The amount of alkali available in the body to act as a buffer, moderating changes in pH. Most of the alkali is in the form of bicarbonate ions. A high alkali reserve is particularly important for those involved in high-intensity activities lasting up to 3 min (e.g. 800-m run). The bicarbonate ions help to neutralize lactic acid produced during anaerobic respiration. Some athletes boost their alkali reserve artificially by ingesting extra amounts of sodium bicarbonate (a process called bicarbonate loading).
Subjects: Sports and Exercise Medicine.