|The results of a Wingate test cannot be translated 1:1 to any sports.|
Other studies I've likewise covered in the SuppVersity News in the past showed both significant as well as borderline significant and non-significant beneficial effects of combining creatine and bicarbonate for a performance enhancing double-whammy in trained individuals.
Against that background it is not surprising that a recent study by Griffen et al. (2015) found similarly ambiguous results. The study investigated the effects of creatine and sodium bicarbonate coingestion on mechanical power during repeated sprints. To this ends, nine well-trained men (age = 21.6 ± 0.9 yr, stature = 1.82 ± 0.05 m, body mass = 80.1 ± 12.8 kg) participated in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, counterbalanced, crossover study using six 10-s repeated Wingate tests.
Before each of the performance tests, the participants ingested either a placebo (0.5 g/kg of maltodextrin), 20 g/d of creatine monohydrate + placebo (Cre), 0.3 g/kg of sodium bicarbonate + placebo (Bi), or coingestion (Cre + Bi) for 7 days, with a 7-day washout between conditions. Participants were randomized into two groups with a differential counterbalanced order. Creatine conditions were ordered first and last. The participants individual mechanical power output (W), total work (J) and fatigue index (W/s) were measured during each test and analyzed using the magnitude of differences between groups in relation to the smallest worthwhile change in performance.
|Figure 1: Subject allocation.|
- In general, the coingestion provided "small meaningful improvements on indices of mechanical power output (W)" (Griffen. 2015)
- The previously mentioned advantage was yet only seen when comparing sodium bicarbonate (ES = 0.28–0.41) with the combination treatment; a similar beneficial effect was not seen compared to creatine alone
This does obviously mean that the addition of bicarbonate to creatine did not result in meaningful increases in power output in this particular exercise test.References:
What it did do and that's what we actually take bicarbonate for is to "provided a small meaningful improvement in total work (J; ES = 0.24) compared with creatine" (Griffin. 2015) - or, in other words, anyone who does not just one, but several all-out sprints (and that's almost every athlete) will see a small but meaningful performance increase, one that may make the difference between victory and defeat (see Figure 1, orange bars).
|Figure 2: The only relevant advantage of combining both creatine and bicarbonate was seen for the total work done (orange bars, see orange arrow); this however is also among the most relevant measures for real athletes (Griffin. 2015).|
- Barber, James J., et al. "Effects of combined creatine and sodium bicarbonate supplementation on repeated sprint performance in trained men." The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 27.1 (2013): 252-258.
- Griffen, C., et al. "Effects of Creatine and Sodium Bicarbonate Co-Ingestion on Multiple Indices of Mechanical Power Output During Repeated Wingate Tests in Trained Men." International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 2015, 25, 298-306.
- McKenna, Michael J., et al. "Creatine supplementation increases muscle total creatine but not maximal intermittent exercise performance." Journal of Applied Physiology 87.6 (1999): 2244-2252.