When your body uses sugar as fuel it releases 5 waste products.(1) One is called lactate and 75% of the lactate is re-used as sugar again in a healthy body. However, the other 25% needs to be cleaned up by the liver and kidneys. If there is a problem with your body’s normal ability to clean itself, the lactate builds up in your blood and now it’s toxic.
Too much lactate and the other wastes crowd out oxygen in the blood which is also bad. Not enough oxygen in the blood to go to the cells is called hypoxia. Your cells need oxygen to survive.
So now the blood is toxic and hypoxic. The cells throughout your body cannot get enough nutrition and oxygen.
The body needs to get the oxygen and nutrition to the cells so it dilates the arteries to increase the quantity of blood to the cells. Also, with more blood flow, it’s easier to remove waste from the cells. This makes sense, doesn’t it?
Here’s how it plays out with an athlete:
Imagine this happening with an athlete sprinting and their muscles fill with lactic acid and burn. Their burning muscles tell them to stop running. They breathe faster and deeper to bring in oxygen and remove waste through their lungs. Their arteries dilate and their pulse goes up to increase circulation. The burning sensation then dissipates because the lactic acid gets removed within 20 minutes in a healthy person. Their breathing returns to normal. The arteries constrict back to normal size.
The chemistry of the blood dilates and constricts the arteries including the tiniest ones called capillaries in order to feed your cells.
In a healthy person, this is a normal response but an unhealthy person (or unfit) they already have too much lactate or other chemical wastes in their blood – due to the intake of excess sugar, toxins, or build up of pathogens. Their blood is no longer getting oxygen and nutrition to their cells. Therefore by doing any exercise they instantly get out of breath too fast which in turn makes their muscles weak and sore.
In an unhealthy person, this lack of oxygen and nutrition to their cells is causing their arteries to be dilated, which means even the little capillaries which are the smallest arteries become engorged with blood and the flow of blood becomes stagnant. This stagnation means that the blood is not feeding these parts of the body, which in turn means these parts of the body are dying. This can be seen in diabetic patients losing their feet. The most common symptoms of lactic acidosis start with muscles such as anxiety/ muscle tightness in the chest, muscle cramping, muscle fatigue, and lack of endurance.
The body has to compensate for this capillary engorgement by making the heart pump harder which makes the blood pressure go up. The stagnant blood flow makes the feet and ankles swell.
With all the preceding actions described above, the cells starve and die. The description is simple but the effects are profound.
Cell death equals tissue death which leads to organ death then body death. This may take decades in a chronically ill person.