Definition: "An ergogenic aid is any substance or phenomenon that enhances performance "
Alkaline diet improves high-intensity sports performance
For athletes, supplementation with sodium bicarbonate is an effective way to perform better during high-intensity exercise bouts. But sodium bicarbonate supplementation is not without gastrointestinal side effects, and frequent use may not be healthy. German sports scientists, associated with Ruhr-University Bochum, found an alternative. If athletes follow an alkaline diet for four days, they experience the same improvement of athletic performance as after supplementation with bicarbonate.
The researchers experimented with 16 young and volunteers with an active lifestyle. The researchers had the participants run a 400 meter sprint on 3 different occasions.
During the 4 days that preceded one occasion the athletes had eaten as they were used to [UNMOD]. Another time the subjects sprinted after having followed an acidifying diet for 4 days [ACID], and yet another time the sprint was preceded by a 4-day alkaline diet [BASE].
After 4 days of alkaline diet, the pH value of the blood after 400 meters just higher than after a 4-day acid diet. The higher the pH value of the blood, the lower the acidification. This implies that by using an alkaline diet, muscles can sustain high-intensity efforts a little longer.
Compared with the acidifying diet, the alkaline diet made the participants 2.3 percent faster. That amounts to one and a half seconds.
"Additionally, we found higher blood lactate but unchanged blood pH values for the alkalizing trial compared with the acidizing trial. Thus, an alkalizing diet may be an easy and natural way to enhance the tolerance towards exercise-induced alkalosis for athletes without the necessity of taking artificial dietary supplements."