Sodium citrate

Sodium citrate. “Sodium Citrate is the sodium salt of citrate with alkalinizing activity” 1.  As the sodium salt of citric acid, Sodium Citrate is white, a crystalline powder or granular crystals, is slightly deliquescent (tending to become liquid or absorb moisture) in moist air, and is practically insoluble in alcohol but freely soluble in water 1.  Like citric acid, the taste is sour; as an alkalinizing agent, Sodium Citrate works by neutralizing excess acid in the urine and blood 1.  Sodium Citrate is an agent capable of increasing extracellular buffering capacity 2,5.  When Sodium Citrate is ingested, the constituent ions (or ion pair which is in direct contact) is expelled from the plasma, which leads to a change in the electrical equilibrium (balance)2,3,4.  In looking at effects of Sodium Citrate on high-intensity exercise, a dose of 0.5 g/kg of citrate was a favourable dose to optimise anaerobic performance 5 as shown by significant improvements in high intensity cycling lasting 120-240 s 2,6. However, a review of the literature indicates a variable exercise response following sodium citrate supplementation, with increased efficacy noted during cycling in contrast to running protocols, possibly due to isolated muscle groups being more susceptible to local acidosis than whole body exercise 2. Sodium citrate is frequently used instead of sodium bicarbonate because it is commonly believed that it results in decreased side effects 2; however, some individuals have reported nausea, headaches, and thirst when ingesting 0.5 g/kg body mass (BM) of Sodium Citrate within the first 60 minutes of post-ingestion 2,5.

This ingredient can be found in the following products in United States:


  1. National Institutes of Health (NIH). U. S. National Library of Medicine (NLM). National Center for Biotechnology Information. Pub Chem, Open Chemistry Database, Compound Summary for CID 6224. Accessed from
  2. Lancha Junior AH, de Salles Painelli V, Saunders B, Guilherme GA.. Nutritional strategies to modulate intracellular and extracellular buffering capacity during high-intensity exercise. Sports Med 2015;71-81. Accessed from
  3. Parry-Billings M, MacLaren DP. The effect of sodium bicarbonate and sodium citrate ingestion on anaerobic power during intermittent exercise. Eur J Apply Physiol Occup Physiol 1986;55:524-529.
  4. Kowalchuk JM, Maltais SA, Yamaji K, Hughson RL. The effect of citrate loading on exercise performance, acid-base balance and metabolism. Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol 1989:58:858-864. Accessed from
  5. McNaughton LR. Sodium citrate and anaerobic performance: implications of dosage. Eur J Appl Physiol 1990;61:392-397. Accessed from:
  6. McNaughton L, Cedaro R. Sodium citrate ingestion and its effects on maximal anaerobic exercise in different durations. Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol 1992;64:36-41. Accessed from: