Recent Developments in the Use of Sodium Bicarbonate as an Ergogenic Aid

Curr Sports Med Rep. 2016 Jul-Aug;15(4):233-44. doi: 10.1249/JSR.0000000000000283.


This review examines the current status of sodium bicarbonate as an ergogenic aid. It builds on previous reviews in the area. Current research would suggest that as an ergogenic aid, a 300 mg·kg dose of NaHCO3 can improve high-intensity exercise, within a range of exercise modalities, such as a single bout of supramaximal exercise, high-intensity intermittent activity, and skill-based sports. In particular, these benefits seem to be present to a greater extent within trained individuals. Despite this, there appears to exist a high intraindividual variability in response to NaHCO3, and therefore, the ergogenic benefits may not be induced during every exercise bout. Current thinking also suggests that athletes need to individualize their ingestion timings to maximize peak pH or blood bicarbonate to effectively maximize the performance effect, and this may allow individuals to attain the ergogenic benefits of NaHCO3 more consistently.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Athletic Performance / physiology*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Humans
  • Muscle Strength / drug effects*
  • Muscle Strength / physiology
  • Performance-Enhancing Substances / administration & dosage*
  • Physical Endurance / drug effects*
  • Physical Endurance / physiology*
  • Sodium Bicarbonate / administration & dosage*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Performance-Enhancing Substances
  • Sodium Bicarbonate