Answer to Question #125317 in Cell Biology for Katelyn

Question #125317

 During a triathlon, many individuals reach a point in which their muscles are in oxygen debt, a state characterized by low oxygen available for cellular respiration. Describe how the human body responds to this in order to gain energy? What are the implications?

Expert's answer

Muscle contraction is dependent on energy produced by the body. During exercises, muscles require additional energy. The changes which take place during muscular contractions include;

  • Increase in heart race, to supply the muscles with enough oxygen and remove carbon dioxide produced.
  • Increase in breathing rate and increase in volume of each breath to bring more oxygen to the body and remove excess carbon dioxide.

Insufficient oxygen in the body from vigorous or prolonged exercises results into the heart and lungs being unable to supply sufficient oxygen. Consequently, muscles begin to respire anaerobically.

Production of lactic acid from glucose occurs instead of water and carbon dioxide. Muscle contractions become less sufficient instead. Long periods of vigorous activities result in lactic acid build up and low reserves of glycogen levels as more glucose is used during respiration. Build up of lactic acid causes oxygen debt. Muscle fatigue occurs as the glycogen levels in the body build up.

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