Sports, fatigue and buffer systems

A variety of factors determine skeletal muscle fatigue and impact exercise performance. These factors imply a complex interaction between central and peripheral components. 
Still, peripheral fatigue often correlates to overaccumulation of metabolites such as hydrogen (H+) ions, potassium (K+) ions and phosphate (Pi+) ions as well as, obviously, energy source availability. 
Many studies suggest that exercise-induced acidosis (with hydrogen ions production rate exceeding the removal rate) is one of the main factors that promote fatigue. In fact, physical exercise can induce substantial disruptions of the acid-base balance by generating H+ ions in varying amounts, depending on the intensity and duration of exercise. 
An option to mitigate the hydrogen (H+) ions accumulation rate and the resulting post-exercise metabolic acidosis, is to use exogenous buffers such as sodium bicarbonate.
The latter has been studied for over 80 years as an ergogenic support during high-intensity exercise in short bursts (120 - 240 seconds) as well as 400- and 1500-meter distances. These ergogenic benefits are not limited to short bursts of exercise, though. Rather, they also show up in prolonged 60-minute exercise or repeated exercise as well as in combat and physical skills sports
Recent research has endorsed this and proved the benefits of pre-exercise administration to alleviate physiological stress during high-intensity exercise as well as benefits in terms of improved adaptation response to training.

Coupled with adequate nutrition, lifestyle and hydration, the mineral-salts-based food supplements that contribute to a proper acid-base metabolism can be broadly used in sports. Their composition enables to counter the acid-base balance fluctuations that typically occur in short- and medium-term high-intensity exercise. As they are absorbed in the small intestine, if taken on an empty stomach (e.g. half an hour before training) they provide benefits both during the preparatory phase of training and to recover from the physiological stress caused by exercise - these conditions being useful for protecting and improving skeletal mass quantity and quality (S-Score - BIA-ACC).

Authors: Dario Boschiero, Mariantonietta Lucafò - Date: 12/03/2021

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