Sodium bicarbonate is one of the cheapest supplements on the market. You can just buy it in your convenient store in the baking section. Sodium bicarbonate, also known under the name baking powder, can improve performance in high intensity exercises lasting 1 – 10 minutes. Combat sport athletes are likely to benefit from this ergogenic aid, since most contests are within these time limits.
The increased performance is explained by the buffering capacity of sodium bicarbonate. Sodium bicarbonate counters the acid (sour feeling) and thereby keeps the acidity level lower for longer period of time, which prolongs the time to exhaustion.
To benefit from Sodium bicarbonate, dissolve 0.2 – 0.4 g of sodium bicarbonate for every kg of body mass in a drink, and take it 60-150 minutes before exercise. To avoid gastro-intestinal problems you can consider taking the total dose in multiple smaller doses over a period of 30-180min.
Let’s make an experiment: mix sodium bicarbonate with vinegar and watch what happens. Vinegar has similar characteristics to the juices in your stomach. You can see it without making a mess in your kitchen in here:
This is what happens in your stomach, but at a smaller scale, so expect some stomach inconvenience. More than 50% of the athletes experience gastrointestinal problems when they use this ergogenic aid, therefore it’s important to first try of it in training.
Another important negative aspect of sodium bicarbonate is the large amount of sodium in the supplement. One dose of sodium bicarbonate contains by itself the whole daily recommended amount of sodium. While this is not going to harm you when doing once in a while it’s certainly not recommended to do it on a daily base.
If you test sodium bicarbonate in training and find it is good for you- use it with care and not too frequently.
Read more about sodium bicarbonate in my book “Making Weight & Everything Else”