Sunday, November 29, 2009

Baking Soda May Improve Short, Anaerobic Performance...and More

The International Journal of Sports Medicine published a study in June from researchers at Loughborough University in England that timed nine swimmers under three different race conditions: without taking any sort of supplement; 60 to 90 minutes after ingesting a sodium bicarbonate capsule; and 60 to 90 minutes after taking a placebo. Eight of the nine swimmers were fastest after ingesting the baking soda capsule.

In another study, presented at the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Annual Meeting in May by Ronald Deitrick, PhD, FACSM, Program Director of the Department of Exercise Science and Sport at the University of Scranton, 800-meter runners who took sodium bicarbonate 90 minutes before a race performed better than their counterparts who ingested a placebo. Both studies reported some side effects, however--mostly gastrointestinal discomfort and nausea.
-Training & Conditioning

MY COMMENT: According to Peak Performance, "The cumulative evidence suggests that bicarbonate loading may be of benefit in events conducted at near-maximum intensity for a duration of 1-7 minutes."

How much? "The generally accepted protocol for bicarbonate loading is to divide the calculated total dose into five relatively even amounts and, starting three hours before competition, to stagger the intake at 30-minute intervals so that loading is complete an hour before the start.

The scientific evidence suggests that a dose of less than 0.1g of sodium bicarbonate per kg of body mass is unlikely to be effective while, at the other end of the scale, a dosage greater than 0.3g/kg BM is unlikely to further improve the potential performance benefit. This upper limit may be slightly lower for females (0.25g/kg BM) since they commonly have a lower level of muscle mass.

By my crude estimate, .3 gm /kg would be about 3/4 of an ounce for a 150 lb runner, mixed with water and drank over a 2 hour period.

Here is another good reference (

You can also throw some leftover baking soda in your washer to freshen up your running clothes, splash some under your arms as a deodorant, sprinkle in your running shoes to mask smell and absorb moisture, and brush to whiten your teeth! (75 Extraordinary Uses for Baking Soda)

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