I dope with NaHCO3

1/2 teaspoon would be about 2 grams. You would need about 10 times that much to hope to have any effect.

IOW, placebo.

I don’t know that there is good evidence in the literature to support the notion that such a small dose would material improve blood buffering. On the other hand, if lack of sodium during your ride is a limiting factor I could see where that would help.

In general, for an acute dose, the preponderance of evidence suggests 0.3 to 0.4 g/kg is effective. So for a 170lb cyclists we’re talking about a scant tablespoon to two heaping teaspoons of NaHCO3. Taken ~90 minutes prior to exercise.

For the uninitiated, that’s a whopping dose of bicarbonate! Mix it in 500ml of water at least.

There’s good evidence to suggest chronic dosing with less bicarbonate is just as effective but way more tolerable. So maybe one half tablespoon 120 minutes & one half tablespoon 90 minutes prior to exercise.

Just for the record, I’m not a big believer in the topical bicarbonate product(s). The evidence is not there (yet?), I think. Also, way back in the day I knew a fellow who sent himself into toxic shock trying to dose with trenbolone (already way into ‘bad idea’ territory just there) using crushed up pellets, DMSO, and saran wrap. Ever since I’ve just sort of frowned on the idea of making my skin indiscriminately permeable.

I guess 5 teaspoons would induce a drastic GI upset, but you may race a lot lighter.

There is that risk, not just with bicarb, but with any substance that isn’t normally presented to the gut in significant quantities - ketones, for example.

BTW, note that bicarb loading is technically doping under WADA rules and regs.

Are you able to find it when you search prohibited substances? I can’t but I’m not steeped in the ways of WADA.


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And I thought they pretty openly talk about using it for hour record attempts. I doubt they would do that if it was banned.

M1.3: “Any form of intravascular manipulation of the blood or blood components by physical or chemical means.”

It’s not intravascular if you eat or drink it? Or at least not anymore than eating.

Is drinking water prohibited? Eating sugar? :rofl: :joy:

I never realized how restrictive WADA was!

I was part of a lab study with a few other athletes last year looking at the effects of sodium bicarbonate on performance. I did two separate sessions where I arrived, was given a bottle and an hour later I’d get on a wattbike and do a blind 4km TT.

Firstly the bicarbonate is horrific on the digestion system, wreaks havoc, but it seems to work!

My results for the Blind 4km TT

Placebo - Ave Watts 409. Time- 4:59:22
Supplement- Ave watts 428. Time 4:54:59

I haven’t taken it since as its pretty unpredictable for the stomach in my experience. I could definitely feel the difference with it acting as a buffer. Both the efforts I did felt all out and was clinging on by the end.


@old_but_not_dead_yet I was told this afternoon that sodium bicarb, like caffeine, was once illegal at certain blood concentrations. Like way back in the day. So maybe that’s the confusion here? I hope you don’t mind me jumping to the conclusion that you might be familiar with doping controls from way back in the day.

I haven’t had to pee in a cup since the early 2000s, if that’s what you’re asking.

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GlobalDro.com is where you want to go to check these wada questions.


That’s a good resource. I wish it were around back when I was racing.