Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Does Alcohol affect Muscle Growth?

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


Dehydration

Alcohol is a mild poison and a toxin which is why consuming 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 is because of dehydration i.e. not enough water and electrolytes for optimal brain and organ function. 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 to survive. The body also needs the little water 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.

Metabolising Alcohol Instead of Protein Syntheses

Starting from as soon as the second or third drink, your body soon gets to work to metabolise 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 the alcohol, they cannot convert protein into muscle. Therefore, when alcohol reaches certain levels, protein synthesis 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 when its functions start returning to normal. That is a lot of muscle growth time that is missed out on.

Lack of Energy, Hangovers, 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 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; although to a less extend 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.

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, and beer has, among other health benefits, been shown to keep skin looking younger due to it containing silicon. It is generally believed that 500ml or less of beers and ciders, one glass or less of wine and a single shot of spirits or hard liquors won’t negatively harm 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 does hamper muscle growth, but is also dangerous and expensive. Too many valuable friendships have been ruined, lives lost, cars wrecked and lives permanently changed because of a ‘harmless night out’. We also don’t recommend drinking a beer or whiskey daily because alcohol can be addictive. The best thing to do is created a life that does not have alcohol as an aspect of your weekly routine. The healthiest thing to do is create a life where you can break away, have fun, relax and socialise without alcohol. It is ok have a single beer or glass of wine on occasion, perhaps once a month or less. STAY STRONG!