Effects of an Alkalizing or Acidizing Diet on High-Intensity Exercise Performance under Normoxic and Hypoxic Conditions in Physically Active Adults: A Randomized, Crossover Trial

Nutrients. 2020 Mar 4;12(3):688. doi: 10.3390/nu12030688.


Pre-alkalization caused by dietary supplements such as sodium bicarbonate improves anaerobic exercise performance. However, the influence of a base-forming nutrition on anaerobic performance in hypoxia remains unknown. Herein, we investigated the effects of an alkalizing or acidizing diet on high-intensity performance and associated metabolic parameters in normoxia and hypoxia. In a randomized crossover design, 15 participants (24.5 ± 3.9 years old) performed two trials following four days of either an alkalizing (BASE) or an acidizing (ACID) diet in normoxia. Subsequently, participants performed two trials (BASE; ACID) after 12 h of normobaric hypoxic exposure. Anaerobic exercise performance was assessed using the portable tethered sprint running (PTSR) test. PTSR assessed overall peak force, mean force, and fatigue index. Blood lactate levels, blood gas parameters, heart rate, and rate of perceived exertion were assessed post-PTSR. Urinary pH was analyzed daily. There were no differences between BASE and ACID conditions for any of the PTSR-related parameters. However, urinary pH, blood pH, blood bicarbonate concentration, and base excess were significantly higher in BASE compared with ACID (p < 0.001). These findings show a diet-induced increase in blood buffer capacity, represented by blood bicarbonate concentration and base excess. However, diet-induced metabolic changes did not improve PTSR-related anaerobic performance.

Keywords: acid-forming nutrition; acid–base balance; anaerobic exercise test; base–forming nutrition; hypoxic chamber; moderate simulated altitude; mountain sport disciplines; potential renal acid load (PRAL); sports nutrition.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anaerobiosis
  • Biomarkers
  • Blood Gas Analysis
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Diet* / classification
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Exercise Test
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration*
  • Hypoxia / metabolism
  • Male
  • Oxygen Consumption*
  • Running
  • Urinalysis
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers