Nutrition, hydration and supplements have become such an intense focus in cycling, they almost seem to place the bike secondary in importance. Yet, while there’s a myriad of sports nutritional products on the market, most appear to be simply a new rendition on an old theme, relying on eye-catching branding with promises of better performance, but with very little science to back them up.
However, every so often, a new company emerges, touting a product that challenges the orthodoxy of sports nutrition. A recent example is Maurten, which claims its Bicarb System is revolutionizing the way athletes can manage lactic acid and gastric related problems thanks to the use of sodium bicarbonate.
“Lactate is not the enemy — it’s a fuel source generated during all-out, intense anaerobic exercise. It’s the increase in acidity during these efforts that overwhelms the muscles and leads to exhaustion. Large doses of sodium bicarbonate counteract the negative effects of the rising acidity, but there’s always been a catch — stomach issues that cancel out any performance gains. Our Bicarb System cracks the code to deliver the smoothest, most effective bicarb experience ever,” explains Maurten.
In layman’s terms, bicarbonate is a substance naturally found in the body that helps maintain a normal acid-base (pH) balance, which prevents the body from becoming too acidic, particularly the lungs and kidneys.
In the case of sports nutrition, the use of sodium bicarbonate has proven to aid in muscle fatigue by reducing lactic acid build-up, while also preventing gastric distress associated with sugars (carbohydrates) that are used in most sports drinks.
Maurten’s Biocarb System is designed to combat both of these symptoms via a three-part formula, consisting of a dedicated mixing bowl, a hydrogel containing 40 grams of carbohydrate and a packet of mini tablets that slowly release bicarbonate into the intestine in order to prevent gastric discomfort during exercise.
The following video describes how the system works in greater detail:
If you’re a cyclist who must explore the latest in sports performance technology, the Biocarb system is available in four-servings for $65.00, which Maurten recommends only using 2 to 3 servings per week because of the product’s very high sodium count – about 4,100mg to 6,800mg, depending on dose.
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