Blood lactate concentration ([La- ] b ) is one of the most often measured parameters during clinical exercise testing as well as during performance testing of athletes. While an elevated [La- ]b may be indicative of ischemia or hypoxemia, it may also be a “normal” physiological response to exertion. In response to “all-out” maximal exertion lasting 30-120 seconds, peak [La- ] b values of ≈15–25 mM may be observed 3–8 minutes postexercise. In response to progressive, incremental exercise, [La- ] b increases gradually at first and then more rapidly as the exercise becomes more intense. The work rate beyond which [La- ] b increases exponentially [the lactate threshold (LT)] is a better predictor of performance than VO2max and is a better indicator of exercise intensity than heart rate; thus LT (and other valid methods of describing this curvilinear [La- ]b response with a single point) is useful in prescribing exercise intensities for most diseased and nondiseased patients alike. H+-monocarboxylate cotransporters provide the primary of three routes by which La- transport proceeds across the sarcolemma and red blood cell membrane. At rest and during most exercise conditions, whole blood [La- ] values are on average 70% of the corresponding plasma [La- ] values; thus when analyzing [La- ] b , care should be taken to both (1) validate the [La- ]b-measuring instrument with the criterion/reference enzymatic method and (2) interpret the results correctly based on what is being measured (plasma or whole blood). Overall, it is advantageous for clinicians to have a thorough understanding of [La- ] b responses, blood La- transport and distribution, and [La- ] b analysis.
Updated on July 14, 2020