Induced metabolic alkalosis and its effects on 400-m racing time

Jo Goldfinch, Lars Mc Naughton*, Peter Davies

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

95 Citations (Scopus)


Six trained male athletes who competed regularly in 400 metre races, were studied under control, alkalotic (NaHCO3) and placebo (CaCO3) conditions to study the effect of induced metabolic alkalosis on 400 m racing time. Pre and post exercise blood samples in the three conditions were analysed for pH, bicarbonate and base excess. Following ingestion of NaHCO3, pre-exercise pH, bicarbonate and base excess levels were significantly higher than either control or placebo conditions. In the alkalotic condition the subjects ran significantly (p<0.005) faster (1.52 s) than either the control of placebo conditions. The post-exercise pH, bicarbonate and base excess levels were all lower in the alkalotic condition than in the others. The results suggest that NaHCO3 can be used as an effective ergogenic aid and support the speculation that the increased extracellular buffering afforded by NaHCO3 ingestion facilitated efflux of H+ from the working tissues, thus decreasing intracellular pH and hence offsetting fatigue.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-48
Number of pages4
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology and Occupational Physiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 1988


  • 400 m race
  • Alkalosis
  • Anaerobic performance
  • Base excess-ergogenic aid


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