T Nation

Sodium Bicarbonate

How much time before an endurance event should you take sodium bicarbonate? I’m planning on using it for lacrosse games.

I have experimented with this in the past and have found in almost every occasion that it has caused stomach upsets in myself and others. Perhaps others can offer more insight into this but there are definately better ways to go in regards to helping performance in games!

If you try mixing a bit of Bicarb with an acid (like vinegar) in a glass and watch what happens, it becomes clear why it plays hell with your stomach. Bicarb is alkaline and it reacts with acid big time. What I don’t know is if when it has finished foaming whether it is still any use for your purpose. If it is you could mix it with Coke or something else that is acidic and wait until the reaction stops before drinking it. I’m no scientist so I don’t know what the result of the acid/alkaline mix actually is, I just remember mixing the stuff in paint cans as a kid then putting the lid back on and running like hell before the explosion :o)

If you bump this Monday, I will have time to answer it then.

The reaction of Sodium Bicarbonate with hydrochloric acid, major part of stomach acid, would be CO2 gas, water, and a salt, in this case NaCl (table salt). This was done very roughly in my head, so I could be off, but this should be generally correct.

Instead of sodium bicarbonate, start supplementing with creatine. This will help increase sprint endurance by delaying the onset of lactic acid accumulation. Sodium bicarb works for some, but most of the feedback I have seen over a decade of study has been that it looks good on paper but is very hard to use in real life. Increase your phosphocreatine stores and you prolong the time that you can spend at maximal exertion becasue you don’t have to resort to anaerobic glycolysis as quickly. Of course I’m only talking 5-15 seconds here, but you’re not sprinting the whole game. You need the stuff for your all out sprints and that is it. It won’t benefit you in other areas.