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Sodium citrate induces alkalosis and can provide a performance benefit in high-intensity exercise. Previous investigations have been inconsistent in the ingestion protocols used, in particular the dose and timing of ingestion before the onset of exercise. The primary aim of the current study was to quantify blood pH, blood bicarbonate concentration and gastrointestinal symptoms after ingestion of three doses of sodium citrate (500 mg⋅kg-1, 700 mg⋅kg-1 and 900 mg⋅kg-1). Thirteen participants completed four experimental sessions, each consisting of a different dose of sodium citrate or a taste-matched placebo solution. Blood pH and blood bicarbonate concentration were measured at 30-min intervals via analysis of capillary blood samples. Gastrointestinal symptoms were also monitored at 30-min intervals. Statistical significance was accepted at a level of p < .05. Both measures of alkalosis were significantly greater after ingestion of sodium citrate compared with placebo (p < .001). No significant differences in alkalosis were found between the three sodium citrate doses (p > .05). Peak alkalosis following sodium citrate ingestion ranged from 180 to 212 min after ingestion. Gastrointestinal symptoms were significantly higher after sodium citrate ingestion compared with placebo (p < .001), while the 900 mg.kg-1 dose elicited significantly greater gastrointestinal distress than 500 mg⋅kg-1 (p = .004). It is recommended that a dose of 500 mg⋅kg-1 of sodium citrate should be ingested at least 3 hr before exercise, to achieve peak alkalosis and to minimize gastrointestinal symptoms before and during exercise.
The authors are with the Centre for Sport Research, School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia.