This is my first serious post on this website,
I have been reading up on information relating to 400m training and came across at article on brianmac.demon.co.uk discussing benefits of ingesting Sodium bicarbonate, to delay the onset of lactic fatigue. This is apparantly backed by research which suggests it will improve lactic tolerance by as much as 10 %. In principle this seem as though it could work,
since acid + base = salt + water. However I am sceptical of the methods of ingestion, because I have been told that stomach acid has a pH of 1, and this extreme acidity would react with any basic substance consumed, neutralising it before it could be absorbed into the blood stream.
How are you going to ingest sodium bicarbonate (baking soda)? I’ve tasted it before, and it tastes like complete ass, I almost puked all over the place. Also, I dont think the pH of the stomach is quite at the region of 1, it’s more like 2. I dunno what that has to do with the neutralization of a base, but it means that the acid is not quite as strong as you make it out to be. As a frame of reference, lemon juice has a pH of 2.5, and it’s not like it’s burning through your skin or anything. Other than that, I dont know enough chemistry to help you out regarding absorbtion.
I won’t bore you with the exact physiological processes occuring here, but ingestion of sodium bicarbonate basically leads to a partial neutralisation of stomach acids which, in turn, causes an increased secretion of hydrogen ions (acids) into the stomach and of sodium bicarbonate into the blood. Bicarb is thus not so much absorbed into the blood as it is produced in the body following its ingestion.
Sodium bicarbonate is a substance which the body naturally produces to prevent a buildup of acids in the blood.
It can definitely be beneficial if taken prior to competitions, but as it can upset the digestive system, you should test it in a few training session first.