Alcohol is a lawful drug, consumed by a large part of the population and often abusively. However, it has effects under immunological, cardiovascular, metabolic, nutritional, hormonal and psychomotor functions. Therefore, it is necessary to take into due care of the physiological effects of this substance on the process of muscle recovery and physical performance. Two essential factors for the process of muscle hypertrophy.
Therefore, it is important to highlight that genetic factors, sex, body weight, nutritional status and amount of alcohol ingested influence the variation of the short and long-term consequences among individuals.
How does alcohol worsen physical performance?
It was observed that alcohol can indirectly cause a decrease in physical performance, since it interferes with human metabolism due to the deceleration of the citric acid cycle, inhibiting gluconeogenesis (synthesis of muscle glycogen from non-carbohydrates) and raising lactate levels.
As for sleep, the substance also showed a worsening of its quality, despite inducing it, suppressing REM sleep and increasing slow wave sleep (SWS). A factor that also directly impacts the performance and muscle recovery of the athlete or physical activity practitioner.
How does alcohol affect protein synthesis?
According to the studies conducted, alcohol consumption after physical exercise associated with lack of consumption of an adequate amount of protein for stimulation of muscle protein synthesis (MPS) showed a decrease of 37% in it. And even when consumed in combination with an adequate amount of proteins, MPS was not stimulated optimally, being reduced by 24%, thus impairing muscle repair.
In addition, it also increases cortisol levels (hormone responsible for protein degradation) and decreases the secretion of testosterone (hormone responsible for stimulating protein synthesis) when consumed in high doses with a certain frequency.
In addition, alcohol inhibits mechanisms that promote muscle hypertrophy, such as mTOR, which plays a vital role in protein synthesis and in the control of skeletal muscle mass. In addition to promoting oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction and lower capacity for muscle regeneration. The conjunction of all these factors establishes how alcohol can act hindering muscle hypertrophy.
It is possible to develop nutritional strategies to better fit alcohol in an individual’s diet, adjusting not only the dose and frequency of consumption but also the diet, aiming to minimize the damage caused. In this way, the good practice is not to encourage or recommend alcohol intake in a moderate way, and it is up to the health professional to affirm that their consumption represents an increase in difficulty in achieving several objectives, including the process of muscle hypertrophy.
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Article: OLIVEIRA, Daiane Gonçalves de; ALMAS, Saul peters; DUARTE, Lidiane Castro; DUTRA, Sheila Cristina Potente; OLIVEIRA, Renata Maria Souza; NUNES, Renato Moreira; NEMER, Aline Silva de Aguiar. Alcohol consumption by gym goers. Brazilian Journal of Psychiatry, [S .L.], v. 63, n. 2, p. 127-132, Jul. 2014. FapUNIFESP (SciELO). http://doi.org/10.1590/0047-2085000000016.