Dealing with latic acid

Dealing with latic acid

Postby Marty619 » Wed Jan 09, 2013 7:13 pm

Just wondering if anyone has trouble with excessive latic acid build up??

I ride as regular as I can when I'm home, and go to the gym when I'm at work yet u still have trouble with the amount if latic acid I build up, or the fact I can't get rid of it.

Any help/ information would be great.

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Re: Dealing with latic acid

Postby sogood » Wed Jan 09, 2013 7:26 pm

Lactic acid/lactate is part of our normal biochemical make up and physiology and even TdF champions have the same. But they just ride a heck of a lot faster with more power than you for the same amount of "build up" and pain.

Train more and build up your aerobic capacity and endurance and you'll also be able to ride faster.
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Re: Dealing with latic acid

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Wed Jan 09, 2013 7:40 pm

If you are unable to rid yourself of it then the obvious conclusion is that you are yet to develop the necessary endurance, cardio-wise.

I expect that you have googled somewhat. If you still haven't found the understanding you are after I suggest that you add "specificity" into the search string.

The physiology of making energy is quite complex but the solutions boil down to building your cardiovascular capacity. And that comes only with continuous hard work. It is a building thing.

Sogood hits the nail on the head. With massive effort you will get to a state of lactic acidosis regardless of fitness. But that "massive" can be more and more as you train - better placed, longer distance, faster time... Build build build...

If you are working harder than ever before you SHOULD be having trouble with lactic acid. Not something to worry about, just something that you work on.
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Re: Dealing with latic acid

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Wed Jan 09, 2013 8:02 pm

Marty619 wrote:or the fact I can't get rid of it.

The body will automatically clear excess blood lactate fairly quickly as soon as exercise stops, or slightly less quickly if intensity drops below unsustainable levels (an intensity level we often refer to as "threshold").

Blood lactate is itself a source of fuel for our metabolism and is not in itself a bad thing.

One can train to improve power output at the same level of blood lactate, and one can also train to sustain a higher level of blood lactate. The physiological adaptations that enable this take from days to many years to develop, and are primarily the result of undertaking sufficient regular training of the right type.
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Re: Dealing with latic acid

Postby sogood » Wed Jan 09, 2013 8:31 pm

ColinOldnCranky wrote:With massive effort you will get to a state of lactic acidosis regardless of fitness.

Actually, lactate is not the cause of metabolic acidosis but a byproduct, one that actually helps to buffer the pH. So it's better to refer the state as metabolic acidosis and not use the lactic term. It's amazing how popular fitness media misleads people.
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Re: Dealing with latic acid

Postby Phil » Thu Jan 10, 2013 4:35 pm

Can't comment on the technical side, I only know that for me when it gets too bad, I just drop the gearing to make it a bit easier but keep up the cadence up and it flushes relatively quickly.
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Re: Dealing with latic acid

Postby thecaptn » Thu Jan 10, 2013 9:21 pm

My old boxing trainer always told us to have a tea spoon of bi-carb soda in a glass of water after training to help nutralise the lactic acid, I'm not sure if it works but I still do it after a big effort.
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Re: Dealing with latic acid

Postby sogood » Thu Jan 10, 2013 9:46 pm

thecaptn wrote:My old boxing trainer always told us to have a tea spoon of bi-carb soda in a glass of water after training to help nutralise the lactic acid, I'm not sure if it works but I still do it after a big effort.

It works if the subject is well brain washed, and then it's called placebo. :wink:
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Re: Dealing with latic acid

Postby thecaptn » Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:04 pm

sogood wrote:
thecaptn wrote:My old boxing trainer always told us to have a tea spoon of bi-carb soda in a glass of water after training to help nutralise the lactic acid, I'm not sure if it works but I still do it after a big effort.

It works if the subject is well brain washed, and then it's called placebo. :wink:

Ah! So it does work :P
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Re: Dealing with latic acid

Postby sogood » Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:08 pm

Next time just hyperventilate a bit when you think you've got a "lactic acidosis" coming on. ;)
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Re: Dealing with latic acid

Postby DuncanS » Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:47 pm

thecaptn wrote:My old boxing trainer always told us to have a tea spoon of bi-carb soda in a glass of water after training to help nutralise the lactic acid, I'm not sure if it works but I still do it after a big effort.


As Alex indicated, it flushes pretty quickly when you stop anyway so I don't see any value to bicarb after exercise. Plenty of evidence that large doses prior to exercise can help but I gather nasty side effects when you get to an effective dose. Thus banned for both horses and athletes, from what I can recall.
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Re: Dealing with latic acid

Postby Marty619 » Thu Jan 10, 2013 11:07 pm

Thanks for all your info and tips guys.

I am starting to think I may have a high acid level in my body as I have noticed that I am bolted quite often during my long rides which seams odd, as I don't eat prior ( mainly first light riding). Now doing research into levels of acid and spoke to the local health shop that said most people had a level of 80/20 alkaline/acid, has anyone else heard this or is she just spinning me the yarn??
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Re: Dealing with latic acid

Postby sogood » Thu Jan 10, 2013 11:38 pm

Marty619 wrote:I am starting to think I may have a high acid level in my body as I have noticed that I am bolted quite often during my long rides which seams odd, as I don't eat prior ( mainly first light riding). Now doing research into levels of acid and spoke to the local health shop that said most people had a level of 80/20 alkaline/acid, has anyone else heard this or is she just spinning me the yarn??

If you had a "high acid level", then you wouldn't be here nor riding a bike. You'd be intubated in an ICU unit near you. 80/20? Only if its believed by an individual. ;)
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Re: Dealing with latic acid

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Fri Jan 11, 2013 6:21 am

Marty619 wrote:Now doing research into levels of acid and spoke to the local health shop that said most people had a level of 80/20 alkaline/acid, has anyone else heard this or is she just spinning me the yarn??

I think you should get your health advice from a health professional and stop listening to their pseudoscience nonsense.

The body has very effective and tight control of blood pH, which is typically very slightly alkaline (pH ~ 7.4) and does not typically vary from that by more than 0.05, and as Sogood points out (and I'm pretty sure he'd know a lot better than me on this), if your blood pH dropped to below 7.0 (neutral) and was acidic, you'd probably be in a coma or dead.

Next thing your "health shop" will probably want to sell you an expensive alkaline or ionised water system, which is of course complete and utter nonsense, and rather than designed to move electron holes from the water to your body, is only designed to move money holes from their bank account to yours.
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Re: Dealing with latic acid

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Fri Jan 11, 2013 6:36 am

DuncanS wrote:
thecaptn wrote:My old boxing trainer always told us to have a tea spoon of bi-carb soda in a glass of water after training to help nutralise the lactic acid, I'm not sure if it works but I still do it after a big effort.


As Alex indicated, it flushes pretty quickly when you stop anyway so I don't see any value to bicarb after exercise. Plenty of evidence that large doses prior to exercise can help but I gather nasty side effects when you get to an effective dose. Thus banned for both horses and athletes, from what I can recall.


Bicarb (aka baking soda) is not a prohibited substance or method (unless administered intravenously) under WADA code. Generally its use is limited to short duration (i.e. primarily anaerobic) sprint events and its effectiveness is unclear (and of course gastric distress can result).
http://www.brianmac.co.uk/articles/scni9a5.htm

These are not things any regular cyclist should even consider trying.
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Re: Dealing with latic acid

Postby thecaptn » Fri Jan 11, 2013 8:51 am

Alex Simmons/RST wrote:
DuncanS wrote:
thecaptn wrote:My old boxing trainer always told us to have a tea spoon of bi-carb soda in a glass of water after training to help nutralise the lactic acid, I'm not sure if it works but I still do it after a big effort.


As Alex indicated, it flushes pretty quickly when you stop anyway so I don't see any value to bicarb after exercise. Plenty of evidence that large doses prior to exercise can help but I gather nasty side effects when you get to an effective dose. Thus banned for both horses and athletes, from what I can recall.


Bicarb (aka baking soda) is not a prohibited substance or method (unless administered intravenously) under WADA code. Generally its use is limited to short duration (i.e. primarily anaerobic) sprint events and its effectiveness is unclear (and of course gastric distress can result).
http://www.brianmac.co.uk/articles/scni9a5.htm

These are not things any regular cyclist should even consider trying.

I've never noticed any adverse effects from drinking bi/carb but I would have thought that it would only serve to slightly neutralise the acid in your guts (when taking it in the amounts I'm refering to) and have next to zero effect on blood ph. Having said that I've been doing it for a while (purely in the name of science) just to see if I could notice a difference. I haven't made up my mind yet as I always feel good after training either way so am tending towards red herring.
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Re: Dealing with latic acid

Postby sogood » Fri Jan 11, 2013 9:56 am

thecaptn wrote:Having said that I've been doing it for a while (purely in the name of science) just to see if I could notice a difference. I haven't made up my mind yet as I always feel good after training either way so am tending towards red herring.

Science has already been defined and it can't stop the power of belief and placebo.
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Re: Dealing with latic acid

Postby tallywhacker » Fri Jan 11, 2013 3:32 pm

an interesting article from a few years ago. Goes along with what Alex said earlier
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/16/health/nutrition/16run.html?_r=0

Everyone who has even thought about exercising has heard the warnings about lactic acid. It builds up in your muscles. It is what makes your muscles burn. Its buildup is what makes your muscles tire and give out.

Coaches and personal trainers tell athletes and exercisers that they have to learn to work out at just below their "lactic threshold," that point of diminishing returns when lactic acid starts to accumulate. Some athletes even have blood tests to find their personal lactic thresholds.

But that, it turns out, is all wrong. Lactic acid is actually a fuel, not a caustic waste product. Muscles make it deliberately, producing it from glucose, and they burn it to obtain energy. The reason trained athletes can perform so hard and so long is because their intense training causes their muscles to adapt so they more readily and efficiently absorb lactic acid.

The notion that lactic acid was bad took hold more than a century ago, said George A. Brooks, a professor in the department of integrative biology at the University of California, Berkeley. It stuck because it seemed to make so much sense.

"It's one of the classic mistakes in the history of science," Dr. Brooks said.

Its origins lie in a study by a Nobel laureate, Otto Meyerhof, who in the early years of the 20th century cut a frog in half and put its bottom half in a jar. The frog's muscles had no circulation — no source of oxygen or energy.

Dr. Myerhoff gave the frog's leg electric shocks to make the muscles contract, but after a few twitches, the muscles stopped moving. Then, when Dr. Myerhoff examined the muscles, he discovered that they were bathed in lactic acid.

A theory was born. Lack of oxygen to muscles leads to lactic acid, leads to fatigue.

Athletes were told that they should spend most of their effort exercising aerobically, using glucose as a fuel. If they tried to spend too much time exercising harder, in the anaerobic zone, they were told, they would pay a price, that lactic acid would accumulate in the muscles, forcing them to stop.

Few scientists questioned this view, Dr. Brooks said. But, he said, he became interested in it in the 1960's, when he was running track at Queens College and his coach told him that his performance was limited by a buildup of lactic acid.

When he graduated and began working on a Ph.D. in exercise physiology, he decided to study the lactic acid hypothesis for his dissertation.

"I gave rats radioactive lactic acid, and I found that they burned it faster than anything else I could give them," Dr. Brooks said.

It looked as if lactic acid was there for a reason. It was a source of energy.

Dr. Brooks said he published the finding in the late 70's. Other researchers challenged him at meetings and in print.

"I had huge fights, I had terrible trouble getting my grants funded, I had my papers rejected," Dr. Brooks recalled. But he soldiered on, conducting more elaborate studies with rats and, years later, moving on to humans. Every time, with every study, his results were consistent with his radical idea.

Eventually, other researchers confirmed the work. And gradually, the thinking among exercise physiologists began to change.

"The evidence has continued to mount," said L. Bruce Gladden, a professor of health and human performance at Auburn University. "It became clear that it is not so simple as to say, Lactic acid is a bad thing and it causes fatigue."

As for the idea that lactic acid causes muscle soreness, Dr. Gladden said, that never made sense.

"Lactic acid will be gone from your muscles within an hour of exercise," he said. "You get sore one to three days later. The time frame is not consistent, and the mechanisms have not been found."

The understanding now is that muscle cells convert glucose or glycogen to lactic acid. The lactic acid is taken up and used as a fuel by mitochondria, the energy factories in muscle cells.

Mitochondria even have a special transporter protein to move the substance into them, Dr. Brooks found. Intense training makes a difference, he said, because it can make double the mitochondrial mass.

It is clear that the old lactic acid theory cannot explain what is happening to muscles, Dr. Brooks and others said.

Yet, Dr. Brooks said, even though coaches often believed in the myth of the lactic acid threshold, they ended up training athletes in the best way possible to increase their mitochondria. "Coaches have understood things the scientists didn't," he said.

Through trial and error, coaches learned that athletic performance improved when athletes worked on endurance, running longer and longer distances, for example.

That, it turns out, increased the mass of their muscle mitochondria, letting them burn more lactic acid and allowing the muscles to work harder and longer.

Just before a race, coaches often tell athletes to train very hard in brief spurts.

That extra stress increases the mitochondria mass even more, Dr. Brooks said, and is the reason for improved performance.

And the scientists?

They took much longer to figure it out.

"They said, 'You're anaerobic, you need more oxygen,' " Dr. Brooks said. "The scientists were stuck in 1920."
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Re: Dealing with latic acid

Postby thecaptn » Fri Jan 11, 2013 6:26 pm

sogood wrote:
thecaptn wrote:Having said that I've been doing it for a while (purely in the name of science) just to see if I could notice a difference. I haven't made up my mind yet as I always feel good after training either way so am tending towards red herring.

Science has already been defined and it can't stop the power of belief and placebo.

This is true and while I don't have the resources or inclination to conduct a formal trial of the said therapy I'll just have to satisfy my curiousity by way of subjective investigation.
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Re: Dealing with latic acid

Postby toolonglegs » Fri Jan 11, 2013 8:03 pm

Pain is the limiting factor ... at a certain point we just give up.
Dulling the pain makes us go longer... whether that is through pain kilers ( what is the amount of usage these days by top athletes? ) ... or our brain ( why is the last lap in an endurance event often the fastest or very close to it ).
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Re: Dealing with latic acid

Postby sogood » Fri Jan 11, 2013 9:07 pm

toolonglegs wrote:Pain is the limiting factor ... at a certain point we just give up.
Dulling the pain makes us go longer... whether that is through pain kilers ( what is the amount of usage these days by top athletes? ) ... or our brain ( why is the last lap in an endurance event often the fastest or very close to it ).

Interesting point. Do pros really take pain killers for this purpose? While pain is there, but I don't know if analgesics can really help a rider to hang in there when he/she is already at their aerobic limit (pains from injuries excluded).
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Re: Dealing with latic acid

Postby toolonglegs » Fri Jan 11, 2013 9:10 pm

sogood wrote:
toolonglegs wrote:Pain is the limiting factor ... at a certain point we just give up.
Dulling the pain makes us go longer... whether that is through pain kilers ( what is the amount of usage these days by top athletes? ) ... or our brain ( why is the last lap in an endurance event often the fastest or very close to it ).

Interesting point. Do pros really take pain killers for this purpose? While pain is there, but I don't know if analgesics can really help a rider to hang in there when he/she is already at their aerobic limit (pains from injuries excluded).

Little light reading http://jap.physiology.org/content/108/1/98.long
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Re: Dealing with latic acid

Postby sogood » Fri Jan 11, 2013 9:25 pm

toolonglegs wrote:Little light reading http://jap.physiology.org/content/108/1/98.long

Nice! Where's mum's box of Panamax? I need it in the morning. ;)

Seriously, I question the mode of action of this administration, one that I couldn't decipher from their presented methodology. For example, as a skier i know that taking NSAID after skiing will reduce the amount of muscle pain/ache/inflammation and facilitate my ability to ski the next day. So applied to this study, were the test subjects well rested and started from a fresh base when they did their ITT test? Or were they already fatigued from their regular training?
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Re: Dealing with latic acid

Postby drubie » Fri Jan 11, 2013 10:10 pm

Stupid confession time, slightly related. I have had gout for a good number of years in autumn but last year was truly crippling to the point I lost my usual rational thought processes. If you Google "gout" there are a few websites that encourage the consumption of bicarb of soda to offset the buildup of acid in your joints (long story). Anyway, I consumed enough bicarb to make my pee fizz (true story). Turns out your body pH levels are minutely controlled by your respiration (science!) And the only possible outcome from this approach is kidney failure. Nsaids like ibuprofen are the only antidote for mastering symptomatic inflammation you can buy over the counter, but if you're relying on them for performance you're kidding yourself.
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Re: Dealing with latic acid

Postby sogood » Fri Jan 11, 2013 10:24 pm

drubie wrote:Anyway, I consumed enough bicarb to make my pee fizz (true story). Turns out your body pH levels are minutely controlled by your respiration (science!) And the only possible outcome from this approach is kidney failure.

Yes, the body's pH is tightly and efficiently regulated by both one's respiration and the kidneys. Given the extra load you ingested, the kidneys will just as rapidly excrete them through the urine. LOL on the fizz though!
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