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Sodium bicarbonate supplementation for exercise performance: focus on individual responses and a step towards personalized sports nutrition

Abstract

Ergogenic aids are nutritional supplements predominantly directed towards enhancing exercise capacity and performance, although they may also provide health related benefits. Sodium bicarbonate and caffeine have become essential training additions for elite, professional and recreational athletes alike and their efficacy in improving exercise capacity and performance is supported by substantial research. Nonetheless, variability in responses has led to recent suggestion that supplementation may not be beneficial to all individuals. It is of interest to determine the sources of inter- and intra-individual variations and whether resulting information can be used to optimise dosing strategies for exercise performance. Study 4 will determine whether changes in muscle transporter activity (MCT1, MCT4, NHE) are related to the changes in circulating bicarbonate in response to sodium bicarbonate supplementation. Study 2 will determine the time course blood responses following caffeine ingestion between individuals with different phenotypes for caffeine metabolism, and determine the role of phenotype upon the efficacy of caffeine for exercise. We believe that the results obtained in this comprehensive project will have significant and long-lasting impacts on the understanding of acute metabolic responses to supplementation and exercise and will play a fundamental part in the optimisation of supplementation for athletic populations, as well as directing future work in the area. (AU)