Lactic acid is a fermentation product of lactose and has been used for thousands of years. It is present in sour milk, yogurt, and cottage cheese. The protein in milk is curdled by lactic acid. Lactic acid is produced in the muscles during intense activity. Excess amounts of lactic acid in the bloodstream can lead to muscle fatigue. Calcium lactate, a soluble lactic acid salt, is used as a source of calcium in the diet. Lactic acid is produced commercially for use in pharmaceuticals and foods, among other things. It can be prepared by chemical synthesis, production of lactic acid by fermentation of glucose and other substances. Chemically, lactic acid occurs as two optical isomers.

Although lactic acid is best known for its role in fermenation, lactic acid is also present in the digestive system.

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