eCite Digital Repository

The effects of NaHCO3 and NaCl loading on hematocrit and high-intensity cycling performance


Driller, M and Williams, A and Bellinger, P and Howe, S and Fell, J, The effects of NaHCO3 and NaCl loading on hematocrit and high-intensity cycling performance, Journal of Exercise Physiology, 15, (1) pp. 47-56. ISSN 1097-9751 (2012) [Refereed Article]

Not available

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2012 American Society of Exercise Physiologists

Official URL:


Inconsistent findings regarding the benefits of sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) loading on exercise performance may be related to the use of sodium chloride (NaCl) as placebo substances. It has been postulated that the sodium content of both substances may contribute to performance benefits. The purpose of this study was to compare NaHCO3 and NaCl to a physically inert placebo by evaluating the effect of acute loading on high-intensity cycling performance. Eight well-trained cyclists (age = 24 ± 7 yrs; mass = 77 ± 9 kg; VO2 peak = 59.8 ± 8.6 mL•kg-1•min-1) completed a 2-min performance test on a cycling ergometer after either NaHCO3 loading (SB), NaCl loading (SC), or placebo loading (D) in a randomized, double-blind design. Blood samples were taken pre- and post-loading and pre- and post-performance test to analyze hematocrit levels. The SB trial produced significantly higher (P < 0.05) mean power (watts) in the 2-min test (514.9 ± 49.7) when compared to the SC and D trials (504.3 ± 51.0 and 498.7 ± 50.6, respectively), with no significant difference between SC and D trials (P > 0.05). There were no significant differences in hematocrit levels at any timepoint between the 3 trials (P > 0.05). These findings indicate that NaHCO3 loading produced significant performance enhancement when compared to both NaCl and a placebo substance.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:cycling, supplementation, performance
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Sports science and exercise
Research Field:Exercise physiology
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Other health
Objective Field:Other health not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Driller, M (Dr Matthew Driller)
UTAS Author:Williams, A (Associate Professor Andrew Williams)
UTAS Author:Bellinger, P (Mr Phillip Bellinger)
UTAS Author:Howe, S (Mr Sam Howe)
UTAS Author:Fell, J (Associate Professor James Fell)
ID Code:76113
Year Published:2012
Deposited By:Research Division
Deposited On:2012-02-28
Last Modified:2017-11-01

Repository Staff Only: item control page