Effect of lactate supplementation and sodium bicarbonate on 40-km cycling time trial performance

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Northgraves, Matthew J ; Peart, Daniel J ; Jordan, Christian A ; Vince, Rebecca V (2014)

The use of nutritional supplements to improve sporting performance and increase training adaptations is commonplace among athletes and is an expanding market in terms of product choice and availability. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of 2 ergogenic aids with extracellular blood buffering potential, namely sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) and a lactate supplement, during a 40-km cycling time trial. Seven recreationally active men (age, 22.3 ± 3.3 years; height, 182.5 ± 6.5 cm; body mass, 79.2 ± 6.3 kg) completed five 40-km cycling time trials, including a familiarization trial in a randomized, blind, double placebo-controlled design. Subjects ingested (a) 300 mg·kg-1 body mass NaHCO3 (BICARB), (b) 45 mg·kg-1 body mass sodium chloride (PL-BICARB) as the placebo for the NaHCO3 trial, (c) 1115 mg lactate (LACTATE), or (d) plain flour as the placebo for the lactate trial (PL-LACTATE) 60 minutes before exercise. There was no significant difference in performance between the 4 conditions (p > 0.05). Although NaHCO3 ingestion induced significant changes in all the acid-base variables (all p < 0.05), no significant change was seen following lactate ingestion (p > 0.05). Subjects in the LACTATE condition did have a significantly higher heart rate (p < 0.05) without experiencing any greater perceived exertion (p > 0.05) than the other 3 conditions. Neither NaHCO3 nor lactate supplementation seem to improve 40-km cycling time trial performance. However, the potential benefits following LACTATE regarding perceived exertion require further research.
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