Additive effects of beta-alanine and sodium bicarbonate on upper-body intermittent performance

Amino Acids. 2013 Aug;45(2):309-17. doi: 10.1007/s00726-013-1495-z. Epub 2013 Apr 18.


We examined the isolated and combined effects of beta-alanine (BA) and sodium bicarbonate (SB) on high-intensity intermittent upper-body performance in judo and jiu-jitsu competitors. 37 athletes were assigned to one of four groups: (1) placebo (PL)+PL; (2) BA+PL; (3) PL+SB or (4) BA+SB. BA or dextrose (placebo) (6.4 g day⁻¹) was ingested for 4 weeks and 500 mg kg⁻¹ BM of SB or calcium carbonate (placebo) was ingested for 7 days during the 4th week. Before and after 4 weeks of supplementation, the athletes completed four 30-s upper-body Wingate tests, separated by 3 min. Blood lactate was determined at rest, immediately after and 5 min after the 4th exercise bout, with perceived exertion reported immediately after the 4th bout. BA and SB alone increased the total work done in +7 and 8 %, respectively. The co-ingestion resulted in an additive effect (+14 %, p < 0.05 vs. BA and SB alone). BA alone significantly improved mean power in the 2nd and 3rd bouts and tended to improve the 4th bout. SB alone significantly improved mean power in the 4th bout and tended to improve in the 2nd and 3rd bouts. BA+SB enhanced mean power in all four bouts. PL+PL did not elicit any alteration on mean and peak power. Post-exercise blood lactate increased with all treatments except with PL+PL. Only BA+SB resulted in lower ratings of perceived exertion (p = 0.05). Chronic BA and SB supplementation alone equally enhanced high-intensity intermittent upper-body performance in well-trained athletes. Combined BA and SB promoted a clear additive ergogenic effect.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acidosis / drug therapy
  • Acidosis / metabolism
  • Acidosis / prevention & control*
  • Adult
  • Athletes
  • Athletic Performance*
  • Calcium Carbonate / administration & dosage
  • Calcium Carbonate / adverse effects
  • Calcium Carbonate / pharmacology*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Exercise Test
  • Humans
  • Lactic Acid / blood
  • Male
  • Martial Arts*
  • Motor Skills / drug effects
  • Muscle Fatigue / drug effects*
  • Muscle Tonus / drug effects
  • Muscle Tonus / physiology
  • Physical Exertion
  • Sodium Bicarbonate / administration & dosage
  • Sodium Bicarbonate / adverse effects
  • Sodium Bicarbonate / pharmacology*
  • Upper Extremity / physiology
  • Young Adult
  • beta-Alanine / administration & dosage
  • beta-Alanine / adverse effects
  • beta-Alanine / pharmacology*


  • beta-Alanine
  • Lactic Acid
  • Sodium Bicarbonate
  • Calcium Carbonate