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Endurance and stamina are important aspects of exercise and bodybuilding, and can help give you better muscle definition. One of the more forgotten, yet apparently effective performance enhancing supplements that should be considered is sodium phosphate.

What is Sodium Phosphate?

Sodium phosphate is a group of compounds that has one atom of sodium attached phosphate groups. It can be used for "phosphate loading", which can provide boosts to endurance training and sustained bouts of weight lifting. Furthermore, it may be used as a fat loss tool as a result of its potential thermogenic properties

Where Does Sodium Phosphate Come From?

Sodium phosphate is commonly used as a preservative for meat products (eg canned meat). However, it can also be found in other preserved products such as cakes and even drinks.

Sodium Phosphate Benefits

Sodium Phosphate Benefits for Stamina

The intake of sodium phosphate increases the concentration of 2,3-diphosphoglycerate within red blood cells. This then is able to enhance the blood cell's ability to deliver oxygen to muscles (Cade et al, 1984). Muscle oxygenation is not important during low rep weight training, but is essential for endurance training and high rep/sustained activities. So if you have incorporated any cardio or high rep training into your routine, then this supplement may help your performance.

As you can probably tell, this supplement is valuable for endurance athletes and those that rely on stamina. Consequently, research in the area is focused primarily on cyclists and runners. Interestingly, much of the research on this was performed in the early 90s, and very little study has commenced since then. Regardless, there have been numerous publications that give this supplement high praise in its ability in increase maximal oxygen uptake (Cade et al, 1984) and hence improve the performance of endurance athletes (Krider et al, 1900; Kreider et al, 1992). A dosage of 1g, four times per day, for 3 to 6 days appears to be effective in providing "phosphate loading" and enhanced performance (Krider et al, 1900). There is also evidence of supplementation reducing lactic acid build up (Cade et al, 1984), which may therefore improve recovery.

Sodium Phosphate Benefits for Fat Loss

It has been reported that sodium phosphate has been able to boost the resting metabolic rate (RMR) of people up to 7% more than people receiving a placebo. Furthermore, the increase of RMR was not accompanied by a reduction in testosterone or growth hormone levels (Nazar et al, 1996). This potential thermogenic effect of sodium phosphate may be especially effective coupled with the ergogenic effects in increasing exercise capacity. Consequently, sodium phosphate may be useful for for the bodybuilding community. It may be a valuable tool during periods of shredding and fat loss.

Sodium Phosphate Side Effects

A small amount of people have reported stomach upsets from sodium phosphate intake, with some people immediately experiencing vomiting and/or diarrhoea, bloating, cramping, and gas. In rarer, more severe cases, some people have experienced allergic reactions to sodium phosphate, and thus should avoid using products with this ingredient.

Sodium Phosphate Recommended Doses and Ingredient Timing

Sodium phosphate dosing can be anywhere between 700 mg to 4 g/day. These larger doses can be broken up and taken through out the day in 1 g portions.

Sodium Phosphate Supplements

There are very few products that contain only a pure form of sodium phosphate. However, it is can be found as part of creatine supplement mixtures, as well as pre workout supplements. The rationale for this is sound. Creatine is a popular workout aid, and requires loading. Thus the presence of sodium phosphate in these products ensures that you can load both of these compounds simultaneously. These substances may then work in tandem to potentially increase strength and endurance.

Stacking Sodium Phosphate

Sodium phosphate can be stacked with pre workout supplements and ingredients such as caffeine. Supplements such as creatine also complement the benefits achieved with sodium phosphate.

Cade et al (1984), Effects of phosphate loading on 2,3-diphosphoglycerate and maximal oxygen uptake. Med Sci Sports Exerc, 16: 263-268
Keider et al (1990), Effects of phosphate loading on oxygen uptake, ventilatory anaerobic threshold, and run performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc, 22: 250-256
Keider et al (1992), Effects of phosphate loading on metabolic and myocardial responses to maximal and endurance exercise. Int J Sport Nutr, 2: 20-47
Nazar et al (1996), Phosphate supplementation prevents a decrease of triiodothyronine and increases resting metabolic rate during low energy diet. J Physiol Pharmacol, 47: 373-83

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