Sodium bicarbonate dissociates to give sodium and bicarbonate ions. This raises the bicarbonate content of blood, which makes it alkaline. This, in turn, takes away acid from muscle cells and restores the blood pH to the normal level. This mechanism of restoring blood pH to a normal level helps prevent the accumulation of lactic acid in muscle cells during exercise.
Sodium bicarbonate helps in restoring energy levels during exercise. Therefore, it is beneficial for many exercises, starting from short-term and high-intensity exercise to interval training.
Sodium bicarbonate, when it exceeds the recommended level of consumption, causes many health impacts. It can cause abdominal discomfort, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Moreover, it can cause stomach rupture and a change in electrolyte levels. In addition, the overconsumption of sodium bicarbonate can be hazardous for the health of the kidney and heart.
Sodium bicarbonate is the monosodium salt of carbonic acid. Being alkaline, sodium bicarbonate can increase the pH of the blood. It dissociates to produce sodium and bicarbonate ions. This breakdown elevates the bicarbonate content of the plasma. The excess bicarbonate content acts as the buffering system of the hydrogen ions in the plasma. This is how sodium bicarbonate increases the blood pH. The raised blood pH, in turn, enables the movement of acid from the muscle cells into the bloodstream. This brings the blood pH again back to 7.
This functional mechanism of sodium bicarbonate comes in handy for performance management during exercise.
The demand for oxygen increases during anaerobic exercise. Therefore, during such times, the muscle cells stop relying on oxygen for energy production.
As a result, a different pathway for energy production is selected. This refers to the anaerobic pathway.
However, the anaerobic pathway produces lactic acid, which decreases the pH of the muscle cells. As a result, it can hinder energy production, causing fatigue during exercise.
However, the dissociation of sodium bicarbonate pulls acid away from the muscle cells. This prevents the accumulation of lactic acid in the muscle cells during exercise.
Benefits of Sodium Bicarbonate as a Supplement in Athletes
The role of sodium bicarbonate is essential for improving the performance of athletes. It is thought to increase the energy level of athletes, thereby improving their performance. The benefits of using sodium bicarbonate as a supplement are many for athletes.
Sodium bicarbonate is helpful for performance management during high-intensity exercise.
It provides benefits not only for simple exercises but also for extreme training schedules for athletes.
It prevents or delays the feeling of tiredness during exercises, improving the performance of athletes.
Improvements are observed during exercises and rowing, cycling, swimming, and sprinting.
It may improve performance during the late stages of high-intensity exercises.
Moreover, the research highlighted that oral consumption of sodium bicarbonate 40 minutes to 2 hours before short-term and high-intensity exercise helps restore athletes’ energy levels.
Research has also supported oral consumption of sodium bicarbonate 3 hours before short-term and high-intensity exercise also improves performance.
Sodium bicarbonate prevents deterioration of performance level during interval training like cycling, rowing, and swimming.
Moreover, it can help in energy management during judo, boxing, swimming, and tennis.
Sodium bicarbonate helps in improving the workout results. Also, it helps in continuing through the last stages of workouts or exercise.
Moreover, it may help in increasing the strength of athletes.
However, the benefits of using sodium bicarbonate as a supplement can vary from person to person.
Side-Effects of Using Sodium Bicarbonate as a Supplement
Taking 90 to 135 mg of sodium bicarbonate per pound of bodyweight provides positive impacts. However, it is not safe if its dosage exceeds the recommended levels. Sodium bicarbonate is thought to be safe if used for the short term. However, a higher dose of sodium bicarbonate can cause stomach rupture. It can also change the electrolyte levels in the body. This change in electrolyte levels is hazardous for the health of the kidney and heart. Besides, higher doses can cause fluctuations in heart rhythm and muscle spasms.
Consumption of excess sodium bicarbonate also affects stomach health. It mixes with stomach acid, which generates gas. This can produce pain and discomfort in the abdomen, nausea, vomiting, bloating, and diarrhea. The dissociation of excess sodium bicarbonate also produces excess sodium (Na) ions. This has the possibility of increasing blood pressure.
Moreover, excess sodium ions may affect water retention. The negative impact of the overconsumption of sodium bicarbonate may vary from person to person. It depends on the amount of consumed sodium bicarbonate and personal sensitivity to sodium bicarbonate. Sodium bicarbonate is not recommended for people facing disturbances to maintain electrolyte balance, heart disease, or kidney diseases.
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