Narrator: This is Science Today. Lactate tolerance is a training regimen in which athletes push themselves with hard exercise intervals to build up a tolerance for lactic acid. Now, exercise physiologist George Brooks of the University of California , Berkeley has discovered the cellular mechanism behind what coaches and athletes have known based on their experience and feel. Brooks says accumulated lactic acid is transported from the muscles to the mitochondria – the powerhouse of the cell – where it is efficiently burned as fuel.
Brooks: What we call this is the lactate shuttle. It's the idea that lactate gets
made in one place and can be used in an adjacent site or some other site quite
far removed in the body.
Narrator: Brooks explains that the tolerance coaches and athletes have strived for really involves the body's efficient way of removing lactic acid.
Brooks: So what they're doing by pushing their athletes with hard intervals is building up the cellular apparatus, the mitochondria in the muscle that allow the athlete to work hard, generate lactic acid but then to use it - not have it linger and accumulate, which will be a great discomfort.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.