Studies have shown that small amounts of alcohol increase muscular endurance and strength output, but, these benefits are very short lived. After around twenty or so minutes, the problems start. All the negative side affects of alcohol fully outweigh any possible benefits it can have to anyone. Alcohol is a toxin (poison) and so a whole host of physical abnormalities can arise.
These can reduce your strength, endurance, recovery capabilities, aerobic capacity, ability to metabolize fat and muscle growth. Alcohol can also affect your nervous system and brain. Long term use can cause severe deterioration of your central nervous system. With short term use, nerve-muscle interaction can be reduced resulting in a loss of strength.
When alcohol reaches the muscle cells, it can cause damage to them. Inflammation of the muscle cells is common among alcohol users. Over the long term, some of these damaged cells can die resulting in less functional muscle contractions. Alcohol will also leave you with more muscle soreness after exercise making recuperation periods longer.
Alcohol has many affects on your heart and circulatory system as well. You may see a reduction in your endurance capacities when you drink alcohol. When drinking alcohol, your heat loss increases, because alcohol stimulates your blood vessels to dilate. This heat loss can cause your muscles to get cold thus becoming slower and weaker during contractions.
Alcohol can cause digestive and nutritional problems as well. Alcohol causes a release of insulin that will increase the metabolism of glycogen, thereby sparing fat making fat loss more difficult. Because alcohol also can interfere with the absorption of many nutrients, you can become anemic and deficient in the B vitamins. Since your liver is the organ that detoxifies alcohol, the more you drink, the harder you liver has to work and the extra stress can damage and even destroy some liver cells.
Alcohol is also diuretic so large amounts can put a lot of extra stress on your kidneys. During diuretic action, ant diuretic hormones are secreted. This can result in heightened water retention and no one who exercises wants that to happen.
Alcohol, although having no nutritional value, also has seven calories per gram so excess consumption can lead to weight gain as well.
Everyone knows that working out while under the influence of alcohol is
dangerous because of the likelihood of injury, but few athletes realize that
consuming alcohol after a workout, practice, or competition can cancel out any
physiological gains you might have received from such activities. Not only does
long-term alcohol use diminish protein synthesis resulting in a decrease in muscle
build-up, but even short-term alcohol use can impede muscle growth.
In order to build bigger and stronger muscles, your body needs sleeps to repair
itself after workouts. Because of alcohol’s effect on sleep, however, your body is
robbed of a precious chemical called “human growth hormone” or HGH. HGH is
part of the normal muscle-building and repair process and the body’s way of telling
itself your muscle needs to grow bigger and stronger. Alcohol, however, can
decrease the secretion of HGH by as much as 70 percent! Also, when alcohol is in
your body, the production of a substance in your liver is triggered that is directly
toxic to testosterone, a hormone essential to the development and recovery of your
Speeding the recovery of sore muscles and injuries is integral to optimal
performance. Alcohol is a toxin—a toxin that travels through your bloodstream to
every organ and tissue in your body, thus slowing your body’s ability to heal itself.
Additionally, once alcohol is absorbed through your stomach and small intestine
and finally into your cells, it can disrupt the water balance in muscle cells, thus
altering their ability to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is your
muscles’ source of energy. ATP provides the fuel necessary for your muscles to
The present study examined potential mechanisms for the inhibition of protein synthesis in skeletal muscle after chronic alcohol consumption. Rats were maintained on an alcohol-containing diet for 14 wk; control animals were pair fed. Alcohol-induced myopathy was confirmed by a reduction in lean body mass as well as a decrease in the weight of the gastrocnemius and psoas muscles normalized for tibial length. No alcohol-induced decrease in total RNA content (an estimate of ribosomal RNA) was detected in any muscle examined, suggesting that alcohol reduced translational efficiency but not the capacity for protein synthesis. To identify mechanisms responsible for regulating translational efficiency, we analyzed several eukaryotic initiation factors (eIF). There was no difference in the muscle content of either total eIF2 or the amount of eIF2 in the phosphorylated form between alcohol-fed and control rats. Similarly, the relative amount of eIF2B in muscle was also not different. In contrast, alcohol decreased eIF2B activity in psoas (fast-twitch) but not in soleus or heart (slow-twitch) muscles. Alcohol feeding also dramatically influenced the distribution of eIF4E in the gastrocnemius (fast-twitch) muscle. Compared with control values, muscle from alcohol-fed rats demonstrated 1) an increased binding of the translational repressor 4E-binding protein 1 (4E-BP1) with eIF4E, 2) a decrease in the phosphorylated -form of 4E-BP1, and 3) a decrease in eIF4G a.ssociated with eIF4E. In summary, these data suggest that chronic alcohol consumption impairs translation initiation in muscle by altering multiple regulatory sites, including eIF2B activity and eIF4E availability.
ethanol; peptide-chain initiation; translation initiation; eukaryotic initiation factors 2, 4E, and 4G; 4E-binding protein 1; adenosine 5'-triphosphate; rats
Alcohol Impairs Regulation of Blood Sugar Levels
Alcohol Impairs Reproductive Functions
Alcohol Impairs Calcium Metabolism and Bone Structure
Hormones May Influence Alcohol-Seeking Behavior
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