What is the Glycogen-Lactic Acid System?

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Muscles have big reserves of glycogen, a complex carbohydrate. Glycogen is a chain of glucose molecules; the glycogen is split into glucose by cells. Then cells use anaerobic metabolism (meaning "without oxygen") to make ATP. (Adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, is the way your body uses biochemicals to store and use energy.) A byproduct from the glucose is called lactic acid.

Under this proces ATP is made using around 12 chemical reactions, so ATP is supplied at a slower rate than that of the phosphagen system. The system acts rapidly and produces enough ATP to last about 90 seconds. The Glycogen-Lactic Acid System doesn't need oxygen, and because it takes the heart and lungs some time to work together, there is no delay waiting for that. Also the rapidly contracting muscls squeeze off their own blood vessels, which deprive themselves of oxygen-rich blood.Lactic acid is what makes your muscles hurt with exercise. When Lactic acid builds up in the muscle tissue, you feel fatigue and soreness in your exercising muscles.

Energy is also produced by the Phosphagen System and aerobic respiration.

Continue Learning about How The Metabolic Process Works

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.