What Is Lactate?
During normal metabolism and exercise, lactate or lactic acid is a by-product produced in the body. Lactate is a by-product of glucose metabolism under anaerobic conditions. When you overexert yourself and your muscles do not receive enough oxygen, anaerobic respiration takes place, and lactate is produced. Small amounts of lactate are used as a source of energy by the body.
The concentration of lactate in blood during rest is usually 1-2 mmol/L. This can increase up to 20 mmol/L on exertion.
Lactate accumulation occurs when the body produces more lactate than it can burn and use as energy. This usually occurs after strenuous exercise. This can lead to exercise-induced or exercise-related hyperlactatemia.
Lactate is connected to the burning sensation in muscles after a workout or training session. However, research shows that lactate may help relieve burn or muscle cramps during high-intensity training.
Lactate accumulation is not responsible for muscle soreness that occurs in the days after your workout. It is responsible for a burning sensation or soreness in muscles right after you workout as the body cannot remove all of it immediately.
The lactate threshold is the point at which your body starts to build up more lactate than it can burn during exercise. This usually happens during high-intensity workouts when you exert your muscles more. The lactate threshold can be increased with the lactate threshold training program.
Lactate accumulation can be beneficial. Lactate threshold training can be incorporated to benefit from this. This can be used to enhance cardiovascular endurance performance. Many world-class and Olympic athletes include this training in their workouts. Research has shown that lactate threshold can be used as a predictor of performance at endurance events.
How Does Genetics Influence Lactate Accumulation During Training?
The MCT1 gene encodes a protein that is involved in the movement of monocarboxylates like lactate and pyruvate across the cell membrane. This is required for the clearance and transport of lactate. Variations in this gene can affect lactate transport and lead to accumulation.
rs1049434 is an SNP in the MCT1 gene. [People with the TT, AT genotype were found to have higher lactate accumulation during high-intensity workouts than the AA genotype] (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19850519/).
Non-genetic Factors That Affect Lactate Accumulation During Training
Diet: If your diet does not include enough glycogen, lactate accumulation may occur faster during high-intensity training.
Intensity of exercise: Lactate accumulation usually occurs during high-intensity workouts when you exert your muscles more. The rate of oxygen supply to the muscles is not enough for aerobic respiration. Hence, more lactate is produced.
* Aerobic capacity:* Aerobic capacity is the maximum amount of oxygen that can be used by your body during training. It can determine how effectively your muscles use oxygen and reach the lactate threshold. This differs based on the type of training(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3438148/).
Effects of Lactate Accumulation
This accumulation or buildup of lactic acid can make your muscles feel sore and induce several other symptoms that include
- Shortness of breath
- Yellowing of skin or eyes in certain cases
- Burning sensation in muscles
If symptoms are very severe or persist for a long time, it may be a sign of lactic acidosis, and you need to talk to your doctor.
How To Manage Lactate Accumulation?
- Eat a healthy and balanced diet with a lot of nutrients, including vitamins and minerals. Remember to drink enough water and stay hydrated.
- Warm-up and cool down: Stretching before and after an intense workout is important to stimulate circulation, increase flexibility, and relieve tension. This also increases the amount of oxygen delivered to your muscles.
- Consistency: Be consistent with your exercise routine and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workout.
- Recovery: It is important to rest between workouts for muscle recovery and break down of excess lactic acid buildup.
- Training: Lactate threshold training is being practiced to increase the lactate threshold. This is high-intensity training that is either done continuously or in intervals. You can work with your training instructor to gradually increase the intensity of your workout for optimizing your lactate threshold and increasing performance. Your performance at endurance activities can be optimized. Lactate threshold training includes a combination of high volume, maximal steady-state, and interval workouts. These can improve your lactate threshold and improve your performance at high-intensity activities.
The intensity and volume of training should be increased gradually. With this type of training, the caloric expenditure of the individual increases, and performance at endurance-related activities also increases.
- Lactate is a by-product of glucose metabolism under anaerobic conditions. During high-intensity workouts, when your muscles don’t receive enough oxygen, lactate starts accumulating in your muscles.
- Lactate accumulation can lead to a burning sensation in your muscles, muscle soreness, nausea, weakness, numbness, and cramps. If symptoms are severe, you should talk to your doctor.
- Variations in the MCT1 gene can affect lactate accumulation during training. People who carry the T allele of rs1049434, an SNP in the MCT1 gene, were found to have a higher lactate accumulation during high-intensity workouts.
- Your diet, intensity of exercise, and aerobic capacity are some of the non-genetic factors that can affect lactate accumulation.
- You can manage the lactate accumulation in your muscles and even increase lactate threshold by hydrating, including magnesium and vitamin C in your diet, following a balanced diet, stretching before and after training, and taking ample rest.
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