The Exercise, Lactate, Testosterone Connection

Lactic acid is considered a waste product of cellular respiration. Lactic acid is produced in cells through the incomplete combustion of glucose following anaerobic glycolysis. Lactic acid accumulates in cells during metabolism and exercise greatly increases production, especially if it is intense. Lactic acid can diffuse out of cells where it dissociates into lactate and hydrogen ions, and it is these hydrogen ions that cause the burning sensation from intense exercise, due to their ability to lower the pH of tissues. Lactate has been shown to have a number of physiological effects, including the ability to stimulate the synthesis of testosterone from leydig cells in the testes. Evidence from rat studies show that physiological relevant levels of lactate in blood can cause the stimulation of testosterone from leydig cells of the testes through a process that involves activation of the second messenger adenylate cyclase. This may be one way that intense exercise is able to increase levels of testosterone post exercise. 

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Lin, H., Wang, S. W., Wang, R. Y. and Wang, P. S. 2001. Stimulatory effect of lactate on testosterone production by rat Leydig cells. Journal of Cellular Biochemistry. 83(1): 147-154

About Robert Barrington

Robert Barrington is a writer, nutritionist, lecturer and philosopher.
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