BEING a student interested in health & fitness comes with two major conflicting ideas. On the one hand you want to drink yourself into oblivion every time you scrape that 2:1, and on the other you’re very health conscious and know that all that drinking is destroying your liver.
Not only is it destroying your liver, but if you’re trying to gain muscle then you’re also hindering any chance of making some gains.
So, what effect does alcohol have on building muscle mass?
Research by Penn State shows that the consumption of alcohol can reduce the body’s ability to process protein (known as Protein Synthesis) by around 15-20% for 24 hours, and so strangely if you’ve hit the gym the day before your night out, then your body won’t be fully processing that £5 Morrison’s chicken you had post-workout.
Alcohol consumption inhibits the work of an amino acid called Leucine, which helps the body break down proteins and put them to use in developing muscle. By drinking excessively you’re inhibiting your bodies ability to grow. Leucine is not naturally occurring in the body and so to combat this you should look at taking Leucine; myprotein.com currently sell it for £7.99 and if you take the suggested 6g per day this will last you roughly 40 days. Leucine is also available in foods like brown breads and rices.
Not only does alcohol damage your liver but it also depletes the antioxidants in your liver, primarily glutathione. You’ve probably never heard of it, but it helps the body metabolize many different functions and if not regulated it could effect your immune system, protein synthesis and even your gastrointestinal system.
It also reduces the amount of glucose your liver produces, meaning your energy levels will be severely inhibited and you won’t be able to perform to your highest level, meaning you might not be able to do that three plate deadlift you’ve been chasing for weeks.
Alcohol also acts as a diuretic and therefore makes your kidneys produce more urine and in turn makes you dehydrated. Staying hydrated when exercising is extremely important as it helps your blood flow properly and makes sure that your body receives the oxygen and nutrients when and where it needs it.
These are just some of the negative effects of alcohol on the body but there are many more effects both physically and mentally, aside from embarrassing yourself after one two many tequilas.
However, research has shown that a glass of red wine here or there can actually benefit you.
It contains a chemical knows as ellagic acid which slows the production of fat cells and can also help in reducing your blood sugar levels and overall can help you burn fat!