SODIUM BICARBONATE ENHANCES SWIMMING PERFORMANCES BUT BE CAREFUL
Triplett-McBride, T., Bowman, S. A., Pein, R. L., & Foster, C. C. (2003). Effects of different dosages of sodium bicarbonate on swimming performance. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 35(5), Supplement abstract 1494.
NCAA Div III swimmers (N = 10) underwent four treatments: no sodium bicarbonate, and sodium bicarbonate at 0.1, 0.2, and 0.3 gm/kgBW. Ss were tested 60 minutes after ingesting sodium bicarbonate. Testing consisted of an 1100-yard warm-up, followed by a time trial based on the swimmer's competition distance (100, 200, and 400 yards). Blood was analyzed for lactate post-time-trial.
For 100-yd swimmers, the 0.2 gm/kgBW dose was optimal but the 0.1 gm dose was also effective. For 200-yd swimmers, the 0.3 gm dose was most effective, while for 400-yd swimmers, the 0.1 gm dose was optimal. Blood lactate levels increased with the dosage of sodium bicarbonate. Frequency of side-effects also increased with dosage.
Implications. A sodium bicarbonate concentration of 0.1 gm/kgBW was optimal for two swimming distances as well as provoking side-effects in the fewest Ss. However, the optimal dose was generally dependent upon the event. Before using sodium bicarbonate to buffer acidity in swimming events, a considerable amount of experimentation of dosage effects and the occurrence of side effects is warranted.
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