Some people who have the most experience with alcohol regard it as the best friend they ever had. It seems to provide relaxation and enhance self-confidence appeals to almost anyone. However, the friendship lasts only as long as the body can stand it. An expensive relationship that can cost someone a job, a relationship, a marriage, good health, or cause an accident, drinking requires careful consideration beforehand. The downside of ethanol becoming a best friend occurs when it becomes equally efficient as the worst enemy. Terminating casual relationships may prove difficult, but they cannot compare to escaping an almost unbreakable grip.

The drug seems to have no middle ground that lets people drink without damaging the body. Of course, the risk of dependence and addiction poses an ever-present threat for the long term whenever anyone consumes it. However, the immediate effect starts affecting muscles at once.

Considering Expert Opinion

Popular magazines and scientific journals report the same thing about its effect on muscles over the years. The National Institute of Health flatly states that it produces acute and chronic toxic effects on the heart and skeletal muscles. It shows up as weakness and atrophy eventually, although it may take a long time to do so.

Alcohol and muscle growth

A report on college drinking prevention shows that the heart muscle weakens with long-term heavy drinking, and even binge drinking can change the pace of heartbeats. While most people think of biceps and triceps for fitness, the heart provides them with the blood that nourishes every cell. It works harder by exerting its entire force with every contraction, while skeletal muscles work on the principle of gradation.

Understanding Some Effects of Protein Synthesis

Protein synthesis creates the transition of protein into muscle tissue that repairs the tears that occur in resistance training. When not interrupted by ethanol consumption, the process produces muscle growth. However, scientific research confirms that it stops the synthesis process and prevents muscles from growing. The blocking effect limits the production of muscle mass. The result seems more significant when anyone drinks on training day than others.

Studies agree that the damage varies by the amount consumed. However, the fact remains that the body sees the drug as a toxin. Research shows that it impairs muscle protein synthesis, a significant factor in muscle development. Setbacks in muscle gains impede fitness goals. HuffPost reports that ethanol reduces blood flow to muscles and produces other harmful effects.

Dehydration occurs as a consequence of the diuretic properties of the intoxicant. When the body metabolizes ethanol, it creates a signal that prevents burning any fat or sugar. Instead of achieving the desired effect, it reduces the amount of fat that the body can burn. Some studies show that it can reduce testosterone levels after cardio and increase estrogen, hardly the results that one may choose.

Seeing the Impact on Testosterone

Protein synthesis benefits from testosterone in both males and females. Science Direct points out that it promotes the process and increases muscle growth and strength. In addition, testosterone increases bone density and strength. Further, it stimulates linear growth.

While almost everyone knows what testosterone does, its importance contributes significantly to muscle growth. Unfortunately, the potent hormone that can produce steroids suffers from the presence of alcohol. While most people want as much as possible, ethanol lowers testosterone levels. The possibility of achieving maximum muscle growth becomes impossible. Control group studies show that testosterone levels dropped in subjects who consumed it while not others who did not drink.

Control group studies offer convincing proof of effects on different groups subjected to the same conditions except for one variable, ethanol in this case. As lower levels of testosterone reduce protein synthesis, ethanol also has the effect of raising estrogen levels. The combined reaction produces the worst possible combination of hormones for anyone who wants muscle growth.

Considering Similar Effects on the Growth Hormone

Many functions in the body depend on the growth hormone, and the muscle-building process depends on it. Its assistance in protein synthesis builds muscle just as testosterone does. The most significant growth hormone that the body receives occurs during sleep. Muscle growth occurs during rest when the body releases the growth hormone. As a contrary factor, ethanol suppresses the release of the hormone during sleep. Producing the opposite of the desired effect makes ethanol use questionable for anyone who wants muscle growth. Anyone starting in muscle building may choose to abstain from drinking for a few months to gain as much mass gain as possible. Even those who do not participate in muscle building can learn from the experience of those who do.

HGH plays an essential role in building and maintaining muscle. In addition, it produces collagen, a connective tissue that makes tendons and ligaments responsive and flexible. But, again, as with testosterone, alcohol disrupts HGH production. Further, it tends to disturb sleep patterns with the concurrent consequence of reducing the body’s time to release essential hormones.

Storing Fat 

As a negative contributor to muscle growth, the body stores the sugar in the body as fat. Unfortunately, it does it more quickly than storing calories from carbs or protein. Unlike food that requires time for the body to digest, about 20 percent of ethanol can pass through the stomach walls and go directly to the brain in about one minute. The rest goes to the small intestine and onto the liver for processing by enzymes.

The problem with weight gain from drinking occurs; the liver has a significant impact. The organ considers it a toxin that must deal with first, allowing fat to receive later processing and weight gain. While muscle development seems counter to dealing with fat, the problem lies with how the body metabolizes ethanol. Drinking imposes barriers to losing weight and building muscle mass.

Considering the Pros and Cons

Experts at ACE, a nonprofit organization setting standards for professional health coaches, cite the impact of HGH on protein turnover, protein synthesis, and regulation of metabolism. Two adverse effects that ethanol produces on the hormone significantly affect muscle gains. First, it increases stress hormones, reducing growth hormone production by up to 72 percent. Second, the decrease in the hormone distribution due to sleep interruption amounts to almost as much at 70 percent. The scientific community and private, public, and governmental organizations concur that drinking contributes to achieving training goals.

Some sources suggest that drinking in moderation has some beneficial effects. However, any alcoholic beverage can lead to dependency, whether a beer, wine, or hard liquor. As a source of worthless or empty calories, each carries a risk of damaging the body in many ways. Specifically for anyone who wants to gain muscle mass, the choice of drinking or refusing can make all the difference.

The facts speak for themselves, and they confirm that ethanol does reduce testosterone and increases estrogen. Muscle protein synthesis suffers a reduction in productivity. The dehydration that accompanies drinking prevents muscles from obtaining the 70 percent level they need. With only negative aspects of building muscle, ethanol consumption deserves serious consideration before accepting it. The options that face anyone in choosing between drinking and muscular fitness create challenges that may seem difficult. However, examining the long-term effects can put a decision in the proper perspective.

Published on: 2021-11-14
Updated on: 2024-03-15