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Lactic acid, or, in a scientific way, lactate, many people consider harmful and almost dangerous to health. Sometimes you can hear from novice athletes, as well as from supporters of weight loss with the help of intense loads, that after training the muscles of the whole body are sore: “probably lactic acid has accumulated …”. Hence the questions. Where does excess lactic acid come from, and in general, what is it, and can it accumulate in muscles? If you can, how to get rid of it?
Photo: lactic acid
What is lactic acid and where does it come from
This acid can be ingested with food: it is rich in dairy products, sauerkraut, cheeses, there is it in wine, beer, kvass, Borodino bread, etc. In the food industry, this non-toxic compound is lactate, E-270, is used, as a preservative, and is considered a safe food additive: it is added even to baby food.
Photo: lactic acid
Normally, the body itself produces lactic acid. This happens when glucose is decomposed, but it is difficult to say how much lactic acid is the norm: scientists have not yet reached a specific conclusion, and exact data are not indicated.
It is known that lactate is necessary for normal metabolism, and the lack of physical activity slows down its production: a person may feel weakness, the brain works sluggishly, and digestion worsens. With a shortage of lactic acid, it becomes harder for the heart and nervous system to work, inflammation and bacterial infections occur more easily: the beneficial intestinal microflora suffers, and immunity decreases.
Diseases such as diabetes and cancer also develop faster with a lack of lactate, but the excess also faces serious problems: for example, convulsions appear or the liver is affected. This usually happens if a person already has serious illnesses: the amount of lactic acid increases by a factor of 2-3, and in old age it can also accumulate: for example, in brain tissues.
Here, however, we will talk about the problems of sports and exercise enthusiasts.
Is lactic acid to blame?
Quite often there are statements like “lactic acid does not bring anything good,” “muscles hurt from it,” “we must get rid of it as soon as possible” and
Experienced trainers know that lactic acid is not a harmful “breakdown product”, but a substance that plays an important role in the formation of energy. In addition, it helps the body relive stress, and it serves as a “fuel” for the liver. More lactate helps the heart to bear the load, and many professional athletes know this: football players, runners, swimmers, cyclists and everyone who trains regularly.
Lactic acid itself does not cause burning: it appears when its production is accelerated sharply – then it splits into lactate and hydrogen. The latter causes a slowdown in biochemical reactions and muscle contractions, and there are pains and a feeling of overwork. Fans of throwing everything in one pile do not understand, who is to blame, and render a verdict: lactic acid is harmful, and we must get rid of it.
How to withdraw lactic acid
Contrary to the “established stereotypes,” it is not necessary to pay special attention to the removal of lactic acid from the muscles: most often it is removed after a workout itself, for about an hour. Lactate is not a “working out” of motor oil, but the best fuel for the muscles, supporting them both during the load and after it.
Photo: lactic acid
However, the well-being of the muscles depends on how fast it is removed, and how the body tolerates it. It should be said that beginners experience the most severe discomfort, and during regular workouts for a long time, the level of lactic acid does not rise sharply and strongly. It is among beginners and inexperienced athletes that many are sure: to remove lactic acid, you must visit the sauna, or take a hot bath, have a massage, and then relax – then the pain and cramps will recede. There are even certain patterns for using these methods. So, it is proposed to enter the sauna for 10 minutes, exit, after 5 minutes, go again – for 20 minutes already; another 5 minutes of break and another set, half-hour. In conclusion, swim in the cold pool or take a cold shower. Much the same – with a hot bath: the meaning of the procedures is to “disperse” the blood and help the muscles recover faster. Massage is also called a great way to get rid of lactic acid, and the principle here is the same – blood circulation is accelerated. The benefits of these methods are undeniable, but they are hardly relevant to the elimination of lactic acid.
According to a study in which several groups of athletes took part, the lactic acid content in the blood of those who used the sauna and massage after a workout was actually the same as that of those who simply rested. But for those who immediately after classes rode a bicycle at a quiet pace, its level dropped significantly.
It turns out that with adequate loads, the body without problems removes lactic acid itself: you only need to determine for yourself the optimal intensity of training and their character, and plan the schedule so that the muscles have time to recover completely.
More professional trainers recommend not letting the muscles cool down between sets. It is noticed that muscles get tired less if you alternate intensive load with light: for example, after a power trainer or work with a weight, walk at a quiet pace on a treadmill, or just around the hall. During movement, the blood does not stagnate in the muscle tissue, begins to circulate faster through all tissues and organs, and lactic acid does not linger.
An important aid to the body is a normal water balance. It protects the muscles from any aggressive effects, and with intensive exercises is especially important. Drink clean water before training, during and after it; during the class you should drink every 10-20 minutes, 200-300 ml, and at elevated temperatures more and more often. During the day, do not forget about fluids either: infusions of healing herbs and fresh green tea rich in antioxidants are in the first place after water.
Excellent protection is for muscles and proper nutrition. The calories needed for training should be obtained from complex, “slow” carbohydrates; protein should always be enough – then the muscle fibers will not break and become inflamed, and the correct fats will ensure a normal metabolic rate.
Author: Ponomarenko Nadezhda Article protected by copyright and related rights. When using and reprinting the material an active link to the women’s site
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Nutrition and health
Lactic acid is often spoken of in a negative way, noting that if it is too abundant, it causes pain in the muscles and disrupts metabolism. What is the true role of this element in the body, and how to stabilize its accumulation in the tissues, excretion from them in order to always feel comfortable.
What is lactic acid, its role in the body
Lactic acid is an integral component of the metabolism in the human body. It is formed during the breakdown of glucose and is one of the first substances that consume cells to stabilize the energy balance. For the first time this element or lactate was identified in 1780, and in 1807 it was the first time it was isolated from muscle tissue in the form of zinc salt.
Based on the foregoing, it is important to note that without the presence of lactic acid in the body, it is impossible to fully nourish its tissues. In particular, we are talking about brain cells, blood vessels, muscles and the nervous system. Since the molecule of this substance is much smaller than the insulin molecule, it is it that primarily participates in the regulation of the exchange of energy reserves between muscle fibers, without requiring hormonal support, therefore, during exercise, carbohydrates are first burned.
For the production of lactic acid in the body does not need additional participation of oxygen, so the process of its formation is called anaerobic. For the same reason, during exercise with lifting a large weight, or when working with its own weight, lactate is produced several times more – anaerobic exercise provokes an active influx of glucose to the muscles and, accordingly, its rapid conversion into lactic acid. The uncomfortable sensation of pain in the muscles on the day after training is associated with this phenomenon – the body does not have time to remove the remnants of the substance from the tissues. This factor is evidence that you have crossed the threshold of your own capabilities and launched the process of building muscle strength and the muscles themselves. Over time, with regular workouts, the pain disappears and no longer appears. This means that the muscles consume all lactic acid, which is formed during the breakdown of glucose. For athletes, this is a signal that it is time to increase the load.
Lactic acid formation
As already mentioned, the main source of lactic acid is glucose. She, in turn, enters the body along with carbohydrates, which in the diet of modern man quite a lot. A whole string of inexpensive sweets, sausages made with the participation of soy protein, unfortified pasta, rice and potatoes, “fast” semi-finished products, sugar are all the main sources of light carbohydrates that are actively accumulated in the body and are primarily used by the body to replenish energy .
If during the day you use the optimal amount of glucose, then you have enough energy reserves, and for mental and physical activities. At the same time, you do not experience any discomfort, since all the lactic acid produced is recycled by the cells. Pain occurs if during the day you significantly exaggerate the rate of necessary carbohydrates. And here there are two possible scenarios.
In the first, in the absence of active training, some of the carbohydrates are not consumed, gradually transforming into adipose tissue, and the second part contributes to the synthesis of that amount of lactic acid, which the muscle fibers are not able to burn. As a result, an excess of this substance provokes itching, rashes, inflammations and acne on the face and body. With regular abuse of foods belonging to the category of light carbohydrates, as well as containing in its composition lactic acid, the formation of an allergic reaction is possible.
In the second variant, dynamic physical activities are meant, in particular, with the use of weights and additional weight. Then an excess of glucose provokes active production of a large amount of lactic acid, which simply does not have time to work through during training and causes inflammation in the overloaded muscles.
How to remove lactic acid from the body
To a surplus of lactic acid did not cause you discomfort, with or without workouts, you must carefully consider how to remove it from the body.
1. Drink plenty of water. With an average weight of 60-70 kg, it is necessary to drink at least 1.5-2 liters per day along with the liquid, which is part of the drinks and dishes. With a weight of 90-100 kg, this volume increases to 2.5-3 liters! For physical exertion, especially for cardiovascular training, at least half a liter of pure water should be added to the liquid rate. If this recommendation is not followed, then lactic acid will accumulate in the tissues even more actively, and the pain after exercise will become stronger.
2. Normalization of the diet. The most important point in this case is a strict calculation of carbohydrates consumed per day. It is not necessary to immediately abandon all your favorite foods and strictly limit yourself to sweets. It is enough to count the number of calories that you spend for all the time of a standard workout and compile a daily menu in proportion to this. For example, if you burn 300 calories per hour, then within 24 hours you can not eat more than 150-170 grams of carbohydrates. Accordingly, another 300 units burned increases this number by 30-50 grams. The most undesirable products in this case are bakery products, purchased sweets, sugar, potatoes, raw pasta, white rice. Include them in the diet can only be in small quantities, only in the morning and no later than two hours before workouts. Shortly before they start, it is best to eat foods from the category of complex carbohydrates: cereals, whole-grain bread, legumes.
3. Eat more fiber. This substance has the magical properties of cleansing the body, in particular, removing excess lactic acid from the tissues. Fresh vegetables and fruits will help improve digestive processes, improve the quality of physical exertion, remove protein processing products and other harmful substances.
4. Bath, sauna, hot bath. The principle of action in this case consists in steaming the skin, muscles and accelerating blood circulation, due to which excess lactic acid is eliminated naturally. But be careful – you can not undergo a procedure with heating the body immediately after physical exertion. It should take at least half an hour. Otherwise, there may be a strong pressure drop in the vessels, dizziness, nausea, and difficulty in breathing.
An important nuance in the issue of getting rid of excess lactic acid is that it is quickly consumed. Any physical activity that you do during the day will use it to nourish the muscle tissue, so there is no need for long-term diets to stabilize its amount. It is enough to reduce the consumption of light carbohydrates: milk chocolate, cakes, muffins, chocolate bars, condensed milk, sugar, as well as most semi-finished products and canned foods that may contain lactic acid as a preservative (additive E270).
Zinaida Rublevskaya for women’s magazine
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Lactic acid (lactate) is a substance from the carboxylic group. In the human body is the product of glycolysis (breakdown of glucose). Contained in the cells of the brain, liver, heart, muscle tissue and other organs.
Lactic acid, or Lactic acid (formula – CH3CH (OH) COOH) belongs to the ANA-substances (alpha-hydroacids). It is formed as a result of fermentation of milk, wine or beer, and is eaten in sauerkraut. For the first time, lactic acid was discovered by the Swedish researcher Karl Scheele in 1780 in animal muscles, in some microorganisms, as well as in the seeds of individual plants. A few years later, another Swedish scientist, Jens Jacob Berzelius, managed to isolate lactates (lactic acid salts).
Lactate is a non-toxic, almost transparent (with a yellow tinge), odorless substance. It is dissolved in water (at a temperature of about 20 degrees Celsius), as well as in alcohol and glycerin. High hydroscopic properties allow you to create saturated solutions of lactic acid.
Role in the body
In the human body during glycolysis, glucose is transformed into lactic acid and ATP. This process takes place in the muscle tissues, including the heart, which is especially important for the enrichment of the myocardium with lactic acid.
In addition, lactate is involved in the so-called reverse glycolysis, when glucose is formed as a result of certain chemical reactions. This transformation occurs in the liver, where lactate is concentrated in large quantities. And the oxidation of lactic acid provides the necessary energy for the process.
Lactic acid is a significant component of chemical reactions occurring in the body. This substance is important for metabolic processes, muscles, nervous system and brain.
It is the concentration of lactic acid in the body that determines the quality of carbohydrate metabolism and the level of tissue oxygen saturation. In the body of a healthy person, the blood lactate content is between 0.6 and 1.3 mmol / liter. Interestingly, most diseases with convulsions cause an increase in this indicator. An increase of 2–3 times occurs in cases of severe disorders.
Lactic acid in excess of the normal range may indicate oxygen deficiency. And he, in turn, is one of the symptoms of heart failure, anemia, or pulmonary impairment. In oncology, excess lactate indicates a possible increase in malignant tumors. Serious liver diseases (cirrhosis, hepatitis), diabetes mellitus also cause an increase in the level of acid in the body.
Meanwhile, the presence of lactate in excess is not only a sign of serious diseases, but also serves as a cause for the development of other pathologies. For example, increased acidity of the blood leads to a decrease in the amount of alkali and an increase in the level of ammonia in the body. This violation of doctors called acidosis. It is accompanied by a disorder of the nervous, muscular and respiratory systems.
It is also important to know that intensive production of lactic acid is possible in a healthy body after intensive sports activities. To understand that the concentration of lactate increased, it is easy for muscle pain. However, immediately after exercise, lactic acid is eliminated from the muscle.
Another reason for increasing the concentration of lactic acid, not related to disease, is age. Experiments have shown that in elderly people in the brain cells accumulate an excessive amount of lactate.
There is no such thing as a “daily rate of lactic acid”, and there is no clearly defined amount of consumption of products containing lactate. Although there is no doubt that people leading a sedentary lifestyle, not involved in sports, should consume more food with lactic acid. Usually, 2 glasses of kefir per day is enough to restore balance. This is enough for the acid molecules to be easily absorbed by the body.
Increased need for lactate is felt by children during the period of intensive growth, as well as adults during intellectual work. At the same time, the elderly body does not need to consume high doses of lactic acid. The need for a substance is also decreasing due to the high level of ammonia, in case of kidney and liver diseases. Convulsions may indicate an excess of substance. Problems with digestion, fatigue, on the contrary, indicate a lack of substance.
Lactic acid damage
Virtually any substance in excess can not be useful for the human body. Lactic acid in pathologically high concentrations in the composition of the blood leads to the development of lactic acidosis. As a result of this disease, the body is “acidified”, the pH level decreases sharply, which subsequently leads to dysfunction of almost all cells and organs.
Meanwhile, it is worth knowing that on the background of intensive physical work or training, lactic acidosis does not occur. This disease is a side condition in severe diseases such as leukemia, diabetes, acute blood loss, sepsis.
Speaking about the dangers of excess lactic acid, it is impossible not to recall that some drugs cause an increase in the concentration of lactate. In particular, adrenaline or sodium nitroprusside can cause lactic acidosis.
How to get rid of excess acid
Bodybuilders belong to the category of persons in whose body (due to objective circumstances) the level of lactic acid increases regularly. To remove excess lactates from the body will help such techniques:
- Workout start warm-up and finish with a hitch.
- Take isotonics with bicarbonate content – they neutralize lactic acid.
- After training, take a hot bath.
And by the way, the level of acid is always higher in beginner athletes. Over time, the concentration of lactate increases moderately.
Lactate for athletes
Lactic acid, produced during training, serves as a “fuel” for the body, contributing to muscle building. In addition, lactate dilates blood vessels, improves blood flow, with the result that oxygen is better transported through the body, including muscle tissue.
As a result of the experiments, an association was established between the growth of lactic acid and testosterone. Intensive release of the hormone occurs after 15-60 seconds of increased physical activity. In addition, sodium lactate in combination with caffeine has an anabolic effect on muscle tissue. This prompted researchers to the idea of the possible use of lactic acid as a drug to build muscle. However, for now this is just a guess that needs to be verified.
If we recall that lactic acid is the result of fermentation processes with the participation of lactic acid bacteria, it becomes easier to learn the list of products rich in a useful substance. With this knowledge, you do not have to look at the label every time in search of the necessary ingredient.
The most concentrated sources of lactate are dairy products. In particular, it is whey, kefir, sour cream, cottage cheese, ryazhenka, yogurt, ayran, hard cheese, ice cream, yogurt.
Other products containing lactic acid: sauerkraut, kvass, Borodino bread, beer, wine.
Application in cosmetology
As already noted, lactate belongs to the group of AHA-acids. And these substances contribute to the exfoliation of dead particles of the epidermis. Due to this and other properties, lactic acid is actively used in cosmetology.
In addition to exfoliation, lactate, as a cosmetic, is capable of:
- eliminate inflammation, cleanse the skin from harmful microorganisms;
- whiten, remove age spots;
- remove the cuticle without damaging the skin;
- treat acne;
- moisturize, improve elasticity, strengthen loose skin;
- smooth mimic and reduce deep wrinkles;
- to relieve stretch marks on the skin;
- narrow pores;
- accelerate the regeneration of the epidermis;
- regulate the acidity of the skin;
- improve the condition of oily skin;
- give platinum shade to blond hair;
- eliminate the smell of sweat.
In women’s forums, there are often positive reviews of lactic acid – as a component of natural home-made cosmetics. As a means of beauty, lactate is used as a component of soap, shampoos, creams and serums for skin rejuvenation, in means for peeling or depigmentation. Also include lactic acid in cosmetics for intimate hygiene as an antibacterial compound.
Lactic acid can be added to the finished cosmetics. For example, in a peeling preparation lactate may be about 4 percent, in soap, shampoos and balms – about 3 percent, in tonic and creams no more than 0.5 percent of the total composition. But before you improve the finished products with lactate or create homemade cosmetics, you need to do a test for individual tolerance of the substance. It is also important to know that pure lactic acid can cause the death of mucous membranes, and excessive consumption of drugs with lactate, although it does not create a toxic effect, but dries the skin.
It is safer to use the means of our grandmothers and great-grandmothers and use products rich in lactic acid as cosmetic. For example, a 30-minute mask from yogurt will restore shine to dry hair, and kefir face mask will prevent early aging, relieve pigmentation and freckles.
Lactate concentrate has been shown to be effective in removing warts, corns, tartar.
In the food industry, lactic acid is known as E270 preservative additive, which improves taste. It is believed that this substance is safe for humans. Included in the salad dressings, confectionery, is in milk formulas for children.
In pharmacology, lactate is used to create bactericidal agents. And in light industry, this substance is used in the manufacture of leather goods.
Today you learned the most interesting facts about lactate and its effects on the body. Now you know how to use lactic acid with maximum benefit for your health and beautiful appearance. And most importantly – where to find the sources of this useful substance.