Bicarbonate supplementation – Fake news?

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This paper examined the acute ability of sodium bicarbonate supplementation to improve lower body training volume and attenuate fatigue and if any potential benefits enhanced long-term strength gains.

0.3 g per kg of sodium bicarbonate is effective at inducing acute alkalosis; however, it did not lead to greater volume capabilities or long-term strength improvement or acute leg extension volume performance, nor did it attenuate most markers of fatigue.

Further, bicarbonate supplementation did not improve volume over the course of 10 weeks despite inducing alkalosis prior to every session. Thus, it unsurprisingly did not lead to greater strength gains than a placebo condition.

Other data have shown sodium bicarbonate to improve acute squat and bench press volume. If someone is in a time crunch and must use short rest intervals, it’s possible the acute nature of sodium bicarbonate might warrant its usage in this situation.

Side effects

Be cognizant of the fact that sodium bicarbonate supplementation has been associated with significant gastrointestinal distress. The magnitude of this side effect varies across individuals.

THE EVIDENCE:

Siegler et al. Acute attenuation of fatigue after sodium bicarbonate supplementation does not manifest into greater training adaptations after 10-weeks of resistance training exercise. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0196677

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