Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Does Alcohol affect Muscle Growth?

Alcohol negatively affects muscle growth. Here are a few reasons why:


Alcohol is a mild poison and a toxin. This is why drinking it makes people intoxicated. It is also a diuretic, meaning that it causes the body to lose water. The main reason why people often experience a headache the next morning after drinking alcohol is because of dehydration i.e. not enough water and electrolytes for optimal brain function. At this point, your whole body is dehydrated - you just feel it in your head the most. Dehydration also affects the muscles. When in a hangover state, the body will draw water out of the muscles to put in the vital organs like the heart, liver and kidneys in order to survive. The body also needs the little water that it has to clean out the toxins from the body as quick as it can to get back to normal. This dehydration puts your muscles in a catabolic state (breaking down of muscle), instead of the anabolic state (building of muscle) that we all desire. If you spend a night drinking and the next day nursing your hangover, you have not only wasted that time where the body won't rebuild muscle, but you have caused your body to break down muscle mass to recover as well.

Metabolizing alcohol instead of protein syntheses

Starting from as soon as the second or third drink, your body gets to work to metabolize (break down) and process the alcohol so that it can exit the body before it causes further damage. When the kidneys and liver are burdened with the task of processing alcohol, they cannot convert protein into muscle and perform the other tasks that facilitate this process. Therefore, when alcohol reaches certain levels in the blood, protein synthesis (turning protein into muscle tissue) stops. This means that the body will shut down the process of turning protein into muscle from the time of drinking until the next day (way after the hangover state) when its functions start returning to normal. That is a lot of muscle growth time that is missed out on. Alcohol doesn't only affect your kidneys and liver badly, it also messes up your hormonal and blood sugar levels. Avoiding alcohol is one of the top suggestions when trying to increase testosterone levels.

Lack of energy, hangovers and messed up diet

When drinking to the point of a hangover the next day, the effect on the body is similar to a short-term cold or flu. If you have been building muscle for long enough, you know how detrimental getting sick can be to muscle gains, both size- and strength-wise. The effects of drinking too much alcohol can do the same thing - depending on the amount of alcohol consumed. Additionally, the lost workouts or decreased physical performance the day after alcohol consumption causes a temporary but unnecessary decrease in muscle stimulus. Think of how much muscle weight you lose when you get sick. Here are ways to speed up sickness recovery.

What about alcohol in very small quantities?

What about one beer? Some studies show that the occasional beer or glass of wine can actually be beneficial to health. For example, wine has shown to improve heart function and contain antioxidants. Beer has, among other health benefits, been shown to keep skin looking younger due to its silicon content. It is generally recommended that a person should only drink 500 milliliters or less of beers and ciders, one glass or less of wine and a single shot of spirits or hard liquors at a time (not all three - just one of them!). This won’t negatively hamper muscle growth. Some sportsmen and bodybuilders also believe that whiskey has the least damaging effect on physical health compared to other alcoholic substances.

The final verdict

Rather stay away from drinking too much alcohol to the point of getting drunk (or even tipsy). This will help you to maximize muscle growth. It is also dangerous and expensive. Too many valuable friendships have been ruined, lives lost, cars wrecked and lives permanently changed because of times that initially started as a ‘harmless night out’. I also don’t recommend drinking a beer, wine or even whiskey daily, because alcohol can be addictive. The best thing to do is create a life that does not have alcohol as an aspect of your weekly routine. The healthiest thing to do is create a habit of living where you can break away, have fun, relax and socialize without alcohol. It is OK have a single beer or glass of wine on occasion, perhaps once a month or less. Does that sound too scarce for you? If so, there might be a few adjustments that you can make for an even better life. STAY STRONG!

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