Lactic Acid--The Latest Performance-Enhancing Drug

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Science  20 Aug 2004:
Vol. 305, Issue 5687, pp. 1112-1113
DOI: 10.1126/science.1103078

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Runners routinely blame their weak and aching muscles on the accumulation of lactic acid. But not so fast, say Allen and Westerblad in their Perspective. They discuss a study ( Pedersen et al.) revealing that lactic acid accumulation can, in fact, be beneficial by helping to restore force to weakened muscles. By altering the activity of chloride ion channels, lactic acid may actually boost the generation of action potentials and, hence, muscle activity even as the muscles begin to fatigue.