The myth of lactic acidosis

A commonly taught (but erroneous) biochemical principle is that human anaerobic metabolism generates lactic acid.

Facts about anaerobic metabolism

Facts about lactate

Facts about 'lactic acidosis' (correctly renamed lactate associated acidosis)

Hyperlactataemia without acidosis

Why the confusion?

NB physiologic H + measured in nanomolar concentrations (hence use of pH) whilst lactate measured in millimole concentrations. They do not rise in equimolar amonts.

Rising lactate can be used as a marker of anaerobic metabolism, is not the cause of the acidosis and not invariably associated with it.

Elevate lactate can also occur in aerobic conditions due to liver dysfunction.