Bicarbonate in elite judo athletes

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In combat sports, anaerobic power and anaerobic capacity determine sport performance and the dominant metabolic pathways. The decline in performance during exercise that is attributed to the cumulative effects of fatigue, including excessive accumulation of metabolites, depletion of energy substrates, and water and electrolyte disturbances, seems to be of greatest significance. In our experiment, we evaluated the effectiveness of three weeks of bicarbonate-rich water ingestion on anaerobic performance in a state of hydration and dehydration in elite judo athletes. Eight male, elite judo athletes participated in two single-blind, repeated-measures trials. They were assigned to two hydration protocols, ingesting low mineralized table water and bicarbonate-rich water. Anaerobic performance was evaluated by two 30 s Wingate tests for lower and upper limbs, respectively, under conditions of hydration as well as exercise-induced dehydration. Resting, post-ingestion, and post-exercise concentrations of bicarbonate (HCO3), urine osmolality (UOSM), urine specific gravity (UGRAV), and lactate (La) were measured. The current investigation assessed two related factors that impair anaerobic performance-hypohydration and buffering capacity. High-bicarbonate water ingestion improved buffering capacity, and we demonstrated the potential role of this mechanism and its phenomenon in masking the adverse effects of dehydration in the context of repeated high-intensity anaerobic exercise (HIAE).

Keywords: anaerobic performance; bicarbonate water; combat sports; hypohydration; rehydration.

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