WEEK 2: Glycolysis Visualized

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Acid Production Graphed in MPH

  • Instead of using the blue-yellow-red colored bar to indicate intensity, the graph below uses speeds ran by humans in mph – from rest up to running the world’s fastest – 27.8 mph by Usain Bolt.

The bold face type lists the world record speeds ran by humans in all races from the 5K to the 100m dash.

You should only see this text in lightbox popup Where are Carbohydrates Stored in the Body, and How Much is Stored? MUSCLES of MEN and WOMEN: Men and women store carbohydrates - renamed glycogen - primarily in muscles. On a so-called normal carb diet (CHO diet) a woman stores almost 300g total glycogen in her body and a man stores 400g total. LIVER: The liver is like a spare gasoline tank for the body to store carbs; it stores approximately 50g glycogen in both men and women. * The main reason for storing glycogen in muscles is for when you exercise hard - your muscles cells have stored fuel on-site - so there is no delay to deliver fuel and sustain high intensity exercise. HOW IS GLYCOGEN MADE IN THE BODY?

  • When starting to walk, you see acid levels often rise then fall as shown.  As intensity increases gradually, acid levels rise slowly and steadily.
  • At 10mph the critical point is reached, glycolysis ‘goes crazy’, and intensity is in now the red zone.
  • All speeds past 10 mph show the typical exponential rise of acid production, which matches the very dark yellow ‘acid’ in the cell below.

 

I pasted the color coded intensity bar over actual speeds to show how the colored bar matches up with real speeds.

acid-graph-plus-cells-barNotice all three things match up perfectly:

– Each cell’s acidic-yellowed color.

– The color-coded bar

– Lactate graphed

The crude video below shows everything just explained.

SUMMARY

The science jargon, “rate of lactate production” means we’re really talking about the rate of glycolysis in a cell.

Very high rates of glycolysis indicate:

  1. High rate of glycogen depletion
  2. Blood sugar is ‘sucked’ out of blood into muscle cells, which can make a person momentarily dizzy or light headed during intense exercise.
  3. The liver speeds up releasing glucose into the blood stream to keep blood sugar steady.*
  4. A Very high carb intake is necessary to replete muscle glycogen

*Sipping on sugar drinks do the same as the liver does – and may help delay running out of fuel in long distance events.

1. Glucose Transformation in a Muscle Cell Visualized.

Week 1 showed:

1. Muscle glycogen depletion occurs extremely quickly only during very high intensity exercise (in the red zone).

2. Muscles cells utilize glucose as fuel. Glycogen is used indirectly as it breaks down into glucose.

Now we look at  ‘snapshots’ of muscles cells transforming glucose in a moment of time at specific intensity levels.

Each circle below is a model that represents a muscle cell in the person above it.

3-categories

The cell model is actually a water filled bowl – with 5 burning candles placed in the water. The water in two bowls is ‘yellowed’ by adding yellow food coloring. Ignore the candles.

Notice (compared to the meditating woman’s cell) the water in the middle cell is moderately yellowed (girl on bike).

Then in the red zone, the water becomes very dark yellow at extreme intensities (runners).

Thus:

1. No food coloring in water  = a cell’s activity transforms a very small amount of glucose during rest. (left cell/meditation)

2. Moderate yellow = a cell’s activity transforms a moderate amount of glucose during moderate intensity.

3. Dark yellow = an extreme amount of glucose transforms in a cell during very high intensity.

What is glucose transformed into?

Muscle cells transform glucose into acid. This transformation is called glycolysis – expressed below.

  • GLYCOLYSIS:  GLUCOSE —–> ACID

 

If you’ve ever heard high intensity exercise produces a ‘burn’ or lactic acid – and even if you have not – you likely know a ‘feeling of discomfort’ or some ‘acid stuff’ is produced in muscles when you exercise hard.

  • This acid – technically called lactate – is produced in muscles at all times, even at rest.
  • Lactate is sometimes called lactic acid. For now we will not worry about technicalities – call it acid. This is wise for more reasons than one and will be made clear in later lectures.
  • You do not feel acid produced at rest or during low to moderate intensity exercise – but it is happening in your cells as you read this. The cause of this acid production is just from being alive while cells use blood sugar. The technical word for converting glucose is called glycolysis.

KNOW YOUR ANATOMY: (introduce bar coasters)

  • Water represents the section of a cell called the cytosol.
  • The candles represent mitochondria of the cell where oxygen is used to produce ‘aerobic power’ – or aerobic metabolism. 
  • Most writers call mitochondria the “powerhouse of a cell” – which is incorrect in terms of the physics of exercise science and nutrition. Mitochondria do not produce high intensity power. In other words, aerobic metabolism does not and cannot produce high intensity power.
  • Glucose is the only fuel substrate transformed into acid via glycolysis, which happens in the cytosol. Fat and amino acids do not undergo glycolysis.

 

SUMMARY

Glycolyis Occurs Always

  • Glucose converts to acid in cells always in some amount.
  • The intensity of glycolysis in a cell at any moment ALWAYS corresponds to what you do in the physical world. Each is a reflection of one another – which is why each can be ‘captured in a snapshot’ and modeled visually,
  • AS ABOVE, AS BELOW  – as the mystics say – applies in the micro and macro world of human physiology and sports science.

High rates of glycolysis fuel high-powered muscle contractions.

  • Intense exercise does not actually cause the depletion of glucose or glycogen, it’s the other way around – ‘crazy’ glycolysis fuels high power movement.
2. Acid Production Below and In the Red Zone

Below the Red Zone

The woman meditating converts very little glucose into acid, as indicated by the very clear water. This cell is in her right deltoid, which is under no load or strain.

3-categories

 

A closeup of below the red zone

The sharply yellowed water in the cell of the girl on the bike indicates she is producing an appreciable amount of acid in her thigh muscle. She may not feel any discomfort however, as long as she keeps intensity and acid production limited.

1-and-2-categories

  • Be clear on this: the shade of yellow food colored water indicates both the rate of glycolysis and production of acid – since one changes into the other.

In the Red Zone.

During extreme rates of glycolysis, acid builds up in the cytosol of muscle cells. I call this ‘Crazy Glycolysis’.

1-red-zone

The very dark yellowed water indicates all the following:

  1. Extreme acid production
  2. Extreme glucose utilization
  3. Heavy draw of blood glucose into muscles
  4. Extreme glycogen depletion

 

Next section: Graphing Acid Production

 

3. Graphing Acid Production

Acid Production Graphed in MPH

  • Instead of using the blue-yellow-red colored bar to indicate intensity, the graph below uses speeds ran by humans in mph – from rest up to running the world’s fastest – 27.8 mph by Usain Bolt.

The bold face type lists the world record speeds ran by humans in all races from the 5K to the 100m dash.

acid-graph

  • When starting to walk, you see acid levels often rise then fall as shown.  As intensity increases gradually, acid levels rise slowly and steadily.
  • At 10mph the critical point is reached, glycolysis ‘goes crazy’, and intensity is in now the red zone.
  • All speeds past 10 mph show the typical exponential rise of acid production, which matches the very dark yellow ‘acid’ in the cell below.

 

I pasted the color coded intensity bar over actual speeds to show how the colored bar matches up with real speeds.

acid-graph-plus-cells-barNotice all three things match up perfectly:

– Each cell’s acidic-yellowed color.

– The color-coded bar

– Lactate graphed

The crude video below shows everything just explained.

SUMMARY

The science jargon, “rate of lactate production” means we’re really talking about the rate of glycolysis in a cell.

Very high rates of glycolysis indicate:

  1. High rate of glycogen depletion
  2. Blood sugar is ‘sucked’ out of blood into muscle cells, which can make a person momentarily dizzy or light headed during intense exercise.
  3. The liver speeds up releasing glucose into the blood stream to keep blood sugar steady.*
  4. A Very high carb intake is necessary to replete muscle glycogen

*Sipping on sugar drinks do the same as the liver does – and may help delay running out of fuel in long distance events.

 

4. Why is it Technically Called a Lactate Graph?

‘Acid graphs’ are technically called lactate graphs.

3-cells-lactate

As you have seen, extreme intensities make cells acidic.

  • This is actually a result of hydrogen ions (H+) produced in a cell during high intensity exercise. Adding H+ ions to water increases its acidity.

Cells are made mostly from water, and you don’t want acidic cells preventing healthy function.

So, lactate is actually a ‘buffer’ against the acidic condition in a cell, meaning:

  • Lactate binds with H+ ions and transports H+ out of the muscle cell into the blood.
  • The blood never becomes acidic, because when H+ is buffered, its acidifying power is canceled out.

At any rate, the exponential increase of lactate (measured in blood) can be considered essentially the same event as the exponential production of H+ ions in muscles cells.

We can’t poke and prod into cells to measure lactate, but we can draw blood to measure the combined form: lactate/H+.

This is why I label the y-axis of the graph: ‘acidity in the blood’ or ‘lactate in the blood’.

Most people  just call the stuff made during high intensity exercise lactic acid.  But it is really two things put together, lactate and H+.

  • GLYCOLYSIS:  Glucose –> 2 Lactates*     Then lactate/H+ exit the cell.

 

*Why are 2 Lactates Made from Glucose? (next section) Next section: Glycolysis or Anaerobic Metabolism is Fermentation of Sugar is an introduction to later, advanced lectures, but now is the time to seed it into your head.

 

5. ADVANCED: Glycolysis or Anaerobic Metabolism is Actually Fermentation (of Sugar)

Why are 2 Lactates Made from Glucose? (next section)

Glucose is made of 6 carbon atoms.   C-C-C-C-C-C (or C6 in shorthand)

Lactate is made when glucose splits in half. 

Glucose-Splits

  • During any level of anaerobic metabolism glucose splits into two 3-carbon chunk molecules – or 2 lactates – as shown in this video.

What is fermentation?

Fermentation essentially means ‘splitting’ food stuff – particularly carbohydrates or sugars.

  • Splitting carbohydrates like grains, potatoes, honey and many more foods into smaller carbon chunks is technically called fermentation.
  • Glycolysis is just a muscle-cell’s form of fermenting glucose.
  • Common products of fermenting carbohydrates include alcohol, acetic acid (kombucha and vinegar), lactate in muscle cells, butyric acid in butter, and the acid that gives Swiss cheese its distinct smell… propionic acid.

VISUAL STEPS OF FERMENTING GLUCOSE aka GLYCOLYSIS IN A CELL

glucose-splits

Muscles split only one sugar – glucose, which is made of 6 carbon atoms.   C-C-C-C-C-C

Only glucose ferments, fat and amino acids do not.

The ‘first split’ is actually into a 3-carbon chunk called pyruvate*.

  • *Think a ‘pyromanic’ makes a fire.

If pyruvate is used aerobically, then it will combine with oxygen to ‘make fire’ – during aerobic metabolism. If this happens, CO2 is made.

However, pyruvate is a hybrid fuel. It can also be used anaerobically – and if so – the fermentation process proceeds at an exponential rate:

  • Glycolysis (fermentation of glucose) is: GLUCOSE –> first to PYRUVATE –> and then to LACTATE.

During any level of anaerobic metabolism (and especially high intensity exercise) a muscle cell splits glucose (C-C-C-C-C-C) in half – but after all said and done there are still 6 carbons remaining.

For practical purposes, just think high intensity exercise is a process of splitting glucose in half at an exponential rate like splitting an atom in an atom bomb – and energy is released.

Integrative Thinking/Question:

Which meat/muscle – dark or white – on a chicken is made specially for anaerobic exercise?

1. What happens in a cell anaerobically visually. (glycolysis)

Rest ——> Max Intensity

 

2. How to graph acid production

Rest ——> Max Intensity

 

3. You can sprint without breathing

All anaerobic exercise does not use oxygen to produce power

The ‘bacterial’ section of the cell – the cytosol – ferments glucose —-> acid.

Glycolysis = fermentation of carbohydrate, within the ‘primitive’ section of the cell. Early life forms transform energy in more rudimentary ways than more later developed, complex lifeforms.

1. Exercise scientists incorrectly teach how anaerobic metabolism works* – Textbook regurgitation – Decades of bad curriculum.**

*H+ makes cell acidic. Water (H2O) is torn apart.

** Messages from Masters of Nature, Science, and Economics

 

2. Invalidated the conventional belief that glucose is the main fuel for cells. (The first of two ways of invalidation: week 14: RER shows the second way)

If little glycogen (glucose) is depleted during rest to moderate exercise, this infers something else is the primary fuel. Since it is not protein, it must be fatty acids.

 

3. Anaerobic metabolism is fermentation of carbohydrate

Fermentation is the splitting of carbohydrates into smaller chunks. In a muscle cell, specifically:

Glucose splits into 2 lactates

http://physicalrules.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Glucose-Splits.jpg

Lactate may be used as ‘junk fuel’ by the heart. (minor way of getting rid of it)

Lactate is reconnected together by the liver into glucose.

 

4. The heart muscle uses fuel similarly to skeletal muscles.

  • Video: Fuel substrate utilization of a healthy heart – fat is the preferred fuel.
  • Graphic: A failing heart is one forced to increase using glucose over time.

Critical Thinking:
If the heart preferred using glucose at high intensity – e.g. at heart rates say 120bpm and higher, then increasing acid production would pose a threat to the heart. Thus, it makes ‘sense’ the heart prefers to not use glucose ever in high amounts like skeletal muscles do – anaerobic/glycolysis this is.

Props:

Blank bar coasters.

Giant Metabolism Wheel

 

Videos, Images, and Additional Reading by Section:

Section 3

Acid Production Graphed

 

Section 4

Lactate: Not Guilty as Charged

Section 5

Glucose Ferments in the Cytosol

 

 

Tabbed Section: “What I learned today”

You Can Sprint Without Breathing

 

 

 

Heart Failure: Fatty Acids are Preferred Fuel for a Healthy Heart

 

 

 

 

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