Sodium Bicarbonate Supplementation and Ingestion Timing: Does It Matter?


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Abstract

Siegler, JC, Marshall, PWM, Bray, J, and Towlson, C. Sodium bicarbonate supplementation and ingestion timing: Does it matter? J Strength Cond Res 26(7): 1953–1958, 2012—Although a considerable amount of literature exists on the ergogenic potential of ingesting sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) before short-term, high-intensity exercise, very little exists on optimal loading times before exercise. The purpose of this study was to determine the influence of NaHCO3 supplementation timing on repeated sprint ability (RSA). Eight men completed 3 (randomized and counterbalanced) trials of ten 10-second sprints separated by 50 seconds of active recovery (1:5 work-to-rest) on a nonmotorized treadmill. Before each trial, the subjects ingested 0.3 g·kg−1 body weight of NaHCO3 at 60 (H1), 120 (H2), or 180 (H3) minutes before exercise. Additionally, the subjects were assessed for any side effects (gastrointestinal [GI] discomfort) from the NaHCO3 ingestion via a visual analog scale (VAS). Blood buffering was assessed using a 2-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) with repeated measures, whereas repeated sprint performance and GI discomfort were assessed via a 1-way ANOVA with repeated measures. Blood-buffering capacity was not different at preexercise times ([millimoles per liter] H1: 30.2 ± 0.4, H2: 30.9 ± 0.6, H3: 31.2 ± 0.6; p > 0.74). Average speed, average power, and total distance covered progressively declined over the 10 sprints; however, there was no difference between conditions (p > 0.22). The incidence of GI discomfort was significantly higher (p < 0.05) from preingestion at all time points with the exception of 180 minutes, whereas severity was only different between 90 and 180 minutes. Ingestion times (between 60 and 180 minutes) did not influence the blood buffering or the ergogenic potential of NaHCO3 as assessed by RSA. However, VAS scores indicated that at 180 minutes postingestion, an individual is less prone to experiencing significant GI discomfort.

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