Exploring the Edge: The Power of Sodium Bicarbonate in Enhancing Athletic Performance

Exploring the Edge: The Power of Sodium Bicarbonate in Enhancing Athletic Performance

In the realm of sports nutrition, finding legal and effective ways to enhance athletic performance is a constant pursuit. Among the various substances scrutinized for their ergogenic potential, sodium bicarbonate emerges as a noteworthy candidate. This article delves into the conclusions of a comprehensive review conducted by the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN), which highlights the significant impact of sodium bicarbonate supplementation on exercise performance.

The Science Behind Sodium Bicarbonate as an Ergogenic Aid

Sodium bicarbonate, commonly known as baking soda, has been studied extensively for its ability to improve performance in a variety of sports. The ISSN's critical analysis brings to light several key findings:

  1. Versatile Benefits Across Disciplines: Supplementation with sodium bicarbonate has been shown to enhance performance in a wide range of activities. From muscular endurance exercises to combat sports like boxing and judo, and even in high-intensity cycling, running, swimming, and rowing, athletes can expect performance improvements. Particularly, exercises lasting between 30 seconds to 12 minutes see the most benefit.

  2. Efficacy in Single and Multiple Bouts: Whether in a single high-effort trial or multiple rounds of exertion, sodium bicarbonate helps athletes push their limits further.

  3. Universally Effective: The benefits of sodium bicarbonate supplementation are not limited by gender, offering performance improvements to both male and female athletes.

Optimizing Supplementation for Maximum Performance

The ISSN's position stand also provides actionable guidance on how to best use sodium bicarbonate for enhancing performance:

  1. Effective Dosing: A dose range of 0.2 to 0.5 grams per kilogram of body weight is recommended, with 0.3 grams per kilogram identified as the optimal dose for most athletes. Higher doses do not necessarily provide additional benefits and may increase the risk of adverse side effects.

  2. Strategic Timing: For single-dose protocols, ingesting sodium bicarbonate 60 to 180 minutes before competition strikes the right balance between maximizing efficacy and minimizing discomfort.

  3. Multi-day Loading: When preparing for a competition, a regimen of 0.4 or 0.5 grams per kilogram per day, divided into smaller doses throughout the day for 3 to 7 days before the event, can enhance performance while reducing the risk of gastrointestinal side effects.

  4. Minimizing Side Effects: Common side effects include bloating, nausea, and abdominal pain. These can often be mitigated by adjusting the dose, timing of ingestion, consuming the supplement with a high-carbohydrate meal, or using enteric-coated capsules.

  5. Synergistic Combinations: Combining sodium bicarbonate with other supplements like creatine or beta-alanine may offer additive performance benefits. The interaction with caffeine or nitrates, however, remains unclear and warrants further investigation.

Training Enhancements and Long-term Use

Beyond immediate performance enhancement, sodium bicarbonate may also contribute to long-term training adaptations. Regular use before training sessions could lead to improved endurance and power output over time.

Placebo Effects and Psychological Considerations

It's important to recognize that a portion of the ergogenic effect attributed to sodium bicarbonate may be placebo-driven. The belief in the supplement's effectiveness can itself enhance performance. This underscores the complex interplay between physiological and psychological factors in sports supplementation.


Sodium bicarbonate stands out as a valuable tool in the athlete's arsenal for performance enhancement. Its benefits span a wide range of sports disciplines and both genders, with strategic supplementation protocols maximizing efficacy while minimizing side effects. As with any supplement, individual responses may vary, and athletes are encouraged to fine-tune their use of sodium bicarbonate in consultation with nutrition and training professionals. The quest for peak performance is a multifaceted journey, and sodium bicarbonate represents a scientifically supported ally on this path.

Read the full research article by clicking here.


The Maurten Bicarb System is an advanced sports fuel designed to help athletes push the boundaries of effort and power during high-intensity exercise. Learn on Maurten Bicarb System here.

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