Receive 10% Off

Clearing up the Lactic Acid Myth

by Dr. Jason Barker December 17, 2014

Clearing up the Lactic Acid Myth

 A long-held notion is that "lactic acid causes muscle soreness". Despite being disproved in the late 70’s, people still love to tout it as the reason for their painful muscles.

Lactic acid is actually a fuel that the muscles actually burn. It’s a help, rather than a hindrance.

Working muscles convert glucose (sugar) or glycogen into it as a byproduct of metabolism. The lactic acid is then taken up and burned further by the cell’s mitochondria – the powerhouses of the cells. 

Lactic acid doesn’t ‘build up’ in the muscles causing fatigue. In fact, the muscles ravenously consume it for energy. Nor does it cause the notorious ‘burn’ that people feel at the height of exertion.

Training close to the ‘lactate threshold’ as its known, increases the mitochondria’s efficiency at using up the lactate. This teaches the muscles to burn more of it, thereby allowing them to work harder and longer.

It’s a neat physiologic trick, in that the muscles burn glucose first, and then burn the ‘leftovers’ of glucose. Think of it as the ultimate in energy recycling.

The idea that lactic acid is a caustic waste product was created a century ago. It’s taken many studies to disprove this, yet this notion still hangs on in popular culture.

Oh and next time your muscles are sore a day or more later following a workout; it’s not from the lactic acid. While scientists know that it ISN”T lactic acid, they don’t exactly know what the cause is. More than likely, the pain is a result of micro tears in the muscle. This is known as delayed-onset muscle soreness, or DOMS.  Using natural anti-inflammatories like arnica can relieve DOMS.

T-Relief Ointment is a favorite among athletes for relieve post-exercise soreness. 

Dr. Jason Barker
Dr. Jason Barker


Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in Natural Athlete Solutions

Altitude Training
Altitude Training

by Dr. Jason Barker

Being from Colorado, we know altitude.  Denver and the Front Range areas are roughly 5000+ feet, or a mile (1600 meters) high.  This elevation, while nothing extreme, definitely presents a challenge to visitors. 

Read More
How Long Can You Maintain Fitness Levels?
How Long Can You Maintain Fitness Levels?

by Dr. Jason Barker

Often times I am asked, “just how long can I rest while I recover from my injury/illness, before I start to lose my fitness level”?  All of us are hesitant to give up the gains we have made from all of that training. Although this is not a straight forward question, there is plenty of enlightening research on this subject. 

Read More
Thyroid Support Complex - Daily Thyroid Nutrition
Thyroid Support Complex - Daily Thyroid Nutrition

by Dr. Jason Barker

Pure Encapsulations Thyroid Support Complex is a comprehensive formula containing vitamins, minerals and herbal extracts to help support healthy thyroid cell metabolism and thyroid hormone function. This formula is useful for anyone dealing with thyroid issues; it provides all the nutrients to help keep the thyroid gland functioning normally.

Read More