Lactic Acid: What is it? How Does It Affect Our Bodies? Production, Food Applications and Muscle Pain

There is currently a lot of misinformation about this chemical compound.

Some people claim that lactic acid builds up in your body when you exercise, making your muscles tender days after intense exercise, while others can offer advice on how to relieve “lactic acid pain.”

First, while the body technically produces lactic acid, it rapidly dissociates into lactate and a free hydrogen ion. Although lactic acid and lactate are often used interchangeably, they are not the same.

Lactic acid is an organic compound with the formula CH3CH (OH) COOH. In its solid-state, it is white and soluble in water. In its liquid state, it is colorless. It occurs naturally and synthetically.

Lactic acid is classified as an alpha-hydroxy acid with a hydroxyl group adjacent to the carboxyl group (AHA).

Lactic acid is hygroscopic. DL-lactic acid is miscible with water and ethanol above its melting point, around 17 ° C or 18 ° C. D-lactic acid and L-lactic acid have a higher melting point.

Blood lactate concentration is generally 1-2 mmol / L at rest but can rise to more than 20 mmol / L during strenuous exercise and as high as 25 mmol / L afterward.


In industry, lactic acid fermentation is carried out by bacteria, which convert simple carbohydrates such as glucose, sucrose, or galactose into lactic acid.

The lactic acid buildup produces short-term pain that encourages you to finish an exercise session and protects your muscles from severe damage. However, lactic acid production stops when you stop exercising.

You can reduce or prevent the appearance of delayed-onset muscle pain:

Fully stretching your muscles before and after any given exercise, properly warming up and cooling down when you exercise, introducing new workout routines gradually over time, and avoiding abrupt changes to your exercise routine.

What is adenosine triphosphate?

The way adenosine triphosphate works are that your body takes food products, breaks them down, and converts them into this fuel. This process can occur with or without oxygen. But adenosine triphosphate is produced a bit faster in the absence of oxygen.

Because your body demands fast fuel when sweating heavily, active muscles switch from aerobic metabolism (which requires oxygen) to anaerobic metabolism (which does not use oxygen). And that’s where lactate comes in.

How is lactate related to adenosine triphosphate?

Lactate, a byproduct of stored carbohydrates, exists for a reason. When you break down carbohydrates to make adenosine triphosphate, your body also creates pyruvate.

In most cases, pyruvate moves to the next stage of metabolism, known as the Krebs cycle, to create more adenosine triphosphate. This is a process that requires oxygen.

It usually occurs when you carry out everyday activities, like walking to the supermarket.

However, when you exercise at a high intensity, your need for adenosine triphosphate increases, so your body produces it anaerobically (that is, without oxygen) because it is a faster process with fewer steps.

Pyruvate is converted to lactate when there is insufficient oxygen to create more adenosine triphosphate. That lactate can eventually be metabolized for energy. This means that lactate is not evil despite what most people believe.

If there is enough lactate in an area that is starting to accumulate, the body naturally recognizes it and will either transport the lactate to another nearby cell or send it to the heart, where it can be used as fuel.

Also, pyruvate and lactate can quickly flip. This means that lactate can become the post-workout fuel your body needs.

How does lactate affect our bodies?

You have too much lactate when your lactate production exceeds your elimination rate. This can cause a buildup. This is not the end of the world, but you can get rid of the pH levels in your body.

The hydrogen ion that accompanies lactate changes the acidity of an environment. This, in turn, causes those burning sensations you get from doing reps on a leg extension machine.

Although you may experience lactic pain during training, lactate does not cause long-term discomfort.

While lactate can make you tired during your workouts, it doesn’t cause sore muscles because it doesn’t stay in the blood for long. Instead, it travels quickly in the blood to the liver to be converted back to glucose.


Lactic acid is produced industrially by bacterial fermentation of carbohydrates (sugar, starch) or by chemical synthesis from acetaldehyde, which is available from coal or crude oil. In 2009, fermentation produced lactic acid predominantly (70-90%).

The production of racemic lactic acid consisting of a 1: 1 mixture of D and L stereoisomers or mixtures with up to 99.9% L-lactic acid is possible by microbial fermentation. Industrial-scale production of D-lactic acid by fermentation is possible but much more challenging.

Fermentative production

Fermented dairy products are obtained industrially by fermentation of milk or whey by Lactobacillus species:

Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus case, Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus (Lactobacillus bulgaricus) y Lactobacillus helveticus, y además Streptococcus salivarius subsp. thermophilus (Streptococcus thermophilus) y Lactococcus lactis.

As a starting material for the industrial production of lactic chemistry, which is applied for chemical synthesis, almost any carbohydrate source containing C5 / C6 sugars could be used.

Pure sucrose, glucose from starch, and raw sugar beet juice are frequently applied. Lactic acid-producing bacteria can be divided into two classes:

Homofermentative bacteria such as Lactobacillus casei and Lactococcus lactis, which produce two moles of lactate from one mole of glucose, and heterofermentative species that have one mole of lactate from one mole of glucose and carbon dioxide and acetic acid/ethanol.

Chemical production

Racemic lactic acid is produced in the industry by adding hydrogen cyanide to acetaldehyde and subsequent hydrolysis of the acetonitrile formation. Hydrolysis by hydrochloric acid and ammonium chloride is formed as a byproduct.

The Japanese company Musashino is one of the last major lactic acid manufacturers down this route. The synthesis of both racemic and enantiopure lactic acids is also possible from other starting materials (vinyl acetate, glycerol, etc.) by catalytic procedures.

Can You Stop Lactic Acid Production?

When you exercise, you rely on your muscles to produce energy to propel you through a daily routine of exercise, weight lifting, or sports. If you don’t get enough oxygen for your tissue, your muscles start producing lactic acid.

Many misconceptions surround lactic acid, including that it causes muscle soreness the next day, hours after your workout. Instead, it can make your muscles ache during times when you exercise.

You may want to train in a way that stops just before lactic acid production, which is possible if you listen to your body. Before undertaking any changes to your exercise program, always consult your physician.

Several steps must be taken before your body produces lactic acid. When you exercise vigorously, your body’s tissues break down glucose, a form of stored energy.

Glucose breaks down into pyruvate before your body can fully use it. If your tissue has enough oxygen, the body can use pyruvate and other substances; the body breaks down for energy.

But sometimes, your body has no oxygen. When this is the case, pyruvate is converted to lactate.

If lactic acid production has started, you can stop it by exercising less vigorously. Slowing down allows the lungs to absorb the oxygen needed to prevent pyruvate turning into lactic acid.

It can be challenging to determine the exact time you produce lactic acid when you exercise. However, burning muscles and trouble catching your breath can be two signs that you may need to slow down a bit.

According to The New York Times, one of the methods that coaches recommend discouraging lactic acid production during exercise is to stay just below the “lactic acid threshold,” according to The New York Times.

Some athletes even use blood tests to determine the level at which their bodies switch to lactic acid. While you can get enough exercise before your body makes lactic acid, remember lactic acid for what it is: a form of energy.

Today, some athletes even train at different intensities to help their bodies adapt to using lactic acid more effectively.

Polymer precursor

Two lactic acid molecules can be dehydrated to lactide. In the presence of catalysts, lactide polymerizes to atactic or syndiotactic polylactide (PLA), which are biodegradable polyesters. Polylactide is an example of a plastic that is not derived from petrochemicals.

Food applications

Lactic acid is mainly found in sour milk products, such as koumiss, laban, yogurt, kefir, and some cottage cheeses. The casein in fermented milk coagulates (curdles) with lactic acid. Lactic acid is also responsible for the sour taste of sourdough bread.

On Nutrition Facts lists, lactic acid might be listed under the term “carbohydrates” (or “carbohydrates by difference”) because it often includes everything other than water, protein, fat, ash, and ethanol.

If this is the case, then the calculated food energy can use the standard four calories per gram for all carbohydrates. But in some cases, lactic acid is ignored in the calculation. The energy density of lactic acid is 362 kilocalories (1,510 kJ) per 100g.

In brewing, some beer styles (such as sour beer) deliberately contain lactic acid. Most commonly, this is naturally produced by various strains of bacteria.

These bacteria ferment sugars into acids, unlike yeast, which ferment sugars into ethanol. One such style is Belgian Lambics. After cooling the wort, yeast and bacteria can “fall” into the open fermenters.

Most of the brewers of more common beer styles will ensure that those bacteria are not allowed to enter the fermenter. Other bitter types of beer include Berliner Weisse, Flanders Red, and American Wild Ale.

Although not typically found in significant amounts in fruit, lactic acid is the primary organic acid in akebia fruit, accounting for 2.12% of the juice.

As a food additive, it is approved for use in the EU, US, Australia, and New Zealand; it is listed by its number in the International Numbering System 270 or as E number E270.

Lactic acid is used as a food preservative, curing, and flavoring agent.


Lactic acid has historically been used to help remove inks from official documents that will be altered during forgery.

Lactic acid, good or bad?

In some ways, lactic acid is a good thing because acid gives your body energy. In others, it is considered harmful because lactic acid has an acidic pH, which can affect your muscles’ ability to work.

This is your body’s defense mechanism that encourages you to slow down during vigorous exercise. When you do, your body stops producing lactic acid.

Although lactic acid was once linked to causing muscle pain 24 to 48 hours after exercise, this is considered a mistake. However, lactic acid can contribute to muscle pain during exercise as a way for your body to signal that it needs extra oxygen.

Get rid of excess lactic acid in muscles.

Sore and aching muscles are no joke to runners, so you may be looking for ways to decrease muscle soreness and fatigue after a tough race.

The buildup of lactic acid in your muscles causes the pain you experience after a workout. Lactic acid, a waste product from converting glycogen to energy, builds up when your body experiences oxygen depletion.

This mainly occurs during anaerobic exercises, such as weight lifting or sprinting, unaccustomed vigorous exercise, or if you overexert yourself during aerobic exercise.

Conditioning your body with regular exercise makes it adapt to meet your oxygen needs. Over time, less lactic acid will form in your muscles. Cooling down with light activity and static stretching removes excess lactic acid.

One of the common myths still exists today promotes lifting the legs after running to eliminate lactic acid. However, lifting your legs after a run has not been shown to affect.

Paso 1

Get regular exercise. Get aerobic exercise and strength training every week. Try aerobic exercises for 20 to 30 minutes a day, such as walking, rowing, jogging, or aerobic dancing, and at least two 20-minute weightlifting sessions per week.

You will experience less lactic acid in excess with regular exercise than if you only exercise sporadically.

Paso 2

Cooldown at the end of your workout. In swimming, take a recovery swim at a slow pace.

After brisk walking, jogging, or lifting weights, stroll. Chill for five minutes or until your heart rate returns to normal. Cooling down removes the lactic acid in the muscles.

Paso 3

Do static stretches. After it has cooled down, do static stretches. Stretch the muscles you’ve been using by reaching as far as possible and holding the space.

For example, put one foot on a bench and bend over from the waist. Grab your foot or as close as possible and hold for a slow count of 10. This stretches your hamstrings. Static stretching removes excess lactic acid from the muscles.

The myth

Lifting your legs has not been shown to affect the rate at which lactic acid leaves muscle tissue.

The misconceptions about lactic acid began in 1929 when a British physiologist named Archibald Hill studied frogs’ muscles after exercising and found that they contained large amounts of lactic acid.

This finding led him to publish claims that lactic acid buildup in muscle tissue was responsible for muscle pain. The coaches looked for ways to decrease lactic acid buildup in runners and proposed elevating the legs.

While the lactic acid myth has been disproven, some coaches may still promote leg elevation after a run to speed recovery.

So what causes sore muscles?

When you exercise vigorously and get a buildup of lactate, that feeling can be uncomfortable, but it won’t last long. And the pain you experience days after a workout has nothing to do with it.

Now that we know that lactate only causes temporary aches and pains, you’re probably wondering what causes the muscle tenderness you may feel two days after a ten-kilometer run or intense kickboxing session.

Lactate is different from lactic acid, and neither has anything to do with the muscle pain that occurs after a heavy sweat session. Now that you know exactly how our body processes the energy needed to do a workout, make sure you give it the proper fuel and rest.


Make sure you can speak comfortably during aerobic exercise. If you are out of breath, you are working anaerobically, and your muscles are producing more lactic acid. Don’t bounce when you stretch. Taking an Epsom salt bath can help relieve muscle pain.

When you notice you’re thirsty during a workout, you may already be dehydrated. Drink 8 to 16 oz (236.6 ml to 473 ml) of water before training, then drink eight oz. (236.6 ml) of water for every 20 minutes you train.

Exercise frequently. The more physically fit you are, the less glucose your body has to burn and the less acid buildup.

Develop a training plan to add minutes or repetitions to your routine slowly; This will gradually increase the level at which your body begins to produce lactic acid.

If you are doing weights, reduce the number of repetitions or reduce the size of the weight. More oxygen will be sent to your muscles as you catch your breath, and lactic acid will be released.

Stretch after your workout. Since lactic acid disperses 30 minutes to an hour after your workout, stretching helps release lactic acid, alleviating any burning sensations or muscle cramps you may experience.

Stretch the muscles slightly after any intense exercise, and also use your fingers to massage the area gently.

Rest after your workout, but lead an active life. Muscles need activity, as well as oxygen and water to stay healthy.

If you occasionally feel a burn in your muscles, there is no cause for alarm; Lactic acid in small amounts is not harmful to your body and may even have some beneficial effects on your metabolism.

Increase your intake of magnesium. The mineral magnesium is essential for adequate energy production within the body.

Vegetables such as chard, spinach, kale, turnip greens, green beans, legumes such as navy beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, lima beans, pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower seeds are excellent sources of magnesium.

Get essential fatty acids from cold-water fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel, nuts and seeds like walnuts and flax seeds, and vegetable oils like corn oil, sunflower oil, and soybean oil.

Baking soda is an alkaline substance, so when taken internally, it can help neutralize lactic acid that builds up in muscles.


Consult a specialist about any medical problem. Start slow in your exercise program if you have been inactive.