What is lactic acid and where does it come from? And how can we reduce muscle lactic acid? Intense exercise requires a high metabolic performance of the muscles.

Glucose is the main source of energy, which is “burned” in the presence of oxygen by the mitochondria for the production of ATP. ATP is the molecule that stores the energy generated to be used in various activities, such as muscle contraction.

In intense physical activities, the speed with which the muscle fibers can obtain energy through the aerobic oxidation of glucose (which uses oxygen) may not be sufficient to cover all the demand generated. At that time, the accumulation of lactic acid occurs, because the lactic fermentation of glucose is a way of obtaining energy without oxygen, then called anaerobic.

It is much less efficient than in the presence of oxygen, but it is the alternative that the muscle finds to have some energy supply. This reaction leads to the formation of lactate, which in the cellular environment associates with hydrogen ions, forming the acid itself.

Ways to reduce accumulated lactic acid in muscles

The lactic acid is naturally removed by the body, but when their production is excessive is not removed at the same rate that occurs and, therefore builds up in the muscles. This causes the burning sensation in the muscle that we feel in intense activities, it is a condition of temporary acidosis located in the region.

The pain that occurs in the days following training is not due to lactic acid, but only to the pain that occurs during exercise. After an hour, it was completely removed by the blood.

Strategies can be adopted to minimize training and help remove lactic acid from the muscles. Next, we tell you what they are:

Hydrate to decrease lactic acid

Water is the most important fluid for metabolic reactions and optimizes the production of aerobic energy avoiding the production of lactic acid. It also helps to improve the elimination of the lactic acid produced.

Adequate hydration generates adequate blood supply to the muscles. Increasing the ability to drain the acid produced out of the muscle, avoiding pain. Drink water throughout the day and also during training, take your bottle with you so you don’t forget it.

Maintain the level of physical activity

The better your fitness, the more resilient and efficient your metabolism will be. This will make you less dependent on the lactic acid pathway for energy.

That is why maintaining constant training is important. Weekend athletes are more prone to injuries, muscle aches, and the effect of lactate. Establish a daily routine of physical activity and stick with it for a long time. You will find that the sensation of muscle pain will lessen the more physically prepared you are.

Warm up before training

The warm-up can be done with a short jog, a walk, or a few minutes of light-intensity cycling. This process leads to dilation of blood vessels, increased heart rate, increased body temperature and preparation of the muscle to perform metabolism with greater intensity.

These are ideal conditions to prevent formation and help eliminate lactic acid. Therefore, before any type of training, the ideal is to do a previous warm-up to gradually condition your body and avoid injury.

Reduce the intensity of exercise


Once lactic acid is formed in high amounts when exercise is very intense, we can help our body to eliminate this acid from the muscles. One strategy is to reduce the intensity of the activity when you feel the pain caused by it, which is that burning sensation in the muscles that require more energy.

Intensity interval training also helps, as at times of lower intensity the muscles can better recover from the higher metabolic demand that occurs at times of high intensity.

Breathing control

Lactic acid production occurs when the body cannot supply enough oxygen for the oxidative respiration that occurs in the mitochondria and produces energy. Therefore, it uses lactic fermentation as an alternative to get that energy. Therefore, improving the oxygen supply to the tissues is one way to reduce this effect.

Many people, by exerting themselves physically, “forget” to breathe and end up creating a metabolic environment conducive to acidosis. So breathing deeply and more frequently during exercise will help your muscles receive oxygen by preventing the formation of lactic acid. It will also help eliminate the carbon dioxide produced as a product of cellular respiration.

Stretch to reduce lactic acid

The stretching before and after exercise practice is an excellent ally to avoid injury. Stretching makes the muscles more flexible, preventing their shortening, increasing their flexibility and range of movements and provides a gain in strength, agility and speed, this prevents injuries and increases muscle performance avoiding fatigue caused by lactic acid.

Practice endurance and speed

Athletes who run long distances hardly have a problem with lactic acid. Your bodies are prepared for exercises that require muscular effort for a long period of time at a moderate intensity. Instead of fast, explosive exercises, as in short-distance runners. When you condition your body to work in both strength and endurance modes, your ability to cope with increased lactic acid levels increases.

It is not necessary to become a marathoner and a bodybuilder at the same time, but inserting different workouts than what you are used to in your routine can be efficient. This will improve the availability of enzymes that act in the elimination of lactic acid, as well as improve your heart and respiratory capacity, and physical condition, reducing the chances of diverting your metabolism to the production of lactic acid.

Be careful when lifting weights

Weight training is the beginning of the muscles. This can be dangerous if done the wrong way. Although we always hear that the feeling that the muscles are “burning” is a good indication that the exercise is correct, you must be careful not to leave an effective workout to an injury. Find a qualified professional and gradually increase the weights and repetitions until you reach a more advanced level.

The role of magnesium in reducing lactic acid

Magnesium plays a key role in the action of many enzymes, in muscle contraction and relaxation, and in the production of energy, so adequate levels of this mineral are of the utmost importance for muscle health, as well as to prevent production of lactic acid.

Magnesium is found in many green leafy plants, fruits, nuts, almonds, beans, peas, sunflower seeds, and derivatives of soybeans. A balanced diet is capable of meeting daily needs, but it can also be consumed in the form of a nutritional supplement.

Maintain a proper diet

For muscle metabolism to function properly, as in any other situation, the body needs to be well nourished, obtain a supply of amino acids and essential fatty acids, vitamins, mineral salts, and have an adequate balance of macronutrients.

These factors together will ensure that the muscles receive all the necessary resources for high performance, avoiding injury, health risks and helping to prevent the formation of lactic acid.

Therefore, a balanced diet is of great importance as a global factor of physical performance allowing more performance in the practice of your sport and avoiding situations of metabolic stress such as excess lactic acid.


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