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Lactic Acid - Minimize Its Intake

Submitted by Loring A. Windblad on October 25, 2010

Lactic Acid Effects

Lactic acid
is a very commonly used term, especially amongst athletes, in order to describe the intense pain that they feel in their muscle – most notably after a very intense training session or competition. Our bodies need energy in order to perform any kind of exercise and, under normal circumstances, this energy is supplied by the breakdown of a hormone contained in the human body known as adenosine triphosphate, also known as ATP. The human body stores a limited amount of this substance – only about 85 grams of it – which tends to be used up very quickly if we did not have any method of re-synthesizing it. One such method of re-synthesizing this is through the lactic acid system of the body through a process known as anerobic glycosis that does not require the presence of oxygen in order to be performed.

However, lactic acid was not always seen to be a major contributor in the re-synthesis of ATP and was originally believed to be one of the main factors that cause sore muscles.

The lactic acid produced through anerobic glycosis is known to be a major player in any athlete’s ability to perform at significant levels of competition. Any lactic acid that remains unused once sufficient oxygen levels have been restored to the body can be utilized for energy or even reconverted back into glucose by the liver and other tissues.

Lactic acid synthesis is usually one of the last options for the body to produce its own energy because of the fact that it can happen without the influence of oxygen.

This leads to a condition called as lactic acidosis. This is usually only likely to take place towards the end of the physical exertion or when the individual is pushing his or her body to levels that they are not used to. In competitive sport, more often than not, it is the lactic acid that allows the athlete to make that final push and attain what is known as the ‘second wind’.

Since lactic acid does cause the muscles to hurt, you will also notice that you tend to breathe harder and faster while sometimes even slowing down to replenish your oxygen reserves. This entire cycle of events that takes place will serve to convert the lactic acid into carbon dioxide as well as water that are expelled from the body while you breathe. In turn, the blood levels of the lactic acid will reduce and your muscle will stop hurting.

Besides this it is always recommended to consult your doctor when considering means to help in getting rid of lactic acid.

Lactic Acid Facts

For a very long time, lactic acid had earned a reputation as being very damaging to the body and the muscle tissues. It was widely believed that a build up of lactic acids in the muscles can cause them to burn, tire and eventually give out. This line of thinking was also to make sure that the athlete trained well below what used to be known as the lactic threshold. However, recent studies have shown that lactic acid acts more as a fuel to the muscles rather than a substance that adversely harms them. The acid is created from glucose and is burned to obtain energy allowing the athletes to train harder and at more professional levels while also creating a situation where the muscles are more ready to accept and absorb lactic acid to continue the rigorous workout. The lactic acid fuels the glucose as well as glycogen production in the liver, thereby helping the human body to use dietary carbohydrates more efficiently. Moreover, the lactic acid content in our body is essential in the mechanisms involved in how we deal with stress as well as high intensity sports. The age old belief of lactic acid causing substantial damage to the muscles and tissues within the body was proven to actually have been the ill effects of too much ammonia in the body, which is more likely to be the result of increased production of superoxide free radicals.

Lactic acid is a very common substance in a number of foods and is formed primarily by the natural fermentation of products like cheese, sourdough dairy products and meat products. It is also very beneficial because of the fact that it doubles up as a flavoring agent in home prepared food. Lactic acids are commonly used in the preparation of meat, fish and poultry as it also works as a preservative – extending the shelf life of the dish. Apart from the discussed benefits of lactic acid to the muscle mass of the body, the substance is also very commonly used in the cosmetics industry and regularly used in the production of shampoos, hand creams, shower gels and moisturizers. This is primarily because of its many benefits in hair and skin care such as its intense hydrating properties as well as the fact that it makes an excellent exfoliating substance.

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