Sodium Bicarbonate

Sodium Bicarbonate


Food Source: Baking Soda

Sodium Bicarbonate

This antacid is used as baking soda and is naturally created in the body. The pancreas produces sodium bicarbonate into the small intestine as food digests and the stomach empties. This decreases the acidity of food as it enters the intestines and protects against acidic gastric digestive fluids.

As a base Sodium Bicarbonate acts as an antacid by increasing the pH level of blood and decreasing hydrogen ions. Hydrogen ions move out of the muscle cells due to the differential of low pH caused by contraction and high pH through blood saturation of Sodium Bicarbonate.  Through pH regulation Sodium Bicarbonate has the potential to increases peak power, strength, fatigue resistance, and work capacity. Studies have shown mixed results on whether sodium bicarbonate supplementation is actually beneficial.

Supplementation should be broken up through out the day because high doses at one time often causes gastric problems.

PH Stabilizing

During intense activity carbon dioxide and lactic acid build up, causing the body’s pH level to decline (becoming more acidic).  A decrease in pH level hinders performance through muscle fatigue and is correlated with an increase in hydrogen ions. Hydrogen ion build-up cause an atrophy in  peak power, overall strength, endurance, training capacity, and anaerobic threshold.

Sodium Citrate

Food SourceFruits, Berries, Citrus, Soft Drinks, and Ice Cream (as a flavoring agent or a preservative)

Blood interaction causes Sodium Citrate to break down into Sodium Bicarbonate. This provides us with the benefits Sodium Bicarbonate has to offer against muscle fatigue through decreasing pH levels.

Where Sodium Bicarbonate seems to benefit short bursts of highly intense activity, Sodium Citrate seems to benefit high intense endurance based exercises that last anywhere from 2-15 minutes.

Studies Proving Significant

2013 Additive effects of beta-alanine and sodium bicarbonate on upper-body intermittent performance.
Dosage: Sodium Bicarbonate 500 mg/kg and Beta-Alanine 6.4g
Method: 37  Judo and Jujutsu competitors completed four 30 second high-intensity intermittent upper-body Wingate tests, separated by 3 min.
Results: Total Work Done

  • Placebo + Placebo =0%
  • Beta-Alanine + Placebo = +7%
  • Sodium Bicarbonate + Placebo = +8%
  • Sodium Bicarbonate + Beta-Alanine = +14%

Combining the buffering abilities of both sodium bicarbonate and beta-alanine significantly enhanced high-intensity intermittent upper-body performance in athletes by 14%.

2012 The effects of serial and acute NaHCO3 loading in well-trained cyclists.
Dosage: Serial loading (split doses over 3 days) vs acute loading (all on one day).
Method: 8 male cyclists completed a 4-minute performance test on a cycling ergometer.
Results: Both loading methods of sodium bicarbonate produced a significantly higher average power output than the placebo.
2008 Sodium bicarbonate improves swimming performance.
Dosage: Sodium Bicarbinate 300 mg/kg
Method: 9 elite male swimmers completed 3 200m freestyle swims testing maximal effort swimming performance.
Results: 200m Swim times were significantly faster with sodium bicarbonate supplementation.

Studies Proving Non-Significant

2013 Effect of lactate supplementation and sodium bicarbonate on 40 km cycling time trial performance.
Dosage: Sodium Bicarbonate 21.5 mg/kg – 300mg/kg
Method: 7 recreationally active males completed 5 40 km cycling time trials.
Results: There was no significant difference between the various doses of sodium bicarbonate and the placebo.
2010 Increased blood pH but not performance with sodium bicarbonate supplementation in elite rugby union players.
Dosage: Sodium Bicarbinate 300 mg/kg
Method: 25 male rugby players participated in a 25 minute warm-up, followed by 9 minutes of high-intensity rugby-specific training, followed by a rugby-specific repeated-sprint test.
Results: There was no increase in exercise performance. A greater sense of stomach cramps, belching, stomachache, bowel urgency, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach bloating, and flatulence was reported.

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