Effects of chronic NaHCO3 ingestion during interval training on changes to muscle buffer capacity, metabolism, and short-term endurance performance

J Appl Physiol (1985). 2006 Sep;101(3):918-25. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.01534.2005. Epub 2006 Apr 20.


This study determined the effects of altering the H(+) concentration during interval training, by ingesting NaHCO(3) (Alk-T) or a placebo (Pla-T), on changes in muscle buffer capacity (beta m), endurance performance, and muscle metabolites. Pre- and posttraining peak O(2) uptake (V(O2 peak)), lactate threshold (LT), and time to fatigue at 100% pretraining V(O2 peak) intensity were assessed in 16 recreationally active women. Subjects were matched on the LT, were randomly placed into the Alk-T (n = 8) or Pla-T (n = 8) groups, and performed 8 wk (3 days/wk) of six to twelve 2-min cycle intervals at 140-170% of their LT, ingesting NaHCO(3) or a placebo before each training session (work matched between groups). Both groups had improvements in beta m (19 vs. 9%; P < 0.05) and V(O2 peak) (22 vs. 17%; P < 0.05) after the training period, with no differences between groups. There was a significant correlation between pretraining beta m and percent change in beta m (r = -0.70, P < 0.05). There were greater improvements in both the LT (26 vs. 15%; P = 0.05) and time to fatigue (164 vs. 123%; P = 0.05) after Alk-T, compared with Pla-T. There were no changes to pre- or postexercise ATP, phosphocreatine, creatine, and intracellular lactate concentrations, or pH(i) after training. Our findings suggest that training intensity, rather than the accumulation of H(+) during training, may be more important to improvements in beta m. The group ingesting NaHCO(3) before each training session had larger improvements in the LT and endurance performance, possibly because of a reduced metabolic acidosis during training and a greater improvement in muscle oxidative capacity.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological / drug effects
  • Administration, Oral
  • Adult
  • Anaerobic Threshold / drug effects
  • Anaerobic Threshold / physiology*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration / drug effects
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / chemistry*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / drug effects
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Oxygen / metabolism
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology*
  • Physical Endurance / drug effects
  • Physical Endurance / physiology
  • Physical Fitness / physiology
  • Sodium Bicarbonate / administration & dosage*
  • Task Performance and Analysis*
  • Time Factors


  • Sodium Bicarbonate
  • Oxygen