Why Do I Taste Blood After a Workout?

Find out why you might be tasting blood after a workout and what you can do to prevent it.


Exercising is an important part of maintaining good physical and mental health, but some people may be surprised to find that it can affect their taste buds in strange ways. The bitter, metallic taste of blood after exercising is something that many exercisers experience from time to time, and it has a number of potential causes and explanations. In this article, we’ll explore the phenomenon of tasting blood after working out and discuss possible causes, treatments and prevention tips for keeping it from happening in the future.

Causes of Blood Taste

Experiencing a metallic or bitter taste in your mouth after exercising can be concerning. This sensation is often described as a taste of copper or iron, and is medically referred to as “blood taste”. There are several potential causes of this phenomenon, ranging from dehydration to hormonal imbalances. Let’s take a deeper look into the causes of this strange taste.


Dehydration is a common cause of a metallic blood taste. When the body lacks adequate amounts of fluids, it can alter the taste of any bodily secretions. This is because in order to make up for a lack of water, electrolytes are used in the bloodstream instead. This gives saliva, sweat and other bodily fluids an unnatural metallic flavor.

Exercise can also lead to dehydration if the body is not getting enough water during or after physical activity. In fact, even intense workouts lasting less than an hour can leave you dehydrated. Drinking enough fluids both before and after exercise will help keep your body properly hydrated and reduce the chances that you’ll experience a metallic taste from your own blood.

Exercise-Induced Anemia

Exercise-induced anemia, or anemia of chronic disease, is a form of anemia that is caused by intense physical activity. It occurs when red blood cells are broken down at a faster rate than they can be replaced. Anemia of chronic disease can occur in any form of prolonged exercise and is more likely to occur in athletes who participate in endurance sports such as long-distance running. When athletes run, the breakdown of red blood cells leads to a decrease in available oxygen, which is necessary for optimal energy production during physical activities. One symptom associated with this condition is the taste of blood in the mouth after exercise has ended, due to energy-dependent cells not having sufficient oxygen for normal functioning. People with this condition may also experience fatigue, shortness of breath, dizziness and nausea after extended physical exertion. Treatment includes rest and the replenishment of red blood cell levels through medical supplementation or dietary changes that focus on consuming nutrient-dense foods.

Nasal Congestion

Nasal congestion is a common cause of a metallic blood-like taste. It can be the result of allergies, colds, or sinus infections. Allergies and upper respiratory infections (e.g., colds) are extremely common, and can lead to nasal congestion that may induce a metallic taste in the mouth and nose. Sinus infections are another common cause for nasal congestion and this can also lead to a metallic or blood-like taste in one’s mouth. Additionally, it is possible that the increased ventilation associated with heavy exercise triggers this reaction through a release of certain chemicals which trigger specific olfactory receptors. Therefore people who engage in intense physical activity need to be aware that this sensation might occur as a result.

Acid Reflux

Acid reflux is a common condition that can cause an unpleasant, metallic or sour taste in the mouth after trying. This is due to acid surging back up into the esophagus and spilling over into the throat and mouth. The acid can irritate and inflame the walls of your throat, causing a bitter or sour taste. When this happens while working out, it is because physical strain worsens the esophagus sphincter, allowing stomach acids to rise higher. Symptoms of acid reflux may include difficulty swallowing, chest pain, feeling full quickly when eating, a burning sensation in your chest (heartburn), regurgitation of stomach contents and a bitter or sour taste in your mouth. If you experience frequent episodes of acid reflux accompanied by heartburn or other symptoms, it’s recommended that you speak with a doctor for proper treatment.


Experiencing a metallic taste in your mouth after an intense workout is a common phenomenon known as “exercise-induced gustatory dysfunction”. It is usually a temporary symptom, but can be a sign of a more serious medical condition in some cases. Fortunately, there are treatments available to help ease your symptoms and get you back to feeling your best. In this section, we’ll discuss the various treatments that can be used to address exercise-induced gustatory dysfunction.

Increase Your Water Intake

Strenuous exercise leads to dehydration, which can result in a metallic taste in the mouth and a tang of blood. To help counteract this, increasing your water intake before, during and after working out is essential. Aim for eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily if you are an active person; this number increases as your activity level does.

Drinking fluids with electrolytes or sports drinks is also beneficial to maintain optimal hydration levels and stimulate saliva production, which helps flush out the metallic or salty tang from your mouth. For individuals with high blood pressure, you should check with your doctor about the type of drink that is healthier for you.

You should never wait until you feel thirsty to reach for a drink; staying hydrated needs proactivity. Since the body regulates its temperature through sweat to cool down, it’s important to replenish these lost liquids as soon as possible after working out instead of waiting until post-workout fatigue sets in.

Take Iron Supplements

Iron supplements, also known as ferrous salts, are a beneficial and efficient treatment for those experiencing recurring blood-like aftertastes resulting from strenuous physical activity. This is especially true if the person experiences symptoms of anemia, such as fatigue and rapid heart rate after exercise. Iron supplements can be taken orally to help the body replenish lost iron and improve general health. It’s important to discuss your dosage with your doctor, who may recommend a low-dose daily supplement or higher doses of iron prescribed for a specific period of time. When taking iron supplements, be sure to follow the instructions exactly as directed on the package or by your doctor and ensure that you are also getting essential nutrients such as Vitamin C for proper absorption.

Use a Saline Nasal Spray

Using a saline nasal spray is often recommended as a form of natural treatment for people experiencing a metallic taste after exercising. Saline nasal spray is designed to moisten and soothe the nasal passages, which can become irritated or dried out due to sustained exercise or environmental conditions. When using such a nasal spray, aim it into the nostril and then inhale slowly – repeating this for each nostril several times. As the saline enters your nostrils, you should feel immediate relief from any dryness or irritation and the salty flavor will quickly dissipate from your mouth. It is important not to over-use saline nasal spray as it could potentially cause irritation of your already sensitive mucous membranes. If you experience persistent or bothersome symptoms or any bleeding from your nose, it is important to consult with a medical professional for additional evaluation and treatment options.

Avoid Trigger Foods

In order to prevent the taste of blood in your mouth, it is important to avoid certain foods and drinks that may trigger this reaction. Foods that are high in fat, cholesterol or sugar can cause the release of bile and other acidic substances into the mouth. Additionally, cold or very hot coffee or tea can also trigger a reaction. Avoid both overly sugary and overly acidic drinks when trying to reduce blood aftertaste after exercise.

If possible, try to maintain a balanced diet during exercise and avoid foods that are high in fat or sugar content. Eating smaller meals more frequently throughout the day can help reduce digestive issues from intense workouts over a longer period of time. High fiber diets may also be beneficial for reducing acid reflux caused by exercise-related stress on the digestive system.
It is also important to stay properly hydrated throughout your workout routine by drinking plenty of water before and after exercising. Drinking water helps keep your mouth and throat moist which can be helpful in preventing blood tastes when exercising and afterward as well. Water is also necessary for flushing toxins away from the body and regulating bodily fluids as well as keeping electrolyte levels balanced which can all help reduce or stop unpleasant blood tastes after physical exertion.


It is important to understand the reasons why you may taste blood after a workout and the implications this can have on your overall health. A few possible causes of the metal taste in your mouth may include dehydration, trauma to your mouth or a condition known as high-altitude sickness. If you are experiencing this symptom, it is important to contact your doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

In addition, there are ways you can help prevent or reduce any related symptoms associated with these health issues. Staying hydrated before and during exercise helps maintain proper hydration levels in the body; furthermore, taking frequent rests while exercising can help prevent trauma to the mouth caused by excessive strain on it. Additionally, if you plan on exercising at high altitudes, talking with your doctor about how to adjust your exercise routine so that it is safe and comfortable is essential.

Ultimately, detecting and treating any issues associated with why you may be tasting blood after a workout not only protects your health but also allows you to continue enjoying physical activity without concern.

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