Lactic Acid: Friend or Foe?


Lactic Acid: Friend or Foe?

Lactic Acid: Friend or Foe?

By Jean Bowick

A lot of the pain experienced by athletes, weight-lifters, and amateur fitness enthusiasts has been pinned on lactic acid. This dubious substance has long been blamed for the post-workout soreness that often accompanies intense exercise for several days afterward.

But is lactic acid really as harsh as it sounds, or does it just get a bad rap? The truth is, lactic acid gets a lot more grief than it gives.

Lactic acid, or more precisely, lactate, plays a part in sending energy to our muscles anaerobically (without oxygen) while we’re working out. As our heart rate increases, so does our body’s demand for oxygen, and our muscles’ demand for fuel. According to LIVESTRONG®.com, lactic acid helps supply these demands as a direct product of anaerobic glycosis – the process of breaking down carbohydrates, without oxygen, for energy.

Lactic acid also helps prevent muscle injuries associated with over-exertion. When our muscles approach their performance limits, the acid build-up in our muscles tells us, loudly and clearly. Endurance training, over time, helps us extend these limits by demanding our body produce more blood vessels. Simply put, the better shape we’re in aerobically, the more oxygen we’ll have pumping to our muscles, and the less we’ll depend on anaerobic energy for our work-outs.

And contrary to popular belief, lactate, or lactic acid, is not the culprit for the sore muscles we get after intense exercise. As confirmed in a 2016 article posted by Competitor,com, soreness of this type is caused by inflammation and physical damage to our muscle fibers. In fact, lactate is actually responsible for the cellular changes that occur inside our muscles and increase our aerobic metabolism (as described above), ultimately improving our body’s performance during endurance training.

In short, lactic acid actually helps our body build muscle, increase oxygen flow, and improve our overall physical performance. So exercise regularly. Push your body’s limits. But be sure to listen to your muscles too – they’ll tell you when to call it a day. #YStrongBham

To read more about the effects and benefits of lactic acid, visit or

Posted by Loyd McIntosh at 3:37 PM
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