Mitochondrial mediated cellular apoptosis
I had to choose between that headline or the click-bait “HIIT will kill you, literally!” and, of course, I choose the one that’s worse for marketing…
Anyway - I was in a discussion forum a bit last week and we got into a discussion about why I believe that AGT is good for you, or more specifically why HIIT is bad.
It was a friendly discussion where we were just looking for some good science to promote AGT. I said that I didn’t have anything specific and then I went searching for something - I mean, I do believe that the glycolytic acid bath does cause mitochondrial and cellular damage, so I should be able to find something that supports my case, right?
I did find this 2004 article in Nature (before Nature went all anti-science bending to the whim of the grievance scholars).
The summary is that lowering pH (increasing acid content) in cells and between cells starts apoptosis - programmed cell death. Basically, add acid -> kill cells. And it appears that the mitochondria are a key player in this game.
Don’t let your cells build up with large amounts of acid. Where does acid come from? Burning sugar - glycolysis.
I’m sure in small amounts it’s a hometic stressor that makes you stronger - but at some point you’ll be causing damage.
I was happy, so I posted that to the discussion. And the reply was something like: “there was no mention of exercise in that paper.”
An ah ha moment! I think this is where we need to think about science and what questions it can answer. At the biochemical level, you’d never ask a question about HIIT vs AGT and cell death. That’s too specific. You could ask what biochemical reaction happen - and we know that. AGT doesn’t run the glycolysis pathway very much, HIIT does.
We know the full biochemical path of glycolysis - it’s the most fundamental energy producing cycle in nature.
We know that glycolysis produces acid.
So then the next question is a more general one: what happens to cells in a low pH (high acid) environment. That’s what this paper answers: death.
So why don’t we ask the question “does HIIT kill you?” We can’t! No ethics committee would ever let you run an experiment where you thought that one of the protocols was dangerous. So we aren’t even allowed to ask if HIIT is dangerous. But we can put all of the pieces together and surmise that if not dying is your goal - you should be on a more AGT-like training program.