Lactic Acid

Lactic Acid Molecule

LACTIC ACID: Builds up during heavy exercise

During intense workout, your muscle cells need more energy. In response to this energy demand, your red blood cells form lactic acid which serves as your body’s main source of energy whenever insufficient oxygen levels are being supplied in your muscle cells. When your oxygen levels increase, lactic acid normally goes back to normal. But sometimes, this doesn’t happen. In some cases, lactic acid accumulates and even goes beyond normal levels.

High levels of lactic acid leads to a condition called lactic acidosis. In severe cases, it alters your blood pH low enough to cause muscle weakness, vomiting, rapid breathing, sweating, and even life threatening symptoms such as coma. When this happens, intravenous administration of sodium bicarbonate is advised.

Even so, lactic acid is considered a product of some organisms when they metabolize sugars. This process is called lactic acid fermentation, which enables organisms such as lactobacilli to convert pyruvate into lactate. Lactate (the conjugate form of lactic acid) gives yogurt its unique taste.

How does Lactic Acid look like in Chemistry?

Let’s Get Building!

Using your Student Molecular Set from Duluth Labs let’s create Lactic Acid! You’ll need:

  • 3 Carbon atoms
  • 3 Oxygen atoms
  • 6 Hydrogen atoms
  • 6 Small connectors (compact small bonds for hydrogen)
  • 4 Medium Connectors
  • 2 Long connectors
  • Molecular Tool (for Disassembly) 

Put aside all the atoms and connectors needed.

Let’s Start Building With Our Carbonyl Carbon!

Lactic Acid Molecule


  • 1
    Lactic Acid Molecule

    1. Get one carbon atom (Carbon 1)then, attachanOxygen atomto it using a medium connector.

  • 2
    Lactic Acid Molecule

    2. Attach another Oxygen atom to Carbon 1 using 2 long connectors.

  • 3
    Lactic Acid Molecule

    3. Attach another carbon (Carbon 2)on Carbon 1using 1 medium connector. Place a hydrogen atom on Carbon 2 using a small connector

  • 4
    Lactic Acid Molecule

    4. Get an Oxygen atom and attach this to the Carbon 2 using 1medium connector. Place a hydrogen atom on this Oxygen using a small connector

  • 5
    Lactic Acid Molecule

    5. Finally, grab the last carbon atom(Carbon 3) then attach this to the Carbon 2using a medium connector. Place a 3 hydrogen atoms on this carbon using 3 small connectors

Great work! Now we have our newly-built Lactic Acid molecule.

See how these molecules seem to mirror each other!

Feel free to show us how your Lactic Acid turned out!

Comment and share pictures below!

Tune in next week for another Molecule of the week!

See you then xoxo :)

Duluth Labs

Afton Direct LLC

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