Is Bypassing the Stomach a Means to Optimize Sodium Bicarbonate Supplementation? A Case Study With a Postbariatric Surgery Individual

in International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism
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Sodium bicarbonate (SB) is an ergogenic supplement shown to improve high-intensity exercise via increased blood bicarbonate buffering. Substantial amounts of the ingested bicarbonate are neutralized in the stomach. Bariatric surgery results in a small gastric pouch which dramatically reduces exposure time of any ingested food in the stomach. The aim of this study was to examine the pharmacokinetics of orally ingested SB in a postgastric bypass individual to determine the magnitude of changes in blood bicarbonate and associated side effects. We hypothesized that SB supplementation in a gastric bypass model would result in greater blood bicarbonate increases and fewer side effects than in healthy individuals due to minimal bicarbonate losses in the stomach. One postbariatric male ingested 0.3 g/kg·body mass of SB on three occasions (SB1, SB2, and SB3) and 0.3 g/kg·body mass of placebo on a further occasion. Blood bicarbonate was determined before and every 10 min following supplement ingestion for 3 hr and then every 20 min for a further 1 hr. Side effects were reported using an adapted questionnaire at identical time points. Maximal increases in blood bicarbonate with SB were +20.0, +15.2, and +12.6 mM, resulting in maximal bicarbonate concentrations of 42.8, 39.3, and 36.2 mM. Area under the curve was SB1: 8,328 mM/min; SB2: 7,747 mM/min; SB3: 7,627 mM/min, and 6,436 mM/min for placebo. Side effects with SB were scarce. Maximal bicarbonate increases were well above those shown previously, with minimal side effects, indicative of minimal neutralization of bicarbonate in the stomach. The large increases in circulating bicarbonate and minimal side effects experienced by our postgastric surgery bypass patient are indicative that minimizing neutralization of bicarbonate in the stomach, as would occur with enteric coated capsules, may optimize SB supplementation and thus warrants investigation.

de Oliveira, Saunders, and Artioli are with Applied Physiology & Nutrition Research Group, Rheumatology Division, Faculty of Medicine, University of São Paulo (FMUSP), São Paulo, Brazil.

Address author correspondence to Guilherme Giannini Artioli at artioli@usp.br.
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