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This is my first post here - kind of unsure whether this is exactly the right spot for the topic.

Anyway, I was wondering if anyone has more information on the role of lactic acid in brain metabolism, as mine is almost all wikipedia. I am now more interested in the role in adults.

Since I haven't read nearly enough on the topic yet, I am gonna ask a silly question. Is there a documented way to increase brain power so to say (maybe memory or alertness) using this process. Actually what exactly is happening when lactic acid is involved in the converting of glucose by the glial cells? Again, this is straight from wikipedia - the lactate-shuttling hypothesis (transforming lactate to glucose and then 'feeding' the neurons).

Thanks for any contributions.


You ask a very interesting question.  The idea that astrocytes take up glucose from the blood stream, convert it to lactate and feed it to neurons has been a controversial theory since it was first proposed in the early 1990s.  However, recent studies have emerged that support the theory.  How neurons convert lactate to energy is still not really known.  It is possible to intravenously administer lactate (at lower levels) to elicit an effect on memory, although it can be dangerous because people that suffer from anxiety attacks may be at risk for having an induced attack with lactate infusion.  The easiest way to increase blood lactate levels is to exercise.  There are a number of studies showing the benefit of exercise on improved memory which correlates with elevated blood lactate levels.