Bicarbonate ingestion: Effects of dosage on 60 s cycle ergometry

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Nine healthy male subjects who were all participating in athletic events volunteered to take part in this study, the aim of which was to determine whether there are specific dosages of sodium bicarbonate (HCO3 ‐) that are useful as an ergogenic aid as far as anaerobic performance times are concerned. A control, placebo (CaCO3 500 mg kg‐1) and five dosages of bicarbonate (100, 200, 300, 400 and 500 mg kg‐1) were used. The anaerobic test consisted of pedalling a Repco Exertech cycle ergometer for 1 min during which total work (kJ) and peak power (W) were measured. The subjects completed more work in the 200 (P <0.05), 300, 400 and 500 mg kg‐l (P<0.005) trials with most work being undertaken in the 300 mg kg‐1 trial (41.9 kJ min‐1). Peak power was not significantly different from the control until the 300 mg kg‐1 dose, and there were no further changes from this with increasing doses of HCOJ. The highest level of peak power achieved was 1295±72.8 W at the 300 mg kg‐1 dosage. Blood pH indicated that after ingestion of all but the 100 mg kg‐1 dose, a state of alkalosis was achieved (P< 0.005), and this was also indicated by changes in base excess. Bicarbonate levels increased post‐ingestion in all but the 100 mg kg‐1 dose, with these changes reflecting the changes that occurred in the work output. Blood lactate (BLa) levels increased post‐exercise (P < 0.0001). The BLa level during ingestion of the 200 mg kg‐1 dose was higher than the control, placebo or 100 mg kg‐1 dose (P<0.05), and this was also true for the three remaining doses (P<0.01). In conclusion, it is suggested that the optimal dosage of bicarbonate for anaerobic performance of 1 min is 300 mg kg‐1. Further doses showed no greater increase in work and there was increased gastrointestinal disturbance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)415-423
JournalJournal of Sports Sciences
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1992


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