Many athletes have been lead to believe that lactic acid is a vile, toxic waste product that should be avoided at all costs. However, it appears the opposite may be true. New research suggests that lactic acid is an important fuel source that powers intense exercise such as weight lifting.

What is Lactic Acid?

Lactic acid is simply a glucose molecule split in two via anaerobic energy metabolism. Just the same as slicing an apple in two, these pieces of glucose still contain a lot of energy that can be used by muscles. Lactic acid is a smaller molecule than glucose, (a tri-carbon molecule as opposed to the 6 carbon glucose ring). Therefore, it can enter other energy-producing pathways such as the Krebs cycle (aerobic metabolism) via conversion to pyruvate.

Physical Evolution and Survival

Your muscles produce lactic acid all the time even during rest. You only notice (feel) this lactic acid when large amounts are produced – during extreme and intense exercise like weight lifting. During extended intense activity, high amounts of lactic acid produced results in increased hydrogen ions that cause the burning sensations you feel in your muscles. This is usually very painful and is a common result of intense weight training. The pain from excessive lactic acid is where the phrase, “no pain, no gain” came from.

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The burning sensation is short-lived and is also believed to be an injury prevention signal the body produces to force you to stop the physical stress to avoid serious injury.

The Aerobic – Anaerobic Bridge

Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley have recently confirmed that lactic acid is actually the bridge in energy production that links the two energy-producing metabolic cycles; the oxygen-based aerobic metabolism and oxygen-free anaerobic metabolism. This new research is a fundamental change in how scientists view lactic acid and energy metabolism. It’s the kind of stuff that will require many textbooks to be rewritten.

Best Beta Alanine Supplement - Beta-X Powder - Beta AlanineBeta-X is a unique supplement that buffers the pain-causing hydrogen ions that come from high lactic acid production. This allows for more reps and greater intensity when you train. This is a scientifically researched and proven supplement that works.

Our understanding of biochemistry and exercise physiology are ever-growing and sometimes new research re-writes the old.

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Lactic Acid and the Link to Muscle Growth

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