TAICHUNG, Taiwan—Consuming sodium bicarbonate supplements before intermittent, high-intensity exercise could benefit performance and fight off fatigue, according to a new study (J Intl Soc Sports Nutr. ePub 26 Oct 2010;7:33. DOI: 10.1186/1550-2783-7-33). Researchers from National Chung Hsing University, China Medical University and Hospital and the National Taiwan College of Physical Education coordinated a study to investigate whether sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) could fight fatigue onset and related declines in skilled performance in prolonged tennis matches.
The randomized, crossover, placebo-controlled, double blind study included nine male college tennis players who consumed NaHCO3 (0.3 gkg-1) or NaCl (0.209 gkg-1) before the participating in a simulated tennis match. Additional supplementation of 0.1 gkg-1 NaHCO3 or 0.07 gkg-1 NaCl was ingested before the third game in the match. Skills were assessed using the Loughborough Tennis Skill Test before and after the match.
After the match, HCO3- and base excess were significantly higher when subjects took sodium bicarbonate compared to ingesting the placebo. Similarly, blood pH was significantly increased in the bicarbonate trial, indicating a more alkaline environment. Service and forehand ground stroke consistency scores declined significantly after the match in the placebo trial; they were maintained when subjects consumed bicarbonate. Match-induced declines in consistency scores were also significantly larger in the placebo trial versus the bicarbonate trial.