The funny thing is; if you do know about it, you really know about it as you’re highly likely to shit yourself. No jokes.#
Introducing; Sodium Bicarbonate in a nutshell:
1) It improves short duration, high intensity exercise (1-10 mins).
2) It’s a buffering agent by increasing extracellular (outside of the muscle) bicarbonate levels.
3) When we exercise; an increase in hydrogen ions WITHIN the muscle causes impairment in performance and increases fatigue.
4) The elevated bicarbonate levels OUTSIDE of the muscle attract the hydrogen ions to become neutralized. Therefore, you get a drop in hydrogen ions within the muscle and performance can be maintained.
Sweet science sorry bro!
The downside; supplementation can cause pretty serious gut issues that impair performance. Including nausea, flatulence, stomach cramping, belching, stomach ache, bowel urgency, diarrhoea, vomiting and stomach bloating.
Shitting yourself whilst competing isn’t cool chief!
In recent, the only way to take sodium bicarbonate was mixed in water on in gelatin capsules. Here’s the issue;
1) When sodium bicarbonate enters the stomach, it breaks down into sodium and bicarbonate.
2) The bicarbonate then acts to neutralize gastric acid which produces carbon dioxide.
3) The carbon dioxide expands and increases tension within the stomach which causes gastric symptoms; belching, nausea and stomach ache (Think of a balloon being pumped up).
4) In addition to this, the high amount of sodium present aggravates the intestinal wall and causes a movement of water into the gut which creates a very urgent need to not shit yourself. AKA diarrhea.
So, you can start to see how this could potentially impair performance. Now, there’s a new way to take sodium bicarbonate which negates these symptoms! Hilton et al (2019) looked at packaging this up into Delayed-Release Capsules that doesn’t get degraded in the stomach which minimizes most of the symptoms.
Here’s the cool yet hypothetical thing; as less bicarbonate is lost in the stomach (as the capsule is still intact) smaller doses may produce the same performance benefit, which further negates these symptoms. Winner!
Until this day, I haven’t advised supplementing with this because of the issues it can produce. I for one have had a very butt clenching experience with it during maximal sprint testing – Needless to say that I don’t want you to
experience the same.
But now, I’ll soon add it to the list when a few more studies come out IF they support these findings.
To be continued, this could be a game changer…
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