How To Reduce Lactic Acid

Running Athlete in Motion

At one point or another, you’ve probably heard of lactic acid and exercise. Some equate it with the burning that they feel in their muscles after a longer workout, while others think that it’s responsible for the troubles that you might have breathing during your workout. To clear up all the myths and outline the facts about lactic acid, read on.

What is lactic acid?

Lactic acid is a chemical structure made out of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen in a chain-like form. It is also known as milk acid. The related substance lactate is produced in the body during a chemical reaction, but lactic acid doesn’t form under such simple conditions. However, the question remains, where does lactic acid come from?

How is lactic acid created?

Lactic acid is produced as a result of hard work by the muscles. What happens is that when your body is working hard, it produces high levels of lactate in the muscles. When you’re running or sprinting, your body produces so much lactate that it can’t remove it from the muscles quickly enough.

However, while this sounds like a bad thing, it’s actually a sign that your body is finding ways to create energy and ensure that you can keep doing whatever it is that you’re doing.

However, when the lactate levels get too high, a chemical reaction occurs with other chemicals in the body, creating lactic acid. What you should know is that it is not the rise in lactate levels that leads to that burning feeling in your muscles, but rather it seems that it is the reaction that forms lactic acid that is the cause of the pain. But some scientists are still debating about the pain’s source.

How to overcome lactic acid

But what you really want to know is how you can avoid that burning pain when you are working out. And the answer is simple: work out more. While it might seem counterproductive to workout more, what you need to do is effectively ‘teach’ your muscles to handle lactic acid in a more effective way. However, you want to do this is a controlled fashion so that you’re not hurting each time you walk in the door.

You can start to build up a resistance to lactic acid by working out at a medium intensity during your workouts. This means that you are working just hard enough to get your heart pumping fast and your lungs working a little harder.

You might measure this by how much you can talk as you are working out – which should be in incomplete sentences, though you can still talk. As you build up your muscular and aerobic capacity, your body will be able to handle higher levels of lactic acid and thus reduce the amount of pain that you might feel.

Learn how to control lactic acid

You don’t necessarily have to feel the burn in order to have a good workout; you can learn how to control the lactic acid effect in your body and maximize your workout time.

*Lactic Acid Update*

For nearly a century, athletes and physiologists have considered lactic acid a principal cause of weariness during high intensity exercise and it has been referred to as a “waste product” of muscle metabolism.

But now this way of thinking is being challenged, because scientists have learned that the lactic acid we generate during exercise is not a source of fatigue but in fact helps to prevent it. Lactic acid is in fact an ally during intense exercise. It does a great deal to keep the body going during intense exercise.

Besides being modified back into a fuel source, when hydrogen begins to accumulate, lactate transports it out of the working muscle cells and aids to shield or offset its negative consequences.

The real cause of such delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is now thought to be inflammation caused by damage to muscle cells, which repair themselves after a few days.


  • Julie

    Hi I suffer from Fibro and cfs too, can you tell me which supplements they gave you please? I will give them a try once I know what they are. Thanks Julie

  • Laz 2016

    This brings up an interesting question. I have always gotten lactic acid build-up during working out at the gym. But, about 10 years ago, I had many things go wrong all at once. I was diagnosed with (genetic) frequent severe migraines, Fibro, chronic fatigue syndrome, myofascial pain syndrome…then other things also went wrong-magnesium deficiency, high cholesterol, lipids and triglycerides…then other things went wrong as well.

    Nothing that will kill me really, but I am in pain every single day. But, here’s the thing, I was working full-time and working out at the gym 3 days a week. When everything went crazy, I could no longer work my job the same. I was finally fired. Then also, my workouts-every time I went, there was more and more (stronger/faster) lactic build-up. I soon had to give up my workouts as well.

    I was quickly losing my threshold for lactic acid tolerance. Also, since everything got worse, instead of my body feeling worse the next day or 2 after, I am often starting to feel the “after-affects” during the end of the workout. I can tell quickly that I will be suffering bad the next day-sometimes so cramped up and muscles so tight and short, almost can’t move. And I am not talking about power building-just routine workout (almost nothing compared to what I used to do). For instance today,

    I used the nautilus machines at the gym-only 1 rep of 10-15 on each machine, only 10-70 pounds of weight depending on the machine, alternating legs/arms, to have sort of a breather in-between. Then I tried to go 20 minutes on the redundant bike. HA! After 10 minutes I had to quit and went to walk around the track. My legs would not straighten for a while. It was easier to do a light joglike technique to get around the track because my tendons, ligaments and muscles were so tight.

    After one lap around, I sat on the floor and bit my towel and forced my legs to straighten. But, even before I was near the end of the workout-I was all ready feeling the “days after” fatigue/soreness/stiffness. It’s VERY frustrating and an ego crusher. I have gained so much weight over the last 10-12 years. I truly wish there would be much more aggressive studies on this very topic.

    • Brian

      Try taking 1 or 2 Aspirin about an hour before you work out and again 2 to 4 hours after your work out. I got to know a couple of body builders at the gym and was explaining how it was taking longer for my body to recover. They gave me the advice I’m giving you. It cut my recovery time in half and I can lift with the younger guys once again.

      You never ‘think’ to take Aspirin before you feel the pain, just afterwards. Thins the blood which makes it easier to remove Lactic Acid from the system and slows any inflammation After a few work outs, more reps and enjoyment can be had. An that Ego get pumped up as a bonus kb

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *