Shearman, J. P., Van Montfoort, M. C., Van Dieren, L., & Hopkins, W. G. (2003). Effects of ingestion of sodium bicarbonate, citrate, lactate, and chloride on sprint performance. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 35(5), Supplement abstract 1493.

"Ingestion of sodium bicarbonate is known to enhance sprint performance acutely, probably via increased buffering of intracellular acidity" (p. S269). Competitive male endurance runners (N = 15) completed a run to exhaustion 90 minutes after ingesting various buffering agents (sodium bicarbonate, sodium citrate, sodium lactate, and sodium chloride as a placebo). Substances were encapsuled in gelatin and dissolved in 750 ml of water. Ingestion occurred across the 90 minutes of running. The exhaustion run was calculated to last from one to two minutes.

Bicarbonate produced the best performance level average across the group. Ingested lactate and citrate appeared to be converted to bicarbonate before the run. There were no substantial levels of gut discomfort between the treatments.

Implication. Sodium bicarbonate is probably more beneficial to sprint performances than sodium citrate, lactate, or chloride.

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