order to prevent the formation of blood taste in the mouth. Drinking enough water will reduce dehydration and maintain an effective level of oxygen throughout your body. Replace lost electrolytes needed for cellular function with drinks such as a sports drink or blend natural lemon juice with honey. Furthermore, avoid drinking too much water as this could lead to overhydration and further negatively impact performance in exercise.

Iron Supplements

The taste of blood during exercise is commonly caused by hypoxia, which is a decrease in oxygen levels in the bloodstream that can lead to anemia. According to research published in International Journal of Exercise Science, anemia has been linked with exercise-related dizziness and disorientation, fatigue, and an increase in heart rate. Iron supplements are one way to prevent these symptoms from occurring.

When your body does not have enough iron, it cannot manufacture hemoglobin, which carries oxygen to the cells. When this happens during exercise, you may experience a metallic taste and may find yourself feeling lightheaded or dizzy. Iron supplements help to replenish and normalize your iron levels so that you get enough oxygen while exercising and do not experience this taste or other symptoms of hypoxia.

Taking a daily supplement of iron that provides 18 milligrams per day for women younger than age 50 and 8 milligrams for women over the age of 51 can help prevent the metallic taste associated with blood taste during exercise. There are many different types of iron supplements available at health food stores and online including tablets, capsules and liquid drops that provide sufficient amounts of iron each day. Additionally it’s important to note that if someone notices they are experiencing this sensation after extreme physical activity even after taking recommended doses with their physician’s guidance it could be beneficial to consult them about making dietary modifications such as increasing their ingestion intake or consuming more foods high in vitamin C (citrus fruits) as well as other nutrients like B12 (RED MEAT) to potentially reduce this sensation going forward.


In certain cases, your medical provider might suggest using antibiotics to treat the taste of blood during exercise. Antibiotics help reduce bacteria in the mouth and throat that can cause a metallic taste. Depending on your medical situation, a short course of antibiotics may be prescribed to address any bacterial overgrowth in your throat or mouth that could be causing the metallic taste. It is important to thoroughly discuss options with your health care provider and make sure you understand any associated risks or side effects before taking them.

Medication for Gastrointestinal Issues

Gastrointestinal issues can often contribute to a metallic taste in the mouth after exercise. Medication can provide relief if the blood taste is caused by acid reflux, GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), or ulcerative colitis. Antacids and proton pump inhibitors are used to reduce stomach acid. Antidepressants, selective serotonin receptor agonists, and serotonin reuptake inhibitors can help reduce the sensation of a bitter taste in the mouth due to GERD or similar conditions. Prokinetics like domperidone are designed to improve motility, while anti-diarrheal medications like loperamide may be effective for reducing gastrointestinal issues as well. Speak with your healthcare provider about whether these treatments may be right for you.


In conclusion, it is not uncommon to experience a metallic or bloody taste after an intense workout. This is caused by the presence of iron, specifically myoglobin, in the bloodstream and disturbed red blood cells that can sting and stain teeth. Commonly referred to as “bloody mouth” or “iron mouth”, this condition has many other causes and can be worsened by dehydration. However, for most cases the metal taste is nothing more than an unpleasant side effect of a strenuous exercise session and can often be alleviated with regular hydration and a good dental care routine.

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