How does lactic acid provide energy while exercising?

Until recently it was assumed that the accumulation of lactic acid in body caused exhaustion. For this reason sportsmen and trainers thought that lactic acid was some kind of a waste product in muscles, that is, a sort of toxin that caused exhaustion, reduction in performance and soreness. However scientific studies recently proved otherwise, revealing that, unlike what is assumed, lactic acid is not a harmful material but one created for many particular wisdom.

Why sportsmen are stronger than other people and why do they outperform other people?

How do muscles use lactic acid?

How does lactic acid prevent gaining excessive weight?

Why is there need for lactic acid for the functioning of organs?

The energy consumed by sportsmen involved in athletics, swimming or climbing are of great dimensions. These sportsmen display high performance not only in competitions but also in their trainings. One of the sources of these performances that can’t be done by a great majority of people is the lactic acid which is for long years surmised to be harmful by scientists and sportsmen.  

How do sportsmen attain such performance which is so difficult for many people?

How does a football player complete a 90- minutes football match or a marathon runner run a marahthon without feeling exhaustion? What is the source of this energy?

What is lactic acid?

Lactic acid is a natural organic compound that exists in muscles, blood and other organs of the body. In case of strenuous exercise or excessive movements the energy in cells prove to be insufficient and the body starts to produce energy by alternative methods. While this alternative energy is generated, lactic acid builds up in muscles as a by-product. As the energy production increases, lactic acid production also increases.

How does lactic acid come into existence?

How is the lactic acid generated step by step?

Muscles are in need of an energy which is formulated as ATP (adenosine triphosphate). Glucose, which is a simple sugar, is the source of this energy. However during a strenuous exercise the glucose existing in the environment proves to be insufficient as a source of energy. Muscles cope with this problem by converting the carbonhydrate stored in its cells into glucose and using that glucose. This way, both the glucose which is present in the environment and the the amount stored in cells generate the energy needed for muscle movements. Meanwhile, as a component of this process lactic acid is released. During these chemical reactions in which glucose is used, the oxygen- free metabolism, which is referred to as glycolytic pathway is employed, for there exists no need for oxygen. At the end of these reactions lactic acid is built up. The research reveals that the lactic that accumulates to generate ATP are also processed in muscle cells by oxygen. All organs including liver and even an organ as vital as heart also employs lactate in order to function.

How do muscles use lactic acid?

During strenuous exercise muscle cells convert the glucose in the muscle tissue into lactic acid. The energy fabrics in muscle cells takes in the lactic acid and uses it as a fuel. The mitochondrion, which is responsible for energy production, is the body where lactate (the sodium and potasium salt of lactic acid) is processed for energy. There are particular carrier-proteins responsible for taking in the lactic acid into the cells and processing them.

Exercise enables the mitochondria – the powerhouses of muscle cells- to develop. By the help of exercise mitochondria weighs twice as much as its own weight. This in turn enables the burning of lactic acid and in turn  a longer and more efficient functioning of muscles. The reason why sportsmen are stronger than other people and why they outdo other people in performance is because their muscles can use this lactic acid in heavy exercises more efficiently.

Once sugar in the environment is consumed during exercise, the carbonhydrate stored in the muscle tissue are used and the lactic acid released during this process becomes an efficient fuel. While human body uses lactic acid and generates energy, it also cleanses the body from would-be harmful materials by preventing its conversion into fat.

It is Allah Who creates the perfect structures in our body and systems. As it is seen a series of complex processes take place in the body of a sportsman or someone who exercises that he even not notices. Surely this perfect mechanism is one of the examples of Almighty Allah’s superior creation. From the first day of their creation, Allah Who knows all the processes taking place in each cell of every person, also knows the formation and production of lactic acid as a source of energy and its carriage into cells. In the Qur’an, the creation of Allah is related thus:


He Who has created all things in the best possible way. He commenced the creation of man from clay; then produced his seed from an extract of base fluid;then formed him and breathed His Spirit into him and gave you hearing, sight and hearts. What little thanks you show! (Surat as-Sajda, 7-9)

2010-12-25 21:34:08

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