Sodium bicarbonate can be used as an ergogenic aid in high-intensity, competitive cycle ergometry of 1 h duration

Lars McNaughton, Brad Dalton, Gerry Palmer

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

83 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this study was to determine whether a dose of 300-mg x kg(-1) body mass of sodium bicarbonate would effect a high-intensity, 1-h maximal cycle ergometer effort. Ten male, well-trained [maximum oxygen consumption 67.3 (3.3) ml x kg(-1) x min(-1), mean (SD)] volunteer cyclists acted as subjects. Each undertook either a control (C), placebo (P), or experimental (E) ride in a random, double-blind fashion on a modified, air-braked cycle ergometer, attached to a personal computer to which the work and power data was downloaded at 10 Hz. Fingertip blood was sampled at 10-min intervals throughout the exercise. Blood was also sampled at 1, 3, 5, and 10 min post-exercise. Blood was analysed for lactate, partial pressure of Carbon dioxide and oxygen, pH and plasma bicarbonate (HCO-) concentration. Randomly chosen pairs of subjects were asked to complete as much work as possible during the 60-min exercise periods in an openly competitive situation. The sodium bicarbonate had the desired effect of increasing blood HCO3- prior to the start of the test. The subjects in E completed 950.9 (81.1) kJ of work, which was significantly more (F(2,27) = 5.28, P <0.01) than during either the C [835.5 (100.2) kJ] or P [839.0 (88.6) kJ] trials. No differences were seen in peak power or in the power:mass ratio between these three groups. The results of this study suggest that sodium bicarbonate may be used to offset the fatigue process during high-intensity, aerobic cycling lasting 60 min.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-69
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology and Occupational Physiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1999


  • Bicarbonate
  • Blood gas
  • Endurance activity
  • pH


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