Monday, September 20, 2010

Creatine + BiCarbonate: A Synergistic Duo for Exercise Performance

While Creatine is what everyone talks about, sodium bicarbonate, or baking soda, is an ergogenic secret only regular readers of the SuppVersity will know about ;o) All jokes aside, it is of probably of general interest that JJ Barber (Barber. 2010) found in his recently published dissertation that coingestion of creatine and sodium bicarbonate at 5g Creatine + 0.5 g/kg sodium bicarbonate per day may improve peak power and exercise performance in repeated sprinting above that of placebo and creatine supplementation, alone (cf. fig.1).
Figure 1: Pilot study data. Relative Peak Power values during the 6 repeated sprints in sample
subject #1. The two conditions were Cr+Sb = Creatine combined with sodium bicarbonate and
Cr = Creatine alone. Values are in means. W/kg = Watts per kilogram.
The main findings of his investigations were,
  1. Cr+Sb produced 7% greater relative peak power and 4.6% greater peak power values than placebo, and
  2. Cr+Sb demonstrated the greatest attenuation of decline in relative peak power over six repeated sprints.
  3. However, in contrast to our hypotheses, no benefits from either supplementation were observed for relative mean power, fatigue index, and perception of fatigue.
From personal experience, I can tell that even 1 teaspoon of baking soda (which is far less than the amount used in this study) before workouts may make a significant difference. If you are using caffeine-laden pre-workout products, it may also prevent nasty gastrointestinal side effects in the form of high stomach acid.