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Lactic Acid May Not Cause Muscle Fatigue

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American swimmer Michael Phelps is one of many Olympic athletes who keeps an eye on lactic acid.

American swimmer Michael Phelps is one of many Olympic athletes who keeps an eye on lactic acid. It's a substance that builds up in muscles as they're pushed to the limit. Reuters hide caption

toggle caption Reuters
American swimmer Michael Phelps is one of many Olympic athletes who keeps an eye on lactic acid.

American swimmer Michael Phelps is one of many Olympic athletes who keeps an eye on lactic acid. Reuters hide caption

toggle caption Reuters

Lactic acid traditionally has had the ill reputation of being a substance that slows down athletes. The acid is thought to weaken muscles when athletes need them the most. But a new study in the journal Science suggests lactic acid isn't the problem. NPR's Jon Hamilton reports. This feature has been edited for archival purposes on the Web because of legal rights issues.

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