The study suggests that baking soda can actually increase your speed by reducing the acidity produced in your muscles during heavy anaerobic activity such as running or swimming (or unicycle sprinting).
However, I think the effects would be rather minimal in the word of unicycling as more often than not we are limited by how fast we can keep the wheel spinning while under control rather than how hard we can push our bodies. As technique improves and overall fitness becomes the limiting factor we may then consider something such as this. Your thoughts?
Besides causing a harmless burn during weight lifting (to let you know you are running out of peak strength), Lactic acid is the preferred fuel for the heart.
Only heart muscle can convert lactic acid (from heavy lifting) into ATP (cell energy). This is so when extreme exercise causes your muscles to suck up all the blood sugar, your heart still has plenty of fuel.
So even if you could neutralize the acid in your muscles with bicarbonate (doubtful), you would lose whatever performance edge this gave, when your heart stopped.
How do you define performance enhancer though? I mean a lighter unicycle will enhance your performance, as will weight weight training. Gatorade gives you electrolytes, baking soda lowers acidity… where do you set your limit?
Lack of oxygen is not necessarily responsible for an increase in lactate production or even lactate accumulation. Other causative factors may play a more significant role.
Blood lactate accumulation represents only the balance of production and removal. It says nothing about the absolute values of either of these.
Only relatively short, very intense activity causes lactc acid to accumulate. Lactic acid is not thought to be a contributor to fatigue in low-moderate intensity activity of any duration.
Lactate is an important substrate that can be used during submaximal exercise, recovery and at rest. It is the preferred source of fuel for the heart and brain.
Lactic acid or lactate ‘pooling’ is not the cause of delayed muscle soreness.
Lactate accumulation and not necessarily an increase in production, causes an increase concentration of hydrogen ions and corresponding acidosis. Lactate production may actually help to curb the development of acidosis.
Acidosis is thought to be a primary factor in muscular fatigue and is based on a good deal of research. Recent research is contesting this claim but it is still too early to dismiss acidity as a cause of fatigue.
Training accelerates lactate clearance, reduces lactate accumulation at any given workload and results in a greater level of lactate accumulation during maximal effort.
This is clearly an area that is far from resolved but what seems clear is that lactate can no longer be labelled definitively as the athlete’s enemy. On the contrary, gathering evidence suggests that many aspects of lactate production are beneficial to athletic performance.
I copied all of the above from the link below
This is a summery from this article. Note point 4 about lactic acid being the preferred fuel source for the heart, the only muscle that can use lactic acid for energy.
The lactic acid produced by extreme muscle use is the preferred fuel for the brain, liver, kidneys and heart.
So if you go total exertion bananas and collapse in a heap totally exhausted, you feel tired as a dead dog, but not sick or stupid, and your heart is the last muscle in your body to stop from a lack of energy, because it alone is smiling, happily fed in a pool of blood rich in lactate, and it also gets first crack at the blood after it goes though your lungs.
If you ever want to get amazed and confused and overrun with complexity, google the Krebs cycle. This will give a look at the complexity of the chemistry behind body energy use. I like to pretend I remember 10 % of it, but I’m not really that good.
I don’t think it will hurt you that bad. A one-time test out to see what happens would be fine. I’d never use it for unicycling (perhaps because I don’t sprint on my uni) because it’s not competitive enough yet. I could use it out for track, though, but I don’t think I’d do that either because I wouldn’t want any adverse side effects during a meet and I don’t have enough interest to test it out on my own time.
1.5 seconds in the 200 m is huge, though! Although they probably didn’t do enough research. The better time could be a combination of the athlete just naturally getting a PR plus the placebo effect from the baking soda. I don’t really know though. 1.5 seconds is a really big decrease in time.