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The unkillable lactic acid myth

 •  • by Paul Ingraham

Weekly nuggets of pain science news and insight, usually 100-300 words, with the occasional longer post. The blog is the “director’s commentary” on the core content of PainScience.com: a library of major articles and books about common painful problems and popular treatments. See the blog archives or updates for the whole site.

Lactic acid is not a dead-end, “bad” metabolic waste product, and it does not cause post-exercise soreness. This is a pernicious and seemingly un-killable myth. It originated with “one of the classic mistakes in the history of science,” according to George Brooks, a Berkley physiologist. See Gina Kolata’s clear overview in the New York Times, or a concise professional summary by Robergs in Experimental Physiology. For a deeper and geekier, but excellent read, see Dr. Goodwin’s entertaining rant about the prevalence of the lactate myth in the 2012 summer Olympics coverage.