Athletic performance is the main concern of athletes. Supplementation of bicarbonate soda is an ergogenic aid that prevents metabolic acidosis in sports of high and moderate intensity.
Lactic acid and fatigue
The greatest inhibitory factor of performance in sports of high and moderate intensity is the feeling of fatigue resulting from the intensity of exercise and the accumulation of lactic acid in the muscles. During exercise, carbohydrates break down and glucose molecules, when oxygen is present, enter the energy production process. If oxygen intake is not enough then there is lactic acid production, which allows cells to continue to produce energy (ATP) at a lower rate.
The accumulation of lactic acid in the muscles makes them less efficient to contract, causes fatigue and a burning sensation, thus negatively affects athletic performance.
Sodium Bicarbonate is our well known baking soda, a bicarbonate supplement that leads to increased levels of bicarbonates in the blood. Under normal conditions, bicarbonates are produced by the kidneys and help regulate the pH of the blood (acidity regulation). The body, in order to prevent muscle damage due to the accumulation of lactic acid, produces a series of molecules, such as bicarbonates, proteins and phosphates that balance the acidity of blood.
The exact mechanism by which alkalinization of blood pH has ergogenic action has not been established yet. According to some studies, it is believed that taking sodium bicarbonate helps reduce lactic acidosis. Its action seems to helpful in short-duration sports of high intensity, in moderate duration sports such as sprint, cycling and swimming, as well as in moderate intensity and duration sports such as tennis and boxing.
Bicarbonate soda is given in doses of 200-300mg/kg, 60-90 minutes before exercise with plenty of water. For activities of higher duration, it can be taken within a shorter period of 45-60 minutes before exercise.
A second way of taking bicarbonate soda is along with a meal, with the dose being increased up to 500 mg/kg divided into 3 doses in the day. It is recommended that bicarbonate soda should not be taken on on the day of activity, in order to avoid any gastrointestinal disturbances.
High doses of bicarbonate soda can cause immediate stomach and gastrointestinal disorders such as cramps, gas, nausea and vomiting. For this reason, the first dose is recommended to be half of the recommended dose, in order to check for tolerance.
In case of chronic consumption of bicarbonate soda, it is recommended to receive also supplements of potassium. Chronic use of sodium bicarbonate supplements significantly increases the risk of hypertension and cardiovascular disease. One teaspoon of bicarbonate soda contains 1260mg of sodium. People with hypertension, history of cardiovascular disease and chronic kidney disease are recommended to avoid taking bicarbonate soda.