PR Lotion unlocks proven bicarbonate science

Study conducted by Dr. Mark Kern, PhD, RD of San Diego State University’s Exercise & Nutritional Sciences Department

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The athletic performance of a Rally cyclist

The Science of Bicarbonate

When you go hard, your muscles create acid—that burning pain you feel that brings you to a halt when you try to hold your max too long. This acid lowers your muscle pH and disrupts muscle firing and contraction, leaving you suffering. Supplementing with sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) alkalizes the blood and muscle, reducing the acid and making it a little easier to maintain your performance.

Lactate is a fuel for your muscle, created and used by your body especially during high intensity exercises. When you go beyond your ability to resupply oxygen to your muscles, your body runs anaerobically. Lactate is used as a fuel during anaerobic exercise but when in its acidic form (lactic acid), your body can’t access this vital fuel source. Sodium bicarbonate neutralizes lactic acid leaving water, carbon dioxide, and lactate which is then available to your muscles as a fuel source.

Nasty side effects from eating sodium bicarbonate have always limited athletes’ real-world ability to take in the amount needed to experience its benefits. Eating sodium bicarbonate leads to side effects like indigestion, bloating, gas, vomiting, and diarrhea. (You may have seen this if you ever made a science project volcano with baking soda (a base) and vinegar (an acid).) Still, over 30 published studies support supplementing with sodium bicarbonate in athletics and its benefits are well understood.

A New Path

Topical Edge Sports Lotion is the first and only product proven to effectively supplement sodium bicarbonate in the muscle and blood without gastrointestinal side effects. It is a topical analgesic that combines menthol, sodium bicarbonate, and a patented ground-breaking drug delivery technology, proven to deliver molecules through the skin. This technology delivers sodium bicarbonate to where it is needed most while bypassing the stomach. Topical Edge is certified free of banned substances and using it is as easy as applying a lotion before you work out.

Summary Results

  • Reduced muscle soreness following intense exercise
  • Lower heart rate and rate of perceived exertion during the same training loads
  • Higher lactate levels to fuel the muscle

Rigorous Study Design

Our clinical research stands above the rest in its quality, strength, and independence. Rather than rely solely on previous science, we set out to prove conclusively that Topical Edge works. We sponsored the prestigious Dr. Mark Kern, PhD, RD, tenured faculty in San Diego State University’s Exercise & Nutritional Sciences Department to conduct the study. This well designed study was a rigorous institutional review board (IRB) approved, double-blind, randomized, placebo controlled, cross-over study of Topical Edge in 20 elite professional and semi-professional cyclists. Study participation was limited to18-50 year-old highly trained athletes with category 1-3 professional cycling licenses, all training for their racing seasons.

Table 1. The activities performed at each of 4 study visits.

Study activities by visit


Study Results

In a well-designed study of elite cyclists, Topical Edge proved superior to control with statistically significant improvement in delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), heart rate, perceived exertion, and blood lactate.



From the first day to the second day following a series of short, intense efforts, subjects using Topical Edge experienced a 53.5% reduction in DOMS versus a continued rise in pain of 34.3% with control (p=0.007). This measure was recorded on a 100-point scale in well-trained athletes who are very familiar with their bodies.


Recovery is the Holy Grail in sports. By reducing muscle soreness 2 days after an intense exercise, an athlete can perform at a high level more consistently or simply feel better in the days after soreness inducing sports. Faster recovery enables an athlete to do more work over a week which over time may lead to larger gains. Athletes describe the value of Topical Edge as “feeling better” than they should and feeling that they can “hit it hard” again in the following days in intense training and multi-day events.


Graph of Topical Edge reducing DOMS




Heart rate was 3 beats per minute (1.6%) lower versus control immediately after a 5 minute time trial of short, intense effort (p=0.031). The workload in the time trial was consistent across Topical Edge and control at 98 kJ. Heart rate was 3.1% lower and rate of perceived exertion was 2.6% lower measured 15 minutes into a 1 hour time trial (p=0.004, p=0.054). Lactate threshold and peak power in the 30 second sprint, and average watts and total work done in the 1 hour time trial all directionally favored Topical Edge over control, warranting further study.


For many athletes, feeling better during training and competition is a goal in itself. A lower heart rate after intense exercise means the body is less taxed and is able to recover for the next bout quicker.


Graph showing Topical Edge achieving lower heart rates




Blood lactate was 11% higher for subjects using Topical Edge when compared to control by the end of the series of high intensity tests. The magnitude of this finding is similar to results seen with oral intake in published scientific literature, suggesting that Topical Edge unlocks the power of bicarbonate through a new delivery route. Increased lactate may benefit performance by providing fuel for muscles when working anaerobically.


Increased lactate indicates sodium bicarbonate is getting into the body and buffering excess acid, keeping lactic acid in the form of lactate. Increased lactate may benefit performance by providing fuel for muscles when working anaerobically. This data matches athletes’ feedback that they can “go harder for longer” when using Topical Edge.


 Graph showing an increase in lactate with Topical Edge



Topical Edge has been shown to provide significant changes in athletes’ physiology. By changing the delivery route, Topical Edge creates a new way to supplement sodium bicarbonate, helping athletes train harder and recover faster. The results of this study will be submitted for publication and additional studies are currently underway.

About the Investigator

Mark Kern, PhD, RD is a tenured professor of Exercise & Nutritional Sciences at San Diego State University. He completed his BS and MS degrees in Nutrition Science at Indiana University and his PhD in Foods and Nutrition at Purdue University. His areas of professional interest include athletic performance and the independent and interactive effects of diet and exercise on nutritional status. He has published more than 40 articles which have appeared in journals including those listed below. He has been awarded more than 20 externally funded research grants, has delivered more than 80 presentations of his discoveries, and wrote several book chapters and one book on sports nutrition. He is also an avid triathlete with age-group 2nd and 3rd place finishes in the San Diego Triathlon Points Series the past two years.

The International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism
Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine
Journal of Strength and Conditioning
Journal of Exercise Physiology
Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise
Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness and Sports Medicine and Training Rehabilitation

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