Douroudos, I., Fatouros, I., Mavromatidis, K., Tsitsiosq, T., Fotinakis, P., Jamourtas, A., & Taxildaris, K. (2004). Dose-related effects of sodium bicarbonate ingestion on acid-base balance during exhausting anaerobic exercise. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 36(5), Supplement abstract 1166.

"Anaerobic exercise causes significant acid-base balance perturbations. It has been suggested that sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) may prevent a significant pH drop during anaerobic exercise resulting in performance enhancement" (p. S172). This study determined whether two intake levels of short-term NaHCO3 supplementation altered acid-base balance and performance during an acute bout of anaerobic exercise. Males (N = 24) were randomly assigned to one of three groups: control (C, sugar-free mixed fruit placebo), moderate NaHCO3 intake (MI, 0.3 gr/kg), and high NaHCO3 intake (HI, 0.5 gr/kg). Participants consumed either placebo or NaHCO3 for 6 days.

There was a significant increase in post blood bicarbonate in moderate and high intake groups, the elevation being incrementally related to the dosage. Exercise in the control condition caused a reduction of pH and PCO2, and an increase of lactate. Mean power increased after moderate and even to a greater extent after high supplementation. After NaHCO3 ingestion, blood lactate was higher during exercise in the moderate and high groups. pH was significantly elevated post-exercise when NaHCO3 was ingested. HCO3 decreased with NaHCO3 ingestion post-exercise. PO2 increased with NaHCO3 consumption post-exercise with the high dosage being more effective than moderate. PCO2 declined with NaHCO3 supplementation post-exercise with the high dosage being more effective than the moderate.

Implication. Short-term sodium bicarbonate ingestion is beneficial for protecting against acid-base balance disturbances and improving performance during acute anaerobic exercise. The effects are dose-related with higher intakes being more effective.

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