Does Alcohol Affect Muscle Growth?
While it’s true that moderate drinking can have a positive effect on some aspects of overall health, muscle growth is not one of them. Alcohol is far more damaging than some people think, especially if you drink too much. Alcoholic beverages usually contain ethanol. Unlike protein, carbs, or fat, it does not provide any function in the body. Many people would rather have a few drinks on the weekend than cheat with foods that are not on their diet plan. For some, cutting out drinking can be tougher than cutting out unhealthy food. But if you’re looking to build muscle, alcohol can be a real problem. Here are some of the ways that alcohol can affect muscle growth:
Alcohol Affects Muscle Growth by Inhibiting Protein Synthesis
Protein synthesis is the main way that the body builds muscle. It is the growth process within muscle cells. Drinking alcohol can inhibit this process. Excessive alcohol consumption slows the growth process down by up to 20%.
Alcohol Affects Muscle Growth by its Effects on Growth Hormones
One major way that alcohol affects muscle growth is that it affects the release growth hormone. Growth hormone plays a role in building muscle, stimulating cell growth, and promoting bone growth. When this hormone is low, it’s going to affect muscle growth.
Growth hormone is usually secreted during sleep, and since alcohol can disrupt natural sleep, growth hormone production can be inhibited up to 70%.
Alcohol Affects Muscle Growth by Inhibiting Testosterone
Alcohol affects muscle growth by inhibiting testosterone. Testosterone is an important factor in muscle growth. This is why men carry more muscle than women (because they have more testosterone.)
When you drink alcohol, the liver produces a substance that is toxic to the release of testosterone. This lowers the concentration of testosterone in the body.
Alcohol Affects Muscle Growth by Affecting Recovery
Another effect of alcohol is that it affects your recovery. Alcohol is a toxin to the body. Your body’s first priority is to remove it, so naturally some of your energy is expended break down alcohol and remove it and then recover from any negative effects it had on the tissue. This takes both time and energy. Thus, you won’t have as much energy to recover from your workouts.
Alcohol Affects Muscle Growth by Causing Dehydration
Alcohol is known as a diuretic. This means that it increases urine output, which can cause dehydration. Alcohol can disrupt your natural water balance, even the day after you drink. Dehydration can be very dangerous if you are working out, since your body is already losing water to sweating. It can cause low physical performance as well as fatigue. It can also make you feel hungrier. Not to mention, your muscles need water. Dehydration can disrupt the ability of muscle cells to produce ATP. ATP is your primary source of muscular energy.
Alcohol Affects Muscle Growth by Affecting Glycogen Synthesis
Muscle glycogen stores energy for the muscle cells. However, when you drink, alcohol synthesis takes precedence over glycogen synthesis. This results in decreased stores of glycogen in the muscle cells. You will have less energy to work out, so you will build less muscle.