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How Does Alcohol Affect Muscle Growth?

Drinking alcohol has almost become a norm in the world today, even if it is only ‘a little.’ However, what many people fail to realize is that it is causing more harm than good to the body. You could spend all week at the gym trying to build your muscles while incorporating the right diet, but you would be taking one step forward and three steps backward if you keep consuming alcohol.

Perhaps this is your favoritebeverage that helps you stay sane as an adult, and you would not want to give it up easily. But when you consider its effect on your muscle growth, you would give a second thought and choose between alcohol or your muscle growth.

1. Reduces Protein Synthesis

Protein synthesis is essential for muscle growth in the body, and several studies have found that alcohol inhibits this process. Research from the American Journal of Physiology, Endocrinology, and Metabolism found that alcohol has a blocking effect on protein synthesis, and this leads to a reduction in muscle mass. Also, your diet in the first 24-48 hours after a resistance training plays a massive role in your muscle growth. This means the effect of alcohol on the protein synthesis in your body could multiply if you take alcohol within this time range.

2. Impact on Testosterone Levels

Alcohol alters hormone levels, especially testosterone. Testosterone is from the family of androgens known to promote protein synthesis, thereby helping to grow muscle mass and strength. Impairment of this hormone could affect muscle growth. For healthy growth as a man, you would need your testosterone to function correctly. What’s more is that while alcohol intake reduces testosterone level, it stimulates the conversion of testosterone to estrogens. This increases your estrogens level, which would cause an imbalance of hormones in the body system. Apart from the impairment of muscle growth, decreased testosterone in men could also reduce sexual function.

3. Impact on Growth Hormone

Growth hormone also helps with protein synthesis, and the body releases more when the muscles are at rest, like during sleep. However, the intake of alcohol disrupts this process and causes a decrease in the release of the growth hormone. Without the effectiveness of the growth hormone and the testosterone hormone, the growth and strength of the muscles will be impaired. 

4. Inhibits Vitamin Absorption

Alcohol intake interferes with the ability of the pancreas to absorb critical vitamins. For the pancreas to function correctly, many vitamins are required, and these are taken from the bloodstream. With a high consumption of alcohol, the pancreatic cells will not be able to absorb biotin and thiamine. It also reduces the numbers of sodium-dependent vitamin C transporter 2 (SVCT-2), which means vitamin C will not be transported into pancreatic cells. This affects how the pancreas works, thereby leading to pancreatitis or any other diseases of the pancreas

5. Alcohol-damaged Muscles Release Creatine Kinase (Ck)

Creatinine kinase (CK) in the blood is an indicator of muscle damage. Men who exercise a lot and consume heavy alcohol have been found to have a high level of serum CK, which could result in acute kidney failure if there is no medical intervention.  

6. Affects Healthy Eating

To get your desired body goals, you need to create a balance between your exercise and your diet, without which you might just be wasting your time. However, alcohol consumption has been shown to lead to overeating, which could make you take in more calories than you consume. This could cause significant weight gain and an expanded waistline, which will not be helping your muscle goals in any way.

How to Treat Muscle Problems From Drinking?

Alcoholic myopathy is found in patients who consume heavy alcohol and present with increased muscle weakness and decreased muscle strength. This could result in numbness or pain in the lower limbs; cramps, contractions, and spasms in the muscles and many other conditions resulting from an impairment in the system.

To treat this:

  • Stop drinking alcohol to prevent further damage
  • Eat a balanced diet and take more of vitamin E
  • Include magnesium and calcium in your diet to improve muscle growth and strength

Physical therapy

You may want to consult your doctor to know the best step to take in treating this condition and to prevent further damage.


To grow your muscles without any setback, one of the most potent ways is to stop drinking alcohol. Not only will you be helping your muscles, but you will also be improving your general health. If you find it difficult to quit alcohol, you may want to try Denver sober living homes to help you overcome this addiction. This is especially important if you are new with muscle building and aiming to achieve a substantial result.