Sodium Bicarbonate Loading



Shibumi

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Apr 18, 2003
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We had a recent thread on sodium phosphate loading, but what about sodium bicarbonate (baking soda)?

I understand that it works differently, by 'buffering' lactic acid, and as such is only useful in short events. I thought I would try some before a 4km track event, and knocked 8 seconds off my PB.

Recommendations seem to indicate about 0.3g/kg body weight, 1 to 2 hours before the event. This equates to about 4.5 level teaspoons in my case (I think). I have never 'supplemented' before, but this sounded reasonably natural. I use baking soda to brush my teeth, and as an antacid (for indigestion), although here the rate is 1 teaspoon. I think the stomach naturally produces bicarb. to combat excess acid, so I see bicarb loading as just topping up my natural levels. I have some questions though:

1. How do you take the stuff? Mixing it into a drink of water is like drinking saline solution - it tastes disgusting. If I was to take it in a glass of fruit juice, would the acid negate some of the benefits?
2. What about the sodium level - can this cause problems when we are all meant to be following low-sodium diets?
3. Anybody had any side-effects? The common ones that you may get are stomach cramping and diarrhoea. I felt slightly sick for 30 minutes, but was fine by the race.
 

Sidi

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Aug 20, 2003
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uhhhh.

yuck.

Whatever tickles you i guess but i look at it as just another doping technique.
 

Shibumi

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Apr 18, 2003
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Maybe...

But it is a natural product which is produced naturally by my body anyway.

But how about caffeine say? I never use caffeine (I don't drink tea or coffee), but it is a stimulant, that can help you in races. Is drinking a cup of coffee before a race doping?

Surely sodium bicarbonate is better for you than a stimulant?
 

stowerider

New Member
Sep 23, 2003
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Originally posted by Shibumi
We had a recent thread on sodium phosphate loading, but what about sodium bicarbonate (baking soda)?

I understand that it works differently, by 'buffering' lactic acid, and as such is only useful in short events. I thought I would try some before a 4km track event, and knocked 8 seconds off my PB.

Recommendations seem to indicate about 0.3g/kg body weight, 1 to 2 hours before the event. This equates to about 4.5 level teaspoons in my case (I think). I have never 'supplemented' before, but this sounded reasonably natural. I use baking soda to brush my teeth, and as an antacid (for indigestion), although here the rate is 1 teaspoon. I think the stomach naturally produces bicarb. to combat excess acid, so I see bicarb loading as just topping up my natural levels. I have some questions though:

1. How do you take the stuff? Mixing it into a drink of water is like drinking saline solution - it tastes disgusting. If I was to take it in a glass of fruit juice, would the acid negate some of the benefits?
2. What about the sodium level - can this cause problems when we are all meant to be following low-sodium diets?
3. Anybody had any side-effects? The common ones that you may get are stomach cramping and diarrhoea. I felt slightly sick for 30 minutes, but was fine by the race.

Hi,

Here's another link - www.brianmac.demon.co.uk - lookup sodium bicarb. The creator of the website is a coach for amateur runners so I don't believe he would recommend loading up on sodium bicarb if it was doping. Also -

* bicarb isn't proscribed by the USCF rules (if you're outside the US you should check to see what drugs your governing body prohibits)

* while some drugs are not outlawed by the USCF and perhaps ought to be - I think that the benchmark should be whether the drug could harm or even kill you. if you overdo it on the bicarb, it might be pretty unpleasant for you but its not going to kill you, cause a stroke/seizure, cause osteoporosis after long term use etc etc. Some people might argue that the reason that bicarb loading is wrong is not the risk of harm but that it gives you an unfair advantage over other racers. But there are lots of things that give some racers an advantage over other cyclists and are not considered unfair eg you hire a personal coach at $50 per month, you have a better bicycle, you lose weight, you regularly do interval training, better genetics etc etc. So just because something gives you an advantage does not mean you shouldn't
do it or that its unfair on other cyclists.

Interesting that you saw a definite improvement in your times.

SR



*
 

Shabby

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Mar 13, 2003
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I mix a teaspoon of it into a litre of red cordial for track days, not for the buffering effect on lactic acid, but to neutralise that stomach acid that only track efforts can seem to produce.

It works for me becuase I have ome stomach issues, but I think if you're ususing large quantities as a performace enhancer, it's pretty much doping.
 

J-MAT

New Member
Mar 26, 2003
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Shibumi:

I commented on bicarb loading many months ago. It didn't do much for me except make me sick. Regardless, you took 8 seconds off a 4 km pursuit, which is a nice bonus for sure.

The thing I don't like about ergogenic aids is if you have one good ride with them, they tend to become psycological crutches.

Many riders will not believe another ride like that is possible without the substance. This can also translate into equipment, epecially things like lighter wheels, but either way, the potential to get locked into rituals like these is great for many riders.

As far a doping, something is either on the banned list or it's not. If it's not on the list, it's not doping. The doping issue get tricky sometimes, but this is hardly something to worry about. It's unlikely 90% of the stuff on the banned list would knock 8 seconds off your PB as well!!!