Buffering agents: Sodium bicarbonate, sodium citrate and sodium phosphate

Lars R McNaughton, Cameron Brewer, Sanjoy Deb, Nathan Hilton, Lewis Gough, Andy Sparks

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter explores the use of exogenous buffering agents as possible ergogenic aids. It discusses the developments in the use of sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3), sodium citrate and sodium phosphate in relation to the most effective strategies, applications and their potential mechanisms of ergogenicity. NaHCO3 is a popular choice as a nutritional supplement, particularly used during high-intensity exercise of short duration. Multiple buffering systems work to maintain acid-base homeostasis, so it is prudent to consider that reinforcing more than one of these systems concurrently may enhance performance to a greater degree. Studies continuing to investigate sodium citrate as an ergogenic aid have echoed the earlier findings of AJ Carr and colleagues’ meta-analysis, showing minimal effects on performance. The literature in temperate environments has provided mixed evidence in regards to the effects of sodium citrate on performance. Like most nutritional supplements, excessive amounts of any of the buffering substances may be detrimental to the health and performance of the individual.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDietary Supplementation in Sport and Exercise
Subtitle of host publicationEvidence, Safety and Ergogenic Benefits
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9780429879012
ISBN (Print)9781138610835
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jul 2019

Publication series

NameDietary Supplementation in Sport and Exercise


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