Overview

oxygen debt


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The physiological state that exists in a normally aerobic animal when insufficient oxygen is available for metabolic requirements (e.g. during a period of strenuous physical activity). To meet the body's increased demand for energy, pyruvate is converted anaerobically (i.e. in the absence of oxygen) to lactic acid, which requires oxygen for its breakdown and accumulates in the tissues. When oxygen is available again lactic acid is oxidized in the liver, thus repaying the debt.

Subjects: Medicine and Health — Biological Sciences.


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