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Sleep, Study, Train, Eat, Sleep
Sleep, Study, Train, Eat, Sleep
21yr old student at Kingston Uni, doing sport science.
2years in tri 1st serious one :)

The Effects of Sodium Bicarbonate and Sodium Citrate on Simulated Track Cycling

mule35by mule35Apr 12th 2012
I know what your thinking...."why the deuce is this the title of a blog?"

Well its quite simple, this is the title of my dissertation and as it nears its completion I thought I would talk to you about it from another semi-scientific point of view.

There have been numerous studies which have looked at the effects of sodium bicarbonate (SB) on short duration high intensity endurance events, 2km rowing, bike time trials, swimming etc. The majority of research dictates that sporting events that would benefit this supplementation have a time range of approximately 1-7Min. Little use for a triathlon but hear me out.

When an athlete begins to work hard, said athlete will begin to use their muscle glycogen and blood glucose (carbohydrates) as fuel. The end product of glycolysis (the breaking down of carbohydrates for fuel) is lactic acid. This rapidly dissociates (lactic acid is present for less than a quarter of a second) into lactate (which is then used in further energy systems) and a hydrogen and an oxygen ion.

This build up in hydrogen ions causes an increase in the acidity of the muscle fibre and blood. This in turn inhibits several enzymes for glycolysis and the muscular contraction protein the tropomyosintroponin complex. This gives us this burning sensation in our muscles and the pain in contraction.

Researchers (from early as the 1930's) have looked into ways into reducing the effect of hydrogen ion build up. SB increases the bodies natural defence against acidosis (increasing acidity of the blood) by introducing extra bicarbonate molecules into the blood. This effectively catches the hydrogen ions and goes through a process of breaking down so that the final products are carbon dioxide and water.

Anyhow. Supplementing SB can have its down falls. Many a study (including my own study and from personal use during my rowing days) has reported gastro intestinal upset. This lead to the use of Sodium Citrate (SC) over SB. SC causes the body to increase its own production of bicarbonate molecules and thus does not cause gastro intestinal upset as the body can easily digest SC in comparison to SB.

So anyway, my study was to see which is better at simulated track cycling. I got my participants to do 3, 4km TT (simulating an individual pursuit) and got them to take on separate occasions sodium bicarbonate, sodium citrate and a placebo (salt).

In short, SB was better than SC and the placebo. However, my participants did experience more gastro intestinal upset with SB and the placebo than SC.

So your now thinking, if you've managed to get this far without being bored, "how can this benefit my training? If at all." In short, it can't help you with your long rides, runs, swims or races. However, it can help you with your interval training. With summer approaching no doubt you are all dusting off your fast flats and getting ready to hit the track. So if your looking for something that may give you an edge (if not just a trip to the toilet) try using SB, its cheap, 100% natural, not on the banned list and may be able to give you a benefit to your training if doing intervals between 1-7Min.

So its back to work and the dreaded stats analysis :(. Please leave comments on any topics you want covering. If any of you try using SB, let me know how you do. I apologise in advance if any of you try it and get gastro intestinal upset (i.e. the runs).

Enjoy the start of the season and I'll see you in the hills!
sarahleonardby member: sarahleonard, Jul 11th 2012 21:27
Hey just came across this article and thought of your blog post. What's your verdict? Hope the dissertation has gone well!
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